Republic since 1976. Gained independence from the UK in 1975.
Head of state:
President James Alix Michel since 2004.
240 volts AC, 50Hz. British three-pin plugs are in use.
An isolated island paradise of daydream material, the Seychelles offer fine beaches, turquoise seas and deliciously warm weather. Rare plantlife thrives on this Indian Ocean archipelago: no less than 81 species are unique survivors from the luxuriant tropical forests that covered the islands until humanity's arrival two centuries ago; outstanding amongst these is the coco-de-mer (sea coconut), native to Praslin, which grows in the Vallée de Mai.
The Seychelles are also a major attraction for birdwatchers. Up to two million sooty terns nest on Bird Island, and on Aride can be found the world's largest colonies of lesser noddies, roseate terns and other tropical birds.
After French colonial rule, under which the islands were named after the royal accountant Vicomte Moreau de Séchelles, the islands were annexed by Britain. For 150 years, isolated from the rest of the world and all but ignored by the major European powers, the Seychelles developed their own colourful traditions, language and culture.
Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, especially for shipping which does not take appropriate precautions or follow agreed shipping industry best practice guidelines. Most visits to the Seychelles are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Please note that beaches and parked cars are favourite targets for petty thieves.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice.