Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Hotel Updates: Raffles Praslin, Seychelles

Raffles Praslin, Seychelles Launches 'Ranger-for-a-day" program

  
Raffles Praslin, Seychelles has launched a unique eco-tourism initiative: the opportunity to live a day as an island range. “Ranger for a Day,” consisting of environmental conservation activities, and spending a day with a park ranger on the neighbouring island of Curieuse. This experience only available to Raffles’ guests, is a fascinating journey in which they will bond with Seychelles natural wonders, and get unique insight into the local environment, that can’t be found in any travel guide.



Guests will benefit from a rare ‘behind the scenes’ look and access to areas that are normally off limits to other visitors on Curieuse island, a nature reserve home to hundreds of giant tortoises, tropical birds, turtles, lush green mangroves, Coco de Mer palms, giant Takamaka trees, and other endemic flora and fauna species to be found only in Seychelles, or on the island. The activities are conducted in partnership with the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) and engage guests with the local environment, through unique hands-on experiences and interaction with the natural elements.

A typical “Ranger day” starts at 7.30am, when guests meet the Raffles Ranger at the resort’s beachfront and embark on a 10 minutes boat ride to Curieuse island. Upon arrival, the Rangers Supervisor will present the programme for the day and explain about SNPA’s mission. Guests will also be given an official ranger badge, uniform and handbook.



The apprentice rangers will start with a seasonal activity, which can be turtle monitoring, juveniles lemon shark tagging, or bird nest monitoring, followed by an interaction with the most popular inhabitants on the island, the giant tortoises. Nature explorers will learn how to distinguish male from female, estimate their age, monitor their behavior, participate in a tagging activity and census.  The next experience will take the adventurous to the Marine Rangers’ Village, where they will take part in a coral reef protection project, prepare a trap for propagation, followed by a snorkeling tour to inspect the coral farm and transplantation site. 

Guests will then have a traditional Seychellois lunch with the Rangers, at their cabin, before continuing the programme with a transplantation activity, at the tree nursery. Aspiring botanists will learn more about the flora on the island, the endemic, native and invasive species, and execute a propagation of endemic plants at a pre-selected area for erosion control.



This experience will be followed by a trek to Anse Jose, where the “Rangers for a Day” will have an access to wetlands and mangroves, observe the birds along the way, and execute recognition, monitoring and mapping of tree species. 



Finally, the budding rangers will be patrolling the Curieuse Marine National Park on SNPA boat, to ensure the marine park waters are respected, control the permits, investigate and confiscate outlaw fish traps, and re-use them for coral propagation. Guests will also have the opportunity to observe the island with its original granite formations such as the Lizard Rock and Turtle Rock. Upon return at the resort, Raffles Ranger will handle them a “Ranger for a Day” certificate, approved by SNPA, an official memento of this unique experience that guests will bring back home.

For the young ones to enjoy the natural paradise as much as their parents do, the resort is also launching a “Mini Ranger” programme, accessible for kids from 7 to 12 years old. The half day experience on Curieuse island includes interaction with tortoises, tree planting at the nursery, and nature walk with Raffles Ranger, sharing its knowledge about the local environment, in a fun and educational way.     


Rudy Ricaud, Environmental Project Manager at Raffles Praslin, Seychelles commented “When you come to spend your holidays in Seychelles, you are really amazed by the stunning scenery the archipelago has to offer, and many guests like to explore the natural wonders. At Raffles, we decided to take this experience further. Not only guests have the opportunity to access protected areas on the island and discover a diverse fauna and flora, but they can directly interact with nature, take an active part in a sustainable project, and learn valuable insight into the local environment.”


“Ranger for a Day” is a non-profit progamme developed by Raffles Praslin, Seychelles, in collaboration with SNPA, and the funds collected from the activity, priced at EUR 165 per person, will be donated to SNPA, to help the organisation in its mission to protect the local environment.






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