Outer Islands | So Seychelles

Outer Islands

The Farquar Islands

The Farquhar Group of Islands belong to the Outer Islands of Seychelles. They are 700 miles south west of Victoria, the capital city on Mahe Island. The Farquhar Group consists of one separate island and two atolls as well as one submerged reef. The group is made up of Farquhar Atoll that has two larger islands and eight small islets, Providence Atoll with two islets, which are Providence Island and Cerf Island, St. Pierre Island and Wizard Reef, which is submerged.

St. Pierre is surrounded with fossil coral cliffs that have been undercut and have many blowholes. Many caverns have been cut by the sea, so there is no fresh water on the atoll. It is almost impossible to access the island by sea, but there is a derelict jetty at a ruined settlement on the northwest coast that can only be accessed by boat in very calm weather.

The Amirantes Islands

The Amirantes Islands are part of the Outer Island Group of Seychelles. They are atolls and coral islands that were discovered by Vasco da Gama in 1502. They were most likely also known by early Indian and Arab traders. The Amirantes Islands consist of 11 main islands as well as numerous shoals, sand cays and atolls. The total population of the islands is about 100, and the main settlement is on the island of Desroches with a population of 50.

The Islands

Lady Denison-Pender Shoal is submerged, African Banks is a sand cay and Remire Reef is a drying reef, and all are uninhabited. Remire Island, which is an uplifted sand cay, has a coconut plantation.

African Banks is visited by people with charter yachts, and the island has been exploited by poachers for nesting birds. In 1995, there was one coconut tree, but, other than that, the island is treeless. A derelict automatic lighthouse is at the north-eastern end.

Alphonse Atoll + Islands

Alphonse Atoll, Bijoutier and St. Francois Atoll together are the Alphonse Group and are in the Outer Islands Group of the Seychelles. Alphonse is three kilometres north of St. Francois and has a population of less than 300 people. The island is 1.74 square kilometres with a diameter of three kilometres. Including the lagoon in the middle of the atoll, the island is eight square kilometres.

The small atolls were first named on the Portuguese charts as San Francisco after 1562. In 1730, the commander of a French frigate gave the islands his name, which was Alphonse de Pontevez. Today, Alphonse is famous for some of the best fly fishing in the world. The island is a one hour flight south of Mahe.

The Natural Habitat

The isolation of Alphonse attracts migratory birds. The Seychelles Bird Records Committee has found more bird species on Alphonse that on any island south of the granitics other than Aldabra. Conservation on the group of atolls is managed by Island Conservation Society.

Aldabra Atoll + Islands

Aldabra is a raised coral atoll on the western side of the archipelago, closer to Africa, and has been basically untouched by humans including the Persians and Arabs who found the island before the Portuguese arrived in 1511. For this reason, it is truly a natural wonder because it has been virtually unchanged for thousands of years.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The atoll is made up of four large islands made of coral that surrounds a shallow lagoon. There is a coral reef that encircles these four islands. The island is not easy to access and for this reason it still has the largest population of giant tortoises in the world.

The main importance of this untouched ecosystem is for the study of evolutionary and ecological processes. The extraordinary beauty of this atoll is derived from the diversity of the ocean and land, which join to make a spectacular array of formations and colours.