The Islands

Inner Islands Outer Islands Climate Flora and Fauna

Inner Islands

The Inner Islands also known as the granitic islands are mainly clustered around the main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. The main islands form the economic and cultural hub of Seychelles as well as the centre of the country’s tourism industry. Covering 154.7 km², Mahé is the largest granitic island, home to the Capital City - Victoria and the International Airport. About 90% of the Seychelles population live on Mahé, followed by Praslin and Silhouette as the second and third largest island respectively. There are 43 Inner Islands of which 41 are granitic and 2 are coralline islands known as Denis Island and Bird Island. Bird Island, formerly referred to as Ile aux Vaches, is home to around 2 to 3 million birds including the sooty tern colonies; and also the former home of the heaviest and oldest giant land tortoise in the world. This male tortoise named Esmeralda is said to be more than 200 years old and weighing over 300kg.

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Bird Island Denis Island

Outer Islands

The Outer Islands are divided into 5 groups of Coralline Islands situated beyond the Seychelles plateau:

  1. Amirante Group
  2. Southern Coral Group – The Islands of Ile Platte and Coetivy
  3. Alphonse Group – Alphonse Atoll and St. Francois Atoll
  4. Farquhar Group – Farquhar Atoll, Providence Atoll and St. Pierre Island
  5. Aldabra Group – Aldabra Atoll, Cosmoledo Atoll, Assumption and Astove Island

The Outer Islands consist of 72 low-lying sand cays and atolls lying between 230km and 1150km from Mahé. These islands are not frequently visited due to their remote location but like untouched miniature worlds, they offer unspoiled habitats for many species of wildlife. Located in the Aldabra Group to the South West of Mahé is the Aldabra atoll, the largest raised atoll of coral in the world and a refuge for many endangered species. In 1982 Aldabra was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as an example of a significantly unspoiled raised coral atoll in the world.


Lying 4°-11° south of the Equator, in the Western Indian Ocean, Seychelles has a tropical climate and the temperature is consistently between 24 and 32°C with some humidity at all times. The Seychelles islands have a completely different climate pattern than the rest of Africa. From May to October the south-east trade winds (Southeast Monsoon) bring a relatively dry period. Reaching its peak in July/August, there is little precipitation and temperatures average 27°C, though seas can be a little rough. By November (pre-Northwest Monsoon), the winds start to change, bringing light, warmer winds and the start of the main rainy season. During December to March (Northwest Monsoon), Seychelles gets extremely wet, especially in December and January, though the vegetation is lush, the winds are generally light and the sun is at its warmest. The weather is hottest from December to April, and the humidity is high - often 80% or higher.

Flora and Fauna

The Seychelles is a botanical paradise with more than 2000 varieties of rare species of tropic and equatorial plants. Much of the original coastal vegetation that was seen by the first explorers is still intact and untouched by humans. Around 50% of the land area has been set aside as national parks and reserves as part of the conservation policies to protect the environment and its ecosystem. As a result, Seychelles is home to two of UNESCO World Heritage Site: Aldabra and Vallée de Mai, with the latter being the largest intact forest of the endemic Coco de Merin Seychelles.

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Female Coco-de-Mer Nut Male Coco-de-Mer