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THE SEYCHELLES, MAURITIUS & RÉUNION

An Earthly Paradise

Seychelles Birding Tours: our Seychelles, Mauritius and Réunion bird watching holiday explores a series of far-flung Indian Ocean Islands which offer some very enjoyable bird watching. Our Seychelles birding tour, which includes Mauritius and Réunion, provides comprehensive coverage of the islands’ endemic birds and also features fantastic seabirds and some very beautiful island scenery.

Saturday 8th September — Wednesday 19th September 2018
(12 days)


Leader: Mark Van Beirs

Group Size Limit: 9

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and comfortable or very comfortable accommodations

The colourful Seychelles Blue Pigeon is one of the most colourful and widespread Seychelles endemics (Mark Van Beirs)

The colourful Seychelles Blue Pigeon is one of the most colourful and widespread Seychelles endemics (Mark Van Beirs)

At one time or another most of us experience the desire to get away from the stresses of modern life and escape to some idyllic tropical island where white sandy beaches are fringed by coconut palms, their fronds swaying gently in the breeze, where warm blue waters lap softly on the shoreline and nearby coral reefs teem with brilliantly coloured fish. To complete the scene (for the birdwatcher at least), there should be tropicbirds floating gently overhead and Common White (or Fairy) Terns, surely the most delicately beautiful of all the seabirds, tame enough to nest on a branch not far above one’s head!

This picture of paradise is not a fantasy but reality amongst the string of islands that dot the Indian Ocean to the east of the African continent. With good to excellent accommodations, some superb food and mostly easy birding, this tour counts as a real ‘holiday’. We will not only have enough time to look for all 30 of the endemic landbirds and the seabirds of the islands we visit, but will also have a bit of time left over to swim, snorkel or soak up the atmosphere of these pearls of the Indian Ocean. As a consequence, this is also a trip a non-birding partner would enjoy. The tour will visit no fewer than 8 of these delightful isles, each one with its own character and each one completely different from the others. This ’earthly paradise’ is a notoriously expensive part of the world for a holiday, but most visitors consider it worth every penny.

We begin our tour in the Seychelles, a group of ancient granitic islands with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Here we will visit the islands of Mahé, Praslin, Cousin, La Digue and Aride, each with their own special birds. These delightful islands hold some of the world’s rarest birds, including Seychelles Scops Owl, Seychelles Magpie-Robin, Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, Seychelles Warbler and Seychelles White-eye, while additional Seychelles or Mascarene endemics include Seychelles Kestrel, Seychelles Blue Pigeon, Seychelles Black Parrot, Seychelles Swiftlet, Seychelles Bulbul, Seychelles Sunbird and Seychelles Fody. As a bonus, we will visit the teeming seabird colonies that provide an unforgettable spectacle. Here we will see thousands of Sooty Terns and Brown and Lesser Noddies at their colonies, piratical frigatebirds hanging in the deep blue sky, impossibly beautiful Common White Terns that are utterly fearless of man and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters gliding over crystal clear waters.

Moving on to Mauritius, a verdant volcanic island which is home to some more of the world’s rarest birds, we will explore the remaining areas of tropical forest in search of Mauritius Kestrel, Pink Pigeon, Echo (or Mauritius) Parakeet, Mauritius Cuckoo-Shrike, Mauritius Bulbul, Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher, Mauritius Grey White-eye, Mauritius Olive White-eye and Mauritius Fody. We will also make a boat trip to uninhabited Round Island where breeding Red-tailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds circle and Trinidade Petrels swoop overhead in dashing aerial displays.

The remote island of Rodrigues is rarely visited by birdwatchers, despite having two endemic landbirds (Rodrigues Warbler and Rodrigues Fody), so our visit here is something out of the ordinary.

We will finish our journey with an exploration of the island of Réunion, which lacks sandy beaches but makes up for this by the grandeur of the scenery. Dramatic volcanic mountains with forest-clad slopes rise steeply from the surrounding waters whilst inland are vast craters that tell the story of the island’s turbulent geological past more eloquently than any words. Barau’s and Mascarene (or Réunion) Petrels breed among the cloud-wreathed peaks and endemic landbirds include Réunion Harrier, Réunion Cuckoo-Shrike, Réunion Bulbul, Réunion Stonechat and Réunion Grey White-eye.

Birdquest has operated tours to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Réunion since 1987.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels are of good or very good standard throughout. Road transport is by small coach or minibus and roads are good.

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there are two moderate grade walks in Mauritius and Réunion.

Climate: It will be generally hot and sunny, although overcast weather can occur at times. At higher altitudes on Mauritius and Réunion the temperature ranges from cool to warm. There is likely to be some rain and it will be fairly humid.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are good.

Can be taken together with: THE COMOROS

Tour Price: £5890, €6480, $7650 Mahé/Réunion. Single Room Supplement: £495, €545, $643. Deposit: £750, €900, $980.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Also includes these flights: Mahé (Seychelles)-Praslin-Mahé, Mahé (Seychelles)-Mauritius, Mauritius-Rodrigues-Mauritius, Mauritius-Réunion.

Base prices for this tour are in Euros. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = €1.100 and €1 = $1.180.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

The Seychelles Kestrel is the smallest member of the genus Falco and feeds mainly on geckos (Mark Van Beirs)

The Seychelles Kestrel is the smallest member of the genus Falco and feeds mainly on geckos (Mark Van Beirs)

The perky Reunion Stonechat is endemic to Réunion and is widespread in the highlands (Pete Morris)

The perky Reunion Stonechat is endemic to Réunion and is widespread in the highlands (Pete Morris)

Rodrigues boasts two endemic birds and both are doing well again after a major decline in the 20th century. This is a male Rodrigues Fody (Mark Van Beirs)

Rodrigues boasts two endemic birds and both are doing well again after a major decline in the 20th century. This is a male Rodrigues Fody (Mark Van Beirs)

The population of the rare Seychelles Magpie Robin has now increased to over 200 birds from a low of just 15 in the 1960s (Mark Van Beirs)

The population of the rare Seychelles Magpie Robin has now increased to over 200 birds from a low of just 15 in the 1960s (Mark Van Beirs)

The unique Pink Pigeon is endemic to Mauritius and was saved from extinction by a major captive breeding program (Mark Van Beirs)

The unique Pink Pigeon is endemic to Mauritius and was saved from extinction by a major captive breeding program (Mark Van Beirs)

Lesser Noddies nest in their thousands on the famous seabird islands of Cousin and Aride in the Seychelles (Mark Van Beirs)

Lesser Noddies nest in their thousands on the famous seabird islands of Cousin and Aride in the Seychelles (Mark Van Beirs)

Good numbers of Tropical Shearwaters breed on the island of Aride in the Seychelles, but they are usually only active at night (Mark Van Beirs)

Good numbers of Tropical Shearwaters breed on the island of Aride in the Seychelles, but they are usually only active at night (Mark Van Beirs)

Elegant White-tailed Tropicbirds are a common and much appreciated sight all over the Seychelles (Mark Van Beirs)

Elegant White-tailed Tropicbirds are a common and much appreciated sight all over the Seychelles (Mark Van Beirs)

Seychelles Flying Foxes are a common sight on the island of Mahe (Mark Van Beirs)

Seychelles Flying Foxes are a common sight on the island of Mahe (Mark Van Beirs)

The scenery of La Digue island in the Seychelles is out of this world (Mark Van Beirs)

The scenery of La Digue island in the Seychelles is out of this world (Mark Van Beirs)

33 photos View Gallery Photos From THE SEYCHELLES, MAURITIUS & RÉUNION
The lovely Mauritius Kestrel went almost extinct in the 1970s, was saved from the brink and is now doing well again (Mark Van Beirs)

The lovely Mauritius Kestrel went almost extinct in the 1970s, was saved from the brink and is now doing well again (Mark Van Beirs)

The Echo (or Mauritius) Parakeet is a close relative of the well-known Rose-ringed Parakeet and is restricted to the island of Mauritius (Mark Van Beirs)

The Echo (or Mauritius) Parakeet is a close relative of the well-known Rose-ringed Parakeet and is restricted to the island of Mauritius (Mark Van Beirs)

The exquisite Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher is restricted to La Digue and nearby Denis island (Mark Van Beirs)

The exquisite Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher is restricted to La Digue and nearby Denis island (Mark Van Beirs)

The adorable Mascarene Flycatcher is endemic to Mauritius and Réunion. This is a male of the Réunion population (Mark Van Beirs)

The adorable Mascarene Flycatcher is endemic to Mauritius and Réunion. This is a male of the Réunion population (Mark Van Beirs)

The Seychelles Scops Owl only lives in the rainy highlands of Mahé and feeds mainly on insects (Rainer Ertel)

The Seychelles Scops Owl only lives in the rainy highlands of Mahé and feeds mainly on insects (Rainer Ertel)

The modestly-clad Seychelles Black Parrot is restricted to the island of Praslin and loves carambola fruit (Mark Van Beirs)

The modestly-clad Seychelles Black Parrot is restricted to the island of Praslin and loves carambola fruit (Mark Van Beirs)

The endemic Seychelles Bulbul betrays its presence by its loud calls (Mark Van Beirs)

The endemic Seychelles Bulbul betrays its presence by its loud calls (Mark Van Beirs)

The endemic, subtly-plumaged Seychelles Fody is now restricted to a handful of islets in the central Seychelles (Mark Van Beirs)

The endemic, subtly-plumaged Seychelles Fody is now restricted to a handful of islets in the central Seychelles (Mark Van Beirs)

The unobtrusive Seychelles Warbler thrives on seabird islands (Mark Van Beirs)

The unobtrusive Seychelles Warbler thrives on seabird islands (Mark Van Beirs)

We should have little trouble finding the endemic Rodrigues Warbler (Mark Van Beirs)

We should have little trouble finding the endemic Rodrigues Warbler (Mark Van Beirs)

The Barau's Petrels on Mauritius are perhaps the most exciting of the seabirds on offer on this tour (Pete Morris)

The Barau's Petrels on Mauritius are perhaps the most exciting of the seabirds on offer on this tour (Pete Morris)

The island of Aride hosts a large roost of Great Frigatebirds (Mark Van Beirs)

The island of Aride hosts a large roost of Great Frigatebirds (Mark Van Beirs)

Sooty Terns breed in the monsoon season, so only a handful of birds will be present on our visit (Mark Van Beirs)

Sooty Terns breed in the monsoon season, so only a handful of birds will be present on our visit (Mark Van Beirs)

The magnificent White Tern is probably the most endearing seabird of our planet (Mark Van Beirs)

The magnificent White Tern is probably the most endearing seabird of our planet (Mark Van Beirs)

Wedge-tailed Shearwaters often nest in open situations on Cousin and Aride (Mark Van Beirs)

Wedge-tailed Shearwaters often nest in open situations on Cousin and Aride (Mark Van Beirs)

The Brilliant Blue is widespread across the islands of the Indian Ocean (Mark Van Beirs)

The Brilliant Blue is widespread across the islands of the Indian Ocean (Mark Van Beirs)

The colourful Green Day Gecko is one of the main food items of the Mauritius Kestrel (Mark Van Beirs)

The colourful Green Day Gecko is one of the main food items of the Mauritius Kestrel (Mark Van Beirs)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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