1971 Lindblad Explorer Mombassa to Seychelles

The ultra luxury Lindblad Explorer had only recently been launched. Explorer was commissioned by Lars-Eric Lindblad, the Swedish-American pioneer of exotic expedition tours, and built in 1969 in Finland.. As they were having difficulty filling the sip initially, BOAC crew were offered it at 10% of actual price, but still a lot for us , and it came to about 3 months wages. We got to Mombassa, and from there we were on the ship.

This was before the airport was built in the Seychelles, so that was pretty remote, and not many tourists had been to Aldabra either. . There was bad weather in the Mozambique Channel and our intended visit to the Comoros was abandoned. It was a really memorable experience for us, and help fuel our taste for expedition travel

Bird Island

Bird Island is the northernmost island in the Seychelles archipelago, 100 km from Mahe. A very small coral island is known for its bird life, including sooty terns, fairy terns and common noddies, and for hawksbill and green turtles. Between 1896 and 1906, 17,000 tons of guano was removed from the island and exported to Mauritius as fertilizer. The island has been a coconut plantation, and for growing cash crops such as papaya and cotton. Since 1967 it has been privately owned, and conservation measures have taken place such as protection of bird life and hawksbill turtle nesting sites, the eradication of feral rats and rabbits and the translocation of a population of Seychelles sunbird. Bird Island is named in honour of its spectacular colony of around 700,000 pairs of sooty tern that nest on the island. The birds arrive from late March, laying eggs in May and remaining until October before leaving the island



Praslin is known for palm-fringed beaches, like Anse Georgette and Anse Lazio, both bordered by large granite boulders. The main beach, Anse Volbert-Côte D’Or, faces the offshore islet Chauve Souris. Praslin’s rugged, jungle-covered interior is home to Praslin National Park, which encompasses Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve. The Reserve consists of a well-preserved palm forest, flagship species made up of the island endemic coco de mer, as well as five other endemic palms. The coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica), a monocot tree in the Arecaceae (palm family), has the largest seeds (double nut seed) of any plant in the world.

Also unique to the park is its wildlife, including birds such as the rare Seychelles black parrot, mammals, crustaceans, snails, and reptiles.This forest, with its peculiar plant and animal species, is a relict from the time when the supercontinent of Gondwana was divided into smaller parts, leaving the Seychelles islands between the present day Madagascar and India.



Cousin Island is a small (34 ha) granite island, lying 2 km west of Praslin. It is a nature reserve protected under Seychelles law as a Special Reserve. The island was formerly a coconut plantation that had been stripped of much of its native vegetation. The endemic Seychelles warbler had become almost extinct, with a population of only 26 birds. In 1968 BirdLife International, bought the island and removed young coconut trees, thus allowing the native vegetation to regenerate and native fauna to recover.



Mahé is the largest island in the Seychelles archipelago. Its terrain is defined by white-sand beaches, and granite peaks including the rainforested Morne Seychellois. The island is also home to Victoria, Seychelles' capital, known for Creole architecture and a colourful covered market with wares like fish, fruit and clothing.


La Digue

La Digue is the third most populated island of the Seychelles, lying east of Praslin and west of Felicite Island. It has a population of 2,800 people, who mostly live in the west coast villages of La Passe (linked by ferry to Praslin and Mahé) and La Réunion. . It has an area of 10 km2, which makes it relatively easy to travel around by bike or on foot. La Digue was named after a ship in the fleet of French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, who visited the Seychelles in 1768.



Desroches Island is the main island of the Amirante Islands, part of the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. It is located 227 km southwest of Mahe. It is 5.5 km long Along its circumference of 13 km is a beach of fine sand. Conservation on the island is managed by Island Conservation Society.



Aldabra is the world's second-largest coral atoll. It is 1100 Km South West of Mahe. At 630 nkm it is closer to the African coast than Mahe, When we were there in 1971 it was part of British Indian Ocean Territories, but was later handed over to the Seychelles

In the 1960s, as a part of their 'Ocean Island Policy', and to support East of Suez commitments, the British government considered establishing a RAF base on the island and invited the United States to help fund the project in return for shared use of the facility and a settlement of 11 million dollars. Simultaneously (mid-1960s), the British Broadcasting Corporation became interested in Aldabra as a possible site to locate transmitters with which to rebroadcast the BBC Overseas Service into the African mainland. The BBC mounted a fact-finding expedition (Expedition Turtle) to assess its suitability for this purpose. The BBC were dependent upon the RAF for developing the atoll as without this their own ambitions would not have been feasible. After an international protest by scientists (known as 'the Aldabra Affair'), the military plans were abandoned and the atoll instead received full protection. In 1966, the Minister of Defence Dennis Healy of the British Government had observed that: "As I understand it, the island of Aldabra is inhabited - like Her Majesty's Opposition Front bench - by giant turtles, frigate birds and boobies."




1971 was long before Zanzibar became trendy. In 1971 it was exotic, slightly seedy, and really very atmospheric. When we returned in 2019Zanzibar had become a sort of African version of Benidorm

And from Zanzibar back to Mombassa and the flights back to London

All Holidays