The Real Reasons Why You Need to Visit the Seychelles Pronto
The Seychelles possess an unmistakeable allure.
But there is so much more to this place than meets the eye.
When you first see photos of the Seychelles, you are immediately taken aback by its distinct and exceptional beauty. Its palm tree fringed and granite boulder-lined white sand beaches are otherworldly, and its thick, lush, vibrant green jungles and turquoise waters are more than enough to give any social media scroller the most serious case of #FOMO. But as if the visible beauty of this island nation wasn’t cause enough to book a plane ticket this very instant, there are a million more reasons (more than just the pristine beaches and the year-round pleasant weather that the other blogs talk about) embedded within the inner-workings of the country that make it a must-see in this lifetime. Here are just a few.
The Seychelles is an archipelago located in the Indian Ocean whose islands are granitic islands, comprised primarily of impressive granite fragments broken off from the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. They are the only oceanic islands in the world made of granite, and they are the oldest islands in the world. The granite emerges in the forms of monumental boulders within cities and along beaches and coastlines, and as towering vertical cliffs reaching skyward on the faces of mountains.
Beyond the core granitic islands of the Seychelles, the outer lying islands lay far less explored, but are equally fascinating and unique. Have you ever heard of an atoll? They are trippy. I’m no geologist, but here’s the Cliffs Notes version of what they are and how they are formed (it’s complicated): An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef, island, or chain of islands that surrounds a body of water called a lagoon, sometimes protecting a central island. They are formed when an underwater volcano, called a seamount, erupts enough times for the lava buildup to break the surface of the water, forming an island. Then after dormancy, the underwater hardened lava provides a perfect ecosystem to make way for hermatypic corals to build a fringing reef surrounding the island. The seamount eventually erodes away and sinks (the process of subsidence) as the coral reefs continue to grow upward and become a barrier reef. Circumstantial differences allow for the outer ocean-facing rim of the coral to thrive, while the inner lagoon-facing rim suffers and dies. The ocean pounds away at the dead coral, creating sand and rubble — now, mix that with algae and other organic material then pile it on top of the reef and it forms the dry land and beaches, making way for an entirely new wave of life forms above sea level. You now have an atoll! That entire process can take up to 30 million years, and yet, the Seychelles is abundant with these atolls.
I’m telling you, Mother Nature did not come to play when it came to the Seychelles.
The Seychelles islands are the birthplace of many endemic flora and fauna and sustain a unique biodiversity that has evolved particularly to the environment. There are about 80 endemic species of plant life, over 2,000 endemic species of invertebrates alone, and over 1,000 species of fish inhabiting the oceans within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
It is home to the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, one of the largest tortoises in the world — weighing 330-550 lbs, with a lifespan of 80-225 years! It is also home to the famed Coco De Mer, the native and endemic palm that bears fruit with the largest nut in the world. This incredibly rare and suggestively shaped nut is a feat in and of itself — it takes up to 40 years for the palm to reach adulthood, 7-10 years for the nut to grow and fall off the tree, and another 10 years for the nut to dry and become ready for sale.
The Seychelles’ unique climate and terrain induce an ecosystem so unique, that there are not 1, but 2 named and protected UNESCO World Heritage Sites within the islands: the Aldabra atoll (the largest atoll in the world) and Vallee De Mai (the largest in tact forest of the rare Coco De Mer in the world).
Again, Mother Nature is out there doing it big. Literally.
The conservation efforts in the Seychelles are extraordinary and quite unprecedented, setting examples for the rest of the world. They are the first at many things. Over 50% of the Seychelles’ total land mass has been set aside and protected as national parks and reserves under the country’s conservation policies, and they are the first country in the world to protect more than half of its total land mass area.
They also developed the first carbon neutral Nature Reserve in the world. You read that right! Within Cousine Island Nature Reserve, they worked with Carbon Clear (a European carbon management company) to assess their carbon footprint comprehensively. They devised a plan to invest funds from ecotourism into climate adaptation projects in other countries, purchasing enough carbon credits to offset what the forest in the Reserve could not absorb. The result — true carbon neutrality.
Lastly, they are the first nation to implement a debt-for-nature swap, whereby the Nature Conservancy bought up nearly $22 million of Seychelles’ outstanding $406 million in sovereign debt, in return for the country protecting a third of its marine area under law versus the previous less than 1% protected. This movement is ushering in the development of the second largest Marine Protected Area in the West Indian Ocean.
Humans are out there doing it big too, apparently! We applaud you. It’s a beautiful thing when humanity and Mother Nature work side by side.
Sure, when you visit the Seychelles you are greeted with immaculate beaches, incredible weather, and delicious Creole Food. But beyond those obvious elements lies some of the true wonders of the world that will spark your curiosity and fascination, as well as a community of locals and inhabitants who do not take the beauty of the land for granted nor do they take their responsibility to safeguard it lightly. Our mindful visits to this incredible island nation will keep their economy alive and thriving, and will further their pioneering work in protecting and nourishing their beloved home. And this is really why you should visit the Seychelles — because it is some of Mother Nature’s best work in a consolidated area, and because the harmony in which the Seychellois choose to live with their little corner of the world is to be celebrated, revered, and supported.
Travel to the Seychelles, then take home the pictures, the tanned skin, the full belly, and most importantly, the knowledge. It is the types of experiences and the knowledge available in the Seychelles that could potentially ignite the paradigm shift to save our planet.