We spent 6 nights on the island of Praslin in a large studio apartment with kitchenette. We took the Catcocos ferry from Mahe to get there and it took about an hour. We had a rather rainy stay on Praslin (start of the rainy season is December) but we managed to see most of the island anyway and take in some beach time. We had a rental car for most of our stay and tried to navigate among the other cars and crazy blue buses.
Praslin is known for the Coco de Mer and we visited the Vallee de Mai reserve where there are still several male and female indigenous coco de mer trees.
We had a guided tour where we learned about the different palm trees, coco de mer trees, and other flora and fauna facts. The coco de mer is the largest nut in the world and the female nut is famous and sought after for its suggestive shape.
Many women might agree with this sign above 🙂
Young female coco de mer – above
One of the days we decided to take an excursion to a nearby island called Curieuse to go see the land tortoises and take a hike to a very secluded beach called Anse Badanier. The ëxcursion boats wanted way too much money for an island we could almost swim to, so we negotiated with a local we found on a beach, Johny, for a fair price. He agreed to meet us the next day at 9:30am.
That next morning, we ditched our rental car for the day and took the crazy blue bus to our meeting point at Anse Volbert. To our surprise, Johny was there (in fact we learned later he was on our bus)….a local on time? Whoa we thought!! We found a good one! BUT…Johny said he wanted the money right away as he had to go get gas for the boat! It would ONLY take him 20 mins to a half hour. We were surprised (although not that much) and hesitant to pay him but we felt we had no choice. So we sat on the beach, wondering if Johny would come back and if we would learn a lesson. But Johny showed up 20 mins or so later with the gas can and managed to start the boat after some failed attempts and fiddling with some wiring. He let us off at Curieuse island and agreed to pick us up at 4:00pm on Anse St Jose beach.
Johny trying to start his boat!
On Curieuse, we “petted” some small and medium size land tortoises and witnessed some love-making (caught on video for your entertainment).
We then headed out to start our very steamy humid hike (felt like bushwhacking at times ) to the other side of the island to Anse Badanier. We spent most of the day there and enjoyed the solitude of this small beach, having a nice lunch, a fresh coconut that James managed to open up, and looking for shells.
We hiked back in time to have a quick swim at Anse St Jose and dry off while waiting for our ride. At around 4:30pm, we were starting to get a bit concerned that Johny would not come to pick us up and was just drinking with his new money at the local bar. A French couple tried to help us with their local cell phone by calling Johny and texting him, but no replies. By now, we thought we would have to spend the night somewhere on this island (there are no hotels or structures, just an old leper house that’s been boarded off). Then suddenly in the distance, a boat came and it was Johny! We were relieved but a bit frustrated at the same time. Sylvie immediately told Johny he was late and he laughed it off, saying “yeah yeah I know. I had some Chinese customers who wanted to snorkel and had to leave them in the water to come get you”. Now it was our turn to laugh, he left his customers alone in the water? He rushed out of Curieuse speeding his way towards the snorkeling area where he had left them and we found them in a tiny rubber raft which his friend had lent them while waiting for Johny to come back. They climbed on our boat and we returned to Praslin all safe and sound.
We went to the bus stop to ride home and waited over an hour! We couldn’t wait to get our rental car back. On the way we passed a local feeding rice to the Madagascar cardinals, those beautiful red/orange birds we had been seeing everywhere in the Seychelles and a very well appointed fruit stand.
One night, tired of our own cooking, we had the owner’s sister in law cook us a creole meal. It was really tasty and a nice change from our predictable menu.
James had curry tuna and Sylvie some good chicken with onion wine sauce (to die for), both accompanied with rice and salad. We also had a great sunset that night.
We spent a couple of days at Anse Lazio, a beautiful beach on Praslin, but now unfortunately “netted” because of 2 shark attacks that happened two years ago only two weeks apart. We swam mostly inside the net but snorkeled warily outside once.
The last day the weather was really sunny and we spent it on gorgeous Anse Georgette where the luxurious Constance Lemuria has its hotel and golf course. You don’t see the hotel at all though from the beach which is a 20 minute walk from the hotel entrance. We had to get on a special guest list 2 days before to even get in, but it was well worth it. It was in our opinion the prettiest beach of Praslin. The sea was rough and the waves pounding much to James’delight.
Praslin was overall OK but the weather could have been better and so we were eager to move on to La Digue.