Denis Island Resort

Denis Private Island.  Seychelles

Denis Private Island,  PO Box 404, Victoria – Mahe, Seychelles

Coordinates in degrees decimal:  3.8053291 S,  55.6675756 E


Information provided by and varied web-based sources.  Images provided by Green Islands Foundation and Martine Mas.    


Denis Island is  located about 100km north of Mahe in the Seychelles.  Daily 30 minute flights connect Mahé with the island.  The island resort is very small with only 25 free standing cottages and no other occupants, other than staff.  Denis Island Resort is working with the Green Island Foundation to promote sustainability and nature conservation.

The water can be entered from the sandy beach at any point around the island.  However, two areas in particular are recommended due to the ease of access and the richness of marine life. 

The east coast of the island has a coral reef edge about 300m from shore, with a lagoon behind it providing sheltered snorkelling.  Belle Etoile beach gives access to this area of lagoon.  In the shallow (<2m deep) and crystal-clear waters of the lagoon, numerous coral growths may be found, surrounded by a wide range of reef fish.  This area is ideal for beginners but it is not advisable to cross the reef edge due to the strong currents and potentially large waves. 

The House Reef sits off the north west coast of the island but localised currents can make it difficult to access at times, so enter off the Bois Blanc beach, on the west side of the island and approach from the south.  In this area you will find significant coral patches and seagrass beds, which are open to the ocean with no reef edge.  Encounters are almost guaranteed with hawksbill and green turtles, which come to feed and rest on the seagrass (all year round) and lay their eggs on the beach (from November to February). Spotted eagle rays, juvenile blacktip reef sharks and nurse sharks can also be seen very easily, but may be more difficult to get close to. 

The areas off both the northern and southern (Muraille Bon Dieu) tips of the island can also be explored, but are more rocky and the latter may have an uncomfortable swell at times.

Climate and sea conditions

The climate on Denis Island is generally uniform, with max daily temperatures ranging from 32C in April and 28C in July.   Seawater temperatures are also uniformly comfortable ranging from 26C in July to 30C in April.  Rainfall is heaviest from November to January, with the least in July.  The windiest period is June to September, with most wind coming from the south east and south south east, resulting in an increase in the swell from this direction, over and above that created by the Indian Ocean ground swell.  Winds are rarely above 17knots. Maximum tidal range is 1.58m so please determine your exit point when entering on a falling tide.

Completed with the cooperation of the resort.

Denis Island Resort.  East coast beach entry is best off Belle Etoile.  This takes you into the lagoon, which shelters behind the fringing coral reef.  Bois Blanc, on the west coast, provides easy access to varied coral and seagrass areas, where turtles come to feed.  This area is also good for sharks and rays and is the best access route to the House Reef.  Rocky areas are found off the north coast and Muraille Bon Dieu, in the south.

The east coast lagoon has an abundance of corals and related fish species, all located in shallow, protected waters.

The east coast lagoon supports a range of interesting fish species, including Triggerfish, Surgeonfish, Damselfish and, illustrated, one of the rarer Butterflyfish (Yellowhead ButterflyfishChaetodon xanthocephalus).

A significant Porites coral head (Porites cylindrica) surrounded by the Sickle-leaved Cymodocea seagrass (Thalassodendron ciliatum) off the west coast.

The Hawksbill Sea Turtle which rest and feed on the seagrass, off  the west coast.

Often a favourite, the Magnificent Sea Anemone (Heteractis magnifica)  in the company of the rather unfortunately named Skunk Clownfish (Amphiprion akallopisos).

A wealth of open water species may be found around the island, including sharks, rays and turtles, but the star of the show has to be the magnificent Reef Manta Ray.


View towards the restaurant from the outer edge of the House Reef on the north west of the island.

Resort Sealife Photos

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Oval-spot Butterflyfish.  Chaetodontidae.  Chaetodon speculum.

Species behind, Threadfine Butterflyfish.  Chaetodontidae.  Chaetodon auriga. Foreground Lagoon Triggerfish.  Balistidae.  Rhinecanthus aculeatus.

Black-backed Butterflyfish.  Chaeteodontidae.  Chaetodon melannotus.

Yellowhead Butterflyfish.  Chaetodontidae.  Chaetodon xanthocephalus.

Moorish Idol.  Zanclidae.  Zanclus cornutus.

Emperor Angelfish.  Pomacanthidae.  Pomacanthus imperator.

Longfin Spadefish. Ephippidae. Platax teira.  Accompanied by Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse.  Labridae.  Labroides dimidiatus. 

Orbicular Spadefish.  Ephippidae.  Platax orbiculatus.

Powder Blue Tang.  Acanthuridae.  Acanthurus leucosternon. 

Central species Convict Surgeonfish.  Acanthuridae.  Acanthurus triostegus.  Surrounded by White-spotted Surgeonfish.  Acanthuridae.  Acanthurus guttatus.

Tennent’s Surgeonfish.  Acanthuridae.  Acanthurus tennentii.

Skunk Anemonefish.  Pomacentridae.  Amphiprion akallopisos.   Living with its host the Magnificent Anemone.

Oriental Sweetlips, surrounded by a shoal of Onespot Snapper.  Lutjanidae.  Lutjanus monostigma.

Sub-adult Red Snapper.  Lutjanidae.   Lutjanus bohar.

Goldspot or Striped Large-eye Bream.  Lethrinidae.  Gnathodentex aureolineatus. 

Honeycomb Grouper.  Serranidae.  Epinephelus merra.

Whitespotted Grouper.  Serranidae.  Epinephelus coeruleopunctatus.

Giant Sweetlips.  Haemulidae.  Plectorhinchus albovittatus.

Oriental Sweetlips.  Haemulidae.   Plectrorhinchus vittatus.  Noted over seagrass, off the west coast.

Bumphead Parrotfish. Scaridae.  Bolbometopon muricatum.

Juvenile Bumphead Parrotfish. Scaridae.  Bolbometopon muricatum.

Juvenile Phase, Clown Coris.   Labridae.   Coris aygula.  Noted amongst seagrass.

Initial Phase Checkerboard Wrasse.  Labridae.  Helichoeres hortulanus.

Yaeyama Blenny.  Blennidae.  Ecsenius yaeyamaensis

Shoal of Yellowfin Goatfish.  Mullidae.  Mulloidichthys vanicolensis.

Lagoon Triggerfish.  Balistidae.  Rhinecanthus aculeatus.

Guineafowl Puffer.  Tetraodentidae.   Arothron meleagris.

Black-blotched Porcupinefish.  Diodontidae.  Diodon liturosus.  Noted hiding under overhangs.

Upper species.  Trumpetfish.  Aulostomidae.  Aulostomus chinensis.

Masked Moray.  Muraenidae.  Gymnothorax breedeni.

Thorny Stingray.  Dasyatidae.  Urogymnus asperrimus.  Noted over the seagrass beds.

Indian Sailfin Tang.  Acanthuridae.  Zebrasoma desjardinii.

Juvenile Longfin Spadefish.  Ephippidae.  Platax teira.  Often solitary but may form small groups.