Vallee de Mai in Praslin Island is a nature reserve and one of the finest natural attractions in Seychelles. In 1983, the area was included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The reserve is five miles inland. It is only a short driving distance from the Baie Sainte Anne coast.
What to See
The main attraction is the natural palm forest. Here you will find the Coco de Mer palm tree and its huge coconuts. Getting into the palm forest is easy as there are several paths. Traversing the north route will bring you face to face with gigantic palm leaves. On a hill is a small shelter. From here you can enjoy a fine view of the forest.
The reserve is home to some exotic birds including the Seychelles Black Parrot. Other areas of the reserve boast of reptiles, snails, crustaceans and mammals.
Vallee de Mai in Praslin Island officially became a nature reserve on April 18, 1966. Since that time, the government has done a remarkable job in preserving the site.
Apart from the endemic Coco de Mer, five other endemic plants can be found there. The Coco de Mer plant is truly unique. Its seeds are the biggest for any plant on the planet.
The leaves can grow to an incredible size of 14 m long and 6 m wide (46 ft long x 19 feet wide). The whole reserve covers an area of 19.6 hectares. Except for the addition of signposts, the reserve is exactly how it was during the prehistoric era.
The reserve is the product of millions of years of biological and geographical processes. Scientists view the place as a fine example of the evolutionary development of flora.
In effect, the reserve is a living laboratory. It shows what tropical life would be like if other plant life forms had not advanced. In no other island are these features seen together.
The admission fee is 15 Euros per adult. Children under 12 years old can enter freely. The only payment accepted is cash. Credit cards are not accepted.
The tropical forest climate is very humid. You are going to sweat a bit, so wear loose clothing. Bring bottled water so you can replenish yourself.
The forests of Vallee de Mai in Praslin Island are noted for their tranquility. There are no big animals to worry about. As you stroll the forests, the sounds of singing birds will accompany you.