Said to be a flourishing ocean bed during the prehistoric times, Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve offers unparalleled views of lush wilderness. Palm forests till the horizon, a lush wilderness home to a remarkable family of flora and fauna, Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve is one of the best nature reserves in Seychelles. Located on the small isle of Praslin, this reserve is famous for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourists have often called it the “Garden of Eden”, and you will not have a different view after your visit!
The reserve is not located amidst the rush of the tourists, in fact, it is tucked away in a happy paradise, away from all the noise. Natural beauty at its best, the trails lead you through the entire area, giving you more than one instances for some perfect clicks!
Things you need to know Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
This small gem floating across the Indian Ocean is the lesser known one out of the 115 islands that make up Seychelles. The reserve is spread over an expanse of 48 acres and is home to a variety of palm trees, including some rare species too. It is said that there are 6 endemic species of palms, and all of them can be found here. From the largest seed in the world, the Coco de Mer, to the Thief Palm, all of these are very interesting to study.
Secure in the thicket of these woods are also a number of birds and animals like the rare Seychelles black parrot and Seychelles skink! So, pack your bag and carry your camera, botanists and nature-lovers, you are in for a treat!
Entry fee: 305 Seychellois Rupees
Entry timings: 8:30 am (Closes at 4:30 pm)
Best time to visit Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve: April to May and October to November
How to reach:
By ferry: Since the island is a little away from the main island of Seychelles, there are regular boats that commute between the two isles transporting people.
By air: Seychelles has an International airport that connects it to the rest of the world. The island is a quick boat ride away.
By road: Praslin is a small island which can be explored on foot. The reserve is located in the heart of the island.
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The incredible flora of Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
The first thing that is noticeable as soon as you enter the reserve is the population of palm trees. Grown over hundreds of years, this pristine forest is beautifully preserved, very close to its original state. Evolution of palms can be studied here in much depth. Boasting of all the varieties of palms being grown here, this reserve is amongst the top places to visit for nature lovers. Known to be a cosy habitat for the famous Coco de Mer, you will get to see gigantic trees of more than 100 feet towering over the smaller plants.
The canopy created over this entire reserve is what has helped keep this place safe, and well hidden from the public eye. With all 6 species creating a beautiful picture, the view during the peak season is a splash of green, orange and brown. It is said that there are almost 5000 palm trees in this reserve, along with some other variety.
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The exciting fauna of Vallée de Mai Nature Reserv
One exciting aspect of this reserve is its fauna. Mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects that are residents here make any trip special. Rare species like the Seychelles black parrot are famous here. A walk into this thicket will also give you a chance to observe some other native birds like Seychelles sunbird, Seychelles kestrel, Seychelles blue pigeon, Mascarene swiftlet, and Seychelles bulbul.
Species of skink, gecko, snakes, snails, and frog can also be found in this wilderness. Apart from these, there are some aquatic species too, and their habitats can be explored here too. One species of freshwater fish that is native to Seychelles is the golden panchax, which populates in abundance here.
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Things to do in Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
Birdwatching: Exotic bird species including some rare ones have made this palm wilderness their home. Carry your binoculars and camera to capture some of these species in their natural habitat.
Wildlife viewing: With an incredible variety of reptiles, amphibians, and insects that live here, wildlife viewing is one of the most enjoyable activities here.
Nature photography: With every scene being a glimpse of paradise, the lush green palms have wonderful inhabitants that add grace to any click!
Nature trails: The terrain of the reserve is not suited for trekking or hiking, but more like a relaxing walk amidst nature.
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Where to stay in Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
Praslin is blessed with a gorgeous shore, and of course, one of the world’s most precious UNESCO site. As such, there are many resorts nearby that offer excellent services. Some of the high-end options include Constance Lemuria (9.9 km), Raffles (10.3 km), Hotel Coco de Mer – Black Parrot Suites (8 km), and Paradise Sun Hotel (7.1 km).
There are a few other comfortable options too, for instance, Castello Beach Hotel, Acajou Beach Resort, and Iles des Palmes. And for those on a budget, you can check out Berjaya Praslin Beach Hotel, Sea View Lodge, and Le Chevalier.
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, you must explore the gorgeous and unique Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve on your trip to Seychelles.
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