The second largest out of 115 islands in Seychelles, Praslin has always been one of the wilder yet laid-back islands, with tropical forests, nature reserves and a host of beaches. This magnificent island has always been a people's favourite, as it manages to fuse the rich culture, as well as wild nature into its island life in the most beautiful place. Praslin is also a great place for the explorers and adventures with trails and treks of all kinds of difficulty. The island also has its own museum and art gallery which further help express the history and culture of Praslin.
Located at the northeast of Male, Praslin is also the proud resident of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The population of 6500 people in Praslin mostly inhabit three main settlements - the Baie St Anne where the main jetty is located and where most visitors enter Praslin from. The second is the Grande Anse in the south coast which hosts the airstrip, and the last is the Anse Volbert or the Cote d’Or in the north which hosts a long 2.5km beach strip with stunning white sands.
The three inhabited regions of Praslin - Anse Volbert, Baie St Anne and Grand Anse - are popular among tourists looking to experience the local culture and visit some of the star attractions that are located near these towns. Anse Volbert in the north is often called the "gold coast" and is famous due to the spectacular beaches and the host of water sports on these beaches which make it a lively area to spend a day in. Between Anse Volbert and Baie St Anne lies the La Blague beach which is a surprising change from the sometimes crowded Anse Volbert. The beach is almost always empty and makes for a great place to relax and enjoy the scenic views in a tranquil atmosphere.
Next comes the Baie St Anne which mainly hosts the main jetty and essential shops and residential areas, so it is a transportation hub, as well as a cultural and social hub for many. While travelling south from Baie St Anne, you would come across the beautiful Anse Consolation which is yet another notable beach in Praslin and can be visited if time permits. Further south is the final settlement of Grand Anse which along with being near the airport, is also a great coast to explore and a starting point for some challenging and fun hikes.
One of the two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Praslin, Vallee De Mai Natural Reserve is the gem of Praslin. It is one of the few places in the world where the Coco De Mer Trees (which have the largest seeds in the world) reside amidst a large palm forest with rare flora and fauna one of which includes the extremely rare black parrot which is the national bird of Seychelles.
The reserve is also sheltered by the highest mountain on the island, the Fond Azore, which along with the large canopy of the palm forest transfer the visitors to a completely different and seemingly enchanted place. The reserve is also considered the Garden of Eden in several legends. Aside from this Vallee De Mai Natural Reserve is the only place in the world to hold all six species of Seychelles endemic palm trees.
Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM (Daily)
Admission Fee: 300 SCR
The Lemuria or Constance Lemuria Resort at Praslin is a five-star resort best known around the world for its 18 hole championship golf course. This resort sometimes attracts hordes of golf lovers to Praslin specifically for the chance to play this extremely challenging golf course. The course also has some of the best views on the island as Lemuria has a total of three different beaches as part of its grounds.
The three beaches of Lemuria is another reason that makes the north-west part of Praslin a desirable place. The first of these three beaches is Anse Georgette which is a stunning beach fit for rivalling the beauty of Anse Lazio. What makes this beach stand out is the fact that it is one of the very few beaches that are unmarked by corals or rocks. Although this makes the currents here extremely rough and dangerous, the waters are a perfect crystal blue and provide the best sunsets you can ever see.
The other two beaches are collectively called as Anse Karlan. They can be individually called as Petite and Grande Anse Karlan. Petite Anse Karlan is the beach you would want to visit if you plan to swim or snorkel in the waters of Praslin. However, Grande Anse Karlan is fit for those looking for a picnic on the beach, and a casual stroll as swimming is prohibited here, but the stretch of sand is stunning.
Probably the best beach in Praslin, Anse Lazio is a must visit when staying in Praslin. The award winning island is a half a mile stretch of white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. The waters here are also the perfect place to see different schools of fishes and other marine life. Although the place might be a little crowded due to its popular reputation, there is no denying its mesmerising beauty that is best witnessed during sunsets and sunrises.
While Praslin is a great place to spend your vacation at, it can also be considered as a base from where you can visit several nearby islands some of which are true treasures.
Cousine Island is approximately 6 kilometres from Praslin and is considered to be one of the most private places in the world. The entire island is a natural reserve for birds and turtles which live in their natural habitat and are not disturbed by the human touch. However, the island does have 4 villas that can house up to ten guests in total along with 16 hotel staffs to manage the island. The island is a mind-stirring place to visit for an out of the world experience and often hosts unforgettable weddings for which guests have to clear out by sunset due to its restriction of people staying overnight.
The Curieuse Island lies in the north-west of Praslin and is known for its mystical flora and fauna. A delight to visit, the island is proclaimed as a bio-reserve and managed by the Marina Parks Authority of Seychelles. The island also does not allow overnight visits and has no accommodations for staying. It is best known for being the only other place except for Vallee De Mai Natural Reserve, to have Coco De Mer Trees. It is also quite famous for its giant tortoise, mangrove forests and sea turtles. Several walking trails are designed all over the island to create the best experience suitable for every individual.
The ferry is the most convenient way of transport from the other islands of Seychelles to Praslin. A ferry from Mahe takes about 45 minutes, but the ride is not for the seasick as the sea can be quite rough on this route. Another ferry from La Digue can also be taken which takes about 15 minutes.
Another mode of transport is by an aeroplane which takes around 15 minutes from Mahe.
In-Land Transport: When travelling in Praslin, one can either rent a car or taxi, but the cheapest mode of transport is through the bus services.
When deciding which beaches to visit in Praslin, it can be tough to choose from the variety of beaches, each unique for different reasons. However, it helps to remember that the south-east beaches virtually disappear at high tide whereas the south-west beaches have incredibly shallow waters which make swimming impossible and also receive a ton of seaweed deposits on the shore from May to October. The north coast, however, has no clams and has the best beach stretches for visiting.
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