Where is North Island located?
Only a mile long by half a mile across, ‘North’ as Africa’s most exclusive private island is known, lies 30km from the main island of Mahé, Seychelles - within the inner granitic island group and around 6 km north of Silhouette Island in the azure Indian Ocean.
To get here you will be transferred by helicopter from Mahé, Seychelles main island and the journey will take approximately fifteen minutes. Most guests do arrive by private helicopter, but for those who do not wish to fly, it is possible to transfer by boat via Silhouette.
What sort of accommodation is available at North Island?
Extremely secluded with only 11 spacious guest villas, North Island is renowned for its laid-back barefoot luxury with service and attention to detail bar none.
The two designers spent two years getting to know and understand the ‘soul’ of the land, to find the perfect positions for each fantastical villa – using the upturned outstretched arms of takamaka tree roots to support the locally thatched roofs. Using the local granite, driftwood, and natural sea blue textiles, each one blends into the surrounding landscape to give a feeling of being at one with nature. The main buildings have been refashioned from the old plantation structures, with a library, dive centre, boutique and the welcoming thatched bar, lounge, and restaurant.
Instead of overly attentive butlers making one feel uncomfortable, your own villa attendant takes careful note of one’s interests and preferences, and quietly suggests personalised activities to suit – from hiking with the conservationist, yoga, picnics on a private beach, or diving in Silhouette marine park to a relaxing private film screening or perhaps a day out fishing. With bikes and your own electric buggy, you are free to choose what and when!
Ten Two Bed Villas:
Strung like a glowing necklace lit up at night, the 11 fabulous villas are generously interspersed beside the soft sand of East Beach –blending into the background. The glassed-in bedrooms, spacious bathroom, and glorious open air shower link effortlessly through to the open lounge area and whirlpooled deck.
Also known as Presidential Villas, they each measure 450 square metres and can accommodate up to four guests or five - if smaller children. Each has a large master bedroom with a writing area, dressing room and a huge en-suite bathroom with fitted marble bath, and an indoor and an outdoor shower.
A separate, large second room is furnished with woven coffee tables and deep, cosy sofa beds covered in linen and chenille. It can be used as study, lounge, theatre or - at an additional cost - to sleep children aged 19 or under. At night it can be transformed into a complete private cinema with projector, screen and surround sound.
Between the two rooms is an open-sided lounge and dining area which leads onto the outdoor deck, and to the back of this is the kitchenette, which is used by your butler to help prepare drinks and food.
Villa 11 (Villa North Island):
The largest villa (Villa North Island) is reserved for couples only and is tucked away in the forest but on a rock overlooking the ocean and is where George and Amal Clooney spent their honeymoon. With 750 square metres, the entrance to the bedroom suite is via a palm-framed bridge made from two long casuarina trunks. Down the staircase is a sunken deck with outdoor shower and surrounded by a large granite boulder!
The South African chef creates amazing culinary delights as if by magic and each menu is individually designed with interesting combinations and fusions - and from sushi rice coconut and lime risotto to lemongrass and pineapple popsicles – their inventiveness is always to surprise.
What activities are available at North Island?
For the very active to those wanting to chill by the pool there is a long list of activities to choose from to suit all ages. From exploring the forest trails by foot, bicycle, or private buggy on land, to snorkelling, diving, kayaking, fishing expeditions and romantic sunset boat cruises in the water.
- Diving: With clear seas, a variety of fish and experienced dive masters, North Island’s luxurious private villas make a superb base for keen or even beginner divers. Guided scuba dives operate from the well-equipped Dive and Activity Centre.
- Snorkelling: Either around the island or further afield – snorkel in the tranquil, clear waters, stunning reefs in some of the most diverse marine environments to be found.
- Kayaking: Very popular with all ages, you can combine it with a picnic lunch on a deserted beach for the Robinson Crusoe vibe.
- Fishing: Offering some of the best fishing in the world, North Island fishing guides know the best places to cast your line depending on the variables of time of day and sea conditions, with a chance to spot dolphins along the way.
Boat cruises: Evening sunset cruises are a great way to explore – and as the sun glows on the horizon, drop anchor and enjoy the peace with a delicious bubbling glass to toast the day’s end. You can also request to explore the islands like La Digue La, Praslin and Mahé – and these can be specially arranged.
- Hiking: Self-guided walking or get one of the expert conservationists to show you what they are achieving to rehabilitate the land.
- The Library: there is a select collection of artefacts and books on natural history for guests to peruse.
- Presentations: Talks and slide shows on the marine life, history and environment of the island are organised for interested guests on alternate days.
- Birdwatching: There are around one fifth of the very endangered Seychelles white-eye on North Island which were reintroduced on the island in 2007, out of the world population is only about 300!
- The spa and gym are situated on a promontory with beautiful views across the ocean. The therapists specialise in designing individual treatments for guests' specific needs derived from island ingredients. Treatments can also be carried out in your own villa, allowing you to truly relax in your private space.
Does North Island cater for families with young children?
Families and children are welcomed with open arms here. All the villas have a second bedroom which can fit up to three children, and everything is tailored to suit all ages and configurations. The staff are super friendly and are delighted to be able to take care of and entertain the young, even babysitting during dinner. The lovely team who look after the environment can spend time with the family teaching them about the wildlife and most activities even snorkelling and diving for over 10-year-olds, can be organised to suit each person.
When is the best time to visit North Island?
The temperature in the Seychelles is around 30°C (86°F) all year round, with a mixture of sunshine and tropical showers, and sea breezes which temper the humidity.
The best time to visit North Island is between April and May, or October and November, as these are the calmer periods between the two trade winds which blow from different points each year. The northwest trade wind blows from November to March bringing wetter weather, and the southeast wind from May to September. July and August are the driest months, but they also have rougher seas. Some favourite months are April and October because they have calm winds, perfect weather for snorkelling and not too much rain.
However, due to its position just seven degrees south of the Equator and away from large land masses in the Indian Ocean, it is very hard to predict the weather or rely on online forecasts.
How does North Island protect and nurture the local environment?
North Island is conservation-oriented and ethically driven, and their main philosophy is to honour the environment in which they live and work above all else, endeavouring to turn back the ecological clock.
Before 1970, North Island was a copra plantation, and its natural habitat impacted by many alien species. The present owners are striving to restore it back to its former glory by clearing these invasive aliens and re introducing the Seychellois flora and fauna.
- Thousands of indigenous plant and tree seedlings are grown on the island nursery and then transplanted throughout the island.
- The first phase of the rehabilitation was to successfully eradicate alien rodents and it now is one of the largest islands in the Seychelles ever to have been entirely de-ratted. Very strict measures ensure they never return to threaten ground-nesting birds. Goats, cats, and cattle have also been removed.
- You can now see species such as Seychelles Blue Pigeons and breeding populations of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and White-tailed Tropicbirds that have returned of their own accord.
- Ever increasing Hawksbill and Green Turtle numbers nest on North Island beaches once more.