|Seychelles General Info
455.3 sq km (176 sq miles).
Population of Seychelles
81.1 thousand (official estimate 2005).
Population of Victoria (Mahé)
71 thousand (2005)
Population Density: 177.7 per sq km.
The Seychelles Archipelago occupies 400,000 sq km (150,000 sq miles) of the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar and contains 115 islands. These fall into two groups of markedly different appearance, stemming from their very distinct geologies:
A dense cluster of forty-three islands, the only mid-ocean group in the world with granite rock formation. Their lush green vegetation is tropical in character, with a profusion of coconut palms, mangoes, bananas, yams, breadfruit and other tropical fruit. Indigenous forest exists on the higher slopes, where the cinnamon and tea are planted. All, including the second largest, Praslin, are less than 65km (forty miles) from Mahé.
The coral outcrops speckling a vast area of the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the granitic group, rise only a few feet above sea level but are covered with a rich and dense vegetation due to fertilisation by copious amounts of guano. There is no permanent population located here.
Aldabra, the largest atoll in the world, contains one-third of all Seychellois land and is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.
The largest island in either group is Mahé, located at 4°S of the equator. It is 27km (17 miles) long by 8km (5 miles) wide and contains Victoria, the capital and main port, and 90% of the population.
Mahé is typical of the Granitic Islands, being mountainous and covered with jungle vegetation and at its highest point, indeed the highest point in the Seychelles, is Morne Seychellois (905m/2970ft).
The isolated nature of the Seychelles has given rise to the evolution of many unique species of flora and fauna, including the coco-de-mer palm and unique varieties of orchid, giant tortoise, gecko, chameleon and ‘flying fox’.
The Seychellois are descended from a mixture of French and British landowners, freed African slaves and a small number of Chinese and Indian immigrants, creating a very unique culture.
Republic since 1976. Gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1975.
Head of State and Government: President James Alix Michel since 2004.
In April 2004, after more than a quarter of a century in power, Albert René retired and handed presidency over to James Michel, his Vice-President. Mr Michel has promised to introduce a more open dialogue, over economic matters, and also to involve the private sector in the national economy.
Creole, English and French.
83% Roman Catholic with Anglican, Seventh Day Adventist, Muslim, Baha’i and other minorities.
GMT + 4.
240 volts AC, 50Hz. British 3-pin plugs are in use.
The people live a simple and unsophisticated island life and tourism is carefully controlled to protect the unspoilt charm of the Seychelles. Before the international airport opened during 1971, the islands could be reached only by sea, and since they are miles from anywhere, visitors were few and far between and the local people were little influenced by the outside world. They developed their own language and culture which are unique.
Shaking hands is the customary form of greeting on meeting. The Seychellois are hospitable and welcome guests into their homes. When visiting someone’s home, a gift is appreciated.
A mixture of imperial and metric systems operates and for example, petrol is dispensed in litres, whilst bars sell bottled and draught beer in half-pint measures. Casual wear is essential and any formal clothes are only worn by churchgoers. Swimwear should only be worn on beaches.