Silhouette is the third-largest granitic island of Seychelles -- an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. The island is a national park and offers nature lovers a rich and diverse ecosystem, which can be discovered and appreciated through different trails. The island lies 20 km northwest of Mahe -- the main island -- and is accessible by boat and helicopter.
This week's Buzz spotlights four amazing facts and discoveries of the nature trail called Jardin Marron.
1. A climb to higher heights
The trail located at La Passe - on the east side of the island - is 3km in length and it takes one and a half hours to reach Jardin Marron where the trail ends and the same time to come back to La Passe. Jardin Marron is located at 400m altitude, which means that the trail goes on a relatively steep slope all the way up. It's a physically demanding hike. The trail is marked every 500 metres but it is highly recommended to never go alone for safety reasons. The starting and ending point is at the Chapel.
2. A bit of trail history
The trail was built by the first slaves who lived on the island at the end of the 1700s. In fact, the trail bears the name Marron after several slaves made the area their homes after escaping their masters. It was reopened as a nature trail in 2008 and is a popular attraction for guests of the Labriz Hilton Spa and Resort as well as for hiking enthusiasts.
The trail is maintained on a weekly basis by the Islands Development Company - which manages the island, in collaboration with the environment not for profit organisation Island Conservation Society.
3. A rare feature: Coco de mer nuts
The trail offers hikers a feature that otherwise can be found only on Praslin and Curieuse - two islands where the unique coco de mer grows in its natural state. Silhouette also has a coco de mer forest. The trees were planted by Henry Dauban whose family once owned Silhouette. In total, it was reported that Dauban planted 100 nuts in the 1940s but only around 20 grew up to adult trees.
4. Array of natural beauty
Along the trail, hikers can see different types of forests, from old rubber plantations to native tropical and palm forests. Also waiting to be discovered are different insects and other fauna such as native birds including the Seychelles Kestrel, Seychelles Bulbul, Seychelles Blue Pigeon, Seychelles Sunbird and a species of seabird, the white-tailed tropicbird. For those not scared of reptiles and amphibians, one can also see the Seychelles Tiger Chameleon, Seychelles skinks and various geckos, slugs, millipede, the endemic sooglossid frogs, including one endemic to Silhouette - the Seychelles Palm Frog.