Le Bougainville, Zanzibar & Treasures of Indian Ocean ex Zanzibar to Mahe

India & Indian Ocean

Details

12 Night cruise departing from Zanzibar to Mahe onboard Le Bougainville.

12 Night cruise departing from Zanzibar to Mahe onboard Le Bougainville.

Embark with PONANT for a 13-day expedition cruise in the Indian Ocean. A chance to discover stunning natural environments, exceptional wildlife, and UNESCO World Heritage sites loaded with history.

From Zanzibar, a city with superb UNESCO-listed buildings, blending African, Arab, Indian and European influences over more than a millennium, you will sail to Pemba Island, its clove plantations and its fantastic scuba diving sites.

Your next ports of call will be an opportunity to discover the ruins of the 13th-century Swahili trading post of Kilwa Kisiwani, before heading to Mayotte. This small French archipelago protected by a double barrier reef is the refuge of an incredibly rich fauna: dolphins, rays, giant turtles, and the region’s last dugongs can be observed here.

After calling at the Glorioso Islands in the Scattered Islands, your ship will set a course for Aldabra Atoll, a largely untouched natural sanctuary listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.

Further on, the small islands of Assumption, Astove and Alphonse will be an opportunity to snorkel and dive among brightly-coloured sea life.

Before disembarking in Victoria on the island of Mahé, a veritable picture-postcard awaits you in La Digue: palm trees, granite rocks, white sand and crystal-clear waters.

The encounters with the wildlife described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.

Highlights of this cruise:

Zanzibar
Once a mythical post along the legendary Indian Ocean trade route, today a certain whiff of adventure still pervades in Zanzibar. Located off the coast of Tanzania, this place often referred to as “spice island” is brimming with natural treasures, such as Jozani Forest, the last remains of the huge primeval forest that once covered the island, home to a unique ecosystem. This port of call will also be the moment to discover ”Stone Town”, the historical centre of Zanzibar, a UNESCO World Heritage site. A veritable labyrinth of narrow streets lined with houses made from coral stone, it is home to sumptuous buildings in a multitude of architectural styles, the result of the blending of African, European and Indian cultures.

Glorieuses, Scattered Islands
The Scattered Islands are like minuscule confetti sprinkled around Madagascar and form an archipelago of unrivalled beauty. Their geographical isolation, and their very limited human settlement make them a true geological sanctuary, classed as a nature reserve since 1975. Regularly used as the “zero point” in scientific studies, they offer their rare visitors almost pristine vegetation composed mainly of mangrove, as well as long beaches of shimmering sand stretching out behind turquoise lagoons, and coral reefs that are home to the world’s highest concentration of sea turtles.

Assumption Island
Assumption Island is part of the Aldabra group (Outer Islands), situated in the south-west of the Seychelles. Discovered in the mid-18th century by the French captain Nicolas Morphey, this bean-shaped island covered in dunes and shrubs is relatively flat. A handful of people live there, in a small village in the island’s west. The island’s beaches are a major egg-laying and breeding site for sea turtles. The surrounding waters are ideal for scuba diving. This is where Jacques-Yves Cousteau filmed some of the scenes for his famous documentary film “The Silent World”, released in 1956.

Aldabra Atoll
Located in the very heart of this faraway archipelago, the Aldabra Atoll is considered to be one of the last virtually untouched sanctuaries on earth, where a large population of sea turtles has found refuge. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this vast tract of land is formed by 4 small coral reef islands separated by narrow passes and containing an emerald-water lagoon lined with mangrove and fine-sand beaches. As your ship slowly nears the clear, reflective waters along its shoreline, do not miss your chance to discover this natural wonder, which is considered to be the largest atoll in the world and once fired the imagination of many an explorer.

Astove Island
Closer to Madagascar than to Victoria, Astove is the southernmost island in the Seychelles. It is part of the Aldabra group, in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. Now uninhabited, this coral island covered in coconut trees was once home to the employees that worked on the coconut plantations. Renowned for the richness of its seabeds, Astove Atoll is now a top destination for fishing enthusiasts. It also attracts experienced divers, who visit the atoll to explore the “Astove Wall”, where the sea floor drops to a depth of about 40 metres. The wall is covered in coral and many fish and green sea turtles can be found there.

Alphonse Island
Alphonse Island is located off the Seychelles archipelago. Discovered in 1730 by the Knight Alphonse de Pontevez, this island, specialised in coconut processing in the past, is now a veritable natural reserve, home to different species of marine mammals, sea turtles and many birds. Alphonse Island is also renowned for its rich underwater life and coral, among the best preserved in the Indian Ocean. A marvellous spectacle that can be admired with just a mask!

La Digue Island
La Digue Island is a veritable concentration of all the beauty of the Seychelles. Located 6 km south-east of Praslin, this small piece of land that looks like paradise is the third-largest island in the Seychelles, despite its modest size (5 km by 3km)! Turquoise waters just asking you to swim in them, lush vegetation sheltering giant tortoises, beaches of fine sand fringed with coconut trees and surrounded with those emblematic large granite rocks with their pink highlights like at the famous Anse Source d’Argent: the perfect picture postcard… Authentic and preserved, the island follows a peaceful rhythm, with the only means of transport along its little roads being bikes or traditional oxcarts.

Victoria, Mahé
Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.

Victoria, Mahé
Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.

Pricing (per person)

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