Vallee De Mai, Praslin Island
Approximately 50% of the landmass on certain destinations in Seychelles has been committed to National Parks and nature protection areas including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of these is the beautiful Vallee de Mai, home of the endemic Coco-de-Mer palm. After an attempt in the 1930s & 1940s to introduce non-native flora into this valley, the area was taken over by the government and is slowly returning to its natural state.
A small kiosk at the entrance provides maps and information, the site is open from 08h30 until 16h30 daily. Entering the Vallee is like stepping into the land that time forgot; an eerie silence permeates through the dense foliage and the haunting call of the endangered black parrot sends shivers down your spine. It is easy to see why many people believe this to be the original Garden of Eden. The routes are well marked and there are trails that take just half an hour for those with little time to spare, although we would definitely recommend spending half a day here though as the atmosphere is amazing.
The towering Coco-de-Mer palm trees are perfectly adapted to cope with the tropical climate with broad, string leaves perfectly shaped to funnel rainwater through the highly competitive forest under-storey to their roots. The thriving wildlife makes Vallee De Mai in Praslin Island one of the top destinations in Seychelles. Species in the Vallee include bizarre Jack Fruit sprouting out of tall tree trunks, ferns, lataniers, coco marron, screwpines and orchids, all growing around the granite mass. Huge, primeval fruit bats, blue pigeons, bulbuls, lizards, geckos, chameleons, snails and many insects can also be found here.