Layout of the Land
The Seychelles Islands can be divided into several groups of islands, by geography. One such grouping of islands includes Praslin. Praslin is located northeast of Mahe, and is surrounded by these smaller islands:
- Cousin Island
- Aride Island
- Curieuse Island
Praslin is the perfect tropical island, since it's not over-developed but has some tourism activity for visitors. The topography and environment are lush, green, and picture-perfect tropical island vegeation and scenery. The overall flavor of the island's culture is relaxed and peaceful. It's made of granite and has a spine of mountains running down its center. Praslin is about seven and a half miles long by three miles wide, which makes it the second-largest island of the Seychelles Islands. Most people visit Praslin to see Valle de Mai
, which is a preserved area of forest where coco de mer palms are abundant. This is a major attraction of the Seychelles Islands because there only a few places in the world where this particular palm grows wild. The other main attraction of Praslin of course is the beaches.
The People of Praslin
About 5000 people live on Praslin full time, in small villages scattered all over the island. Some of these settlements are:
- Anse Volbert
- Grand Anse
- Baie Ste Anne
- Petit Anse Kerlan
- Anse Marie-Louise
- Anse Ste Sauveur
- Anse Consolation
- Anse Boise de Rose
Praslin Information for Travelers
Praslin has two tourist information offices, which can help travelers out with anything from accommodations to maps. These are Airport Tourist Office and Baie St Anne Tourist Office. There are also several travel agencies on Praslin, most of them located at Grand Anse. The main post office is located here as well. There are banks with ATMs too, and again Grand Anse is the best area to find this and other tourist services.
To get around Praslin, you have some choices. You can rent a car or rent a bicycle. Alternatively, you can make use of their excellent bus service, or spend more and use their taxis. To get to Curieuse or the other nearby islands, you have to charter a boat, which is done through your hotel.
Shopping & Entertainment
There's an art gallery in Anse Volbert, called George Camille Art Gallery
. Camille uses island motifs such as palms and geckos in his art, making for superb gifts and upscale souvenirs.
Grand Anse and Baie Ste Anne have the only real nightlife, which seems to run only on Saturday nights. In Grand Anse you can visit Jungle and dance all you want, or if your tastes run more glam and flashy, visit Dome on Baie Ste Anne.
Valle de Mai
Valle de Mai is on the list of World Heritage Sites because of the rare coco de mer palm tree. This type of palm grows in the wild only here and on nearby Curieuse Island. Your entry fee to the park goes towards preserving the area, which is a gem-like slice of paradise that everone from artists to wildlife enthusiasts consider to be one of the best spots on earth for experiencing tropical perfection. There's a black parrot that lives only here on Praslin, whose habitat is preserved by the park's existence.
Visitors to Valle de Mai should keep to the trails, of which there are three. You can enjoy the park for hours on end, via these trails, one of which takes several hours to traverse.