Praslin is a lush, green, and picture-perfect tropical island vegetation and scenery. It is seven and a half miles long by three miles wide, which makes it the second-largest island of the Seychelles Islands. It’s made of granite and has a spine of mountains running down its centre.
It was named Isle de Palmes by explorer Lazare Picault in 1744. During that time it was used as a hideaway by pirates and Arab merchants. In 1768 it was renamed Praslin in honor of French diplomat César Gabriel de Choiseul, duc de Praslin.
Praslin is famous for its soft white sandy beaches, and there are far too many to name, with the exception of Anse Lazio, which has consistently been voted one of the world’s best beaches.
They offer safe bathing and excellent snorkelling among the living corals, which are home to an amazing nine hundred species of fish. One can hire a bicycle, a taxi, go on an organized trip round the island, or hire a self-drive car from “Le Baron,” and maybe even stay at his small, air conditioned hotel on Grande Anse beach.
Another interesting tale makes Praslin famous. A century ago, General Gordon from the Sudan visited this island and became convinced that he had found the original Garden of Eden. He developed this theory when he saw the strange shape of the infamous “Coco de Mer.” The enormous coconut is shaped like a female pelvis, which he then identified with Eve.
These coconuts only grow on the ancient giant palm trees in the Vallée de Mai nature park and are used locally as an aphrodisiac drink. Valle de Mai, 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. They can be seen along with the insect-eating pitcher plant, vanilla orchids, and some of the earth’s rarest birds: the Seychelles bulbul, fruit pigeon, and the black parrot on the nature trails when walking through the forest.
Praslin, only fifteen minutes by a 20 seater “Twin Otter” plane from Mahé, Sychels largest island and where the nationa capital Victoria, is located or one hour by sea on “Cat Cocos,” which can carry 159 passengers. This island is somewhat quieter, and less developed than Mahé, but boasts an exotic paradise of dense vegetation and lush coconut groves.
It is also an excellent jumping off point to visit other islands like La Digue, Cousin, Curieuse and St. Pierre. These beautiful islands are inhabited by thousands of birds and turtles, and their waters possess beautiful coral reefs where snorkelers can see a variety of fishes.