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6 Things You Didn’t Know About the Seychelles

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The Only Granite Islands in the World 

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A very long time ago, 200 million years ago to be exact, the Seychelles was one continent- Gondwana. It became the archipelago of islands we know today as a result of continuous tectonic movements.

Today, the Seychelles is made up of a rather impressive 73 coral islands and 42 inner islands! These inner islands include Mahé and Praslin which are both formed by granite. The inner islands are the only islands in the world that do not have coral or volcanic elements. Rather, these islands’ beaches can be found clustered with granite rocks, creating a unique charm.

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Two UNESCO World Heritage Sites 

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The Seychelles has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These include the Aldabra Atoll and Vallée de Mai, which are extensively protected by UNESCO.  

 The Aldabra Atoll is made up of four large coral islands enclosing a shallow lagoon. The four islands are surrounded themselves by a coral reef. It is extremely difficult to access and is thus very isolated. This means it has been protected from human influence and as a result is home to 152,000 giant tortoises – the world’s largest population of this wonderful animal! Only a luck 1,000 people have the opportunity to explore the Aldabra each year!

The Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve harbours the remnants of a natural palm forest preserved in almost its original state. The Reserve houses an array of unique wildlife and other flora as well as a variety of endemic plants, including the iconic Coco De Mer. The Coco De Mer is a famous palm-tree once believed to grow in the depths of the sea. It is the largest seed in the plant kingdom.

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The World’s Largest Seed 

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As we mentioned above, the Coco De Mer is the largest seed in the plant kingdom world. This means it has really big fruit! Its fruit can weigh between to 15 and 30kgs. The largest Coco De Mer fruit has been recorded at 42 kgs!

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The Iconic Breadfruit 

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The Seychellois people consider the breadfruit as one of their most iconic fruits.  During the colonial era, it was eaten by plantation workers as vital source of energy. It is now a staple part of the Seychellois diet. A magnificent giant, with huge, decorative leaves – it is one of the tropic’s most beautiful trees. The breadfruit itself has starchy flavour which sweetens as it ripens. It is a versatile fruit – it can be roasted, baked, boiled or fried and is enjoyed in croquettes, chips and mash to name a few dishes.

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A Pirate Hideout

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In 1502, Portuguese explorer, Vasco Da Gama, discovered the Seychelles. After this, the two main islands became a hideout for nautical outlaws.

A particularly famous pirate is Olivier Levasseur or “Le Buse”(the Buzzard) who was rumoured to have left stolen Portuguese treasure in 1721. Two men devoted their lives to finding this treasure. Reginald Herbert Cruise-Wilkins searched the island of Mahé for the treasure for 27 years, until his death in 1977. His son, John, continued the treasure hunt. He has now devoted 50 years of his life to searching and has remained unlucky. The treasure is currently valued at $1.4 billion.

Moyenne Island is located in the St Anne Marine National Park. It is said to be haunted by spirits guarding important treasures. One of these spirits is thought to be an eccentric Englishwoman, Mary Best, who owned the island in 1910 and roams it at night.

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Other Fun Facts

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  • The Seychelles is home to some of the rarest species of bird. These include the Bare-legged Scops Owl, which is so rare it was once thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1959.
  • The Seychelles were visited by famous James Bond author, Ian Fleming, in search of inspiration for ‘For Your Eyes Only’. He ended up naming one of his characters, Milton Krest, after ginger and tonic drink he had during his stay.
  • Victoria is the capital of the Seychelles and is the smallest capital in the world.

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EXPERIENCE AFRICA FROM HOME…

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