Famous for its picture-perfect beaches, luxurious resorts, and natural wonders, Seychelles is a 115-island nation located in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of the African mainland. Many factors make Seychelles a tourist hotspot. Some of the most interesting facts about Seychelles are highlighted below.
10. The Oldest Living Terrestrial Animal Is From Seychelles
A Seychelles giant tortoise named Jonathan is the oldest known living terrestrial animal in the world. Jonathan hatched in Seychelles in 1832, but was later moved to Saint Helena, a British Overseas Territory, in 1882.
9. The Plant with the Plant Kingdom’s Largest Seed Grow in Seychelles
The coco de mer plant, also known as the sea coconut or the lodoicea, is a member of the palm family that is endemic to the islands of Curieuse and Praslin in Seychelles. The plant is famous for the seed it produces, which is the largest seed in the entire Plant Kingdom. The coco de mer is mainly used as an ornamental tree and its fruit finds use in traditional medicines or as flavor enhancers in food.
8. Seychelles Is a Matriarchal Society
The Seychellois society is one of the few in the world that is matriarchal. Here, mothers dominate the household. Women decide on expenditures and determine the future of children in the household. Men are important for their earning ability, but have little role to play in the domestic sphere.
7. The Rare Black Parrot Is the National Bird of Seychelles
The black parrot or the Praslin parrot is a bird found only in the Praslin island of Seychelles. The highly restricted habitat of the bird has led to its classification as a threatened species on the IUCN Red List. Although it is the national bird of Seychelles and a protected species, the black parrot is threatened outside its native habitat. Predation of parrot offsprings by introduced rats and competition with common mynas for nesting sites also puts stress on the population of these birds.
6. Seychelles Was a Paradise for Pirates in the Past
At a time when Seychelles was uninhabited, pirates thriving on the lucrative sea trade route between Asia and Africa often used the islands of Seychelles as a perfect hiding place. The islands were a paradise for these sea-robbers until the French began to the take control of Seychelles in the second half of the 18th century.
5. A Rare Tree with Jellyfish-Like Fruits Grows on the Mahe Island f Seychelles
The jellyfish tree is a unique, critically endangered tree that is endemic to the island of Mahe in Seychelles. It was believed to be extinct prior to its re-discovery in the 1970s. The tree’s most noted feature is the jellyfish-like appearance of its dehisced fruits.
4. Seychelles Is a Country of Immigrants with No Indigenous Population
Throughout most of its recorded history, the islands of Seychelles were uninhabited. Europeans first discovered the islands in 1502 and the first recorded landing occurred in 1609. Prior to that, the islands were possibly visited by Arab and Maldivian traders, but no conclusive evidence confirming this assumption has been found. Thus, the population of Seychelles is mainly comprised of immigrants who arrived following the French colonization of the islands, including African slaves and later indentured laborers from South Asia. The descendants of these immigrants now make up the population of Seychelles.
3. The Island with Hidden Pirate Treasure Worth Millions of Dollars
The island of Mahe is believed to have pirate treasure hidden somewhere underneath its soil. The treasure was buried by the infamous pirate Olivier Le Vasseur during the 18th century. Reginald Cruise-Wilkins of Seychelles initiated a treasure hunt to find the La Buse treasure in 1949, but was unsuccessful. Today, his son continues in his father’s footsteps and searches for clues that will lead to the treasure. In collaboration with the Seychelles Tourism Board, he also conducts a treasure hunt for interested tourists visiting the island.
2. Some of the World’s Largest Seabird Colonies Are Located in Seychelles
The outer islands of Seychelles, mainly the Cosmoledo and Aldabra islands, host some of the biggest seabird colonies in the world. Cattle egrets, sooty terns, and fairy terns breed on these islands. The region's coastal waters are rich in a variety of fish species that support birdlife on these islands.
1. Seychelles Is One of the Global Leaders in Forest Conservation
When humans began settling in Seychelles, the region’s native flora and fauna suffered greatly. However, despite this destruction, Seychelles managed to repair the damage to a great extent by introducing sound conservation policies, laws, and projects. About 42% of the country's territory is dedicated to conservation, which is one of the highest in the world. Today, the country has managed to bring back many species from the brink of extinction.