26 interesting facts about Seychelles

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The most interesting facts about Seychelles, from the original Garden of Eden to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises.

Interesting facts about Seychelles include its pristine island scenery
Interesting facts about Seychelles include its pristine island scenery (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Republic of Seychelles
Population: 96,387
Area: 455 sq km
Capital city: Victoria
Major languages: Seychellois Creole, English, French
Major religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant
Time zone: UTC+4 (Seychelles Time)
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

Interesting facts about Seychelles

1. Seychelles is an island nation in Africa, located in the Indian Ocean, east of Kenya and northeast of Madagascar.
– Source: Britannica

2. The Seychelles is made up of 115 island.
– Source: National Geographic

3. Known for its beaches, marine life and luxury holidays, over 350,000 (2018 data) tourists travel to Seychelles every year.
– Source: Lonely PlanetUN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

A sandy beach with a luxury hammock in Seychelles
Seychelles is a popular tourist destination (Shutterstock)

4. Seychelles was uninhabited before being discovered by Europeans in the early 16th century. As such, there are no indigenous people in Seychelles.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

5. Seychelles is named after Jean Moreau de Sechelles who was the French finance minister in 1756. It was named by French Captain Corneille Nicholas Morphey.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

6. The largest and most developed island of Seychelles is Mahe, which is home to around 90% of the population and the capital city of Victoria.
– Source: Lonely Planet

Victoria and the coast
The capital Victoria (Shutterstock)

7. Seychelles was controlled by France (annexed in 1756) until the colony was ceded to Britain in 1814.
– Source: Britannica

8. In 1976, Seychelles become independent with James Mancham as president and France Rene as prime minister as its first leaders.
– Source: BBC News

9. The Seychelles flag is made up of blue, yellow, red, white and green rays spreading from the bottom left corner. Blue represents the sky and sea, yellow the sun, red the people and their work, white social justice and harmony, and green the land and natural environment.
– Source: Britannica

The Seychelles flag flying during sunset
The Seychelles flag (Shutterstock)

10. Seychelles has been isolated from the mainland for 75 million years and as such now host a unique collection of flora and fauna. The islands were once part of the ancient supercontinent Gondwanaland.
– Source: WWF

11. As such, Seychelles has been described as “the original site of the Garden of Eden”. British Army officer General Gordon of Khartoum made the claim after he visited in 1881. He was specifically referring to the UNESCO-listed Vallée de Mai on the island of Praslin.
– Source: Lonely Planet

12. Seychelles is home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises. Over 150,000 live on the UNESCO-listed Aldabra Atoll.
– Source: National Geographic

A giant tortoise on a beach
A giant tortoise (Shutterstock)

13. Located on Praslin island, the UNESCO-listed Vallée de Mai is an area of palm forest which remains largely unchanged since prehistoric times.
– Source: UNESCO

14. The population of Seychelles suffer from the worst air pollution in Africa when measured by the number of deaths per 100,000 people. Overall, it is 71st in the world.
– Source: Our World in Data

15. The Seychelles is home to the coco-de-mer (also known as the sea coconut) which bears the largest seed in the plant kingdom.
– Source: UNESCO

A coco-de-mer being held demonstrating its size
A coco-de-mer (Shutterstock)

16. Seychelles are the world’s biggest drinkers when measured by alcohol consumption per capita with the average person consuming 20.5 litres per week.
– Source:  Our World in Data

17. The capital of Seychelles was originally called L’etablissement when it was founded in 1778 by French colonists. The settlement was renamed in 1841 by the British after Queen Victoria.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

18. Seychelles is the smallest African country in terms of both area and population.
– Source: World Bank1, World Bank2

19. Seychells is home the world’s largest land-dwelling arthropod. The Coconut Crab has been nicknamed ‘Crabzilla’ as it can grow up to 1m (3.3ft) in size and weigh up to 4.1kg (9lb) and can even open cocnuts.
– Source: National Geographic, Guinness World Records, Natural History Museum

A Coconut Crab on the forest floor
A Coconut Crab (Shutterstock)

20. Seychelles is the richest country in Africa when measured by GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP). It is also ranked as having a high standard of human development in 67th place, just one position behind Mauritius, Africa’s most developed nation.
– Source: World Bank

21. Legend has it, buried treasure is hidden in Seychelles believed to be worth $130 million. 18th century French pirate Olivie Levasseur, known as La Buse (“The Buzzard”), is said to have hidden his treasure in Seychelles. Reginald Herbert Cruise-Wilkins spent 27 years searching for the treasure until his 1977 death. Since then, his son John has spent over 50 years continuing the search.
– Source: CNN

22. During the early 21st century, Somalia pirates began using Seychelles as a safe haven. Prate sightings and attacks were regularly reported as well as the kidnapping of the British couple while they were sailing the islands.
– Source: The Guardian, The Independent

A map of Seychelles showing its isolation in the ocean
Seychelles is 99% water (Shutterstock)

23. Spead across 1.35 million sq km (521,000 sq miles) of ocean, Seychelles is over 99% water.
– Source: BBC Future, The Guardian

24. Seychelles is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world to visit. In 2022, it was assessed as carrying an ‘insignificant travel security risk’.
– Source: International SOS Travel Risk Map

25. Over the last five years, Seychelles has progressed from protecting 0.04% to 30% of its national waters, covering 410,000 sq km (158,000 sq miles) of ocean – an area larger than Germany.
– Source: BBC Future

26. Curried fruit bat is considered a local delicacy in Seychelles.
– Source: BBC

Every effort has been made to verify these facts about Seychelles. However, if you find an error or have any questions, please contact us.