Of the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles, one stands out as having its most iconic features and distinctions: Praslin, the “Isle of Palms,” as christened by explorer Lazare Picault in the mid-1700s. On this small but stunningly diverse island, the beaches merely scratch the surface of the wonders to be found here.
And what you might have thought was simply a sun, sea and sand holiday destination soon gives way to the notion that there’s a much more primal, even mystic, quality about the island – one that defies explanation for most.
The famous British general, Charles George Gordon, could be counted among those who would attempt to figure out why, and he arrived at a startling conclusion. During his time in the Seychelles, he became convinced that the Vallée de Mai, the ancient palm forest on Praslin which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the original Garden of Eden.
Praslin, with a population of 6,500 people, is Seychelles’ second largest island.
|Transport||Praslin can be reached by boat from Mahe or La Digue, with the catamaran taking approximately 45 minutes from Mahe or 15 from La Digue.
It's a modern 35-metre catamaran with a capacity of 350 passengers now operating up to four times a day between Mahé and Praslin in one hour at the speed of 35 knots.
The ride to Mahe is scenic but the waters can be quite choppy, so if you are prone to seasickness you may wish to consider the plane instead. The crossing to La Digue is over calmer waters, and the ride is short enough that sickness shouldn't be a problem.
Flights to Praslin airport from Mahe take just fifteen minutes, and if you are flexible with your departure times the cost is only marginally more than the boat. The planes used are tiny 'twin otters', with two propeller engines on a wing raised above the cabin offering excellent views of the sea and islands below. It's a unique experience with up to fifteen passengers squeezed into a tiny craft - hot and steamy but well worth it for the fantastic views.
Praslin airport is situated between Anse Kerlan and Grande Anse, but the longest transfer from the airport isn't likely to take more than 30 minutes. Don't worry about your hotel being too close to the airport - there are only 8-10 flights a day and the noise from the tiny engines is minimal.
The primary means of public transport throughout Praslin is by bus. Please note that on Praslin buses don't take you if you carry more than a daypack! Please notice: After 7 p.m. there are hardly any buses running.
|Geography||Praslin lies 45km to the northeast of Mahé and measures 10km by 3.7km with a total area of 37.56 sq.km
The island has three main settlements
- Baie St Anne, where the catamaran docks bringing passengers to and from Mahe and La Digue
- Grande Anse on the south coast near the airstrip
- Anse Volbert / Cote D'Or on the north coast.
Between these main towns the island is sparsely inhabited, adding to the feeling of being on your own desert island.
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|Famous beaches||The island Praslin features truly exquisite beaches such as Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette, both appearing on the top-10 list of world’s best beaches in recent years.
The beaches around the island are all dreamlike, picture postcards of white sand and shallow, turquoise seas. That said, the beaches of the south coast are extremely shallow, making swimming off Grande Anse less enjoyable than in Cote D'Or, and from May to October seaweed washes up on the southern shores making the beaches a little less appealing, while this isn't a problem on the north coast.
The beaches on the south east of the island can disappear at high tide, while the north east at Anse La Blague is stunningly beautiful but quite remote - if you stay here you will want your own transport.
The Lemuria has a number of beautiful beaches in its grounds to the west, while anywhere between Anse Lazio and Anse Gouvernment on the north coast is an all round winner.
|Country name||Republic of the Seychelles|