Vallée de Mai

Vallée de Mai information

adult/child under 12 €20/free
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Lonely Planet review

Praslin's World Heritage–listed Vallée de Mai is one of only two places in the world where you can see the rare coco de mer palms growing in their natural state (the other being nearby Curieuse Island) – not to mention more than 50 other indigenous plants and trees. If the entry price seems steep, remember this is a unique chance to experience a slice of Eden. Five hiking trails lead through this primeval, emerald-tinged forest, which remained totally untouched until the 1930s. The shortest is about 1km and the longest is 2km – perfect for families. As you walk amid the forest, the atmosphere is eerie, with the monstrous leaves of the coco de mer soaring 30m to a sombre canopy of huge fronds. Signs indicate some of the other endemic trees to look out for, including several varieties of pandanus (screw pines) and latanier palms. Bird-watchers also rate Vallée de Mai as a top birding hot spot. Keep your eyes peeled for endemic species, including the Seychelles bulbul, the blue pigeon, the Seychelles warbler and the elusive black parrot, of which there are perhaps less than 100 left.