Seychelles lies in the western part of the Indian Ocean, north of
Madagascar and 1,593 km east of Mombasa, Kenya. It is between 4 and 5
degrees south of the equator at a longitude between 55 and 56 degrees east.
A hundred islands and islets make up the Seychelles, yet the total land area is
a mere 454 sq km. The population numbers nearly
70,000 Seychellois, of French, English, Indian, Chinese and African origin.
Among the 115 islands of the Seychelles you will find the luxuriant, tropical
paradise that appears in countless advertisements and glossy travel brochures.
But however seductive the images, they simply can’t compete with the real-life
dazzling beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Most Seychellois speak Creole, a French patois. Nine out of
ten live on Mahé, the largest island, 27 km long and 8 km
wide, with Victoria as the capital city. Most of the hotels are on this island,
but even so it's far from crowded since the coastline boasts 68 beaches and
coves. There's a good international airport on Mahé and an excellent deep-water
harbour. The Morne Mountains form a backdrop to the town, a region of threading
streams, ferns and moss tempered by smooth boulders.
Each is a drop of green, punctured by grey
granite outcrops and rimmed in white sand. The trade winds are soft through the
coconut fronds, the frangipani smells sweetly at nightfall when astonishingly
dramatic violet and orange sunsets pattern the sky, and at quiet moments in the
day the islands' rare birds will dart out of the trees to inspect you.
Everything on these unspoilt islands seems friendly, courteous and clean. The
land gives generously with coconuts, mangoes, bananas, breadfruit, pineapples,
and an equally bountiful sea yields up tuna, snapper, barracuda and kingfish.
Copra and cinnamon are the main exports but the islands' tourism is the chief
source of income.
The transition periods of April and October are fairly hot, with little
breeze and calm seas.
On the less inhabited islands is an abundance of rare birds and plants, giant
tortoises, turtles and spectacular tropical fish. Snorkelling here is usually
known as goggling, and "goggle" you will at the brilliant underwater
ballets going on in the coral gardens. Most famous of all the Seychelles' rare
plant species is the giant, legendary aphrodisiac coco-de-mer palm. This is a
gentle world, where the insects are strictly non-poisonous, there are no snakes,
and even the fish are unafraid of men. The most explosive sight you'll see is a
flamboyant tree in full scarlet bloom, or a bougainvillaea vine pouring over a
wall in a cascade of molten purple.Early times
The Arabs certainly know these islands from the 9th century on but most shipping
clings to the safer waters of the African coast.
The Morne Mountains form a backdrop to the town, a region of threading
streams, ferns and moss tempered by smooth boulders. On the less inhabited
islands is an abundance of rare birds and plants, giant tortoises, turtles and
spectacular tropical fish. Most famous of all the Seychelles' rare plant species
is the giant, legendary aphrodisiac coco-de-mer palm.