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Seychelles: tiny gemstones sparkling on the world map

Quick facts

Population: 84,000
Languages: French, English, Creole
Capital: Mahé
Climate: Tropical
Surface area: 451 km²
Currency: Seychellois rupee 

Location
The Republic of Seychelles comprising 115 islands is an archipelago of legendary beauty extending between 480 km and 1,600 km from the east coast of Africa.

Seychelles' 115 islands fall under two distinct groups. The towering granite Inner Islands cluster mainly within the relatively shallow Seychelles' plateau, roughly 1800 km distance from the east coast of Africa. The low-lying coralline cays, atolls and reef islands of the Outer Islands lie mainly beyond the plateau up to 10° south of the equator.
There are 43 Inner Islands in all - 41 granitic and two corallines, and a total of 72 coralline Outer Islands.
The mostly granitic Inner Islands cluster around the principal islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, three islands which form the cultural and economic hub of Seychelles, as well as the centre of its tourism industry. Sainte Anne Island lies 4 km off the east coast of Mahé.

Sainte Anne is the largest island in the Sainte Anne Marine National Park and is in close proximity to its neighbours, Round Island and Moyenne Island. Discovered in 1742 by the famous explorer Lazare Picault, Sainte Anne was the first island to be settled by the early French settlers before they took up residence on Mahé. The island was later home to a commercial whaling station and a World War II gun battery.

History and population
Seychelles is a comparatively young nation which can trace its first settlement back to 1770 when the islands were first settled by the French. The islands remained in French hands until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. Seychelles was ceded to Britain under the treaty of Paris in 1814.

Under British rule, important estates were established producing coconut, food crops, cotton and sugar cane. During this period Seychelles also saw the establishment of Victoria as her capital.

Seychelles achieved independence from Britain in 1976 and became a republic within the Commonwealth. Following a period of single party rule by the government of Mr. France Albert René, on December 4, 1991.

Languages

There are three official languages in Seychelles: Creole, English and French. Many Seychellois also speak fluent Italian or German.

Politics
The Republic of Seychelles has a multi-party political system with an executive President as head of state and government. The President heads a Cabinet of 10 ministers which includes the Vice-President.
Legislative power is vested in a National Assembly of 34 members of whom 25 are elected directly in constituencies with the balance on proportional basis based on the results of the National Assembly elections.
The Republic of Seychelles is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Commonwealth and La Francophonie.

Climate
Seychelles’ enviable climate is always warm and without extremes. In this tropical haven the temperature seldom drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C. All but the remotest southern islands lie comfortably outside the cyclone belt making Seychelles a year round destination for sun worshippers and beach lovers.

Flights

Mahé is the only hub for flights. Air Seychelles caters for all domestic flights (between islands). The island is linked to main hubs of the world by various international airlines, namely Eithad Airways, Qatar Airways and Emirates.

Entry requirements

No visas are required to enter the Seychelles but specific documents must be shown to obtain immigration clearance including a valid passport, return air ticket, proof of accommodation with contact details. It is recommended to double-check entry requirements with the appropriate embassy, consulate or travel agency.

Time difference

An ideal geographical location in the centre of the Southern Indian Ocean (GMT +4) reduces the time difference between its main markets.

Read more

Around Sainte Anne

Victoria - Capital city (Mahé)

Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles, is located on Mahé, the archipelago’s main island. It is the world’s smallest capital and bears testimony to a rich past with historical landmarks scattered around the city, including a replica of the Vauxhall Clock Tower of London and two museums. The Victoria market is also a popular tourist attraction where visitors can admire the colourful fruits and vegetables and get to know about traditional Seychellois cuisine.

Getting there from Sainte Anne: A 15-minute boat ride

Organise a visit– Full day Discovery Tour of Mahé

The Marine Park

A 20-minute boat ride from Mahé takes visitors to the heart of the Sainte Anne Marine National Park. Within its clear waters, visitors can find green and hawksbill turtles who lay their eggs on the shores of Sainte Anne each year. This marine park is an important part of the natural and cultural heritage of the Seychelles and offers guests a refreshing experience of discovery and adventure.

Getting there from Sainte Anne: A 5-minute boat ride

Organise a visit – Full day Reef Safari

Moyenne Island

Moyenne Island has been a nature reserve since the 1970s and belonged to an Englishman who purchased the island in 1962. He lived alone on the island until he passed away in July 2012. The island is home to a variety of plant and bird life as well as giant tortoises and although it is the smallest national park in the world, it welcomes more species per square foot than anywhere else in the world. Rumour has it that the island hides pirate treasure that has not yet been found!

Getting there from Sainte Anne: A 5-minute boat ride.

Organise a visit –Departure from Sainte Anne Resort & Spa

Praslin and La Digue: The postcards islands

La Digue


A visit to La Digue is a peaceful stroll back in time. The island owes its name to a French ship that visited in 1978. This island is now the third most inhabited of the Seychelles yet not a car can be found. Bicycles and ox-carts are the mode of transport here, fitting in with the relaxed atmosphere of it origins. La Digue has remained almost unchanged since the time of its first settlers, bringing together a pleasant mix between past and present. La Digue is also home to the Seychelles most beautiful beaches, dotted with impressive granite rock formations.

Getting there from Sainte Anne:

Plane: 1h30 mins (via Praslin)

Boat: 1h – 1h30 mins

Helicopter: 15 mins

Organise a visit – Full day Praslin & La Digue, Full day guided La Digue Tour, Full day Boat & Bike independent tour of La Digue

Praslin

The island of Praslin was given its name in 1768, after the Duc de Praslin, French Marine Minister. It is the second largest island of the Seychelles. Once a pirate’s haunt, today, Praslin offers some of the most beautiful beaches of the archipelago earning a spot in the top 10 most beautiful beaches of the world. It is home to the unique Vallée de Mai nature reserve and to the only oyster farm that cultivates black pearls in the Indian Ocean.

Getting there from Sainte Anne:

Plane: 1h15 mins

Boat: 1h – 1h30 mins

Helicopter: 15 mins

Organise a visit – Full day Praslin & La Digue, Full day Praslin Tour

Vallée de Mai

Located on the island of Praslin, the Vallée de Mai nature reserve has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983. This is where visitors will find the famous “coco de mer”, that grows and thrives only in the Seychelles! This tropical forest exists in a near natural state and is home to several species of endemic flora and fauna. Visitors will discover five kinds of palm trees only known in the Seychelles, as well as the Black Parrot, who survives only in the forest of the Vallée de Mai.

Getting there from Sainte Anne:

Plane: 1h15 mins

Boat: 1h – 1h30 mins

Helicopter: 15 mins

Organise a visit – Full day Praslin & La Digue, Full day Vallée de Mai / Anse Lazio Tour, Full day Praslin Tour, Half day Vallée de Mai

Set in the middle of the archipelago, access is easy for guests residing at the exclusive Beachcomber Seychelles Sainte Anne Resort & Spa... What more could you ask for after a day of discovering the archipelago than to relax in the knowledge that you are returning to your very own luxurious, private villa at the heart of the beautifully natural island of Sainte Anne. 

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