Flag of Seychelles

Seychelles

The Republic of Seychelles is an archipelago nation of 158 islands in the Indian Ocean, some 1,600 km east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. Other nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius and Réunion to the south, Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest, and the Suvadives of the Maldives to the northeast. The Seychelles islands occupy 400,000 sq km (150,000 sq miles) of the Indian Ocean, and in terms of population, it is the smallest sovereign state of Africa.

The islands of the Seychelles Archipelago fall into two groups of markedly different appearance, stemming from their distinct geologies. The first type is granitic: a dense cluster of 42 islands, unique in being the only mid-ocean group in the world with a granite rock formation. Their lush green vegetation is tropical in character and indigenous forest exists on the higher slopes. The second type is coralline: isolated coral outcrops speckling a vast area of the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the granitic group. They rise only a few feet above sea level but are covered with rich and dense vegetation.

Mahé, surrounded by coral reefs is the largest of the islands, and houses the international airport, the port and capital, Victoria. Praslin is the second largest island, and is two to three hours by boat or 15 minutes by air from Mahé. It is famous for the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site that contains the double-nutted coco-de-mer palm. Aldabra, the largest atoll in the world, contains one-third of all Seychellois land and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Local specialities include kat-kat banane, coconut curries and la daube (made from breadfruit, yams, cassavas and bananas).

Map of Seychelles