Bird Island, Seychelles

Bird is a privately owned, sand-covered, almost flat coral island, measuring just 1500m long by no more than 700mm wide - a very small speck of land in a very big sea. Situated in the Indian Ocean, just south of the equator and some 1200km off the East African coast, it's the northernmost island of the Seychelles archipelago, being 95km northwest of the main island Mahe.

As its name implies, the island is famous for its birds - white-tailed tropic birds, fairy terns, sooty terns, frigatebirds and red-footed boobies to name just a few, plus its pristine beaches provide nesting sites for both hawksbill and green turtles.

We 'discovered' Bird back in 2001 on our third trip to Seychelles. During the previous trips we visited the main islands of Mahe and Praslin, as well as enjoying some great day trips out to some of the smaller islands like La Digue, Aride, Curieuse, Cousin and Cerf. However, on this occasion we decided not to be based on Mahe or Praslin, but to stay on two similar-sized but completely different islands. The first was Denis, a luxurious destination if you wanted beach holiday comforts. The second was Bird, a conservation island that provides relatively basic accommodation and a very informal experience that centres around the life of the island rather than trying to make it into a typical Seychelles holiday destination.

After a few days on Bird we knew we would return, and we did the next year and every year since. We now refer to it as our second home - a unique place that we will never tire of, and one that offers different experiences on every trip.

Accommodation is at Bird Island Lodge, which has a central open-air restaurant and bar, and 24 individual chalets. No mod cons, no phone signal, no vehicles - you fly in, you stay and you enjoy nature.