The vast expanse of Frégate Island, the most remote in the Seychelles archipelago, is thick with a lush, vividly green jungle. These wild forests and rocky coastlines harbour many rare birds and animals – some endangered, like the Hawksbill Turtle and Magpie Robin – a stunning array of biodiversity that brings to mind Madagascar’s ancient paradise, found less than a thousand nautical miles south down the Indian Ocean.
There are few signs of intrusion by the outside world; a small scattering of16 beach houses, a spa, several acclaimed restaurants, and an unobtrusive compound from which the resort is run. Each traditional villa is equipped with luxurious amenities befitting the resort’s hefty price tag – rates per night start at Eur 2,600 – including sea view terraces, sunken whirlpools and expertly designed interiors. The beach houses are constructed to merge with the landscape and allow total privacy for visitors, which is important when your guest list includes celebrities like Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Roger Moore.
At any one time, there will be at most 160 people on the island – a maximum of 40 guests, and 120 staff members– the rest of Frégate is left to the flora and fauna, keeping it just as it has been for eons. Historically uninhabited, some relics discovered on the island suggest that it was a refuge for pirates during the 17th and 18th centuries; the first humans, perhaps, to venture onto its shores.
Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, visited the island in 1958, and was so captivated by the ancient maps he saw there that he embarked on a hunt for pirate booty (to no avail). Given the island’s history, it was not entirely speculative – perhaps one day, in a secluded part of Frégate’s jungle, a centuries-old chest of gold coins will be pulled from deep within the earth, left there by an adventurous brigand who was not destined to return.
Of all of the places on earth that could possess the most beautiful beach, the many wonders of Frégate make it an obvious choice. Few people will ever walk its sandy expanse in person, giving an air of mystery and fantasy. Endangered turtles climb over its banks to lay their nests, inspiring dreams of an Eden long lost to most of the world. It is tranquil, unspoiled, pure. And there, on the northwest corner of the island, is Anse Victorin.
In the mid-day sun, the beach is almost blindingly white, a crescent-shaped stretch of powdery sand. The ocean stands before it in gradient shades of blue – first turquoise at the shore, then azure, finally transitioning into a royal shade at the water’s final depth. Most strikingly, rounded boulders metres high jut out from the sand, pebbles tossed by an otherworldly giant. The Seychelles is famous for these epic rock formations – made of granite, they are small remnants left of the ancient supercontinent of Pangaea, polished smooth by the wind and sea over hundreds of millions of years.
The beach has been lauded prior to the award by Traveller’s World, including a “Most Beautiful Beach” designation by the Times UK in 2008, and countless other accolades by travel magazines and, of course, all who visit. There is a resonance here that goes far beyond its superficial, postcard-perfect beauty – the beach is a small piece of an idyllic past, an era that predates modern civilization and the environmental destruction that follows it. Perhaps it links us to our infancy as a species, many millennia ago, when we felt truly connected to the ebb and flow of the natural world. And thus Anse Victorin, much like the rest of the Seychelles, makes real the impossible – to travel in time.