Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve: A UNESCO World Heritage Site On Praslin Island

Said to be a rich sea bed during prehistoric times, the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve offers unique views of lush forest. With palm forests stretching to the horizon, a lush jungle home to a remarkable family of flora and fauna, the Vallée de Mai, Seychelles is one of the best nature reserves in Seychelles. Located on the small island of Praslin, this sanctuary is famous for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourists often call it the “Garden of Eden,” and you won’t see a different view after your visit!

The reserve is not located amidst the hordes of tourists, in fact, it is nestled in a blissful paradise, away from all the noise. Natural beauty at its best, the trails take you throughout the area, giving you more than one example for some great clicks!

Things you need to know about Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve

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This little gem floating in the Indian Ocean is the least known of the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles. The reserve is spread over an expanse of 48 acres and is home to a variety of palm trees, including some rare species. It is said that there are 6 endemic species of palms, and they can all be found here. From the world’s largest seed, the Coco de Mer, to the Thief Palm, it’s all very interesting to study.

Many birds and animals like the rare Seychelles black parrot and the Seychelles skink are also safe in the dense areas of these forests! So, pack your bags and take your camera, botanists and nature-lovers, you are in for a treat!

Must read: Praslin Island: A picturesque emerald of Seychelles

Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve Entrance Fee: 305 Seychellois rupees
Entry Time: 8:30am (closes 4:30pm)
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 bit far from the main island of Seychelles, there are regular boats plying people between the two islands.
By air: Seychelles has one international airport that connects it to the rest of the world. The island is a short boat ride away.
by road: Praslin is a small island that can be explored on foot. The reserve is located in the middle of the island.

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The incredible vegetation of the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve

The first thing that is noticeable upon entering the reserve is the population of palm trees. Developed over hundreds of years, this ancient forest is beautifully preserved, very close to its original state. Here the development of palms can be studied in great depth. Due to all the varieties of palms grown here, this sanctuary is one of the top places to visit for nature lovers. Known as a comfortable habitat for the famous Coco de Mer, you will get to see huge trees over 100 feet tall growing on smaller plants.

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The canopy created over the entire sanctuary has helped keep the place safe, and well hidden from public view. All 6 species make a beautiful picture, during the peak season the view is colored green, orange and brown. It is said that there are about 5000 palm trees in this sanctuary along with some other varieties.

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The exciting fauna of the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve

An exciting aspect of this sanctuary is its fauna. The mammals, reptiles, birds and insects that live here make any trip special. Rare species like the Seychelles black parrot are famous here. A walk through this dense forest will also give you a chance to spot some other native birds like the Seychelles Sunbird, Seychelles Kestrel, Seychelles Blue Pigeon, Mascarene Swiftlet and the Seychelles Bulbul.

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Species of skinks, geckos, snakes, snails and frogs can also be found in this forest. Apart from these, there are also some aquatic species and their habitats can also be explored here. One species of freshwater fish that is native to Seychelles is the Golden Panchax, which is found in abundance here.

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Things to do in Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve

bird watching

Exotic bird species, including some rare ones, have made this palm forest their home. Bring your binoculars and camera to capture some of these species in their natural habitat.

wildlife watching

With the incredible diversity of reptiles, amphibians and insects that live here, wildlife watching is one of the most enjoyable activities here.

nature photography

With every scene having a glimpse of paradise, the lush green palm trees are the wonderful inhabitants that grace any click!

nature trails

The terrain of the reserve is not suitable for trekking or hiking, but rather a relaxing walk amidst nature.

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Where to stay in the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve

Praslin is blessed with a gorgeous coastline, and undoubtedly, it is one of the most precious UNESCO sites in the world. However, there are many resorts nearby which provide excellent services. Some 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 also some other comfortable options, for example, Castello Beach Hotel, Akajou Beach Resort and Isles des Palms. And for those on a budget, you can check out Berjaya Praslin Beach Hotel, Sea View Lodge and Le Chevalier.

If you are interested in wildlife, you must visit the gorgeous and unique Vallée de Mai “Garden of Eden” on your trip to Seychelles.

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