Outer Islands (Seychelles)

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For other places with the same name, see Outer Island (disambiguation).
Location map of the Outer Islands—Coralline Seychelles of the Seychelles archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
Coralline Seychelles—Outer Islands, to south and west of Mahé and other Inner Islands.

The Outer Islands or Coralline Seychelles (archipelago) is a collective term for those islands of the Seychelles that are not on the shallow Seychelles Bank (Seychelles Plateau) which defines the location of the granitic Inner Islands archipelago to the east. The local Seychellois Creole name for the outer islands is Zil Elwannyen Sesel, while the French name is Îles Eloignées. They are all of coral formation, and in the western Indian Ocean.

The islands are outside the administrative and electoral Districts of Seychelles. Conservation in the outer islands is managed by Island Conservation Society.[1] The Save Our Seas Foundation manages the nature preserve of D'Arros Island and its neighboring atolls.[2]


The coral islands are flat with elevated coral reefs at different stages of formation. They are generally low-lying, and often form atolls around a central lagoon. The soils of the Corraline Seychelles are generally sandy and infertile, and hold little fresh water. The lack of natural fresh water sources and infertile soils of these islands can sustain human life only with difficulty. As of 2012 the population is 503 although this figure increases during summer vacation when Mahe people come to work in tourism and fishing on the islands.

The Inner Islands or Granitic Seychelles, by contrast, are composed of granite on the Seychelles Bank plateau, and are ancient fragments of continental crust. They are generally more mountainous, humid, and populated.


The Outer Islands comprise 211.8 square kilometres (81.8 sq mi) or 46% of the total land area of the Seychelles, but hold less than 2% of the population of the country. 12 islands are inhabited (2012). The coral Outer Islands are located at distances of 230–1,150 kilometres (140–710 mi) from Mahé, the nation's principle island, located in the granitic Inner Seychelles.

Five groups[edit]

The Outer Islands are divided into five groups:

  1. Southern Coral GroupÎle Platte and Coëtivy Island; land area 9.96 square kilometres (3.85 sq mi)
  2. Amirante Islands — 3 atolls (including Desroches Island - Île Desroches, 5 single sand cays including D'Arros Island), and 3 uplifted sand cays; land area 9.9 square kilometres (3.8 sq mi)
  3. Alphonse GroupAlphonse Atoll and St. François Atoll (Bijoutier-St. François); land area 2.1 square kilometres (0.81 sq mi)
  4. Aldabra GroupAldabra Atoll, Assumption Island, Cosmoledo Atoll, and Astove Island; land area 178.24 square kilometres (68.82 sq mi)
  5. Farquhar GroupFarquhar Atoll, Providence Atoll (Providence-Cerf), and St. Pierre Island; land area 11.6 square kilometres (4.5 sq mi)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 5°58′07″S 53°03′26″E / 5.96861°S 53.05722°E / -5.96861; 53.05722