The Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) introduced the first paying nature trail on Mahe under its management after re-opening the Copolia trail after renovation works.
Visiting the Copolia trail will come with an entry fee of SRC100 ($6) for non-residents over 12 years old after the authority searched for ways to increase income. In 2019, the authority became an autonomous organisation after years of receiving a budget from the government. Money collected from the entry fee will be used to maintain the trail and conservation work in the Morne Seychellois National Park.
The Copolia trail, located on the east side of the Morne Seychellois National Park, is 1.4 kilometres long and is of medium intensity. It takes the average person one hour to reach the top of the trail, which offers a scenic view of the capital, Victoria, and the east coast of the main island up to the country's international airport. Along the trail, one comes across many endemic floras and faunas.
In order to turn the Copolia trail into a paying environmental attraction for tourists, SNPA had to do some renovation works to provide a better product for the enjoyment of its clients.
Further work carried out including the construction of a toilet at the entrance of the trail, the construction of flights of steps in treacherous and slippery areas along the trail, and the erection of a bridge which ensure safe crossing over a small river during the rainy season.There is a welcome board at the entrance of the trail, providing visitors with information about the trail, how long it takes to complete the trail, its level of difficulty and the flora and fauna one can find along the way. Direction boards to indicate the path to follow and the distance left to hike have also been erected along the trail.
At the start and halfway along the trail, benches have been placed to allow clients to relax and bask in nature. At the summit of the trail, a kiosk and panoramic board have been built.
The authority joined forces with the GOS-GEF-UNDP Protected Area Finance Project to make the renovation works a reality at a cost of around SCR450,000 ($25,000). It took 9 months to complete all the work that was necessary.
It is in the plan of the authority to turn other trails into paying ones, starting with the Anse Major trail in Bel Ombre.
The authority is responsible for the management of all the marine and terrestrial national parks of Seychelles, as well as the maintenance of official nature trails.