Seychelles Travel Guide

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Farquhar Group

The Farquhar Group consists of two large clusters of islands in the Outer Seychelles Islands, approximately 700 km away from Mahé. The group contains such islands as Farquhar, Providence Banks and Saint Pierre, the first two of which are atolls. Besides that, the almost completely submerged Wizard Reef belongs to the group. In total, the islands of the Farquhar Group take up around 10 square kilometres; the area including the lagoon is much larger, approximately 370 km² in total.


Farquhar Atoll

With an area of around 7.5 km², the Farquhar Atoll is the larger of the two atolls. What makes Farquhar unique is the 10 metre-high sand dunes that can be found here. The atoll was discovered in 1501 by Portuguese sailor João da Nova. From 1965 up until the Seychelles declared their independence in 1976, the island belonged to the British Empire. In total, the atoll consists of nine forested islands surrounding a beautiful lagoon, which is up to 14 m deep at its peak. Through the only two passages in the reef, boats can reach the inside of the lagoon. Or, on one of the nine islands, there is a small settlement with 15 residents and a small landing strip. Lucky tourists can also sometimes come to the island, as there is a small accommodation, usually used by researchers for the IDC (Island Development Company). Besides the lush shrubbery on the atoll, sea-faring birds and crabs can also be found here in their hundreds.


Providence Atoll

The Providence Atoll stretches out in a north-south direction for more than 30 km (19 miles), with a total area of 1.5 km². Belonging to the atoll are two islands that only protrude out of the water a few metres: Providence Island and Cerf Island. The Seychelles Island Development Company offers the chance for eco-tourists who are interested in the island's grey heron population to visit. For more information, visit the IDC website (Victoria/Mahé, Tel. 438 46 40) or various travel agencies on Mahé.


St. Pierre

Approximately 30 km (19 miles) west of Providence lies the almost completely-circular Saint Pierre Island, which is 1.68 square kilometres in size. As this is also part of of a so-called 'raised atoll', there are huge 12 metre riff cliffs here, which make landing a boat from the water almost impossible (the interior of the island is almost at sea level). After years of guano production, in the 1970s the island was once again under the ownership of the many sooty tern birds who come here in early summer to breed.