Ministry of Tourism and Transport, Seychelles
The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands spread over 1.5 million square kilometres off the Western Indian Ocean with a land area of around 450 square kilometres. The islands are the only Indian-Ocean granite islands in the world; the others are coral rising to only a few feet above sea level. They are estimated to be over 650 million years old and are believed to be the remaining peaks of a now subsided Gondwanaland continent.
The weather in Seychelles is generally warm and humid with two monsoon seasons. The temperature varies between 24 and 30 degrees Celsius (75-86 degrees Fahrenheit) all year; the coolest months are from June to October and the hottest from December to April. As in any tropical paradise it rains, but the great thing is that it is nearly always localised - if one beach gets rain chances are that one will be basking in glorious sun just a few kilometres away.
The population stands at 73,000 and is made up of a mixture of European, African and Asian origins living in harmony, in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The culture is a unique blend and the mother tongue is Creole, but English and French are also national languages.
The fundamental attractions of the Seychelles as a holiday destination are the beauty and diversity of its islands and seascapes, the purity of the environment, the friendliness, warmth and the way of life of the Seychellois and the unique flora and fauna.
All of this wondrous beauty is protected, over 46 per cent of the total land mass having been designated as National Parks Reserves or protected areas. Many species of the plant kingdom are still being discovered. The Cycads - one of the oldest and most primitive of plants are found growing above the quiet roads of La Digue.
Seychelles with its two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is a real champion of nature lovers. Aldabra, the largest atoll in the world, has more than 150,000 giant tortoises and a unique ecosytem, while the Vallee de Mai on Praslin where the mysterious Coco de Mer Palm grows, the largest seed in the vegetable kingdom, has some of the tallest and oldest palms ranging from 800 to 1,000 years and there are some 4,0000 of these trees.
For the ornithologists there are 13 endemic species of very rare birds. The bare-legged Scops Owl, thought to be extinct, is found on Mahé. Praslin is the home of the rare Black Parrot, the Seychelles Bulbul, and the Blue Pigeon. La Digue is home to the 30 very rare Paradise Fly Catchers and the Seychelles Cave Swiflets. Bird lovers must not miss Cousin and Aride, both sanctuaries, owned by the International Council for Bird Preservation which also play host to the rare Seychelles Brush Warbler. Aride has the greatest concentration of sea birds in the entire region and boasts the world's largest colonies of both Lesser Noddy and Roseate Terns. Fregate has an interesting bird population of nearly 50 different species and the Seychelles Magpie Robin which appears to survive only there. Bird Island is known for the one and half million Sooty Terns which nest, breed and hatch their chicks from May to November.
The waters surrounding the islands have a large and varied marine life. Big game fishing is a great new sport with great potential in Seychelles and the destination already boats five world records for the Dog Tooth and the Yellow Fin Tuna. Bird Island situated on the edge of the Seychelles Bank where the sea drops suddenly to over 100 fathoms, is an ideal spot for keen anglers searching for big game fish such as Marlin and Sailfish. Denis Island, a coral cay with a strikingly rich vegetation, has already yielded several world records plus rewarding catches of Marlin, Sailfish, Barracuda, Wahool, Dorade and Job. Turtles laying their eggs in the sand are a common sight and the island also has a population of giant tortoises roaming freely.
Desroches Island stands majestically on a submerged atoll, in the Amirantes group and has an abundance of marine life surrounded by about 50 miles of reef, ideal for scuba diving, just waiting to be explored.
On-board diving has been introduced, mostly discovering dives in the outer groups of the Seychelles islands.
Cruising the waters of the Indian Ocean has received a significant boost following the decision of Renaissance Cruises to base two of their luxurious cruise ships in the Seychelles.
The Ministry of Tourism has been entrusted with the responsibility of managing a new 600-seat capacity International Conference Centre situated in the capital, Victoria, and is now actively tapping the incentive and conference market.
Apart from the fundamental attractions of the Seychelles, the islands are ideal for weddings and honeymooners and also offer a complete family holiday. The islands are safe in all aspects, situated outside the cyclone belt with a good climate, no malaria, political stability, safe swimming and friendly hosts, to name but a few.