Cerf Island is one of the unspoiled jewels of the Seychelles. Located in one of the lushest and most beautiful marine environments in the world, it offers a rare experience for divers and all lovers of nature. Here, a tranquil setting, luxurious accommodation and stunning natural beauty combine to create a tropical Paradise that is a complete departure from overcrowded tourist traps. The beaches look like pictures from a storybook, the ocean is still in its pristine state and all of it is just waiting to be discovered by the eager traveler.
Cerf is also the ultimate escape destination. Since it is only about four kilometers from Mahe, the main island of the Seychelles, Cerf is able to rely entirely on the larger island for services such as telephone and electricity. This has allowed Cerf to avoid the development of infrastructure or any industry other than a modest tourism business. This is the perfect place for those longing to escape from concrete, traffic and hectic schedules.
Cerf Island's place in history
Coming to Cerf, visitors can easily let their imaginations travel back to times when French trading ships plied these waters on the trade route to India. Europe’s appetite for spices had created a lucrative trade through this area, and a colony was established on Mauritius in 1715 to protect French maritime interests. In 1735, Bertrand-Francois Mahe de La Bourdonnais assumed the governorship of the colony with the ambition of claiming the rest of the Seychelles for France and establishing a quicker route from Mauritius to India. To carry out this plan, an expedition was launched under the command of Corneille Nicholas Morphey. It was he who claimed Mahe and all the other islands for France. Cerf Island is named after Morphey’s ship, Le Cerf or “The Deer.”
There have always been rumors of treasure in this area, and the fact that none has been found yet does nothing to discourage dreamers.
Today, Cerf Island has a couple of hotels, a bar on the beach, a spa and some excellent restaurants. There is a single church and a small art museum. The island is home to about 100 year-round residents. Travelers reach Cerf by boat or helicopter from Mahe.
Cerf is surrounded by one of the coral reefs of the Ste. Anne National Park. Established in 1973, this park is an aquatic paradise with a stunning abundance of flora and fauna including more than 150 species of fish as well as crabs, starfish, octopus and other creatures. The giant tortoises are always a popular subject for observation. Because of the area’s protected nature, fishing and skiing are strictly forbidden, but diving and snorkeling are very popular.
Staying On Cerf Island
Cerf Island Resort has 12 private luxury villas with air conditioning, ceiling fan, satellite TV, mini-bar, DVD-CD player and coffee machines. Furniture is mostly made locally from hardwoods and rattan. The structures are made of wood and stone with wooden walls and thatched roofs. Each villa has been given the name of a local flower in Creole. They fall into three categories offering different environments:
The four Hillside Villas have outdoor bathrooms with double baths and 22-meter balconies for enjoying the gorgeous view. Each bath has a bidet, two glass hand basins and a shaving mirror. Hillside Villas have walk-in wardrobes.
The three Hideaway Villas have private locations and sun gardens. Each Hideaway Villa has a wooden deck with local wood furniture. The views vary from tropical flora to the ocean. Guests may choose either a direct view of the ocean or a larger bedroom.
Tortoise Suites are smaller accommodations but have larger balconies than the other villas. They offer views of either the local tropical forest or the ocean. There is an outdoor shower and an indoor toilet with bidet, two glass basins and a shaving mirror.
Cerf Island Resort has two excellent restaurants. 1756 Restaurant is a fine-dining establishment offering breakfast and dinner with an expansive ocean view. Zepis is a dinner restaurant offering local and international cuisine with a beach bar. The pool bar offers lunch, snacks and drinks served by the staff. In-room dining is also available serving light meals and sandwiches.
L’Habitation is a smaller hotel with a capacity of 24 guests. Ten roomy suites with terraces on the beach have air conditioning, phone, TV, ceiling fan, safe and bathroom with hair dryer. A family room and a smoking area are available. Wi-fi is offered in the public areas for an additional charge. There are diving and snorkeling facilities as well as a swimming pool, bar and game room. The beach is private, and both motorized and non-motorized water sports are available. Guests can enjoy the relaxing tropical garden. The price of the room includes diving, fishing and a day-long boat trip with a picnic. In addition to the main suites, there are two junior suites in separate bungalows. Two other rooms are used as day rooms for guests leaving in the evening. Tours can be arranged through the hotel, pedalettos and canoes are available, and there is free shuttle service to Mahe.
L’Habitation has a plantation-style restaurant offering Creole cuisine featuring foods produced locally. A booth on the beach serves fresh grilled fish at lunch.
Because of its gorgeous setting and idyllic atmosphere, Cerf Island is popular for weddings and honeymoons. Ceremonies can be performed on villa terraces, on the beach or in one of the tropical gardens. Why have a generic wedding, when you can get married in Paradise? For honeymooners wishing to make the magic last, Cerf is the place to go. Those who have been married for years and want to rekindle the flame will find that it still burns brightly on Cerf Island.
Whether they’re coming for the diving, the boating, the food or the romance, travelers can find it here. Here, nothing has changed since the old days except that the accommodations and the food have gotten even better.