Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It’s home to many beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as the giant Aldabra tortoise. Mahe, a hub for visiting the other islands, is home to the capital of Victoria. Take a look below for 30 more fun and fascinating facts about Seychelles.
1. Some of the rarest species of birds can be found in Seychelles, including the bare-legged Scops Owl or Syer. This species of owl is so rare that it was once thought to be extinct, but it was rediscovered in 1959. The owl can now be found at the Morne Seychellois National Park on Mahe Island.
2. The native Coco de mer, which is also known as the sea coconut or double coconut, produces the heaviest and largest seed in the world. The seed is about 15 kilograms in weight.
3. Ian Fleming, the famous James Bond author, came to the Seychelles Islands in 1958 to find inspiration for the next chapter in the James Bond saga, and ended up naming one of his character Milton Krest, after a tonic and ginger beverage that he tried during his stay.
4. The capital of Seychelles, is the smallest capital in the world. You can explore the entire city on foot in less than a day.
5. Prince William and Kate Middleton spent their honeymoon at the North Island of Seychelles, which is a spot that was previously visited by David and Victoria Beckham.
6. Bird Island is home to the heaviest living land tortoise in the wild, called Esmeralda. The tortoise weighs about 670 pounds.
7. Seychelles used to be the land of pirate, in particular Anse Forbans, which is known as Pirate’s Cove, on Mahe Island and Cote d’Or on Praslin. Pirates used to look for the islands as a hideout and it’s believed that a treasure worth about $160,000 was hidden by Olivier Levasseur at the time on one of the islands.
8. It’s believed that Moyenne Island has buried treasure on it, but no one approaches it because the locals believe that the island is haunted by a spirit that’s guarding the treasure.
9. The Miss World Beauty Pageant was held in Seychelles in 1997 and 1998.
10. Almost half of the limited landmass in the country is occupied by national parks and reserves. This is in support of the government’s various environment and ecosystem protection and conservation policies.
11. Cinnamon bark and copra are some of the main exports of Seychelles. Petroleum products are re-exports since they’re important and then exported again.
12. Praslin is the second biggest island in Seychelles with an area of 38 square kilometers. Praslin attracts many visitors every year as the island is home to many beautiful beaches and exotic bird species.
13. The island of Praslin was named after Cesar Gabriel de Choiseul, who was the Duke of Praslin.
14. Seychelles isn’t the smallest island nation in the world. In fact, there are over 30 nations and territories that are smaller than the Seychelles. However, Seychelles is the smallest country in all of Africa, with only 175 square miles, or 452 square kilometers, making up the entire country.
15. Seychelles is the only mid-ocean granite island in the world. This natural beauty features the most stunning beaches in the world set against dramatic granite rock formations.
16. The highest point in the country, Morne Seychellois at 2,992 feet, or 912 meters, is the central mountain ridge on Mahe Island.
17. Seychelles’ defense forces are made up of an army, a coast guard, and a national guard. There is no conscription and military service is voluntary.
18. The basis of the school system is a free, compulsory, 10 year public school education.
19. There is one cinema in Victoria. Theatrical productions are sometimes stages in Creole, English and French.
20. There is very little cultivated land in Seychelles and the majority of the food is imported.
21. The country’s fish consumption ranks among the highest in the world. The fishing industry is being developed with French assistance.
22. Nobody lived on the islands until the latter part of the 18th century, when the first settlers arrived.
23. The clock tower in Victoria, or Lorloz as it’s better known in Creole, was officially inaugurated on April 1, 1903. The clock tower is an elegant replica of the clock that was first erected in London in 1897 at the junction of Victoria Street and Vauxhall Bridge Road, near Victoria Station.
24. Seychelles was first sighted in 1502. In 1609, the crew of the English East Indiaman “Ascension” landed, which made it the first recorded landing on the shores of the Republic of Seychelles.
25. On June 29, 1976, the Republic of Seychelles was declared independent from the United Kingdom.
26. The archipelago was first discovered by Vasco de Gama in 1502.
27. The main source of income in Seychelles is tourism, followed by tuna fishing and canning.
28. Homes play a visible part in maintaining traditional Seychellois life. Many old colonial houses are well preserved, although corrugated iron roofs have generally replaced the indigenous palm thatch.
29. Groups living in Seychelles tend to gather on the verandahs of their houses, which are generally recognized as social centers.
30. The staple food is curry and rice, which can be eaten 2 to 3 times per day. The curry sometimes is based on fish or meat. Coconut milk is also often used in the curry.