Think of Seychelles and you'll probably picture a tropical paradise with beautiful beaches, warm crystal-clear waters awash with technicolour marine life and oodles of sunshine. However, you might not know these fascinating facts.
Read on to learn some interesting - and maybe surprising - information about the holiday haven:
The creator of famous superspy James Bond 007, Ian Fleming has an unusual link to Seychelles. Back in 1958, Fleming took a break in Seychelles when he was looking for inspiration as a writer, after reportedly suffering writer's block. He was trying to pen the next chapter in the novel 'For Your Eyes Only' at the time. Following his break in Mahé in 1958, he named one of the characters, Milton Krest, after a tonic and ginger drink that he sampled during his visit!
The world's heaviest living land tortoise - named Esmeralda - lives on Bird Island. Weighing in at 670 pounds, the gigantic Aldabra tortoise almost broke the scales when he was weighed by the Royal Zoological Society in the 1980s! He is one of more than 20 giant tortoises who live in their natural habitat on Bird Island. Placid and friendly, they are a big hit with tourists, particularly children.
The last known former slave was Japhet Alice (nee Africaine) - age unknown - who died a free citizen of Seychelles in 1956. When the French and British colonised the Seychelles, slavery was legal and captives were used as labourers. The Brits abolished slavery in the 1830s but the practice continued in other countries. Japhet was captured on the African mainland and transported through the port of Zanzibar - where slavery was legal until 1876 - on a slave ship bound for the Middle East. However, the ship was intercepted before the journey could be completed by the Royal Navy and the survivors were taken to the nearest British colony, Seychelles, to live out their lives as free people.
Governor of Seychelles, Sir John Thorp aged 49 and financial secretary, Maurice Boulle aged 53, died in a heroic attempt to rescue two boys from drowning in the sea off the beach at Grand Anse in 1961. Sir John's son Terence and his friend Christopher Walker, son of the Anglican Dean of Seychelles, found themselves overpowered by the waves when their inflatable mattress overturned. Sir John and Mr Boulle didn't hesitate to swim to their rescue but tragically they got into a difficult situation and lost their lives. The two boys were saved.
Word War II
Although Seychelles has never gone to war as a nation, during World War II the islands offered a prime location for the British and Allied forces to refuel and rest as they moved between the various theatres of battle. Just off the shore of Mahé, a seaplane depot was constructed to refuel and refit seaplanes which were conducting surveillance of the region's shipping lanes. A battery was constructed at Pointe Conan, where a garrison of troops was stationed to protect Victoria Harbour. The history books seldom mention the role Seychelles played in the war effort but without the islands, it would have been much more difficult for the Allied troops to function effectively in the region.
Savoy Resort & Spa
Warm and inviting, Savoy Resort & Spa is one of those Seychelles resorts you just have to visit!