Praslin, the second island we visited during our Seychelles trip, was much different to La Digue, but nonetheless gorgeous. Here, we found more dreamy beaches, a national park with its famous Coco de Mer palm trees and had more delicious food before we flew off to Mahe.
We spent here 4 DAYS as well and yes, we could have done a whole week and not get bored. We stayed in GRAND ANSE area which is close to the AIRPORT and even though it is maybe not the nicest beach area, it was a very convenient place to stay at. We had a triple room in a house with a pool, within the vicinity of shops, restaurants and a bus station. Since the island is a lot bigger than La Digue, we decided to go around using the PUBLIC BUS SYSTEM (you can rent a car as well, but the bus was cheaper and effective enough for us), we also did a DAY BOAT TRIP to the neighbouring islands CURIEUSE and ST. PIERRE, visited VALLEE DE MAI NATIONAL PARK and relaxed on the beaches of course. ANSE LAZIO was our favourite one here. Here is more about what we saw and did.
This amazing beach, bordered by GRANITE BOULDER ROCKS, is a bit tricky to get to if you do not have a car, but in the end it is worth the effort. We used the PUBLIC BUS, which does not have a stop at the beach. Instead, you are left with 20 minutes walking uphill and downhill, I strongly suggest taking enough water with you and maybe pick an early hour when the sun is not yet so strong.
Despite the full parking lot, it was easy to get the PERFECT SPOT IN THE SHADE on the beach. After the walk we were more than ready to jump into the sea. There were a bit of waves but nothing too scary. I think what makes this beach so great is the scenery. The scenery is absolutely fantastic, I´d really say it is ONE OF A KIND.
There are also a couple of RESTAURANTS and bars nearby the beach to escape the burning sun, so you can easily spend a full day here. There is even a GUESTHOUSE in case you want to overnight. Since we only had 4 days on the island, we came here just for one day, otherwise I am sure we would have returned again.
VALLEE DE MAI NATIONAL PARK
Just a short ride from our place and we stepped out of the bus in the middle of a jungle. This lush NATURE PARK, which is also under UNESCO, is an important reserve in the centre of Praslin island. Most known for its PALM TREE FOREST, especially the endemic COCO DE MER PALM TREE. This palm tree which is also a symbol of the Seychelles, has the LARGEST SEEDS OF ANY PLANT IN THE WORLD.
There is ADMISSION FEE (about 20€) to enter the park and once you are inside you can choose between DIFFERENT TRAILS. They are all easy hikes, just make sure to take enough water. Everything is explained on little cards and if you have enough time and interest, you can also take GUIDED TOUR.
ST. PIERRE ISLAND
This tiny LITTLE ISLAND was our first stop on the DAY BOAT TRIP FROM PRASLIN. It is basically just a huge pile of GRANITE ROCKS with a few palm trees, but it is not allowed to disembark. So we just jumped to the sea from our boat and spent an hour SNORKELLING.
Unfortunately the CORAL REEF is pretty much DAMAGED in the Seychelles and it is estimated that 80-90% of the corals are dead due to the bleaching. Mostly due to the rising temperatures of the sea and also due to the El Nino back in 1998. There are ongoing projects regarding CORAL RECOVERY, so hopefully it will recover in time. While snorkelling, you can still see some FISH though and for the kids it is great fun anyway so we were happy to do it.
After a couple more SNORKELLING STOPS along Praslin´s EAST COAST it was time to visit the CURIEUSE ISLAND, where we had time for a BBQ LUNCH, SWIMMING and a hike to the other side of the island to see the GIANT TORTOISE.
After a short swim on the ANSE ST. JOSE BEACH we had a yummy BBQ LUNCH nearby the beach. The plan was to hike all the way to the other side of the island where the boat would be waiting for us. In the past, the island was used as LEPER COLONY. This helped the island to maintain its natural ecosystem. First we checked out the former DOCTOR´S HOUSE, which is now turned into a MUSEUM, later on we saw a few ruins along the path – these used to be homes of the infected people.
You do not need a high fitness level to do the HIKE, there were smaller kids doing it as well, but do take enough water and watch your step as the path gets a bit rocky at times. The VIEWS were amazing though, so it was worth the sweat.
Eventually we reached the MANGROVE SWAMP where we could see many different BIRD SPECIES while walking on a WOODEN WALKWAY. On the island there is also a large area where the famous COCO DE MER palm trees are growing.
At the end of the hike, you come down to a little FOREST BY THE BEACH where tens of turtles await you. We GATHERED SOME LEAVES on the way, the ones the turtles like the most. There are OVER 300 ALDABRA GIANT TORTOISE living on the island, most of them in the CURIEUSE MARINE NATIONAL PARK, as part of a CONSERVATION PROJECT. You can get very close to them and feed them and they are not shy at all.
We had about an hour of time before heading home with the boat, just enough for a SWIM in the shallow bay, surrounded by huge GRANITE ROCKS.
Unfortunately we had to choose between this boat trip and a visit to ANSE GEORGETTE. In order to get to this beach, which is also supposed to be very nice, you have to get a pass to enter the LEMURIA RESORT.
The amount of daily visitors is limited so you have to book ahead. We did that, but then there was no boat free on the other day and we had to choose. But in the end, we did get to swim at the bay after all, at the end of the boat trip we had enough time for a stop here.
The area where we stayed at on the WESTERN COAST of the island seemed to be a little less posh than some of the hotel areas on the eastern side, but we found it very convenient. We found everything we needed within a walking distance and the AIRPORT was very close, perfect for our early flight out the last day. And since we did not have a beach right in front of us, we had some fun in the pool at the end of the day.
4 days on Praslin was just enough for a mix of relaxed beach time and active holidays. Could have easily extend it to a full week though, so if you have enough time go for it. It was time for us to fly back to MAHE, where we had another full day before heading back home to Europe.
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