A Dream for Luxury Holidaymakers
Cousine is very similar to its sister island both in terms of its name and its outward appearance. Lying 2 km south-west of Cousin, and with a size of 25 hectares, it is also a nature reserve. In addition, the island is itself private property, and is not to be visited except by a handful of luxury holidaymakers who can stay in one of the four fine, unpretentious villas on the island.
Fans of nature seeking solitude and isolation, and those who can also afford it, can find their own kind of special Seychelles holiday here. Each guest gets to plant their own new tree, as did Sir Paul McCartney when he spent his honeymoon here in the summer of 2002. Only the island's manager, who also manages the lodge, and some ornithologists live here permanently.
This island was also exploited in the past, as with many Seychelles islands. Wood, tobacco and coconut plantations, livestock farming, and poaching all took their toll. In fact, by 1970, this had led to the disappearance of the sooty tern, and the Seychelles brush warbler wasn't far behind. In 1992, a committed South African decided to buy the island, which was soon thereafter placed under state protection, and extensive restoration initiatives were introduced, although not as advanced as those on Cousin.
Cousine is flat, densely-vegetated, and completely surrounded by a coral reef. On its north-east side there is a beautiful fine beach where you can spend a few hours in total isolation. Across the island, small paths, lined with plants, lead through the vegetation. Many of these plants had been displaced at the time of the lodge's construction, and they continue to struggle against the consequences of colonisation.
Some specimens of the very rare white-rumped shama could make their home once more on the island, along with a few other endemic bird species. Along with Cousin and Frégate, Cousine belongs to the habitat of the endemic Seychelles fody, a small songbird. The Seychelles magpie robin, of which there are only an estimated 100 specimens worldwide, also lives here, twenty-five of them on Cousine. From September to January, watch numerous sea turtles come to the beach here to nest. On average, 14,000 young animals hatch every year on this island and start their lives in the Indian Ocean. Because the underwater world surrounding the island is particularly rich in species, this is a great spot to go snorkelling, especially from September to January. For hotel guests, there are boat and helicopter transfers to the island. The flight from Praslin takes about twenty minutes.