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Seychelles TravelSeychelles islands / Outer Islands

Outer Islands

Farquhar island, Alphonse island, Aldabra island
There are 115 islands that make up the republic called the Seychelles, and they are of two primary types: the more centralized islands of granite on the Seychelles plateau, and the low coralline cays, which are farther away from the eastern coast of Africa. The reef islands and atolls of the Outer Islands are located about ten degrees to the south of the equator.

The Outer Islands are further divided into five groups: the Aldabra group, over 1100 km from Mahe, the Farquhar group, the Alphonse group, the Southern Coral group, and the Amirantes, which are just over 200 km from the island of Mahe.

In all there are 43 Inner islands. Forty-one of them are granite islands, and the remaining two are coralline islands. all 72 of the outer islands are coralline.

Aldabra Island

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The remote Aldabra atoll, to the southwest of Mahe, is the largest raised atoll of coral in the entire world.

Because Aldabra is so unspoiled, it has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of two World Heritage Sites in the Seychelles, the other being the Vallee de Mai Nature Preserve.

Aldabra's small islets are home to a large variety of natural features. For one, it has the largest population in the world of giant tortoises. It also has the healthiest, most thriving colony of marine life in the archipelago, which is saying a lot!

Aldabra was first named by fisherman from Arabia. It has an intense, sun-baked climate, and the fast flowing waters on the island were offputting to most travelers and settlers. But there is still a very small number of people living on the island and has been since 1874. These are mostly contract workers from Mahe who go there to fish, mine guano, and create cop rah for the main islanders to trade.

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Aldabra is supervised by the Seychelles Island Foundation, and there are very strict rules in place to keep the island as pristine as possible with the healthiest possible ecosystem. Anyone wishing to stay on Aldabra has to have special permission. There is a small installation for top scientists to study the biodiversity in the atoll, but there are not hotels on the island. There are, however, yacht charters to Aldabra.

In the Amirantes unit, Desroches Island is the closest to Mahe, lying 230 km to the southwest. It is the only island in the Amirantes where people can visit. It is a coral land mass that is 1.5 km wide and 5 km long. Its most striking feature is 14 km of gorgeous coastline bordering many coconut palms.

The French governor of Mauritius was the source of the island's name of Desroches. Like many other Seychelles islands, Desroches was formerly a coconut plantation.

To get to the island and the Desroches Island Resort, visitors fly in from Mahe on a 50 minute flight. Desroches has many great opportunities for diving, fly fishing, and deep sea fishing.

Alphonse Island

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Alphonse, the largest island in the Alphonse group, is a triangular island of about 1.2 km across. It is ringed with a beautiful coral reef. Alphonse is located 400 km to the southwest of Mahe. At first, Alphonse was involved in the coconut business. It was also mined for guano, which is decayed bird droppings. Alphonse is a critical nesting ground for turtles, and is also home to many colonies of ocean birds.

Alphonse is one of the coralline islands of the Seychelles that offers lodging in upscale bungalows. This island, like Desroches, offers great opportunities for fishing and diving in unspoiled waters. Getting to Alphonse involves a one-hour flight from Mahe.

Farquhar Island

Located 700 km from Mahe is the Farquhar Atoll. It is made from the atolls of Farquhar and Providence with the cooperation of an islet called St. Pierre. The beautiful lagoons have sheltered anchored sea vessels, protecting them from the stormy oceans that surround the atoll.

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Tags: outer islands, islands, aldabra island, alphonse island, farquhar island, seychelles islands

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