Vallée de Mai celebrates 30 years as UNESCO World Heritage Site

This year the Seychelles celebrates the 30th anniversary of the primeval palm forest, the Vallée de Mai, being declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Constance Lémuria, Seychelles

Constance Lémuria, Seychelles

Set in the heart of Praslin island, a short drive from Constance Lémuria, the Vallée de Mai is part of the beautiful Praslin National Park, an area of ancient forest largely untouched by human hands.

The Coco de Mer

Visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage Site can see a range of endemic species, including the protected coco de mer palm.

A 19th century British explorer was so bowled over by the valley’s beauty that he set out to prove that it was the original site of the Garden of Eden and that the coco de mer palm was the actual tree of knowledge.

Endemic wildlife and plants at Vallée de Mai

A walk around the breathtaking verdant forest, alone or with a guide, is an opportunity to spot rare endemic wildlife including the endangered black parrot, chameleons, Seychelles house snakes and green and bronze geckos.

Alongside the famous coco de mer there are five other types of endemic palms here, the only place on earth where they are all found together, as well as a range of other trees including mango and cinnamon.

Stay at Constance Lémuria

If you’re tempted by the splendour of this World Heritage Site take a look at Constance Lémuria, where you stay in ultimate 5* comfort and luxury while enjoying a holiday of discovery and adventure.

Find out more about Vallée de Mai

 

Top 5 natural wonders of the Seychelles

Beach at Constance Lemuria

Beach at Constance Lemuria

One of the most alluring features of the Seychelles as a holiday destination is its geographical isolation.

Perched in the middle of the Indian Ocean, some 1000 miles off the east coast of Africa, this archipelago of 155 islands has managed to maintain its ecological credibility - protecting the rich endemic flora and fauna that its famous for.

Here’s a run-down of our top 5 must-see natural wonders of the Seychelles.

1. The atoll of Aldabra

Giant land tortoise

Giant land tortoise

The Aldabra atoll is situated in the most remote part of the Seychelles. Made up of 4 main islands, it’s here that you’ll find the largest raised coral atoll in the world – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With a pristine coral reef and over 100,000 giant land tortoises, it’s a must-see for anyone interested in ecology. Other wildlife on the islands include frigate birds, giant crabs and the white throated rail, the only flightless bird left in the Indian Ocean.

Find out more from the UNESCO website.

2. Sainte Anne Marine National Park

An easily accessible boat-ride away from Victoria Harbour, this marine park is made up of 6 islands. Being close to Victoria, Ste Anne is well within the tourist trail but still worth a visit.

The marine park offers superb snorkelling conditions in clear waters. Here, you’ll see many of the 900 species of fish found in the Seychelles.

Hawskbill Turtles are another big draw for visitors to these islands.

3. Vallée de Mai on Praslin Island

Coco de Mer

Coco de Mer

Lying in the heart of Praslin Island, Seychelles, is Vallée de Mai  –  a national park, UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the highly revered Coco de Mer seed.

Vallée de Mai is the only place in the world where you’ll find Coco de Mer. Visitors can wander through the national park, beneath giant palm trees. And keep your eyes open for the rare Seychelles Black Parrot. Read our article about the Coco de Mer.

4. Bird Island

Bird Island is situated some 60 miles north of Mahé.  It’s a tiny flat coralline island where over 400,000 pairs of sooty terns breed every year between May – November.

There are viewing platforms where keen ornithologists can enjoy the sight of the terns incubating their eggs and caring for newborn chicks. Other birds found on the island include curlew sandpipers, fairy terns and turnstones.

5. Beaches, beaches, beaches

North Beach at Constance Ephelia

North Beach at Constance Ephelia

Across the Seychelles, you’ll find stunning beaches complete with huge granite boulders, soft white sand and breathtaking views across the calm turquoise waters.

These islands look like paradise on earth, and you’ll feel you’ve been whisked far away from the mêlée and humdrum of daily life.

Find out more about our 2 resorts in the Seychelles:

 

Discover the Coco de Mer at Vallée de Mai on Praslin Island, Seychelles

Lying in the heart of Praslin Island, Seychelles, is Vallée de Mai  –  a National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the highly revered Coco de Mer seed.

Coco de mer

Coco de Mer is found at Vallee de Mai nature reserve on Praslin Island in the Seychelles

Vallée de Mai is the only place in the world where you’ll find Coco de Mer  - or the sea coconut.

Believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac and fertility symbol, the Coco de Mer is famous for its size and likeness to the female reproductive area.

The seed can weigh up to 30kg and grow to nearly 20 inches in diameter.

General Gordon of Khartoum believed that the prehistoric rainforest at Vallée de Mai was the original site of the Garden of Eden, and that the Coco de Mer was its forbidden fruit.

Today, visitors to the reserve can wander along sheltered pathways beneath the giant palm trees, whose leaves can measure 6m wide and 14 m long. Vallée de Mai is also home to five other endemic palms and fauna, and the rare the Seychelles Black Parrot.

Prince William and his wife the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, were presented with a rare Coco de Mer during their recent honeymoon to the Seychelles.

Find out more about our luxury hotels in the Seychelles, the Constance Ephelia Resort and Constance Lémuria Resort.