Wildlife in the Indian Ocean: Close encounters

Constance Lémuria
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Whether it’s walking with white lions in Mauritius or meeting lemurs in Madagascar you’ll never forget the thrill of your first Indian Ocean wildlife encounter.

The unique lemurs of Madagascar

Fall in love with the Madagascan Lemurs

The rich wildlife of the Indian Ocean offers the unique experience to immerse yourself in a rich new environment full of strange and wonderful creatures.

Meet the giant tortoises of the Seychelles

Take the short boat ride from Praslin to the bio-reserve of Curieuse Island and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to before Seychelles was discovered.

Your wildlife experience begins when you are greeted at the dock by hundreds of giant hump-head parrotfish that live in the water around the island but it is when you come ashore that your adventure truly begins.

Walking beside the 500 or so peaceful giant Aldabra tortoises who make their home on the island is a rare, awe-inspiring experience. Visit the Ranger’s Station and you may even get the chance to help feed these majestic, leisurely creatures. Take the short walk along a gangplank through the mangrove swamp and you’ll discover a beautiful beach where hawksbill turtles come to nest.

Get up close and personal with lions in Mauritius

Nothing can prepare you for the thrill and reverence you’ll feel as you walk alongside and then meet and pet the white lions at Mauritius’ Casela Park. Although not native to the island, the white lions are allowed to roam free through 12 acres of rolling Mauritian parkland. Visitors can choose to drive through the enclosure or (for those 15 years and older) walk with park rangers. But if you long to really get close to these beautiful creatures there’s a tour (for those over 15) that involves meeting and even stroking some of the younger lions.

The Giant Aldabra Tortoise of the Seychelles

The Giant Aldabra Tortoise of the Seychelles

If, however, you’re looking for something a little less Indian Jones and a little more David Attenborough you should visit the Black River Gorges National Park where the island’s indigenous reptile population and rare birdlife can be found in their natural jungle environment.

Discover the lemurs of Madagascar

There are 33 different species of lemur in Madagascar many of which you can encounter on a stunning hike through Ankarana Special Reserve (if you’re feeling particularly brave you could even try a guided night hike to spot some of the nocturnal varieties).

Take the trail through the otherworldly landscape of limestone tsingys and dry, deciduous forests and keep your eyes peeled for crowned lemur, Sanford’s brown lemur, Perrier’s black lemur, northern sportive lemur and dwarf lemur. Other highlights include a variety of endemic chameleons and geckos and, if you venture into the underground cave system, even crocodiles.

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