Aride covers an area of about 68 hectares and is found to the north of Praslin. The island has an interesting history, having changed owners many times and acted as a provider of sea bird meat and eggs to the main islands of the Seychelles. The most exploited birds were the sooty terns as well as the Brown Noddy. The Wedged tailed Shearwaters and the Frigate birds were also killed for their meat.
The island was also for many years a plantation producing tropical fruits such as melons, pineaples, bananas as well as maize and beans. When copra became an important source of income for the Seychelles, many coconut trees were planted on Aride.
Aride also acted as a unofficial home for the leper colony from 1817 to 1829. By 1817, some people suffering from leperosy had apparently started to congregate on Curieuse island. In October that year the island was conceded to Mr. Sérèies, who may not have been too pleased with this situation. There is a record that the sick were sent as a group to Aride island, since it most likely did not have an owner who could protest at that time. This lasted until 1829 when Curieuse was officially declared a leper asylum.
It was Mr. Christopher Cadbury, who set the island on the road it now follows. In January 1973 he bought the island and then donated it to the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves based in Britain of which he was a founder. The island is now managed by the Island Conservation of Seychelles and is now a haven for all sorts of birds.
It hosts more breeding species of sea birds than any island of the Seychelles, over a million in fact. It contains the world’s largest colonies of Lesser Noddy and Tropical Shearwater as well as the world’s only hilltop colony of Sooty Terns. Five endemic Seychelles birds can also be found on Aride: the Seychelles Magpie Robin, the Seychelles Fody, the Seychelles Blue Pigeon, the Seychelles Warbler and the Seychelles Sunbird.
The Green and Hawksbill turtle also regularly nest on the island.
Aride is also home to the endemic Wrights Gardenia and many interesting plants that are no longer so easily seen in Seychelles.
Aride island is 45 minutes away from Praslin by boat and can only be accessed at certain times of the year when the sea conditions are not so rough. It is a must for bird and nature lovers.
Visitors must visit Aride in the morning and have a choice of 2 guided tours. The short one while the long one last over 2.5 hours.
The long trip takes visitors around the plateau and up the hill through a path of rocks and bushes to the top of the cliff from which one can enjoy the view of the birds flying over the sea. One needs to be physically fit to walk up as the path is not smooth. The duration of this walk is around 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The short guided tour only takes place around the flat area of the island so it can be done by almost everyone. It lasts for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
A trip to Aride can be combined with a visit to Curieuse for a barbecue in the afternoon or why not some diving.