Cousine is part of the Inner Island Group of the Seychelles Islands. It is only 0.257 square kilometres in area and is one of the most private places on Earth. The island is a private nature reserve for birds and turtles, and there are a few facilities where humans can share this secluded paradise with the protected animals. Cousine is located six kilometres west of Praslin, which is the second largest island in the Seychelles.
How to get there?
Cousine can be reached by boat or by helicopter, but helicopter is the preferred mode of transportation because it disturbs the protected ecosystem less. Flights can be taken from any heli-stop in the Seychelles. Because of space restrictions on the helicopters, it is recommended that passengers carry only 20 kilograms of soft luggage per person. There are boat transfers from Praslin as well as Mahe, which is the largest island in the country.
Where to Stay?
One of the reasons Cousine is considered a secluded island is because only 10 guests may be accommodated on the island at any one time, and it is often the case that visitors have the island to themselves. There are only four individual French Colonial style villas on the island that are just 30 metres from the ocean. There are also approximately 16 staff persons regularly on the island.
The island is a popular place for weddings and honeymoons. Weddings can be as large or as small as the couple wants and the seclusion creates the perfect atmosphere for being alone together. Wedding guests can arrive from other islands and leave when the party is over, while the happy couple stays on.
The facilities offered are babysitting, business services, and Internet access including wireless connection, swimming pool, barbecue grill, boutique and excellent facilities for disabled guests. The large bedrooms open on to the beach and the bathroom has a Jacuzzi bath and twin vanity and showers.
Each villa has a lounge and dining area and includes cable TV, iPod docking, minibar, kitchen accessories, outdoor shower, DVD player, air conditioning, IDD telephone and a private veranda.
The Pavilion has an al fresco dining area as well as a lounge, library and Internet access. There is a bar alongside the Pavilion that has spectacular views of the ocean and nearby islands. The two chefs create delicious items from the menu from fresh, island-grown produce and the freshest seafood. There is also an indoor dining area, and guests can dine privately on the beach. The restaurant regularly offers bonfire barbecues on the beach under the breath taking night sky.
Cousine has been the focus of conservation since 1992. The native birds had almost no predators 250 years ago and spent a lot of time walking on the ground. Sometimes their eggs were eaten by lizards, but not often. The birds were bold and inexperienced with land predators, so when the first settlers brought dogs, cats, rats and pigs the birds were soon reduced to endangered status. These settlers also brought alien plants for food production and Cousine was quickly losing its individuality.
Conservation efforts started by making a place for the protection of nesting sea turtles and the populations of common land birds. The flora has also been replanted to remove the alien plant species that were brought to the island and replant native species. Over 2000 indigenous trees have been planted since 1995. Hawksbill turtles also nest on Cousine. A few Aldabra Giant Tortoises live there having been transplanted for their protection.
The conservation work on Cousine since 1992 has had a great impact on conservation work in other places in the world. It has taught other island communities how to sustainably manage an island ecosystem.
Visitors Involvement In Conservation
Cousine is the only island in the region where the guest accommodation fits into the conservation based management of the island. Considered one of the most ecologically significant private islands in the world by international conservation groups, the four exclusive villas are eco-friendly leaving minimal human impact on the island.
The villas have a Five Green Star rating. They are rated on their energy use, water sustainability, waste disposal and recycling and eco-activity including the conservation programmes and protection of the environment as well as the educational programmes for the guests and staff.
The island’s philosophy is that guests can also participate in the conservation work by planting a tree, monitoring seriously endangered marine turtles and birds or simply enjoying the spa. Just by visiting the island, guests are supporting the conversation work.
The spa and wellness centre is located in an old, renovated beach house and features the Ligne St. Barth all natural skincare products. The treatments include:
• Massage with coconut oil, fresh fruits and fine sea sand for body peeling
• Body mask with clay and fresh fruits
• Milk bath and Indian head massage
• Several kinds of massages for the full body or just for hands, face and legs
• Facials with fresh fruit
Activities in the Area
There are many activities available for those who want a break from lying on the beach. The gym is open for a workout and snorkelling trips can be arranged to view the amazing underwater sights including thousands of colourful reef fish and larger marine animals.
For the more dedicated and adventurous, guests can take scuba diving excursions or go deep sea fishing and participate in several water sports. Shore fishing is also available. Excursions can be arranged for guests to visit other islands. Guided walks around the island where visitors see the birds, giant tortoises and lizards in their natural habitat and workshops to educate and enlighten guests are offered.
All of the funds that are generated by the luxury accommodation, restaurant, spa and water activities are used to secure the environmental future of the island. The tourism development has always been focused on harmony between visitors enjoying the secluded paradise and the native plants and animals having a protected natural habitat. The world has recognized the success of this mission on Cousine, and the management of the island is determined to ensure the long-term sustainability of conservation.