La Digue Island, Seychelles
La Digue, is the smallest of the larger inner islands of Seychelles, here the rhythm of life is slow- even by Seychellois standards. Time honoured traditions such as travelling by boat, ox-cart, bicycle and foot are still king. As you can see on our map, La Digue has really only one - maybe two roads which are in reality little more than tracks making the island virtually car free.
You can get a good feel for life on the island by looking at our Interactive Map of La Digue and taking a truly informative Virtual Tour of La Digue.
Less than an hours ferry journey by schooner under sail from its close neighbour Praslin, La Digue has a population of around 2000 and can be cycled from one end to the other in an hour or two depending on who you stop to chat to. There were just six vehicles licensed to drive on the island in summer of 2005 so more eco friendly modes of transport are the order of the day. There is no airstrip on La Digue so transport in is either by sea or helicopter transfer.
The focal point of La Digue is the harbour. It is here where most visitors arrive and depart or take connecting boats to the neighbouring islands of Felicite, Marianne and the Sisters Islands.
Although La Digue is the third largest island in Seychelles, the pace of life slows dramatically here. The friendly atmosphere of this intimate island with its languid pace of life, traditional architecture and breathtaking beaches (see map)makes for an extremely laid back holiday. The legendary Anse Source d'Argent - reputedly the best beach in the world - is a leisurely thirty minutes (or so) cycle ride south from the harbour. The cycle way to Anse Source d'Argent passes through L'Union Estate where the traditional skills of refining coconut products (copra), giant turtles and boat building can still be seen. Whilst in the Estate take a look at The Plantation House where some of the steamy scenes from the legendary "Emmanuelle Movies" were shot. Another world class beach, Anse Pierott is a short walk away.
The northern end of La Digue, around Anse Severe and the neighbouring islands, offer some good diving and snorkelling opportunities.
La Digue is also home to the rare Seychelles Black Paradise flycatcher referred to locally as the widow.
La Digue - Culture and History
La Digue takes its name from one of the vessels in explorer Marion Dufresnes fleet sent by the French to explore the granitic islands of Seychelles in 1768. The original population though were despatched there from Mauritius following an abortive attempt to overthrow the regime of the day. Although some went back to Mauritius it was mostly the families of the original deportees that migrated north to this island that is paradise. Until recently working with copra and vanilla extraction were the mainstays of the local economy, nowadays it is firmly geared to looking after its visitors.
La Digue - Flora and Fauna
La Digue's forests that cover the 300 m high mountain at its centre contain a wealth of flora in the form of delicate orchids, tumbling vines of vanilla as well as trees such as the Indian Almond and the Takamaka.
Most gardens on La Digue are ablaze with hibiscus and nepenthes set against a backdrop swaying coconut palms.