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Ancient tortoise, pirate lair: 10 fascinating facts about Seychelles' people, natural attractions

Victoria, Seychelles | September 1, 2016, Thursday @ 12:50 in Entertainment » SEYCHELLES BUZZ | By: Salifa Magnan and Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3677
Ancient tortoise, pirate lair: 10 fascinating facts about Seychelles' people, natural attractions

(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board)

Photo license  

(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles is famous among visitors for its white sandy beaches and spectacular sunsets. As small as the country may be, it's still full of intrigue. SNA looks at 10 interesting facts about the island nation's people and natural attractions.

 

1. Esmeralda, a resident of Bird Island, is the world’s heaviest land tortoise living in the wild, tipping the scale at over 360kg. It is believed that she is over 170 years old.

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(Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

 

2. Seychelles is home to the world’s largest nut -- the Coco de Mer -- endemic to Praslin and Curieuse islands. The seeds can weigh up to an 30 kg. It was once thought that the seed originated from a tree growing under the ocean.

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(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY

 

3. The island nation has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Aldabra, one of the world’s largest coral atolls, is so vast that the whole of Mahé, the main island of Seychelles, could fit inside its lagoon.

Vallee de Mai on Praslin, the second-largest island, is where one can see the famous Coco de Mer in its natural habitat. British colonial army officer Major-General Gordon of Khartoum was convinced that it was the original site of the Biblical Garden of Eden.

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(Wikimedia) Photo License: (CC BY-SA 3.0)
(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY

 

4. The Vallee de Mai is home to the rare and endemic Seychelles Black Parrot (which is actually dark brown). It is the national bird of this 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

Source

(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY

 

5. The archipelago is an ideal place for nature lovers especially those looking for unique species. The paradise flycatcher, the Seychelles warbler, the jelly fish tree, and the Seychelles scops owl are some of the wildlife only seen in Seychelles.

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(Jeff Watson) Photo licenses: All Rights Reserved

 

6. Seychelles is an ideal place for ecotourism: over 50 percent of the land mass is protected by law. Seychelles also has 14 Marine Protected Areas. This ensures that the country’s biodiversity is preserved for future generations.

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(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY

 

7. Morne Seychellois is Seychelles’ highest peak. Towering over Mahe at 905m, the densely tree-covered mountain is one of the island’s terrestrial national parks.

(cloud-cuckoo-land.com/Flickr) Photo License: (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) 

 

8. Before the late 18th century, Seychelles was uninhabited. The first settlers were the French who came in the 1770 with African slaves. In the early 1800s the British took over Seychelles. That’s the reason why both English and French are two of the three national languages in Seychelles.

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(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

 

9. Will you be able to spot a Seychellois in a crowd of various nationalities? Probably not. That is because the Seychellois people are a melting pot of culture and colours being descendants of African, French, British, Indian and Chinese settlers. The Creole nation started to form in 1810, when the first ‘metisse’ child was born.

Source

(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY

 

10. Even before Seychelles was colonised, it was a popular hideout among pirates. It is believed that Olivier Levasseur, also known as La Buse, buried treasure estimated to be worth $250 million in Bel Ombre, a district in the north of Seychelles’ main island Mahe.

Source

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
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