Ile du Nord was the first Seychelles island on which a recorded landing was made by seafarers. An expedition in 1609 by Captain Sharpeigh and the crew of the English East India Company vessel Ascension reported that the island had a large population of giant land tortoises. Along with all other Seychelles islands, North Island was still uninhabited at that time.
From 1826 until the 1970s, North Island was owned by the Beaufond family from Réunion. During this time the island was a plantation for growing fruit and spices, as well as producing guano, fish oil and copra. After the copra market collapsed, the plantation was sold in the 1970s, and North Island fell into disuse. Feral animals and alien plant species out-competed the indigenous fauna and flora with distressing consequences.
A new chapter in the history of North Island began in 1997 when North Island was purchased by a team including Wilderness Safaris, with a view to creating not just the world’s leading private island hideaway, but also of turning back the clock: undoing the damage wrought by man, and creating a sanctuary for indigenous Seychellois wildlife. A unique opportunity existed to rehabilitate, preserve and study the island’s ecosystems.