The second largest island in Seychelles is small enough that you could drive around the circumference in about 30 minutes. There is actually nowhere else to drive, most of the roads skirt the beach and there is only one connection that cuts through the Island. Most of the island’s coastline is full of stellar beaches, you just have to pick what meets your taste.
During December, the beaches on the western side get swarmed by plankton, so are not the most friendly for either swimming or playing. This happened to be the side we had our holiday home, but there was enough of beach just a few minutes away. It boasts of some of the top ten position holders in the best beaches of the world list. It also boasts of a UNESCO world heritage site called Vallée de Mai. It is a palm forrest that is known for the national fruit called Coco de mer which is eye catching because of its start anatomical resemblance. It takes years for a single fruit to grow and is damn expensive, for no real reason.
The issue with finding any delicious food locally continued from Mahe to Praslin, though there are some pretty good take out joints and definitely a fantastic restaurant called PK. One of the other cool eating experiences was at this small place in the main town that also served as a take out but had a stream flowing right behind it with a number of crabs at its side. The crabs made for wonderful distraction as we ate the tasteless local curies.
The East coast of this tiny Island is the most happening. Driving up from the ferry terminal at the southern tip of the Island, the first point thing I noticed is a brightly lit take out joint.
Driving further North, there is a small town with a few restaurants and a number of souvenir shops. There is also a beautiful beach right next to them, slightly hidden by a line of trees. Further up is a lovely drive next to the beach to the right. Further up is the breathtaking Raffles hotel, the PK restaurant and then the ultimate prize, the Anse Lazio beach. A spectacular beach and a small cozy restaurant next to it. A look at the soft white sand, the trees that line it and the emerald blue surf will make it easy to believe why it is one of the top beaches in the world. It is perfect for a swim, with mild waves and a long smooth reef. A little bit aways is a great snorkelling beach too. There is something for everyone here.
The Vallée de Mai park is located on the only road that does not kiss the ocean. It is a winding road across the hills that dominate the centre of the island. It is quite an adventure to drive on this road at night, but in the day it is quite mellow. The park itself has a nice parking, a ticket window and a shop right at the entrance. The attraction here is a palm tree forest that hosts 3 rare items – the Coco de Mai, a black monkey and the Bronze eyes Gecko. The first is easy to spot across many trees in the forest.
The later 2 are rare sightings and you have to be really lucky to spot either. There is a lot of other insect and bird life to see, though. The park itself has 3 walking trails that range from 1 to 3 km round trip, include walking through some up and down terrain and some amazing natural beauty. It was raining the day I went, but the palm trees kept all the rain at bay, though the ground got really slushy.
There are no real landmarks in the island, besides these. The southern coast is pretty and secluded but there aren’t many stopping points. On the Western coast, there are some nice places to watch a good sunset towards the north side. You also pass an airstrip that operates some small airplane flights from Mahe. There are a few restaurants which were good looking but nothing more than that. At the northern tip here is another fantastic beach that is now part of some resort, so harder to get to.
There is not much to do here and with so much natural beauty all around that emptiness is one of the biggest assets of this island. The Praslin Holiday home provided for amazing accommodation with large feel good apartments, only thing missing was a sea view. A gas station and grocery store were right next door.