Seychelles – An Island Paradise
The Republic of Seychelles is a country made up of about 115 islands in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa. Its area is 455 square kilometers. Seychelles is made up of two main island groups. The Mahé group has40 islands. These islands are rocky and hilly, with narrow strips of coastline. The other group, coralline group, is built up from the skeletons of coral animals. Very few people live on them.
Most of the people are Creole, with a mixture of Asian, African, and European heritage. The French and then the British used to rule the islands. In 1976, Seychelles was given its independence by Britain. Creole (mixture of French, English, and African languages), English, and French are all national languages. Roman Catholicism is the main religion.
Tourism is Seychelles’ biggest industry, with visitors attracted by the country’s beaches, wildlife, and greenery. Fishing is another important part of the economy. The country’s main product is canned tuna. Farmers grow coconuts, cinnamon, bananas, and tea. They also raise pigs and chickens.
The coco de mer, or double coconut tree, is found only in Seychelles. Its fruits take about 10 years to ripen. Avocados, breadfruit, bananas, mangoes, papayas, and pineapples also grow on the islands. Animals include green sea turtles, giant tortoises, and many types of bird.
Victoria, the capital of the country and the only shipping port, is on the largest island, Mahé. It is strategically located at the center of a triangle between Mombasa (Kenya), Mumbai (India) and Mauritius. Victoria is the smallest capital in the world.
Mount Seychelles is the highest point (912 m).
There are no rivers or lakes in Seychelles. Small streams drain the mountain slopes and there are small ponds on some of the islands.
The head of a typical Seychellois family is a woman, not a man. Matriarchy reigns here.
They eat bats, along with other, more traditional food.
Frigatebirds living in the Seychelles can stay in the air for a week, and their wingspan reaches three meters.
In total there are about seventy beaches in the Seychelles.
The Seychelles Islands were discovered in 1502 by the Portuguese seafarer Vasco da Gama, but there are indirect historical evidences according to which the islands were visited by Arab ships for half a thousand years before it.