Geography of Seychelles


The republic of Seychelles consists of 116 islands scattered over 1,000,000 sq. km. of sea in the middle of the Western Indian Ocean. The group comprises of 43 granitic islands with a land area of 245 sq. km., the largest and most populated of which is Mahé, and more than 73 coralline islands with a land area of 210 sq. km. The total area is 455 sq. km.


The granitic islands that form the main group are scattered around Mahé and all lie within a 56 km radius. The islands are of rugged formation and great scenic beauty, some seemingly rising straight out of the sea to great heights, but because of their mountainous nature, there is little flat land. Mahé is the most important island and lies between 4 and 5 degrees south of the equator, and between 55 and 56 degrees East runs down the whole length, most of which is over 300 m high, rising to the peak of Morne Seychellois at 905 m.


Mahé is about 1600 km north of west Mauritius, 925 km north east of Mombassa. The capital is Victoria, which came into being because it possesses an excellent harbour sheltered by a small group of islands offshore. The international airport of the republic is on Mahé and it is capable of handling the largest passenger aircraft.


Two other islands of major importance as regards size and permanent population are Praslin and La Digue. These two islands are about 8 km apart and lie about 40 km from Mahé to the Northeast. a third, Silhouette, is slightly larger than La Digue but is also the most mountainous island of the group and for this reason its population is small.


The coralline islands on the other hand are entirely different, being of coral formation built on submerged mountain peaks. A sprawl of over 70 islands, some mere sand cays almost entirely covered at high tide, whilst others are capable of supporting basic coconut and agricultural economies. The exception amongst the coralline islands is Aldabra, the land area of which is almost the same as that of Mahé. Aldabra has a most interesting fauna and flora, mainly consisting of ragged coral, ranging in width from 1 to 8 km long enclosing a very extensive lagoon. Few of the coralline islands have a resident population, labour when required  being recruited from Mahé on a contract basis.


The shade temperature varies little throughout the year, the hottest months being March and April (31 degrees Celsius) and the coolest being July and August (25 degrees Celsius). The southeast trade winds blow steadily from May to September and this period is the most pleasant time of the year. From November to April, the wind is mainly from the Northwest but is usually very light and the atmosphere very humid.


The rainfall varies considerably from island to island and from month to month. December and January are the wettest months and June and July the driest but much of the rainfall during the wet season comes from torrential downpours that usually last only a few hours before the clouds give way to blue skies. The islands attract very high rainfall of over 2000 mm per annum, however some of the coralline islands have only a few millimetres of rain each year.