Praslin Island
Only an hour on the Cat Cocos ferry or a 15 minute flight away from the capital, Praslin is quieter and has more of an island feel than Mahé. Although it’s the second most populated island, there are no real towns, just strings of houses and resorts along the winding coastal road. Praslin is easy to drive around so as on Mahé car hire is a good option and there is also a reliable bus service.

 

                   

The ferry and schooners to Mahé and La Digue arrive and depart from the port at Baie Ste Anne, which is also a popular yachting harbour. The best beaches are along the east coast – the Cote d’Or - and at Anse Lazio in the north. Anse Volbert, on the Cote d’Or is the island’s major resort. Here you’ll find boat operators, dive shops, water sports centres and of course hotels, restaurants, bar and souvenir shops.

Grand Anse, the largest settlement on the island, is close to the airport and is the commercial centre of the island. It too has the full range of tourist facilities but the beaches are not as good on this side so the beach infrastructure less developed than on the east.

Best Beaches
The most famous of Praslin’s beaches is the much-photographed Anse Lazio in the north. It deserves its reputation; the setting is idyllic with palm trees providing shade, dramatic granite boulders, unbelievably blue water and great swimming and snorkelling. Not surprisingly the crescent of fine, white sand is very popular with day trippers – on land and boat excursions - so go early or late if you want some peace.

You can’t go really go wrong whatever beach you choose on the Cote d’Or. Anse Volbert is sheltered and gently shelving so is very popular with families. You can stroll for hours and there is great snorkelling on the boulders at the northern end and around Chauve Souris Island and St Pierre Islet. Anse Possession is very pretty with good snorkelling to the east, and good swimming towards the picturesque bay of Anse Takamaka.

Anse La Blague, in the far east near the port, is secluded and great for snorkelling and you can walk along the shore, past Petite Anse and up the hill towards Anse la Farine (on the other side of the headland) for stunning views over Îe Ronde and to La Digue.

Vallée de Mai
One of the biggest attractions of the inner isles is Praslin’s exotic Vallée de Mai, a World heritage Site. The primeval forest is home to numerous beautiful and rare palms including the coco de mer, the erotically shaped nut of which is the national emblem of Seychelles. Much controversy surrounds the interpretation of the shapely fruit – the outline is indisputably of the female pelvis – but is it viewed from the back or the front? You’ll be able to judge for yourself by studying the conveniently located exhibit in the reserve, or the immigration stamp in your passport! Either way history records the excitement that the early sailors experienced when stumbling on the coco de mer nut after enduring months at sea.
The reserve is cool and peaceful with various nature trails leading to viewpoints and significant plants. To get the most out of a trail pick up a brochure listing the plants, birds and animals that you are likely to encounter from the shop at the entrance. Star attractions, in addition to the coco de mer, include the palmiste (the central shoot of which was originally the main ingredient of ‘millionaires salad’ - so called because the tree died after its removal), the millipede, Cinderella and thief palms.

Praslin Ocean Farm Aquarium
You can learn all about how pearls are cultivated at this small commercial farm near the airport and then buy specimens and other jewellery as souvenirs. There are also display tanks full of reef fish and other marine creatures.

Wining and dining
Bonbon Plumes, at Anse Lazio, is an excellent lunchspot. This is a real barefoot elegance, feet in the sand restaurant, which serves excellent Creole food. Plan a full day out to visit the beach and restaurant. The Paradise Sun Hotel, at Anse Volbert, has good food and various theme evenings including a soirée on the beach with traditional local dancing around the bonfire. The nearby Berjaya Hotel has a great pizzeria right on the beach which serves a range of other dishes as well as its speciality pizzas.

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