A FEW WORDS ABOUT PRASLIN (Vallée de Mai, Fond Azore, Fond Ferdinand, Salazie, Montplaisir, Inner Islands, Beaches)
Praslin is situated 45km to the northeast of Mahé. It’s area is 37,56 sq.km with a population of about 7000 people. Praslin is Seychelles’ second largest island, after Mahe. The island is divided in 2 districts: Baie Ste Anne and Grand Anse.
The island was discovered by the french explorer Lazare Pinault while on is 2nd expedition in 1744. He named the island Isle des Palmes in reference to it’s luxuriant vegetation. In 1768 an other expedition was sent. It was then that the island was named after the Duc de Praslin, the French Minister of Marine when the original ‘Stone of Possession’ was erected on the island in what is still known as Anse Possession.
Praslin is a popular destination for nature lovers. It offers and maintains numerous paths to remote areas of the island where one can hopefully see rare birds like the Black Parrot. The island is mostly known for its unique tree, The Coco de Mer Palm which bears enormous nuts. The tree can live hundreds of years and produces its 1st fruit after 20 years and the tree can grow up to 30 mtrs. The curious Coco de Mer is the biggest nut known in the world and is found only on Praslin and Curieuse islands.
Praslin owes its reputation to the beautiful Vallée de Mai, one of Seychelles’ two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in addition to its magnificent sandy beaches. Amongst them, Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette, who both appear in the world’s best beaches list.
Praslin is central for the departure of numerous excursions to neighboring islands (Cousin, Curieuse, St Pierre, Aride and La Digue), some of which are regarded as important sanctuaries nurturing rare species of endemic flora and fauna.
VALLÉE DE MAI
Open every day from 08:30 to 16:30.
Closed on 25th December & 1st January.
Entrance fee: 350 SCR/ pers.
Free for child under 12.
Free guided tour 7/7: 09:00 & 14:00.
Official guides at the entrance :
- 70 € /2 pers. (private tour)
- 10 € / pers. for groups 3 to 10 persons. Discount rates for groups of more than10 persons.
Trails offered 1, 1.7 and 2 Km, lasting from 45 minutes to 2 hours.
Vallee de Mai is a nature reserve listed as Unesco World Heritage site in 1983. This primary forest covers an area of approximately 20 hectares. The 3 main criss-cross paths will bring you in the center of a unique ecosystem where many endemic species both animal ( Black Parrot, Dutch Pigeons, Sunbird, geckos, chameleons, snails...) and vegetal (palms, Vacoas, Pandamus, ferns, Orchids) live.
The forest comprises mainly of a unique habitat for the famous Coco de Mer palm. It is an endemic and very rare palm that grows naturally on Praslin and Curieuse island. Its growth is very slow and it takes 20 to 25 years before bearing its first fruit. Only the female tree produces the nut, the largest in the world (15 to 25kg). Sales of the Coco de mer nuts are strictly controlled.
GLACIS NOIR / FOND AZORE - GRAND FOND
Free and accessible to all. Just about 200 meters from the Vallee de Mai entrance (opposite the bus stop), au sein d’une végétation tout aussi luxuriante et très similaire. This short trail of 1 kilometer awaits you all. If you are lucky you will see some Blue Pigeons (pizon olande in creol).The trail is wide but sometine a bit steep. It goes through a clearing leading to a viewing tower where on a clear day you can even see Denis and Bird island.
Entrance fee: 125 SCR /pers.Free for children
under 12. Open everyday. Closed on 25th December & 1st January. Tel: (+248) 423 76 13 - 272 28 46.
Visit with compulsory guide only.
Free visit 3 times a day, walking time 1h30-2h (09:30, 11:30 & 13:30) / walk with private tour guide also available .
There are many trails lasting from 1h30 to 4 hours (highest point of view 250m, superbe view).The excursion start from Anse Marie Louise on a large path leading to the ticket office at the base of the mountain. The various trecks are generally easy and cross rich vegetated zones full of endemic species.
Note: sale of coco de mer nuts on site.
Free and accessible to all. The trail starts from Pasquière on the North East coast and crosses the island through the plaine hollandaise to Grande Anse (about 1 hour walk). Very nice walk with beautifull views of Curieuse and rich in vegetation.
Just behind Cote d’Or, this short trail bring you to a small typical seychellois village.
Do not miss this unique village where locals are so inviting. They will inevitably talk about life on the island of Praslin.
- CURIEUSE & St PIERRE ISLANDS is involved in the protection of giant land tortoises and they roam freely at Baie Laraie. From there, a trail leads through the mangroves and over the hill to the other side of the island to a magnificent beach called Anse Jose. Entrance fee: 200 SCR. Free for children under 12.
- COUSIN ISLAND is a nature reserve since 1975 and is a bird watcher’s paradise. A guided tour lasts about 2 hrs and an entrance fee of 500 SCR is payable. Free for children under 12.
On the North West side of the island, facing Curieuse, it is a long and finesandy beach bordered by coconut trees and is on the coastal road leading to Anse Lazio.
Situated on the southern most tip of the island, it is a small beach with a lot of coral. However the scenery has something magical about it.
Considered one of the most beautiful beaches of the Seychelles bordered with huge granite boulders. Swimming can be difficult at certain times of the year because of big waves. Access is by boat, by a trail from Anse Lazio which takes about 1 1⁄2 hrs or through the Lemuria Hotel but permission has to be sought from the hotel.
Situated at the very end of Cote d’Or beach, it is a lovely little bay with calm and clear crystalline waters.
ANSE KERLAN / PETITE ANSE KERLAN
These two beaches are within the grounds of the Lemuria Hotel and offer a nice relaxed setting.
ANSE LA BLAGUE
Situated at North East tip of the island, it is the most untouched and natural part of the island.
ANSE LA FARINE
As its name indicates, this beach has powder like fine white sand but is only accessible by boat.
At the northern tip of the island, it is the most famous beach of the Seychelles and considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is bordered with big Takamaka and coconut trees, and huge granite boulders frame the clear turquoise sea. In some periods of the year waves come crashing onto the beach. When it is calm, Anse Lazio is a great beach for swimming and some snorkeling.
Situated on the South East of Prasin, it offers a panoramic view of the ocean and of Mahe in the distance.
A small cove of white sand near Anse Governement, reachable only by boat.
ANSE PETIT COUR
Granite boulders frame this lovely little white sandy beach with calm turquoise sea. It is accessible only by boat or through the hotel le Domaine de la Reserve. Please note the access to the beach by Le Domaine de La Reserve is a private area.
This beach is situated on the north coast of Praslin and it was named by Capt Marc-Joseph Marion-Dufresne after the king of France (1768) when the French officially took possession of the islands. It is a lovely bay bordered with takamaka trees, the sea is calm and shallow and rich in marine life.
Granite rocks divide this beach up into little coves shaded by casuarina and takamaka trees. The beach is part of Curieuse Marine National Park. There are 2 other Anse Takamakas on Praslin, one near St Sauveur and the other near Anse Madge.
ANSE VOLBERT / CÔTE D’OR
Situated on the north coast, this 3 km long beach is the main tourist beach of Praslin. It is a hive of activity with restaurants, boutiques, hotels. The sea is always calm and it is ideal for a relaxing swim and there are watersports facilities at the beach eg canoeing, snorkeling, scuba diving. The tiny island of Chauve Souris is a 10 min swim from the beach and it takes about 30 mins to swim around the island.
This beach is on the South West coast of Praslin near the airport and borders the largest bay of the island. The sea is generally calm and shallow..