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Facts and Top Things to do in the Smallest African Country Seychelles

Africa covers 20% of land area and 6% of the earth’s surface area, occupying a total of 30,365,000 square kilometers (11,723,992 square miles).

The continent is the second-largest globally, with 54 countries split into six island nations and 48 mainland countries. The smallest countries in Africa come from these island nations.

Given this, by land size, Seychelles, officially called the Republic of Seychelles, is the smallest country in Africa, occupying 451 square kilometers (174 square miles).

Seychelles is an archipelago comprising 115 islands. It has the smallest population in Africa of about 98,000.

This article will take a clear look at the history, profile, things to do, and facts about the smallest country in Africa – Seychelles.

A brief history of the smallest country in Africa, Seychelles

Seychelles used to be an unoccupied island until the 15th of March, 1503, when a Portuguese ship passed the elevated island.

However, the first-ever proof of landing on the island was in January 1609 by an Ascension crew led by Captain Alexandra Sharpeign.

The island later became a transfer point for Asian and African traders and sometimes a pirates point.

In 1756, the French began to control the island until they had total possession and named it after the then France Minister of finance – Jean Moreau de Seychelles.

A power tussle began between Britain and France over the islands from 1778 to 1814 when England took over power Seychelles alongside Mauritius.

However, the country gained its independence from British colonization in 1976, becoming a commonwealth country.

Profile of Seychelles, the smallest African country

Let’s take a look at the general information about the smallest African country – Seychelles.

Official name: The official name of the country is Seychelles.

English: Republic of Seychelles

French: République des Seychelles

Creole: Repiblik Sesel

Capital city: The capital city of Seychelles is Victoria.

Currency: the currency in Seychelles is Seychellois Rupee (SCR) (1 Rs = 100 cents)

Official languages: the official languages in Seychelles are; Kreol seselwa (Seychellois Creole), French, English.

The climate at Seychelles: the northwest monsoon of Seychelles usually has warmer weather from March to May. All through the northwest monsoon, the atmosphere is calmer through May to September. Generally, Seychelles has a humid to tropical marine climate.

Independence Day: the independence day of Seychelles is the 29th of June, 1976.

Government type: the type of government at Seychelles is a multi-party republic.

Ethnic groups at Seychelles: Creole is the major ethnic group in the country, with people from Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Natural resources: the primary natural resources at Seychelles are copra, cinnamon trees, and fish (typically tuna).

Area/Size of the country: the size of Seychelles is 455 (km²), equivalents to 176 sq km.

Country calling code: the calling code for Seychelles is +248

Time zone: the time zone at Seychelles is SCT – Seychelles Times.

Local time: the local time at Seychelles is UTC +4h.

Literacy in Seychelles: the literacy rate at Seychelles is at about 80%.

The geographical location of Seychelles: Seychelles is in Eastern Africa, northeast of Madagascar, with over 1.3 million kilometers squares from the Western Indian Ocean.

Industries: The significant industries generating revenue for Seychelles include tourism, beverages, processing of coconuts and vanilla, fishing, coir (coconut fiber) rope, printing, boat building, and furniture.

Significant topography in Seychelles: most parts of the Seychelles islands have hills of about 900 meters in the center, with narrow coastal strips, uninhabited spots, and coral reefs, and are granites.

The highest point in Seychelles: the highest mountain peak at Seychelles is the Morne Seychelles, with a height of 905 meters.

Religion at Seychelles: Roman Catholic is the primary religion at Seychelles, covering 86%. Other faiths include 2.5% of other Christian denominations, 4.1% unknown religions, and 7% Anglicans.

Nationality of people from Seychelles: you can call people from Seychelles – Seychellois.

Agricultural products: The major agricultural products at Seychelles are tuna fish, cassava (tapioca), cinnamon, broiler chickens, vanilla, bananas, sweet potatoes, and coconuts.

Exports commodities: The major export commodities of Seychelles include; canned tuna, reexportation of petroleum products, and frozen fish.

Exports partners: The major export partners of Seychelles are Japan 5%, United Arab Emirates 17%, Mauritius 5%, United Kingdom 13%, Zambia 9%, British Virgin Islands 11%, and France 12%.

Imports commodities: the major export commodities of Seychelles are petroleum products, manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, chemicals, and foodstuffs.

Imports partners: the major import partners of Seychelles are South Africa 5%, United Arab Emirates 21%, China 5%, Spain 5%, France 6%, Qatar 13%, Germany 6%, and the British Virgin Islands 7%.

10 Top Things to do at Seychelles, the smallest African country

Though a small country, Seychelles is beautiful with many attractive sites starting from the stunning beaches to their elaborate way of life.

Seychelles has something for adventure travelers and leisure visitors, among others. 

Here are the most popular fun-filled things to do at Seychelles;

1. Stopover at Praslin Island

Praslin Island holds quite a wealthy record. It houses many beautiful species of wildlife, making it a one-stop destination for nature travelers.

Vallee de Mai is a must stop at the Praslin island. It is a nature reserve and a prehistoric forest with Coco de Mer palms.

Coco de Mer palm is colloquially called the Garden of Eden because of its stunning beauty. It has more than 4,000 trees with giant palm seeds on earth, and you can also spot some native birds in this region.

2. Sightseeing at Bird Island

The Bird Island at Seychelles is truly a birders paradise. The island houses about 1,500,000 sooty terns birds that migrate around May to October.

Photographers can also spot species like the plovers, mynas, fairy and noddy terns, crested terns, cardinals, and ground doves, among others, in their nests across Bird Island. You can also see giant tortoises around the Island.

3. Exploring the Mahe Island

Mahe Island holds a lot of attractions worth your exploration. It is on Mahe Island that you will see Victoria, the smallest capital in the world.

The Mahe Island houses National Museum, which holds Seychelle’s history. You can also explore the markets, streets, and most especially the clock tower. The clock tower was a 1903 gift to the Mahe, almost like the tower at Vauxhall Bridge Road in London.

Mahe Island, the largest island in Seychelles, also offers hiking trails, among which Anse Major Trail, Morne Blanc Trail, and Coppola Trail are the most popular.

4. Travel around the island on a boat tour

A boat tour around the Island is one sure thing you should try out anytime you visit Seychelles.

The tour guides assist visitors in having great fun, and you can take a quick stop at St Pierre, Curieuse Island, Cousin Island, among others.

5. Discover the La Digue Island

La Digue Island is among the most peaceful and calm islands in the world. You can take a sunbath or stroll through the beaches mingling with the locals.

Most importantly, the coconut plantation at La Digue Island is a sight to behold. You can also take a stroll at the Anse Source d’Argent beach to feel the breeze.

Another not-to-miss attraction on the island is the L’Union Estate farm, a theme park.

The farm attractions like the tortoise pen, graveyard of the colonial era, ox-powered oil extraction machine, among many plantations, are true sights to behold.

6. Enjoy a local life at the Sir Selwyn Clarke market

Sir Selwyn Clarke market is the most popular market in Seychelles located at Victoria. The market is always lively from morning 4 am till evening 5 pm Monday to Friday.

There, you will experience firsthand the Seychelles culture, including the Creole food. A lot of stalls here sell souvenirs ranging from artworks, flavored oils, and sarongs.

Another market worthy of your visit is the Last Saturday of the month Bazaar Labrin at the Beau Vallon beach. Another market is the Victoria Bazaar at the market street, which opens only on Fridays.

7. Explore the Seychelles beaches

A visit to Seychelles will not be complete if you do not take time to see the beaches. Among the most popular beaches to see in Seychelles is the Anse Georgette beach close to the Constance Lemuria Resort on Praslin Island.

Other beaches to explore are Anse Lazio, Beau Vallon, Anse Georgette beach, Anse Louis, Anse Source d’Argent, Anse Lazio, Anse Cocos, Anse Intendance, and Petite Anse.

8. Rally with giant tortoises at Cousin Island or Curieuse Island

A visit to the giant tortoise of Seychelles will sure make your entire stay in the country remarkable. You can also spot these gentle giants from Cousin Island and Curieuse Island at the Galapagos Island.

Some of these tortoises have the size of a bathtub. You have to cruise to Aldabra coral atoll, among other destinations, to meet with the tortoise.

9. Observe baby Hawksbill sea turtles

Have you observed a turtle lay eggs in real life? If not, at Seychelles, you have the opportunity to spot turtles as they lay their eggs before they stroll into the sea.

The most popular spots you can find the Hawksbill Sea turtles lay their eggs are Bird Island, Cousin Island, and North Island.

The turtles nest around September and hatch around January to March. A turtle can lay up to a thousand eggs every season, and you can volunteer to monitor them around November to March.

10. Tour around the national parks in Seychelles

Seychelles’ most famous national parks are the Vallée de Mai National Park, PraslinMorne Seychellois National Park, and the Ste Anne Marine National Park.

Vallée de Mai National Park hides you from the sand, sea, and sun. Nature enthusiasts can’t resist this park as it has about4,000 giant palm trees, nature hiking trails, among other wildlife.

Morne Seychellois National Park, on the other hand, is the largest of all the national parks in Seychelles, covering Mahe’s landscape of about 20%. It is a one-stop destination for hikers and nature lovers.

Ste Anne Marine National Park is the first national park in the Indian Ocean built-in 1973. It covers six islands and is the best place for excursions, including snorkeling, wildlife exploration, and scuba diving.

Facts about the smallest African country – Seychelles

Below, you will know interesting facts that made Seychelles stand out irrespective of its smallest country in Africa.

  • The smallest country in Africa, Seychelles is the wealthiest country, judging by their most astonishing GDP per capita of $26,120.
  • About 30% of Seychelles inhabitants work in the tourism industry, which is the highest in the country.
  • In history, Seychelles was once a hideout for pirates as the popular pirate Olivier Levasseur buried unfound treasures there.
  • People believe that a spirit guard’s treasures live at the Saint Anne Marine National Park, Moyenne Island, Seychelles.
  • The most popular food in Seychelles is breadfruit which they prepare in many ways ranging from boiling or frying with other food items.
  • Seychelles, a small country in Africa, sited near the warm Indian Ocean, is a top tourist destination with many attractions.
  • In 1958, the famous James Bond visited Seychelles, after which he wrote those his adventures in For Your Eyes story.
  • The capital of Seychelles is Victoria, and it is situated 1,500km away from the mainland African nations. Victoria is the smallest capital city globally, as you can trek around the city in a day.
  • At Bird Island, you can spot one of the heaviest tortoises globally, called the name Esmeralda, which weighs 670 pounds.
  • It is in Seychelles that explorers found extinct bare-footed Scops owl in 1959. The country is home to many endemic birds.
  • The sea coconut called coco de Mer in Seychelles has giant seeds globally, weighing about 33 pounds.

The smallest country in mainland Africa is what?

Out of the 48 mainland countries in Africa, Gambia is the smallest of them all. The Gambia has a land area of 11,295 kilometers square with a population of 2.5 million people.

What is the first smallest country in Africa?

The first smallest country in Africa is the Republic of Seychelles, occupying 451-kilometer squares. Other details about Seychelles are already in this article.

In 2021, what is the smallest country in Africa?

In the year 2021, the smallest country in Africa is the Republic of Seychelles. Though it has 115 islands and 98,000 people, it occupies a land area of 451-kilometer squares.

What are the two smallest countries in Africa?

The two smallest countries in Africa are Seychelles, with a 451-kilometer squares land area, and Sao Tome and Principe, with a 964-kilometer squares land area.

Final Words

Though Seychelles is a small country and one of the smallest globally, it holds lots of attraction with a rich history.

The information here shows how the country started and its present state, including the best places to explore and exciting facts about Seychelles.

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