Despite being a tiny dot on the map that is often overlooked, the Seychelles is a country with so much to discover. Here are 10 facts about the archipelago that you probably didn’t know.
1) The Seychelles are the only mid-ocean granite islands in the world
150 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the Seychelles was part of the super-continent Gondwanaland. 41 Inner Islands constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth while a further 74 form the 5 groups of low-lying coral atolls and reef islets that are the Outer Islands.
2) No one lived here until the 1700s
The earliest trace of settlement dates back to 1770 when the islands were first settled by the French. The islands were named after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, Louis XV’s Minister of Finance.
3) We have the heaviest nut
Found only on the islands of Praslin and Curieuse, the Coco De Mer is the heaviest nut in the world weighing up to 15kgs. Aside from its unique shape, the Coco De Mer’s fame stems from the many legends that proceed it. Before the islands discovery in the late 18th century, the nuts used to reach distant shores through ocean currents. Having seen the nuts “falling upwards”, the Malay seamen believed that the nuts grew on underwater trees.
4) The most beautiful beach
Anse Lazio on Praslin is not only considered to be one of the best beaches in the Seychelles, but also in the world. It was voted number 11 in the TripAdvisor 2017 Traveler’s Choice awards, described as “picture perfect, with crystal clear warm waters and powder white sand”.
5) Esmeralda is punching with the heavyweights
The world’s heaviest and largest wild land tortoise ‘Esmeralda’ lives on Bird Island. She weighs more than 300kgs, but if you ask her she’s not a kilo above 150.
6) The Seychelles was colonised by both the French and the British
The islands remained in French hands until the defeat of Napoleon of Waterloo when the Seychelles was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Paris in 1814.
7) Tales of hidden treasure & pirates
The country is believed to have been a hideout for Pirates including Oliver Levasseur, who according to stories, hid a treasure worth more than $160,000. To date it remains undiscovered so you might want to add a metal detector & spade to your packing list.
8) It is home to two U.N.E.S.C.O sites
The Seychelles is home to two U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage Sites: Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll and Praslin’s legendary Vallée de Mai, birthplace of the famous Coco de Mer and Black Parrot.
9) We could fit into a football stadium
Up until 2013, you could fit the entire population of the Seychelles into Wembley Football Stadium. With a current population of roughly 92000, a few thousand would now have to catch the game at home.
10) The mysterious Vallée de Mai is the original Garden of Eden
The Vallée de Mai was long considered to be the original Garden of Eden. True or not – we’ll let its beauty speak for itself.