How It Evolved:
Millions of years ago, what is now India broke away from the Gondwanaland supercontinent beginning its long drift across the Indian ocean. It left behind granite formations, a cluster of more than 100 islands scattered across one of the most remote spots on the planet hundreds of miles away from the nearest main-land. These islands what we call the Seychelles today were left to evolve in complete isolation until the first French settlers came in the 18th century. When the islands were being settled, the settlers found forests of pre-historic trees inhabited by exotic birds, mangroves, wetlands, a vast variety of indigenous flora and fauna, lumbering tortoises, powder white sand beaches fringed by turquoise waters – a virtual paradise on earth.
The first words that may come to a visitor’s mind while holidaying in this island nation will be – it is stunning, unspoilt, another world and when the famous British General Gordon of China and Khartoum fame in 1881 A.D. returned from his trip from Seychelles back to London, he claimed to have found the original site of the ‘Garden of Eden’ currently the UNESCO listed World Heritage Site of ‘Vallee de Mai’ in the island of ‘Praslin’ where a pre-historic palm forest shelters the legendary ‘coco de mer’. Most visitors will tend to agree with the late General because if there is anything close to a paradise on earth - it is Seychelles.
The island nation of Seychelles is a destination of a lifetime with its surreal natural beauty, warm tropical climate all year long that has earned it the sobriquet ‘the land of perpetual summers’, a laid back vibe, mostly calm flat seas offering stunning views and gorgeous beaches - each having its own signature strip of sand and surf that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors like a magnet to its shores each year. This island paradise also offers many other indulgences like world class diving, fishing, snorkelling, island hopping aboard a private yacht to discover it at a sedate pace, hiking, zip lining, golfing, photographing the unique flora and fauna and most important of all - relaxation. Travelling to Seychelles is choosing to live in total harmony with nature and this makes it an ideal place to recalibrate mind, body and soul.
The Republic of Seychelles is an ancient archipelago of 115 breathtakingly beautiful islands, in the Indian Ocean that lie off the coast of East Africa, northeast of Madagascar. Thousands of years of evolutionary isolation and the generous bounty of mother nature bestowed on it has created this treasure trove of miniature worlds in the Seychelles, each with its own unique habitats found nowhere else on our planet.
One of the world’s smallest countries, the total land area of Seychelles is 455 square kilometres and is composed of two main island groups –‘The Inner Islands or the Mahe Group’: consisting of over 40 mountainous, granitic islands (the oldest mid oceanic granite islands in the world) which are rocky, have a narrow coastal strip, a central range of hills, lush tropical vegetation, white sand beaches of legendary beauty and clear lagoons which occupy the shallow waters of the Seychelles bank and are collectively referred to as ‘Inner islands’. They comprise 244 Kilometres or 54% of the land area of Seychelles and 98% of the country’s population lives on them. Islands like Mahe, Praslin, La Digue are home to country’s major hotel resorts. The highest point in Seychelles, Mount Seychellois (905 metres high) is also located within this mountainous island group.
The second islands group known as ‘Outer Seychelles’ is a collective term for those islands of the Seychelles that are not on the shallow Seychelles bank and are classified into five groups namely ‘Southern Coral Group, Amirante Islands, Alphonse group, Aldabra group and Farquhar group consisting of more than 70 outer, flat, coralline islands. They rise a few feet above sea level, are flat with elevated coral reefs at different stages of formation and are mostly uninhabited.
Climate and Weather:
The climate in Seychelles is tropical oceanic with little temperature variation during the year. December to April are hot months and May to November is the most pleasant time of the year with July and August being the coolest months – the best time to visit Seychelles. Most of the islands lie outside the cyclone belt so high winds are rare.
Seychelles has no indigenous population as it was first permanently settled by a small group of French planters, African slaves and Indians in the 18th century. Today its population is composed of immigrants and their descendants of French and later British settlers, African, Indian, Chinese and Middle Eastern origins. The ethnic breakdown is ‘Seychellois Creole – 93%, British – 3%, French – 1.8%, Chinese – 0.5%, Indians – 0.3% and others constituting 1.4%.
(*These percentages are as per the last survey conducted by the Seychelles Government)