About Seychelles
The Republic of Seychelles, a colonial Island of France and Great Britain consists of 115 Islands covering a land area of 455 km² in the western Indian Ocean. It is located some 1,600 km east of mainland Africa and northeast of the Island of Madagascar. Other nearby Island countries Mauritius and Reunion to the south, Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest, and the Maldives to the northeast.
It represents an archipelago of legendary beauty situated between latitude 4° and 11° S and longitude 46° and 56° E. 41 of the Islands constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite Islands on earth while a further 74 form the low-lying coral atolls and reef Islands of the Outer Islands.
The granitic Islands of the Seychelles archipelago cluster around the main Island of Mahé, home to the international airport and the capital, Victoria, and its satellites Praslin and La Digue. Together, these Inner Islands form the cultural and economic hub of the nation and contain the majority of Seychelles’ tourism facilities as well as its most beautiful beaches.
Seychelles has a population of about 81,188 with a unique blend of different races, cultures and religions.. Creole is the native language of 94% of the people, however, English and French are commonly used. English remains the language of government and commerce.
The capital city, Victoria, is situated on Mahe, which is the largest Island and home to about 90% of the total population. The two other Islands with significant permanent populations are Praslin and La Digue.
Praslin, the second largest Island of the Seychelles archipelago, it is most known for Vallee de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for the famous "Coco de Mer (coco fesse) ", the largest seed in the plant kingdom. Also listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and protected from human influence, Aldabra, the largest atoll in the world, is the home to 152,000 giant tortoises.
The Islands experience a sub tropical marine climate that is generally warm and humid, averaging 29ºC (84ºF) throughout the year, with more rain around November to March. The cooler season is during southeast monsoon (late May to September) while the warmer season is during northwest monsoon (March to May). Because most of the Islands lie outside the cyclone belt, severe storms are rare.
Seychelles MapAfrica Seychelles map
Background: A lengthy struggle between France and Great Britain for the Islands ended in 1814, when they were ceded to the latter. Independence came in 1976. Socialist rule was brought to a close with a new constitution and free elections in 1993. President France-Albert RENE, who had served since 1977, was re-elected in 2001, but stepped down in 2004. Vice President James MICHEL took over the presidency and in July 2006 was elected to a new five-year term
Location: archipelago in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar
Area: total: 455 sq km
land: 455 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Coastline: 491 km
Climate: tropical marine; humid; cooler season during southeast monsoon (late May to September); warmer season during northwest monsoon (March to May)
Health No vaccinations are required. However a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers over 1 year old who arrive from areas where yellow fever cases are reported
Terrain: Mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Morne Seychellois 905 m
Natural resources: fish, copra, cinnamon trees
Natural hazards: lies outside the cyclone belt, so severe storms are rare; short droughts possible
Geography - note: 41 granitic and about 75 coralline Islands
Population: 81,895 (July 2007 est.)
Ethnic groups: mixed French, African, Indian, Chinese, and Arab
Religions: Roman Catholic 82.3%, Anglican 6.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.1%, other Christian 3.4%, Hindu 2.1%, Muslim 1.1%, other non-Christian 1.5%, unspecified 1.5%, none 0.6% (2002 census)
Languages: Creole 91.8%, English 4.9% (official), other 3.1%, unspecified 0.2% (2002 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.8%
male: 91.4%
female: 92.3% (2002 census)
Capital: name: Victoria
geographic coordinates: 4 38 S, 55 27 E
Government type: Republic
Administrative divisions: 23 administrative districts; Anse aux Pins, Anse Boileau, Anse Etoile, Anse Louis, Anse Royale, Baie Lazare, Baie Sainte Anne, Beau Vallon, Bel Air, Bel Ombre, Cascade, Glacis, Grand' Anse (on Mahe), Grand' Anse (on Praslin), La Digue, La Riviere Anglaise, Mont Buxton, Mont Fleuri, Plaisance, Pointe La Rue, Port Glaud, Saint Louis, Takamaka
Independence : 29 June 1976 (from UK)
Judicial branch: Court of Appeal; Supreme Court; judges for both courts are appointed by the president
Legal system: based on English common law, French civil law, and customary law
Driving People in Seychelles drive on the left-hand side of the road and give way to the right. Foreigners with a driving licence issued by a Competent Authority in their respective countries are allowed to drive during their stay in Seychelles .
Economy - overview: Since independence in 1976, per capita output in this Indian Ocean archipelago has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labor force and provides more than 70% of hard currency earnings, and by tuna fishing. In recent years, the government has encouraged foreign investment to upgrade hotels and other services. At the same time, the government has moved to reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, and small-scale manufacturing. Sharp drops illustrated the vulnerability of the tourist sector in 1991-92 due largely to the Gulf War and once again following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the US. Growth slowed in 1998-2002 and fell in 2003, due to sluggish tourist and tuna sectors, but resumed in 2004. Growth turned negative again in 2005-06. Tight controls on exchange rates and the scarcity of foreign exchange have impaired short-term economic prospects. The black-market value of the Seychelles rupee is half the official exchange rate; without a devaluation of the currency, the tourist sector may remain sluggish as vacationers seek cheaper destinations such as Comoros, Mauritius, and Madagascar.
GDP by sector: agriculture: 2.5%
industry: 26.3%
services: 71.2% (2006 est.)
Industries: fishing, tourism, processing of coconuts and vanilla, coir (coconut fiber) rope, boat building, printing, furniture; beverages
Agriculture - products: coconuts, cinnamon, vanilla, sweet potatoes, cassava (tapioca), bananas; poultry; tuna
Electricity: 220 volts
Visa & entry requirements No foreigners require a visa to enter Seychelles. A one-month visitor's permit is issued on arrival and may be extended on application. All visitors do, however, require a passport valid for the duration of their visit, return or onward ticket, sufficient funds to cover their stay (a minimum of US$150 per day), and proof of accommodation. Extensions are possible if applied for at least a week before expiry of original visa.
Currency (code): Seychelles rupee (SCR)
Credit Cards: Credit cards are normally accepted by banks and most hotels, restaurants and tourist shops
Sales Tax: A 12% goods and services tax (GST) is payable on goods and services including hotel and restaurant bills
Emergency Fire, police or ambulance: 999,Victoria Hospital and the Intensive Care Unit on Mahé: 38 80 00, Praslin Hospital: 23 23 33, La Digue Logan Hospital: 23 42 5