General Gordon of Khartoum visited the Seychelles in 1881 and claimed upon his return to London that he had found the original site of the Garden of Eden. He was specifically referring the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Vallée de Mai on the island of Praslin, where an extraordinary primeval palm forest shelters the legendary coco de mer. Praslin is the second largest island of the Seychelles Archipelago after Mahe Island.
The island covers an area of about 38km2 and has a population of around 6,500 people. It is situated 44 kilometers north-east of Mahé. Praslin is a very popular destination for holidays in Seychelles due to its vast tracts of palm forest yielding to soft white sands and crystal-clear waters.
Praslin’s beaches are world class and perfect both for relaxation and for a range of watersports. The Island also offers a museum, galleries, gardens and the only 18-hole golf course in the archipelago, making a Praslin Island holiday a shoo-in for golfers. It really is an all-rounder, with plenty to keep everyone occupied.
A Sample of Our Praslin Holiday Packages
If you are planning a holiday or tour to Praslin Island, look no further than our selection of Seychelles holidays. Usually included as part of a long holiday in the Seychelles, Praslin tours embrace a part of the Seychelles that is well known for its excellent beaches and dive sites, and there is plenty of accommodation options.
Top Things to Do In Praslin
There is plenty to see and do on Praslin.
The island is also well placed for travellers to take a trip to neighbouring islands. Ferries set off regularly to Mahé Island, a journey of about 50 minutes and to La Digue, less than half an hour away.
And return flights to Mahé are available too. We think of Praslin as a smaller version of Mahé Island. Whether you choose to stay on the main island or its smaller neighbours, you are guaranteed a fabulous holiday!
Read on to find out the top best things to do in Praslin;
1. Visit Vallée de Mai & see Coco de Mer
A must-do when on Praslin holiday is nature walk in Vallée de Mai.
A walk through this World Heritage Site is a surreal experience similar to natural time travel. The forest is home to coco de mer trees.
There are only 2 populations of these huge trees in the world – this, and a smaller population on Curieuse Island. So, they are well worth looking for when spending time on Praslin.
Their leaves are so large and heavy that when they clatter together in the wild, it sounds like rain. You can spend hours simply peering up at them. But go with a guide who can reveal some of their vital statistics. Their seeds, which take 7 years to ripen, are quite the curiosity.
Weighing up to 40 kilogram, they are the largest and heaviest seed in the plant world.
Their unique shape has earned them the nick-name coco-fesses (buttocks coconuts) and persuaded 19th-century British General Charles Gordon to declare that he had found the Garden of Eden and its forbidden fruits. However, his contemporaries were quick to question how Eve could have handled the giant seeds.
Besides the legendary coco de mer, Vallée de Mai forest also contains some animal species that are just as rare and are endemic to the Seychelles – for example, there is the highly sought-after Seychelles black parrot (the national bird).
Also keep an eye out for bronze-eyed geckos and coco de mer snails that may be lurking in among the comical and legendary nuts and leaves.
2. Go to the beach
One of Seychelles most attractive qualities is its one-of-a-kind beaches. And Praslin’s Island’s pristine beaches are some of the most beautiful in the archipelago.
Anse Lazio, for example, is rated by Lonely Planet as the ‘Best Beach on Praslin’ and has featured near the top of numerous ‘World’s Best Beaches’ lists. It is easy to see why, as it is the quintessential Seychelles beach with its white powder sands, swaying palm and takamaka trees, and of course the turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
This beach also offers some of the best snorkelling spots in the Seychelles, with its turtles, colourful fish, and vibrant rare corals. This sensational beach also offers breathtaking views and it is one of the few places on Earth where you can rather sit with nothing but a refreshing beverage.
3. take A Leisurely stroll around Cote d’Or
Praslin Cote d’Or beach turns a lazy stroll in the shallows into an entertaining insight into life in the Seychelles. Local shops, restaurants, and cafés line the other side of the road to this spectacular beach, forming the perfect balance between peaceful relaxation and bustling life, particularly when local football matches are held on the half-grass half-sand pitch.
The long, seemingly endless beach and neighbouring businesses provide amazing snorkelling and diving, delicious Creole cuisine, and even fresh drinking coconuts served to you at your sunbathing spot with a straw and a hibiscus flower.
With everything you could possibly desire within easy reach of this idyllic setting, a visit here is a simple way to make the most of your stay on Praslin.
4. Go scuba diving
Praslin’s Cote d’Or beach also offers excellent scuba diving. The place to go is Octopus Dive School. This dive centre is regarded as one of the best 10 dive schools in the world. It is an absolute must when on a holiday on Praslin Island. The school caters for all abilities.
It welcomes complete beginners who have barely snorkeled as well as experienced divers.
Many dive options are offered. You may ‘trial dive’ and see yourself among sharks, rays, turtles, seahorses, and huge shoals of fish. Diving in the Seychelles is a wonderful experience since the marine life is among the greatest in the world.
5. Meet the giant tortoises
One of the best things about Praslin’s location is that it serves as an excellent ‘base camp’, with several options available for day tours and boat excursions.
You can take a trip to the uninhabited Curieuse Island. This protected bio-reserve, a beautifully wild and wonderful place with bustling and diverse flora and fauna covering the whole island.
The must-see and main attraction, however, is the island’s population of about 120 Aldabra giant tortoises. The tortoises love people and have so much character. They will actually ‘run’ towards you if they think it will result in a neck tickle.
6. Go snorkelling to see sea turtles
If you are interested in snorkeling and want to get the most out of the great marine life that Seychelles has to offer, then take some of the boat trips that Praslin offers.
You can sail to Grande Sœur and Petite Sœur and snorkel in the pristine waters and reefs surrounding this group of rocks.
FAQs About Praslin Island Holidays
1 When Is The best Time To Visit Praslin Island?
Temperatures on Praslin vary little seasonally, with temperatures remaining around 28°C (82°F) all year. The sun shines all year, with occasional tropical shower. The only major difference is the wind, which is calmest between April and October when the trade winds change direction.
2. Where to Stay At Praslin Island?
Places to stay at Praslin Island range from activity-focused island resorts to exclusive boutique hotels. They are enough to suit all tastes, budgets and holiday types. Whether you are seeking a family-friendly beach holiday or a luxury island honeymoon, Praslin has all the accommodation options to choose from. Here are some of the best places to stay;
- Paradise Sun
- Constance Lemuria
- Les Villas D’Or
- Hotel L’Archipel
- Acajou Beach Resort
- Raffles Praslin
- Le Domaine de la Reserve
- Coco De Mer & Black Parrot Suites
3. How to Reach Praslin Island?
Getting to Praslin is easy. The island has a small domestic airport. Regular flights from Seychelles International Airport in Mahe fly to this airport.
Also, ferries, catamaran vessels, and speedboats transport tourists from Mahe to Praslin Island and it takes about 90 minutes to reach the destination.
4. How many days should I spend in Praslin?
For the best holiday experience we would recommend that you must spend at-least 3 days in Praslin including day trip to Curieuse.