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Beach in La Digue island, Seychelles
Beach in La Digue island. Seychelles are the only granitic mid-oceanic islands in the world / Didier Baertschiger, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Seychelles are certainly unique. Some of these islands consist of granite - these are part of the ancient Gondwana continent, the only mid-oceanic granitic islands in the world.

Happily people settled here rather late. As a result on Seychelles live unique plants and animals, not met anywhere else in the world. Here are found more than 230 endemic plant species and many unique species of animals - birds, bats, reptiles, fishes and others.

Highlights of Seychelles are its unique ecosystems. Especially interesting are two such ecosystems - Aldabra island dominated by giant tortoises and Vallée de Mai with its coco de mer and world's largest nuts.

Ecosystems and animal colonies

  • Aldabra - Aldabra atoll. Second largest coral atoll by land area in the world, with unique ecosystem. Contains world's largest population of giant tortoises - 100,000 endemic Aldabra Giant Tortoises (Dipsochelys dussumieri), which dominate the ecosystem. Numerous other endemic species of animals and plants, including the flightless Aldabra rail (Dryolimnas cuvieri aldabranus).
  • Terns in Bird Island, Seychelles
    Terns in Bird Island / Phil Guest, / CC BY-SA 2.0
    Aride Island bird colonies - Aride. More than 1.25 million seabirds breed on this small granitic island including the world's largest colonies of Lesser Noddy (Anous tenuirostris), Audubon's Shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri), world's largest population of Seychelles Warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis). Endemic gardenia plant Rothmannia annae.
  • Bird Island bird colonies - Bird Island. Small coral island where live some 0.7 million pairs of soothy terns (Onychoprion fuscatus).
  • Mahé forests - Mahé. Rainforest in this largest island of Seychelles has numerous endemic species of plants and animals, including the exotic jellyfish tree (Medusagyne oppositifolia) - possible relict from the times when Seychelles were a part of Gondwana continent. Here are found also endemic orchids.
  • Silhouette island primeval forest - Silhouette. Primeval forest on the third largest island in Seychelles, with numerous endemic species of plants and animals, including the beautiful Schefflera procumbens. Granitic hills rise up to 740 m tall.
  • Vallée de Mai - Praslin. Relict of Gondwana, natural palm forest with the endemic coco de mer palm (Lodoicea maldivica) grove and five other endemic palms. Coco de mer grows up to 34 m tall and has the largest seeds in plant kingdom - up to 42 kg heavy nuts. Many other endemic species of plants and animals, numerous vanilla orchids.
Lorloz in the centre of Victoria, Seychelles
Lorloz in the centre of Victoria / Phil Guest, / CC BY 2.0

Other landmarks

  • Arul Mihu Navasakthi Hindu Temple - Mahé, Victoria. Ornate Hindu temple, built in 1992.
  • Dauban Mausoleum - Silhouette. Family mausoleum of the influential Dauban family, built in Neo-Classicist style.
  • Lorloz (Victoria Clock Tower) - Mahé. Ornate historical clock tower in the centre of Victoria, installed in 1903.
  • Sauzier Waterfall (Port Glaud Falls) - western Mahé. Picturesque falls, cascading down the granite blocks.

List of described attractions

ArrowVallée de MaiEcosystems

Map of Seychelles

Featured: Vallée de Mai

Vallée de Mai, Seychelles
Vallée de Mai / Reed Wiedower, , CC BY-SA 2.0

The palm forest in Vallée de Mai is a descendant of the primeval forests of Gondwana continent. Here live numerous plants and animals which are found only on granitic islands of Seychelles. The most exclusive plant here is coco de mer palm (Lodoicea maldivica) with the largest seeds in the world.

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