Praslin is the second largest inhabited island of the Seychelles, and is seven miles by roughly two and a half. The striking coral reefs are mere striplings, perhaps six to eight thousand years old. But they are teeming with life ; a landscape painted in the myriad colours of living coral, jewel like shells, and an amazing nine hundred species of fish.
It is also home to one of Seychelles’ two World Heritage Sites – the Vallee de Mai – a primeval rainforest containing the famous Coco de Mer palms, which have the largest, heaviest and most suggestively shaped nuts in the world. Vanilla orchids, a variety of lizards and some of earth’s rarest birds also reside there. Praslin, though small, more than warrants exploration. Thanks to its geography, it is also the ideal place from which to visit many of the other islands.
Anse Lazio is the best beach on Praslin and one of the best in the country. It is located on the far north of the island. The beach has sparkling white, soft sand some rounded granite boulders and some good waves. The water is a spectacular turquoise colour. It is a great beach for snorkelling.
The islands lie outside the cyclone belt but receive monsoon rains from November to February with the northwest trade winds. This hot and humid season gives way to a period of cooler weather though the temperature rarely falls below 23°.
Praslin is off the east coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean and is 660 mls NE of Madagascar, 995 mls E of Kenya. Praslin’s small airport lies 5 mls W of Vallee de Mai and 23 mls NE of the main island of Mahe. It is surrounded by many smaller islands, including La Digue and Curieuse, which is 15 mins by air from Mahe, and 3 hrs by local schooner, and 1 hr by catamaran.
The area is suited to upmarket couples and families, particularly suited to honeymooners and those placing an emphasis on luxury retreat with natural beauty.
There are majestic bays and long beaches alternate with small coves. Most development is focused on 2 main strips of coastline: in the east (Cote d’Or) and in the west (Grand Anse).
Hotels generally provide free transport to the other coast at these times. Snorkelling is best in the more sheltered NW bays and in parts of the Cote d’Or. Anse Lazio, in the NW, is good for swimming and snorkelling and is reputed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, although arguably there are several which could live up to that title.
Anse Lazio is not directly accessible by public transport, entailing a long walk on very steep roads from the nearest bus stop (you could always use a hire car or taxi).
During the daytime most activities are beach and water sports based, however cycling and hiking in the Vallee de Mai are also popular.
There is a limited choice of eateries which means that many visitors stay on a half-board basis. Only a handful of independent restaurants and cafes exist on the island offering local creole specialities and fish dishes. Hotels provide the usual international fare, often with a creole option; their restaurants are generally open to the public. Prices tend to be high.