The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands scattered off the coast of Kenya and Madagascar. Altogether, land areas represent just the surface of central Paris. From the fragmentation of continents, 41 granite islands are also called inner islands were formed. The three most important (Mahé, Praslin and La Digue) house almost the whole population. Rocky and green, these islands enjoy a lush and spectacular nature. The 74 so-called outer islands (including Bird, Amirante, Aldabra) are only the tip of coral reefs sometimes forming atolls. Mostly known as a tropical paradise, some of these islands are private areas which, though, remain accessible to the public.
Wildlife in the Seychelles
The Seychelles islands are home to 7 million migratory and resident birds. Seabirds are the most numerous; colonies preferentially elect an island or another where they can be observed. During the sensitive periods of the punters, the islands have seen regular waves of huge bird colonies establishing them as home. Their fascinating ballet and deafening cackle can really impress. Forest birds’ show is infinitely subtler yet it is also riskier. The banana bird, the widow and the barn owl are endangered.
Apart from dogfish and pitching, the family of mammals have few representatives. Reptiles and insects however are not missing. Of all sizes and shapes, they are however harmless. The four turtle species tend to be scarce. Just as shellfish and crustaceans which remain victims of human consumption.
The underwater environment is another source of astonishment. Tropical fish inhabit the lagoons of atolls and islands in the archipelago, plying between the corals. Unfortunately, most of these reefs have disappeared after rising temperatures caused by El Niño in 1998. Marine reserves, however, managed to preserve part of it all. We should not forget the populations of big fish (sharks, barracuda, swordfish) attract big fishermen.
Flora of the Seychelles
The mountains and the granitic coast are covered with tropical vegetation. The botanical inventory is impressive and relatively well preserved. However, there are only patches of primary forest (Valley de Mai, Silhouette) and many species introduced by birds or humans are now considered endemic. This is the case of the famous sea coconut visible on Praslin and Curieuse. On the Morne Seychellois, some specimens remain unique such as the jellyfish tree. Mangroves occupy the coasts. You will also see flowering species such as hibiscus, frangipani, flamboyant trees and fruitiers.
Le Morne Seychellois National Park
“Morne” is a Creole mountain. These crags have emerged under the pressure of the Pacific hotspots. Their rugged and tangled rainforests make up the bulk of the Morne Seychellois National Park, named after the climax. On the summits cling black clouds and lose the clearest skies. Enjoy a hike in a rare botany surrounding where coexist several forest types,. Rainforest thrives in wetlands. It is home to woodland giants which is a rare jellyfish tree. All of ti have this exotic charm distilled by unknown ferns, improbable shapes of mangrove bark brittle wood or wood mountain undergrowth blooming in lowland Vacoas and on the slopes of orchids. The endemic plant and animal species are dozens. Nine trails through the largest park in the country (1 / 5th of the island’s surface). They require several hours of walking and some are uneven. All or nearly all lead to lookouts and cross several natural habitats. The easiest way is the path of Morne Blanc which you can take from the way near Sanssouci. A visit to the Tea Factory is a must as well as Mission Lodge; the first to know the art of tea cultivation, the second for its gazebo and heritage.
Marine Park of Port Launay
The southwest coast of Mahé offers a great and almost untouched natural landscape. Certainly, some of the spots are fully dedicated to the high-end tourism, but many beautiful beaches are accessible. Two marine parks (Baie Ternay and Port Launay) preserve the natural wealth of this coast. Listed since 2004, where the mangrove cove dominates between Islette and Port Launay.
Eight bay beaches included in the park of Port Launay remain probably the most beautiful. On the coast, and tropical almond takamakas offer a green waterfront swept by turquoise waters. These are known to accommodate whale sharks, placid giants and small colorful fish. Whether one is in the water or sailing in a glass-bottomed boats, the world of silence guards its mysteries and its ability to attract.
The vegetation consists mainly of corals that has suffered from El Niño passing in 1998. Scientists found that they have got back their place in these ecosystems and are attract fish that disappeared since then such as parrotfish. The proactive policy of Seychelles with regard to its environment is now reaping the fruits of its measures. It is therefore recommended to snorkelers not dive more than two meters deep and walkers to leave nothing behind.
Marine Park of Sainte-Anne
Although located a few miles from Victoria (15 minutes by boat), the National Park of St. Anne manages to preserve a valuable ecosystem for the entire planet. Born in 1973, it was one of the first preserved areas of the Indian Ocean. It is unique in all the aspects possible from its vegetation to its wildlife. The largest park of the Seychelles (2 km2) is now privatized, but it was the haven of the first European inhabitants. Nearby, Cerf Island you will come across a most visited spot for its beaches and for its hawksbill. The richness of marine grasslands of the park has made its reputation. Nearly 150 species of fish crisscross through the corals. Moray eels, rays, wrasses evolve in solitary or benches seem familiar and snorkeling enthusiasts will be amazed. Horned Zancle also called paraha torus Polynesia had been returned to the water by local fishermen who lend it as s sacred character. This recognizable fish is known to all small, since it embodies a character from Finding Nemo. The best times to observe marine life are when the winds calm down (October to March). The fine sand does not blur your vision then.
Enjoy your visit of the Seychelles!