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5 Interesting Things about Seychelles

Africa.com – Giant tortoise on Curieuse Island

Seychelles is a favorite holiday destination for many people from across the world. However, more often than not, many tend to forget that Seychelles is a part of Africa. As the country marks its Constitution Day and Independence Day later this month, here we look at five interesting things about this popular holiday destination.

Town Seychelles

casablanca, morocco

The Country is Made Up of More Than 100 Islands

The Republic of Seychelles is an archipelago made up of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. These islands are classified into 42 inner granitic islands and 73 outer coralline islands. The 42 granitic islands, or the Granitic Seychelles as they are called, lie in the central position of the Seychelles Bank and are composed of granite rock. They make up the majority of the inner islands of Seychelles. The outer coralline islands, or Coralline Seychelles, are the group of islands that are not on the shallow Seychelles Bank, which is the location of the Granitic Seychelles.

The beauty that comes with the islands has made Seychelles a popular destination for holidays and honeymooners.  Some of  the most popular people to spend their honeymoon in Seychelles include Prince William and Duchess Kate, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, Ronan Keating and Storm Uechtritz, George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin, as well as Nicky Hilton and James Rothschild. To ensure total privacy of their celebrity tourists, the Government of Seychelles introduced a law making it an offense for a Seychellois citizen to provide assistance to any paparazzi who was cunning enough to hire a fishing boat and try to take photographs from offshore. “We want people, famous or not, to be able to relax on their holiday. They shouldn’t have to worry about being spied upon,” says Alain St.Ange, the Tourism Minister for Seychelles, to international media.

After their return to the UK, Prince William’s office at St. James’s Palace released a statement thanking the government and people of Seychelles for the great time that the Prince and Duchess had spent there. “The couple thoroughly enjoyed their time together, and they are grateful to the Seychelles Government for their assistance in making the honeymoon such a memorable and special 10 days,” read the statement.

Coralline Island

Granitic Island

Seychelles Is Home To Some Of The Rarest Birds In The World

Some of the rarest species of birds can be found in Seychelles. This includes the Seychelles Scops Owl, also known as the bare-legged Scops Owl, or Syer. History records that the population of the Seychelles Scops Owl has dropped drastically between 1880 and 1906, such that it was thought to be extinct. However, it was rediscovered in 1959 and 1999, their first breeding nest was discovered, but there was no breeding success. In 2000, the first infrared photograph of a female Seychelles Scops Owl with her young one was taken. The species is protected under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES), as well as the Wild Animals and Bird Protection Act (WABP) in Seychelles. These acts serve to protect the bare-legged scops from killings, capturing, and illegal trade. Today, they can be found at the Morne Seychellois National Park on Mahé Island.

market in Seychelles

Bird Island Seychelles

The Bird Island, Home To Heaviest Tortoise And Famous For Birdlife

The Bird Island, which is the northernmost island in the Seychelles Archipelago, is home to the heaviest land tortoise living in the wild. The Aldabra Giant Tortoise species is one of the largest tortoises in the world. The island has over 20 giant Aldabra tortoises that roam around freely in the habitat’s range from mangrove swamps and coastal dune areas to grasslands and scrub forests. The tortoises eat almost any grass, leaf or edible plant they find in their paths. The most popular tortoise is Esmeralda, the oldest and heaviest of all. In the 1980s, when weighed by the Royal Zoological Society, Esmeralda weighed 298 kg.

The 0.94 square kilometer coral island is also known for its birdlife, which include sooty terns, fairy terns and common noddies, as well as hawksbill and green turtles

Giant tortoise on Curieuse Island

Seychelles Scops Owl

Largest Seed Sea Coconut In The World

Some of the rarest species of birds can be found in Seychelles. This includes the Seychelles Scops Owl, also known as the bare-legged Scops Owl, or Syer. History records that the population of the Seychelles Scops Owl has dropped drastically between 1880 and 1906, such that it was thought to be extinct. However, it was rediscovered in 1959 and 1999, their first breeding nest was discovered, but there was no breeding success. In 2000, the first infrared photograph of a female Seychelles Scops Owl with her young one was taken. The species is protected under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES), as well as the Wild Animals and Bird Protection Act (WABP) in Seychelles. These acts serve to protect the bare-legged scops from killings, capturing, and illegal trade. Today, they can be found at the Morne Seychellois National Park on Mahé Island.

Coconuts in Seychelles

Coco de mer

Victoria City

Victoria is the capital city of Seychelles, which is among the smallest capitals in the world, and can easily be explored on foot in less than a day. The city is located on the northeastern side of Mahé Island, the archipelago’s main island. Victoria is the republic’s business and cultural hub. Standing tall in the city is the Victoria Clock Tower, a national monument modeled on that of Vauxhall Clock Tower, or ‘Little Ben’ in London. The Victoria Clock Tower, or Lorloz Clock as it is referred to in Creole, has been ticking since 1903, unaffected by the modern buildings around it, leaving it with an ancient touch of history. The monument came as a result of Seychelles’ governor, Sir Ernest Sweet-Escott, who had admired Vauxhall Clock Tower during his visit to London, ordered a similar clock for Seychelles as a memorial to Queen Victoria, who died in 1901. The capital city has a population of about 30,000, and the main exports from the city are vanilla, coconuts, coconut oil, and fish.

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Originally published at Africa.com

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