Silhouette Island Travel Guide
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Silhouette Island Travel Guide
Silhouette Island lies 20 km northwest of Mahé in the Seychelles. It is the third largest granitic island in the Seychelles. It has an area of 20.1 km² and has a population of 200, mostly workers on the island on the Somali Sea. The main settlement is La Passe, where Hilton Hotel is located. The name Silhouette was given after Étienne de Silhouette, the French minister of finances under Louis XV.
The island is mountainous with five peaks over 500 m (1,600 ft) in elevation; Mont Dauban 751 m (2,464 ft), Mont-Pot-a-Eau 621 m (2,037 ft), Gratte Fesse 515 m (1,690 ft), Mont Corgat 502 m (1,647 ft) and Mont Cocos Marrons 500 m (1,600 ft). As such, it has some of the most dramatic scenery of the islands.
Though superficially similar to neighbouring islands, much of Silhouette is made up of younger syenite dated from 63 million years ago. Between Point Ramasse Tout and Point Zeng Zeng lies the only surface volcanic ash in Seychelles.
Silhouette Island is one of the richest biodiversity points in the western Indian Ocean with many endemic and threatened plant and animal species. Among the most important is the Critically Endangered Seychelles sheath-tailed bat. Two roosting caves have been located, part of a single system of passages in a boulder field. Another roost complex was discovered in 2005 and 32 bats recorded. Most of the 75 or so endemic plants of the granitic islands of Seychelles are found on Silhouette, some of them unique to the island. One of the rarest of these is the Critically Endangered Impatiens gordonii, a white-flowered relative of the well-known garden plant Busy Lizzie, only ever recorded on Mahe and Silhouette. In 1987 the surrounding waters were declared a Marine National Park. In 2010, Silhouette National Park was created protecting 93 percent of the landmass. The island is also an Important Bird Area and is considered by the Alliance for Zero Extinction to be an important site for the survival of Critically Endangered species. Conservation of the island is managed by the Island Conservation Society.
When to visit Silhouette Island
The Seychelles’ climate is one which is always warm and does not reach extremes of heat or cold. The temperature rarely drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C. All but the remotest southern islands lie outside the cyclone belt making Seychelles’ a year round destination for sun worshippers and beach lovers.
It is generally cooler when the north-west trade winds blow during the months of November to March. The sea is generally calm and the weather warm and humid, with average winds of 15 – 22 kilometres per hour.
A larger amount of the annual rainfall falls during the months of December to February compared to other months. The average number of rainy (days with 1 millimetre or more rainfall) in December, January and February are 18, 17 and 11 days respectively. It is also fairly cloudy at times during those months and therefore less sunshine. The weather is hottest from December to April, and the humidity is high – often 80% or higher.
The months of May to October bring drier, cooler weather, and livelier seas – particularly on south-eastern coasts – and winds of 19 -37 kilometres per hour are common.
On average the number of rainy days during this period is 11 with long periods of sunshine.
Dry spells of two weeks or more are fairly common.
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