Virtually uninhabited, the Amirante Islands offer many unspoilt coral atolls from which the swimming, snorkelling and diving is unsurpassed. The group lies about 200 miles (320 km) southwest of the Seychelles group although it is part of the Republic of Seychelles. Largest of this coral group, tiny Desroches is set in a sparkling lagoon rimmed by its own coral reef and idyllic beaches. At the edge of a huge lagoon, untouched Alphonse boasts a great coco palm grove. At low tide you can walk between the island of Poivre and Sud. Saint Joseph atoll is a large low-lying ring of coral from which the main island emerges to the east. This vast coral plateau is rich with fish including rays and hammerhead sharks.
Known for centuries by Persian Gulf traders centuries ago, the Amirante Islands were sighted in 1502 by the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama on his second voyage to India.
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