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Seychelles Travel Guide

The Complete Guide to the Seychelles Book accomodation

The Coral Islands

How Many Coral Islands are in the Seychelles?

In total, there are 73 coral islands in the Seychelles. These islands stretch in an arc almost all the way to the east coast of Africa.

The Northern Coral Islands (or Northern Coral Group) is a collective term for the islands that are located within the Seychelles reef plain, but are not made of granite like the other inner islands. The Northern Coral Islands include Bird Island and Denis Island.

ImageDenis Island, perhaps the jewel of the Seychelles' coral islands

The Southern Coral Islands (or Southern Coral Group) are the isolated islands located outside of the Seychelles reef plain, consisting of coral, and including groups such as the Amirantes, as well as islands such as Coëtivy and Platte.

 

What are Coral Reefs?

Coral reefs are sea formations that are formed of cnidarians, and are the largest living organisms on earth. The total area of present-day coral reefs is around 600,000 km² (230,000 sq. miles). Coral islands and reefs are restricted to warmer seas, as they need a temperature of between 18 and 30 °C to survive.

A coral island is caused by permanent changes in sea levels. As coral can grow all the way up to the surface of the water, if the sea level drops then these can become islands, often in the form of an atoll.

ImageBeautiful sandy beach on one of the Seychelles' coral islands

In its initial stages, a coral island is still a very inhospitable habitat, with few nutrients available for animal life. A fresh water supply is also an issue for land plants. Therefore, the first animals to settle on coral islands tend to be creatures such as sea turtles and birds who rest and nest there, but find their food in the sea. They then bring plant seeds onto the islands in their feathers or they are excreted in their faeces.

Other seeds may be brought through the air or, as with the buoyant seeds of many mangrove plants, wash up on the shore. The first plants to successfully colonise a coral island are usually simple species, able to cope well without water or with salty water supplies, as well as without nutrients. When they die and decompose, their remains contribute to the formation of compost, which then improves the water retention in the soil, helping other plants to grow.

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New: Free cancellation up to 45 days before travel date
Dear customers,

For all bookings made after 26 May 2020, we would like to offer you special cancellation conditions that are more flexible and without risk for you. Cancel your holiday up to 45 days before the start of your trip without any cancellation fees. In addition, no payment of the deposit of your trip is required until it is clearly and officially communicated that travelling to the Seychelles is possible again.

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New: Free cancellation up to 45 days before travel date