Unhurried. Unspoiled. A hidden treasure.
Just a few degrees south of the Equator lies a hidden treasure in the Ocean… like scattered jewels… garden islands are hidden away from all but the most discerning visitor… a visitor looking for warm turquoise blue waters lapping gently onto soft white sandy beaches… but also looking for something more, something unique and unspoiled with character and charm… a legendary place… like the Garden of Eden.
Welcome to Seychelles.
Each of our islands has their own unique character, style and charm. And each offers a distinctive experience that will capture your heart forever.
The Seychelles is an archipelagic group comprising of over one hundred Coralline and Granitic islands and islets, spread over a million square kilometers of the Indian Ocean just 4 degrees south of the Equator.
The granitic islands are unique oceanic islands, estimated to be over 600 million years old. Scientists believe that these islands are the remaining peaks of a vast continent known as Lemuria (also sometimes referred to as Gondwanaland), which has now subsided.
The main island of Seychelles is the granitic island of Mahe, which also happens to be the largest of the Seychelles’ islands at 27km long and 8km wide. Unlike neighbours such as Mauritius, the Seychelles Islands are ideally located outside the cyclonic belt.
The total population of Seychelles is approximately 90,000 of which almost two thirds live on the main island of Mahe. The granitic islands, including Praslin and La Digue, all lie within a radius of 56 km from Mahe. No permanent population resides on the Coralline islands, which includes the Amirantes, some 240kms South-West of Mahe.
The lush green vegetation of the Granitic islands is tropical in character, with a profusion of coconut palms, bananas, mangoes, yams, breadfruit and other tropical fruit. Indigenous forest exists on the higher slopes where the popular local produce vanilla, cinnamon and tea are planted.
The Seychelles islands are blessed with a year-long warm, tropical climate, so it’s always a good time to visit, however depending on your particular holiday interests, certain times of year may be more preferable than others.
Two opposing trade winds generally govern the weather pattern here: the north-westerly trades that blow from October to March when wind speeds average from 8 to 12 knots; and the brisker south-easterly trades that blow from May to September with winds of between 10 to 20 knots, bringing the cooler and windier conditions ideal for sailing.
The periods of calm between the trades produce fairly warm and wind-free conditions throughout April and October. Conditions for swimming, snorkelling and especially diving are superb during April/May and October/November when the water temperature sometimes reaches 29ºC and visibility is often 30 metres plus.
Garden of Eden:
The millions of years that the Seychelles islands remained uninhabited enabled a unique assembly of plants and animals to develop on these tiny fragments of land. It was General Gordon (of Khartoum fame) who was first convinced that the Vallée de Mai on Praslin was the original site of the Garden of Eden.
Like many other delicate island ecosystems, Seychelles suffered a loss of biodiversity during early human history, which included the disappearance of most of the giant tortoises from its granite islands, the felling of coastal and mid-level forests, as well as the extinction of species such as the chestnut flanked white eye, Seychelles Parakeet and saltwater crocodile. Nevertheless, extinctions were far fewer in Seychelles than in many other islands, possibly due to the shorter period of human occupation (since 1770). The Seychelles is today known for its success stories in protecting its flora and fauna.
The granite islands of Seychelles are home to the order of 75 endemic plant species, with another 25 species or so in the Aldabra group.
The most well known of which is undoubtedly the Coco-de-mer, a species of palm that can be found mainly on the islands of Praslin and nearby Curieuse. Nicknamed the ‘love nut’ from its suggestive form, the coco-de-mer is the world’s largest seed. The jellyfish tree is another with only eight surviving examples. This strange and ancient plant has so far resisted all efforts to be propagated. Another unique plant species found only on Aride Island Special Reserve is the Wrights Gardenia.
Seychelles hosts some of the largest seabird colonies in the world. Islands such as Aride Island, Bird, Cousin, Cosmoledo and Aldabra host many different species of seabirds which include the fairy tern, sooty tern, white-tailed tropicbird, frigatebirds and noddies. Aride Island alone has more species of seabird and greater numbers of them than all the other granite islands combined including the largest colonies of Lesser Noddy and Audubon’s Shearwater in the world.
Aldabra giant tortoises populate many of the Seychelles’ islands, making the Aldabra population the largest in the world. The granite islands also supported a distinct species of Seychelles giant tortoises, which until recently was believed to be extinct. A small population of the Seychelles giant tortoise can now be found on Silhouette Island and this population looks set to grow thanks to a successful breeding program which has been put in place for them.
The marine life in Seychelles can be quite extraordinary, especially around the more remote coral islands. To date, more than 1000 species of fish have been recorded and most are unafraid of divers and snorkelers. Unfortunately coral bleaching has damaged many of the reefs, but some reefs, such as Silhouette Island, are now showing a healthy recovery providing an opportunity for great diving and snorkelling.
After banning the capturing of marine turtles in 1994, turtle populations around protected islands are now recovering, however, they continue to decline at unprotected sites.
Seychelles has three national languages: Creole, English and French.
Currency & credit cards:
Local currency – Seychelles Rupee (SCR)
Most credit cards and Traveller’s Cheques are widely accepted.
240 volts AC, 50Hz. British style 3-pin plugs are used.
Roaming facilities are available from local telecommunications providers. Not all islands have mobile coverage, but coverage is available around the three main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. Pre-paid mobile and internet sim-cards are also available to purchase.