Shenton Safaris

Praslin: The wicked seductress of the Seychelles

The view of Praslin, the second largest island in the Seychelles

© Maurice Schutgens

Granitic in nature, laid-back in character and absolutely enticing at its core, this is Praslin, the second largest island in the Seychelles. It is a place of unparalleled beauty waiting to be explored…

A small island off the coast of Praslin in the Seychelles

© Maurice Schutgens

Our Air Seychelles flight skimmed low over the azure waters before kissing the tarmac at Iles des Palmes Airport on Praslin.

Outside the airport we rudely awoke a car hire sales assistant from her afternoon snooze. Who could blame her, it was 30 degrees! Once awake she was more than happy to send us off on our way in our little Kia. Having rented out a car to us she decided it was time to knock off for the day. We were loving this relaxed Seychelles vibe.

Our lodge, located high above the serene looking Cote D’Or (Gold Coast), looked out over the picturesque St. Pierre Island shimmering in the bay far below with yachts dotted around her. The view was priceless and the slight increase in altitude a respite from the heat down below.

Walking on the beach on Praslin in the Seychelles

© Maurice Schutgens

With our reliable Kia we went in search of adventure. Praslin Island is dominated by the lush jungles of the famed Valle de Mai National Park where visitors flock to lay eyes upon the rather shapely coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica) – a rare species of palm tree native to the Seychelles.

Centuries ago, when fishermen happened upon the nuts washed up on the shores, they believed they came from underwater forests home to terrifying sea monsters of the deep that preyed on unsuspecting fisherman. While this may no longer be true, seeing an endemic coco de mer is non-negotiable. To avoid the crowds however, we opted for Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve in the southeast of the island. Same nut, no crowds.

The author holding the nut of a coco de mer

The nut of the coco de mer © Maurice Schutgens

There is no shortage of spectacular beaches on Praslin. In fact, based on numerous internet polls, Anse Lazio may just be the ultimate award-winning stretch of coastline in the world.

The moment we laid eyes on it we couldn’t agree more. A perfect white sandy bay flanked by the most piercing of blue ocean waters. Still, given the crowds we wanted to get away and find some solitude. We knew just where to find it.

The blue, tropical waters of Praslin in the Seychelles

© Maurice Schutgens

An unmarked trail led away from Anse Lazio carving a path through the inland humid forest. It was a strenuous 1.5 hour hike along the contours of the bay. Suddenly we crested the final rise and there below us lay Anse Georgette, sparkling in the sun, turquoise waters lapping powdery white sands.

Anse Georgette in Praslin in the Seychelles

© Maurice Schutgens

Once we finally made it down to the water we wisely channelled our inner Robinson Crusoe and abandoned all plans for the rest of the day!

Sitting on the beach in Praslin in the Seychelles

© Maurice Schutgens

For the next few days we grabbed our Kia and headed out to find secluded little bays, stopping only to play amongst the large granite boulders that are strewn along Praslin’s beaches.

The author and his partners on Praslin in the Seychelles

© Maurice Schutgens

We sampled mouthwatering Seychellois cuisine at Coco Rouge in Baie St. Anne and watched mesmerising sunsets with a cold beer in hand. It was a magical experience.

Sunset on Praslin in the Seychelles

© Maurice Schutgens

Praslin is the most incredible of destinations. It has more in common with its sleepy neighbour La Digue then the hustle and bustle of Mahé but in some ways it’s completely unique in its own way. You’d be silly not to visit!

A giant tortoise eats in Praslin in the Seychelles

© Maurice Schutgens

 



Maurice Schutgens

Born in the Netherlands but raised at the end of a tarmac road in a remote Ugandan village, Maurice was always going to end up living in Africa. After a brief stint in Europe he returned to this great continent to pursue a Master's in Conservation Biology at the University of Cape Town, which was followed by several years of traipsing across the globe in search of adventure and stunning wild places. For the last few years Maurice has been based in Kenya and is working towards securing a future for African elephants and the landscapes on which they depend. He is a passionate conservationist, amateur explorer and his camera is always with him! You can follow more of his adventures on Facebook, Instagram, and on his website.

Africa Geographic