After we visited the nature reserve Fond Ferdinand in the morning, we wanted to visit the big sister – the Vallée de Mai.
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The Vallée de Mai National Park
The Vallée de Mai is a national park in Praslin, Germany. The park was added to the Unesco World Heritage List in 1983. The Vallée de Mai is located in the heart of Praslin, home to the largest intact forest of the endemic Seychelles palm Coco de Mer, as well as many other endemic animal and plant species. The natural park with its 19.5 ha is one of the smallest national park areas in the world.
The location of the park on the island of Praslin
Vallée de Mai is located in the heart of praslin National Park in the heart of the island and is easily accessible by car as well as by public bus.
Opening hours, parking, entrance fees & tours
The Vallée de Mai is open daily from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Only on 25.12. and 01.01. the park remains closed to visitors. There are plenty of free parking spaces in front of the entrance.
The ticket prices are actually all: per person the entrance fee is 350 SCR (about 24 EUR). Compared to the Fond Ferdinand certainly not a bargain. However, it should be added that 50 of the entrance fee goes to the protection of Aldabra Atoll and 30 to the Vallée de Mai and the associated seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF). Compared to the Fond FerdinandNature Reserve , which can only be visited by a guided tour, it is possible to explore it on your own in the Vallée de Mai. Free guided tours are also available daily at 9 am and 2 pm.
The designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
With the designation of the Vallée de Mai as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, the outstanding and universal value of this special forest was recognized worldwide. Today there are only 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Seychelles. In addition to the Vallée de Mai, Aldabra Atoll (the largest atoll in the Indian Ocean) is another World Heritage Site, also managed by the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF).
The path system in the park
It is best to take a small free brochure about the park with you at the checkout, because there are also the different paths marked. There are a total of 3 different routesto explore the park:
» Purple Route: 1 kilometer / 1 hour
» Green Route: 1.7 kilometers / 2 hours
» Orange Route: 2 kilometers / 3 hours
We chose the green route because we still wanted to take the viewpoint (Shelter), which is about halfway. During our walk on the well-maintained paths of the nature park, we met very few people. Although the park is certainly more crowded than the Fond Ferdinand, visitors are better distributed over the grounds than expected, because most of the guests are on their own. So we were able to choose our own pace and from time to time we could make small photo stops in peace.
The flora and fauna in the park
The landscape is a remnant of an early forest that existed when the granite rocks of the Seychelles still belonged to the continent of Gondwana. Millions of years of isolation have led to the emergence of many endemic species in the Vallée de Mai. The absolute seclusion also favoured the development of very special relationships between the most diverse animals and plants.
If you walk through the national park attentively and with a good eye, you may encounter the extremely rare Seychelles Black Parrot with its dark shiny feather dress. Other animals you can encounter here in the park are chameleons, various nectar birds, island birds, frogs, geckos and snails.
The Coco de Mer (Seychelles Palm)
The Vallée de Mai is home to the largest intact forest of the Seychelles palm Coco de Mer, which is endemic and occurs exclusively on the islands of Praslin and Curieuse in the Seychelles. In total, 5,000 such palms, which are up to 40 m high, are expected to be located in the smallest space, which corresponds to the largest number in any place in the world. The seeds of Coco de Mer, weighing up to 30 to 40 kg, are the largest seeds of the plant kingdom and are very popular with tourists due to their interesting appearance as a souvenir. When making a purchase, make sure that they are licensed and certified. At the entrance to the park, various seeds of the Coco de Mer are on display, so that you can take them in your hand.
In addition to the Seychelles palm, the Vallée de Mai also contains the five other endemic palm species of the Seychelles.
Overall, we found the Vallée de Mai interesting and our hike very nice. But our visit to the Fond Ferdinand – also because of the great viewpoint – pleased us a little better 🙂
A map with all the sights of Praslin Island
On the following Google MyMaps map we have mapped our hotel, the most beautiful beaches and sights on the island of Praslin.
Our travelogues from the SeychellesWhite dream beaches, crystal clear water, sun and palm trees: the Seychelles are the epitome of an island paradise. For 2 weeks we explored the main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue and saw the most beautiful sights: From gorgeous beaches, fascinating nature parks to hidden photo spots, animal islanders and beautiful viewpoints. » Seychelles: Things to know & Travel Tips (Mahé, Praslin & La Digue)
» Seychelles: Travel Planning, Flight & Rental Car
» Mahé: Things to know & places of interest
» Mahé: Tropical Hideaway Apartement & Beau Vallon Beach
» Mahé: Victoria – Things to do & beautiful photo spots
» Mahé: The Rock Pool (Ros Sodyer) at Anse Takamaka
» Mahé: Top 10 most beautiful beaches on the island
» Cerf Island: Snorkeling in Sainte Anne Marine Park
» Praslin: Things to know & places of interest on Praslin
» Praslin: Acajou Beach Resort on the Cote d’Or Beach
» Praslin: Fond Ferdinand – Coco de Mer Nature Reserve on Praslin
» Praslin: Vallée de Mai – UNESCO National Park on Praslin
» Praslin: Top 5 most beautiful beaches on the island of Praslin
» Curieuse Island: A trip to the giant tortoises
» Félicité: The luxury resort Six Senses Zil Pasyon
» La Digue: Things to know & Travel Tips from the island of La Digue
» La Digue: Cat Cocos Ferry & La Diguoise Guesthouse
» La Digue: Crystal Water Kayaks – Transparent kayak tours on La Digue
» La Digue: Anse Marron – Hike around the south coast of La Digue
» La Digue: Top 10 – The most beautiful beaches on La Digue
» La Digue: The resort Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie