Praslin and La Digue Islands
We spent the morning on Praslin Island, the second largest of the Seychelles central granitic group (population about 6,500 people). Like Mahe, it has a mountainous ridge running on an east-west line down the center. The island’s main attraction is, of course, the famous Vallée de Mai, which is now a World Heritage Site. Vallée de Mai is one of the few climax palm forests in the world and is best known for its amazing and mysterious growth of coco de mer palms, an endemic species that is distinguished by having both the largest leaf and the largest seed in the entire world. This spectacular palm got its name centuries ago from the belief that it grew on the sea floor somewhere in the Indian Ocean, because it was only known from seeds that had floated ashore in the Maldives or other coastal regions. These rare specimens were carved into ornate containers and were worth a fortune. Only a few examples survive today. Right after breakfast, most of us went directly to the beautiful palm forest in order to enjoy hiking among the fascinating endemic flora, which also includes an additional five species of palms. In spite of the typical heat and humidity of this tropical island, conditions were quite pleasant walking in the shade of the giant palms. One of the highlights of our hike this morning was the sighting of a rare, endemic Seychelles black parrot. At the same time, several guests opted to spend the morning at the beautiful white coralline sand beach known as Anse Lazio, just one of many excellent beaches found here on Praslin Island.
During lunch, we sailed over to nearby La Digue (the fourth largest island, population about 2,500), where we spent the rest of the day. Read More>
Apr 23, 2015
National Geographic Orion
Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean