Vallée de Mai: Coco de Mer palm forest
Vallée de Mai is a nature reserve on Praslin island in the Seychelles and has a unique and natural palm forest preserved in its original state. The reserve is home of the famous Coco de Mer palm tree, endemic to the Seychelles, with its giant double coconuts. Vallée de Mai was added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 1983.
It’s only a short drive from the coast at Baie Sainte Anne to the reserve which is located about 5 miles land inwards. Several well maintained paths lead you through the palm forest.
We took the north route and were amazed by the giant palm leaves, almost five times my own size. After about 45 minutes we reached a shelter up a small hill offering a beautiful over the tropical forest.
The climate in the tropical forest is very warm and extremely humid. I never expected to deal with it so well, it was great for my contact lenses My wife appreciated it a lot less. Expect to sweat a lot while walking here, so take plenty of bottled water with you and check your camera lenses. They might be fogged because of the humidity. It will create an extra special effect you probably don’t want.
Because there aren’t any big animals on the island, like monkeys, the forest is actually quite silent during the day. Some birds singing, but not many. I was happy to see the Vallée de Mai, but it didn’t give me a real jungle feeling with the well maintained paths, signposts and few animals. It feels more like a tropical garden. Nevertheless it’s beautiful, so I really recommend you go and see it yourself.
Entrance to Vallée de Mai is €15 per person and payable only with cash. No credit cards are accepted. Children under 12 years old have free entrance.