Location of North Island Luxury Villas in Seychelles
From Beau Vallon Beach on Mahé, looking due North East you can see a tiny hump on the horizon, just to the right of the mountainous Silhouette Island. In the early years of habituation and exploration on Mahé, people would have done exactly that – stood on Beau Vallon Beach and looked out to sea at Ile du Nord and its sentinel, Silhouette Island.
One of the reasons North Island was bought was because of its potential to become a Noah’s Ark sanctuary where natural habitats could be rehabilitated and where critically endangered Seychelles fauna and flora could be re-introduced and given a place to regenerate.
The essence of North Island is a sustainable, ecologically sensitive utilisation of a precious natural treasure.
When North Island was abandoned in the 1970’s following the collapse of the coconut industry, many unwanted and intrusive species of flora and fauna remained behind such as coconuts, casuarina, cows, rats, pigs, Indian mynah birds, cats, barn owls and an especially invasive weed called lantana.
Together, these unwanted elements held Seychelles' North Island in a stranglehold that threatened to stifle its very life force, smothering the indigenous plants, decimating the bird life and drying up the marshland that is the lifeblood of the Island.
After the alarm bell had been sounded by prominent ecologists, The North Island Company Ltd. undertook the challenge, not only to reverse the Island’s sorry decline, but to take the long road towards the restoration of the Island to its former glory. A cornerstone of this bold initiative has been the “Noah’s Ark” concept, where tortoises and certain species of bird are gradually being re-introduced to the Island along with indigenous trees such as the takamaka, badamier and the legendary coco-de-mer palm.
The concept of an eco-sensitive lodge on North Island has been preceded by years of painstaking research and co-ordination with government conservation bodies committed to ensuring the protection of the natural environment and biodiversity. Such considerations have not only placed numerous checks and controls on the nature of the project itself, but have also ensured that maximum efforts are made in the direction of the recycling of materials and the rehabilitation of existing structures.
They have steered North Island’s architects down the road of limited development, limited noise, the preservation of historical sites, the eradication of alien fauna and flora, and the replanting of lost species of fauna, as well as the conservation of water and the installation of ecologically sensitive sewerage.
The conscientious pursuit of such policies is now reaping its just rewards and has contributed much to the extraordinary way in which the lodge’s eleven secluded Villas blend seamlessly into their surroundings and also to the eco-sensitive aura that now pervades the Island.
Felled alien trees such as the casuarinas, as well as dead takamaka trees, have been used in the building, their serpentine roots now snaking their way through roofs, their bleached limbs adorning balustrades and stairways. In one inspiring marriage of past and present, two of the original copra shacks have been turned into a library and dive centre while the quest for excellence has brought together artisans from as far a field as Malawi, South Africa and of course, Seychelles.
The on-going process of conservation is at the very heart of North Island’s philosophy and, as part of the Island’s continuing endeavours to safeguard its environment, a programme of rat eradication has been successfully completed. This will pave the way for the return of at least three indigenous species of bird, all of them on the danger list: the Black Paradise Flycatcher, the Seychelles Warbler and, most important of all, the Seychelles Magpie Robin – one of the world’s rarest birds.
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