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Geography of Seychelles

Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean about 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) east of Kenya. The nation comprises an archipelago of 115 tropical islands with two distinct collections of islands, some granite and some of coral. The Mahe Group[?] consists of 40 granite islands, all within a 56-kilometer (35 mi.) radius of the main island of Mahe[?]. These islands are rocky, and most have a narrow coastal stripe and a central range of hills rising as high as 914 meters (3,000 ft.). Mahe is the largest island -- 9,142 sq. km (55-sq. mi.) -- and is the site of Victoria, the capital. The coral islands are flat with elevated coral reefs at different stages of formation. They have no fresh water and can sustain human life only with difficulty.

The climate is equable and healthy, although quite humid, as the islands are small and subject to marine influences. The temperature varies little throughout the year. Temperatures on Mahe vary from 24°C to 29.9°C (75°F-85°F), and rainfall ranges from 288 centimeters (90 in.) annually at Victoria[?] to 355 centimeters (140 in.) on the mountain slopes. Precipitation is somewhat less on the other islands. During the coolest months, July and August, it drops to as low as 70°F. The southeast trade winds blow regularly from May to November, and this is the most pleasant time of the year. The hot months are from December to April, with higher humidity (80). March and April are the hottest months, but the temperature seldom exceeds 88°F. Most of the islands lie outside the cyclone belt, so high winds are rare.

Location: Eastern Africa, group of islands in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar

Geographic coordinates: 4 35 S, 55 40 E

Map references: Africa

total: 455 sq km
land: 455 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 491 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical marine; humid; cooler season during southeast monsoon (late May to September); warmer season during northwest monsoon (March to May)

Terrain: Mahe Group is granitic, narrow coastal strip, rocky, hilly; others are coral, flat, elevated reefs

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Morne Seychellois 905 m

Natural resources: fish, copra, cinnamon trees

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 13%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 11%
other: 74% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: lies outside the cyclone belt, so severe storms are rare; short droughts possible

Environment - current issues: water supply depends on catchments to collect rain water

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Geography - note: 40 granitic and about 50 coralline islands

See also : Seychelles

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