by Michelle Russell

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Whenever I read this quote from Saint Augustine of Hippo (born 354 AD), I know how true it is, and makes me appreciate how travel is evolving. Travel makes you richer: richer in knowledge, in experience and in appreciation for the extraordinary planet we live on.

As a child, I spent my six weeks’ school holidays in Wisconsin. Bitterly disappointed it was thousands of miles from California or Florida and the Mecca for children (and many adults) that is Disney, I watched on jealously as my school friends traded stories of princesses and heroes. Our pleas went unheard, and my brother and I were told ‘To appreciate America for what it is’. To experience the vast diversity beyond the plastic Mickey Mouse ears we craved, to immerse ourselves in the authentic character that the mid-west offered, and not to become obsessed with manufactured experiences. As I reached mid-teens, I frequently recited the words ‘to appreciate America for what it is’ and felt sorry for friends who would never go to a tailgate party or a baseball game.

Experiences are what make and shape us as individuals, and now there is a brand-new concept that enables those who seek new adventures, who want to explore and involve themselves in the remote corners of our globe – welcome to the awe-inspiring concept of Blue Safari Seychelles – an immersive experience that will enrich minds and create lifetime memories.

Blue Safari Seychelles, is a journey like no other, enabling the most remote and pristine outer atolls of the Seychelles to be explored…

Discover Alphonse, Cosmoledo, Astove, Poivre and the Amirantes Islands in true magnificence, by air, land and ocean. Formed from ancient volcanos from the ocean floor, these untouched islands are havens for wildlife. Be led by a team of expert rangers, marine biologists, dive masters, fly-fishing guides, captains, conservationists and ecologists. Blue Safari Seychelles, is an exceptional concept that cannot be encountered anywhere else in the world.

Blue Safari Seychelles has been thoughtfully designed with children of all ages in mind. The two new four-bedroom villas on Alphonse Island are designed for families and they have introduced a new Alphonse Tribe package which lets children get involved in this spectacular island paradise and learn about the aquatic environment while snorkelling or roaming the island looking for giant tortoises (there are plenty to find!). Older children can take a PADI certified Bubble Maker Dive Course, and while doing so they can marvel at the assortment of shoals and shoals of tropical fish in all their technicolour glory. Environmentalists take children of all ages on island walks, where Alphonse Tribe members can monitor turtle tracks and discover the reefs and their eco-systems. With all this on offer, they will hardly notice WiFi scarcely exists, enabling connectivity to electronic devices to be replaced with interconnectivity to others and family members!

Blue Safari is a thalassophile’s dream come true. Divers can follow in the footsteps of the famed marine biologist Jacques Cousteau whose acclaimed underwater documentary, ‘The Silent World’ along the edge of the ‘Wall’ was filmed on the atoll of Astove in 1956. ‘The Wall’ is breathtakingly beautiful and is often described as looking down into the Grand Canyon. A dramatic vertical drop, progressing from ankle deep water to over 1,000 meters in a very short distance, the ‘Wall’ is known as one of the best dive sights on this planet.

“Marvel at the expansive flats as you fly over the sparkling Indian Ocean. Feel the warm breeze on your face as you sail between the atolls and the Alphonse Group of Islands.”

The plethora of activities are not only endless but are also sustainable, with little or no impact on the environment itself. This is wholly in keeping with Blue Safari Seychelles’ philosophy and ethos to protect and conserve the ecosystems of these captivating islands and atolls, while revolutionising experiential travel. With regular activities such as tree planting, beach clean-ups as well as educational and informative talks given by the dedicated Blue Safari Seychelles’ marine biologists, conservationists and environmentalists, you can see why they are so passionate and go to great lengths to teach guests to understand the importance of preserving these pristine islands and atolls.

Travelling between them is an experience in itself. Marvel at the expansive flats as you fly over the sparkling Indian Ocean. Feel the warm breeze on your face as you sail between the atolls and the Alphonse Group of Islands.

The islands and atolls are as individual as are the experiences which can be found on each one. The islands all have distinctive places to stay, for example, new this year, eight reclaimed shipping containers, all erected on wooden plinths form the Cosmoledo Eco Camp. Unrecognisable from their former use, they are beautifully decorated and have sensational views, yet no footprint on the island as they can be moved easily. The Astove Coral Lodge has six bedrooms, is comfortable and relaxing and another great place for families. Back on Alphonse Island, there are 22 Beach Bungalows and its five Beach Suites all have plunge pools as well as the two new four-bedroomed villas. There is no cookie-cutter feeling here, a refreshing change as each island keeps a sense of place and originality. It is luxurious, but not in the gold taps and velvet curtains type of opulence. Its luxury lies in the privilege, the opportunity to traverse the pristine islands and atolls with a group of dedicated and passionate marine biologists, environmentalists and crew, who cannot do enough to feed your mind and make your soul soar.

At Blue Safari Seychelles you are part of your own Blue Planet documentary. Swimming with sailfish, coming across manta rays in abundance and identifying shoals of fish is nothing short of phenomenal – this is what memories are made of.

Being taught from an early age to ‘appreciate a country for what it is’ makes you see it in a different light. I no longer crave the ordinary; I long for the extraordinary. It is the raw and un-altered beauty that Blue Safari exposes, which enriches the mind, body and soul. Created by nature, the itinerary and experiences encountered are entirely designed by you.

“Travel is the only thing that you buy that makes you richer.” Whoever said that got it right, what a luxury.  ■

“The plethora of activities are not only endless but are also sustainable.”