'Archipelago' is a term used to refer to a group of islands. The Seychelles Archipelago is made up of 115 islands. They are either Coralline or Granitic, classified as Inner or Outer Islands. The archipelago is located in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar. The landmass is only 457km2, but the islands are spread over an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1,374,000km2.
The granitic islands of Seychelles are considered to be the oldest and hardest granite in the world and also the Seychelles are the only mid oceanic granitic islands in the world.
The Inner Islands are a collective term for 42 islands, 2 of which are coralline. The largest granitic island of Seychelles is Mahe with a size of 142km2, the island is also home to the capital city of Seychelles, Victoria. About 90% of the total population of Seychelles (87,440 people) live on Mahe.
The second largest island of Seychelles is Praslin and the third is Silhouette.
All the granitic islands of Seychelles are covered in lush green tropical vegetation. The highest peak in Seychelles is located on Mahe. Morne Seychellois rises to 905m and offers astounding views. Trees are evergreen and many species are endemic only to the Seychelles, such as the Coco de Mer, the worlds largest nut, found on Praslin island.
The only 2 coralline islands found in the inner group are Denis Island and Bird Island.
Bird Island, formerly known as Ile aux Vaches Marine, is home to the planets most important sooty tern colonies, close to 2-3 million birds.
Coralline islands have sparse coastal vegetation.
The outer islands of Seychelles are separated into five groups of Coralline islands. The southern coral group is a collective term for Ile Plate and Coetivy island.
The Amirante group.
The Alphonse group.
The Farquhar group.
The Aldabra group.
One of the worlds most important atolls is located in the Aldabra group, and this is none other than the Aldabra Atoll. Home to the worlds largest colony of Aldabra Giant tortoises, 100,000 of these creatures roam the land in complete freedom and unique isolation. Unique in the sense that the atoll was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1982 and has since then remained untouched by man. Only a fortunate few have set foot on the island, and even then rules limit what one can see or where one can go.
Due to there isolation from the near inner group, the outer groups only have 2% of the population. These are only wardens or scientists that live in a small base on the islands. The coral islands are flat with elevated coral reefs at different stages of formation. They have no fresh water sources and the close to baron landscapes can sustain human life only with difficulty.
Due to the fact that many of the islands have remained undeveloped so as to preserve their endemic beauty, very few of them are accessible by air. Islands of interest in the inner group that can be visited by plane or Helicopter are Mahe, Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Denis, Bird and Sainte Anne.
Islands of interest in the outer group are Desroches and Fregate.