Home to the vanilla orchid, unique coco de mer palm tree, dense ancient forest, as well as many rare bird and lizard species, the dreamy desert island of Praslin has a raw and primitive beauty which casts a spell of calm and serenity on all who venture ashore.
The second largest island in the Seychelles, Praslin is more remote than Malé, which is a 15-minute flight away, or 60-minute boat ride. One of the most popular parts of the island can be found at Anse Volbert, also known as the Côte d’Or, owing to its stunning beaches and excellent snorkelling. This area bustles with activity and is where you’ll find most of the restaurants, guest houses and souvenir shops. But if you’ve come here for peace and serenity, you won’t have to travel far to enjoy the paradise beaches bordered by large granite boulders around Grand Anse and Anse Lazio. The latter was not only named the best beach in the Seychelles but was also voted one of the world’s top 10 beaches in Trip Advisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards 2015.
A highlight of the island is the UNESCO-listed Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve at the heart of Praslin, an ancient palm forest which is home to the endemic and extremely rare coco de mer palm trees, known for producing the largest and heaviest seeds in the plant kingdom. The forest is also home to many endangered species, such as the Seychelles blue pigeon, the black parrot, bronze gecko and tiger chameleon.
We’d also recommend a trip to the pretty village of Baie Sainte Anne, which looks out towards La Digue and the small port here serves the ferry services to the surrounding islands. From here, you can take a trip over to Curieuse Island, where over 300 giant Aldabra tortoises wander freely in their natural habitat. The red earth of this small granite island makes a striking contrast with the green coco de mer palms and has given Curieuse its nickname, The Red Island. The surrounding waters are home to a rich array of marine and coral life, making it a popular diving spot and the whole island is protected within a marine national park.
With a landscape of rolling hills and fine sandy beaches, along with easy access to some of the Seychelles smaller islands, such as Curieuse, Cousin and St Pierre, we think the laidback vibe of Praslin is the perfect tonic for those looking for sun-drenched relaxation.