What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the word “Seychelles”? If you think sun, sea, beaches, well that’s absolutely true, but Praslin, the second largest island of the archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean is much more than that! The best way to enjoy this gorgeous island is to rent a car and drive around it. Nature is stunning, and hospitality is great.
P.S: never, ever, park under coconut trees, for obvious reasons!
P.P.S: never, ever, sleep under coconut trees, for the very same obvious reasons!
Arriving in Praslin
We had a choice between taking a ferry to Praslin or fly over there. We decided for the flight ✈ (even if it’s a bit expensive), and we definitely suggest for you to do the same. Watching the island from the sea and the flight, on small propeller planes, is a thrilling experience by itself.
The island slowly appears on the horizon, and it gets bigger and bigger, while we could admire from a unique point of view its mountainous structure(Seychelles are the only granitic islands in the middle of an ocean) and the dark gray cliffs over the blue sea. Just majestic!
Fancy relaxing a bit? Praslin has the Beach. Capital B for one of the most magnificent beaches in the world, period. White powder-fine sand, calm turquoise water, Takamaka trees, thick green tropical palms directly bending on the sea, red granite boulders at each extremity, this is exactly what the idea of a beach is.
Among the various activities on the beach, we did some fantastic snorkeling among the rocks on the eastern side of the beach. At the beachside restaurant, we had a fresh red mullet and some traditional Creole dishes, with the main ingredient sea products while enjoying an extraordinary view. Even though it’s popular for being one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, it never feels crowded. This is the perfect spot for gorgeous photos.
Snorkeling in Anse Georgette
There are two main ways for reaching Anse Georgette. The first one is by car/bus, arriving at the Constance Lémuria Resort, crossing the resort property and finally reaching the beach. Passing the hotel is free, but you should call the hotel before your visit, and the hotel can decide to limit the number of visitors by refusing the entrance. From the bus stop, it’s a 30 minutes walk.
Another little gem in Praslin is this superb untouched beach with pristine white sand. Smaller and relatively less known than Anse Lazio, Anse Georgette is hidden, empty, untouched, with a gorgeous turquoise ocean water ideal for bathing or snorkeling. The beach is delimited by a series of cliffs on its right side where we did some snorkeling and looked at the incredible marine fauna (sea turtles included!).
Alternatively, it is also possible to reach Anse Georgette by boat (which is what we did), with some sailing tours stopping in this bay to enjoy the scenery. Be careful though, as you have to reach the beach from the water, we suggest bringing an impermeable bag where to put a towel in!
Hiking in Vallée de Mai
Taking a break from sea adventures, we went to explore the inner island. Praslin is the host of the smallest UNESCO National Heritage Site, the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve. A fantastic nature park where we did a good couple of hours of hiking into the luxuriant tropical forest. While we were walking, it started raining: the sound of the water drops falling on the leaves is one of the most incredible experience we could possibly have.
When the British general Charles George Gordon visited the place in the 19th century, he declared this was the original site of the Garden of Eden. And we could definitely see why, as we felt at one with nature.
There are three primary paths available, going deep into the virgin forest. We followed the longest trail; it’s a couple of hours of walking inside the untouched jungle. The walking is clearly marked, and the pathway is clear and well maintained (walking in a real forest would be a bit too complicated, and much more dangerous!), with the nature around creating an evocative green tunnel for the visitor.
Dominator of the landscape is the coco de mer! Vallée de Mai is the only place in the world where you can find this rare palm: classified as the biggest seed in the world, this gigantic coconut can float over water. The distinctly shaped nut can weigh up to 15 Kilogrammes. Several stories about mythical lands beyond the sea were corroborated by the retrieval of this enormous fruit hundred of miles from Seychelles.