The Praslin Island in Seychelles is home to a national park and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. Comprising an area of 19.5 hectares, the Vallée de Mai National Park is mainly a palm forest that has remained unchanged since the first exploration of Seychelles.
The national park features a well-preserved palm forest, its flagship endemic species coco de mer, and five other endemic palms. The coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica) is a monocot tree and has the largest double-nut seed of any plant in the world. The fan-shaped tree can grow up to a height of 25 to 34 meters. The double-nut seed can weigh up to 5 kilograms on average.
There are five other endemic palm species found in the national park: millionaire's salad, thief palm, Seychelles stilt palm, latanier millepattes, and latanier palm. So, these six species of palms are unique to this reserve and also to the Seychelles islands. Including all species, there are some 4000 palm trees in the Vallée de Mai National Park. Two more species of endemic trees in the park are Dillena furruginea, also known as bwa rouz, and Northea hornei. Also, Takamaka trees are found at the entrance to the park.
The park is also famous for its wildlife, including birds such as the Seychelles black parrot, mammals, snails, and reptiles. Some of the common avifauna in the park is the Seychelles black parrot, blue pigeon, bulbul, sunbird, and kestrel. Due to a rich variety of wildlife, the Vallée de Mai National Park in Seychelles is a popular birding and wildlife watching spot. Three hiking trails lead visitors through this primeval forest. The shortest trail is about 1 km and the longest one is 2 km. All trails in Vallée de Mai National Park are clearly marked and perfect for families. There are signs indicating some of the endemic trees to keep an eye out for.
November through February is the best time to visit Vallée de Mai National Park. It remains open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm every day. Last tickets for the park are sold at 4.30 pm. Adults and children above 12 are required to pay 20 Euros as the entry Fees of Vallée de Mai National Park.