French, English, Seychellois Creole
National focal point for sustainable development:
Department of Environment Ministry of Environment & Natural Res.
In the middle of an ocean lie these pearls…
…Seychelles, my favourite land”
The Seychelles Islands are what dreams are made of – a real paradise. 155 exotic tropical islands make up the Seychelles in the middle of the Indian Ocean. If you do not include the man-made ones like Eden Island there are 155 islands in total. The latter is land recently reclaimed from the sea near the seaport and capital Victoria, on Mahe Island.
A tropical island country with pristine environment and mild tropical climate year round, Seychelles has stunningly gorgeous beaches and an incredibly azure blue sea teeming with marine life, and….
…No Hurricanes – no cyclones… Wish you were there, right?
Have you been to Seychelles? Do you have an island that you love? Tell others your own story about your stay on that special Seychelles Island. Rave about it. You can go and read what others have written or write your own story about your favourite island here.
Now, Where is the country Seychelles? Island or islands?” These are common questions about the country. To make matters worse even official websites propagate bad information… “Are the Seychelles in Africa?” “Where in Africa?”
All is revealed… First, Seychelles is not in Africa. It is not part of the African continent. It is an independent island country very, very far from Africa – 155 islands (This is no mistake. The names of all the islands of Seychelles are listed on a separate page and linked to at the end of this page).
The Seychelles lie in the middle of the Indian Ocean. No it is not part of India either. Perhaps the sea around these islands should be called “Sea of Seychelles.” or “Seychelles Sea” :).
Unlike England (British Isles) that sits off the cost of the European continent, Seychelles stands off the coast of no continent or country. Seychelles shares its EEZ with no other country, so it has absolute rights over almost a million square miles of ocean. Isn’t that huge?
To put that in perspective the Seychelles island republic has a maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as large as that of Britain. Seychelles is a nation with a very small landmass, tiny population, and huge, almost untapped, marine and oceanic resources.
The Seychelles Islands can be grouped together with other oceanic islands like Mauritius and Reunion to the south, and Maldives in the east…
The 155 Seychelles islands are strung up over 900 miles of ocean in a chain from Denis Island and Bird Island – both private islands – in the north to Aldabra atoll in the southwest. The two largest islands of the Seychelles…
…Mahe and Aldabra are actually 700 miles apart.
Mahe 17 miles (27km) long and 3 miles (5Km) across has an area of 55 square miles (142 square km). It is mountainous rising to 905m (2970 ft) above sea level at its highest point. This island is covered with lush tropical forest. And ancient granite rock is the stuff making Mahe Island.
The other – Aldabra atoll – is bigger than Mahe. Aldabra 34.5 km (21miles) long by 14 km (9miles), covers an area 380 square km (147 square miles) and has a total landmass of 155.4 square km (60 square miles). It is divided into 4 main islands, of which South island (Grande Terre) is 116 square km (45 square miles) – 34.5Km (21miles) by 3km (2miles).
Aldabra has a central lagoon of 224 square km (86 square miles), 70% of which dries out at low tide. Aldabra is a raised coral atoll, with a maximum height 8 metres (26 feet) above sea level. It is the second largest coral atoll in the world.
It is different from the other coral islands of Seychelles, like Bird Island, which are sand cays (keys) 2 or 3 metres above sea level. In its relatively short history, Aldabra has been submerged and raised from beneath the sea several times.
From the figures above you may have noticed that Aldabra atoll is in fact almost 3 times the size of Mahe. And interestingly, Mahe Island could sit comfortably inside the Aldabra central lagoon.
The actual dry-land area of Aldabra Islands and Mahe Island are about the same, which together form about 66% of the total Seychelles land area.
Seychelles Islands – sand cay St Francois Island, Alphonse Island group
Seychelles Islands – flat sand cay (key)
St Francois Island, Alphonse group
These are the two biggest landmasses among the Seychelles islands. Mahe Island is home to some 74,000 people (2009) – about 85% of the population of Seychelles.
Aldabra atoll, a nature reserve, is inhabited by 100,000 giant land tortoises, the world’s largest population of such species, and millions of birds, fish and sea turtles.
Aldabra is pristine. Just like many of the other Outer Islands of Seychelles, there are no permanent settlements on the Aldabra Islands. Of course, the two islands of major economic importance and with the largest population too after Mahe are Praslin Island and La Digue.
Many info websites state that there are 115 Seychelles islands. This is not so… On the next page you’ll find the full list of named islands in the Seychelles, so you can ascertain for yourself that the 155 Seychelles islands do exist. And here you’ll see our top 10 islands.
Do you want to see more of the Seychelles than 99% of visitors to these shores? Then, charter a yacht. Visit these outer islands of Seychelles. Here’s the List of islands – all 155… And here’s a map of the Islands of Seychelles showing the island groups.
Have you been to Seychelles? Do you have an island that you love? Rave about your favourite island here and read what others say about their own preferred island.