It’s only a short ferry ride from La Digue to Praslin island, so we decide to spend our last two nights in the Seychelles there. Praslin is a much larger island than La Digue, so rather than relying on a bicycle you have the choice of catching the local bus or hiring a car. We hire a car through our hotel, who also happened to run the top rated car rental agency on the island (Bliss Car Hire). We end up with a tiny red Kia, decorated with hibiscus flowers and passive aggressive stickers telling us not to get sand in the car (which seems like an impossible task given the main thing to do on Praslin is to beach hop).
We managed to cover a lot of ground on our day touring the island – a short but sufficient amount of time to cover the island’s highlights. Below is a brief outline of each of the stops that we made. Somehow, we managed to achieve the impossible on our day trip – we only left a small (and non-punishable) amount of sand in the car!
Vallee de Mai
people of the Seychelles are very proud of their endemic coconut – the coco de
mer. There are statues dedicated to it, and even their immigration stamp uses
its outline. The coco de mer’s popularity is almost certainly because it looks
like a human female butt. No, seriously, it looks exactly like a butt. And a
plump one too. Well the female coco de mer does anyway. On one side anyway, on
the other side well it looks like other female anatomy (Hint: it rhymes with
angina). The male coco de mer, in some incredible co-incidence of parallel
evolution looks a lot like other male anatomy (Hint: it rhymes with shmenis).
For these reasons, the coco de mer palm was historically prized as an aphrodisiac,
and driven almost to extinction. Perhaps it is tasty as well, but it is only
available to eat during special festivals (given the limited supply), so we
have no way to tell if perhaps part of its popularity is due to taste.
The best, and well only place, to see the coconuts is in the
Vallee de Mai – a UNESCO World Heritage listed park. At the entrance of the
park there is a small table with various sized coconuts and seeds that you can
touch and use as props in sexually suggestive holiday snaps. There are also
some short walks around the park, where you can see the trees in action (or you
know, just being still, since that is what trees do). We take a quick scenic
walk through the forest, which allows us to feel good about touring the sights
but also spend most of our day at the beach.
Anse Lazio is meant to be the best beach on Praslin, and it
did not disappoint. It had all of the elements of a perfect beach – white sand,
big rocks, lots of trees providing shade to sit under and clear water, which
was deep enough to have a good swim in. Even better, just back from the shore,
up a set of stairs, was a cute hidden bar known as the honesty bar. Perhaps
once you could serve yourself, but during our visit it was presided over by a
friendly man who serves cold drinks and good advice.
We had heard there was a walk to another beach, Anse
Georgette, which was also meant to be stunning. We had asked the man running
the honesty bar about where to start the hike, and he advised us that the track
was very overgrown and that only a few months ago a man had set out to attempt
the hike, but had never returned (and his body never found). We don’t need anymore
convincing to ditch our idea of a hike and spend some more time lazing on Anse
Lazio – which we think beats out Anse Source d’Argent as our favourite beach in
the Seychelles (and possibly the world).
Anse La Blague
Not content to visit only one beach we tear ourselves away
from Anse Lazio and make the trek to Anse La Blague. It is a terrible decision.
To reach the beach we have to drive along a very twisty, skinny road. Once we
get there, we unfortunately find that the beach isn’t all that great: the sand
is a bit rocky, and the water, while reasonably clear, was just not as good for
swimming. In fairness, it would be a probably be a nice beach anywhere else in
the world. The worst crime of Anse La Blague perhaps, is that it has the
misfortune to be forever unfavourably compared to Anse Lazio. It’s pretty much the
Stephen Baldwin of the beach world.
Since Anse La Blague had proven to be such a disappointment,
we decide to make one more unscheduled beach stop. This time we hug the coast
road until we get to Anse Cimetiere.
This beach also has the unfortunate fate of not being Anse Lazio. It’s better
than Anse La Blague, with flat clear (and warm!) water to swim in and a
picturesque location with lots of trees on the shoreline. Not a terrible spot
for our last swim in the Seychelles, but if you ever go, you could do worse
that just spending the entire day at Anse Lazio.
Our last stop for the day, is a small restaurant inCap Sammy, where they set up a
barbeque on weekends to grill fish over coals. An older British tourist has
positioned himself next to the barbeque to bark instructions to the cook not to
overcook it, which seem both unwarranted and unnecessary given the cook almost
certainly has far more fish-barbecuing experience than the tourist. The fish
comes out, perfectly cooked, but whether the old man played a role in this, I
guess we’ll never know. Freshly-cooked fish and beer for dinner is the perfect
end to any day.
Leaving in style
The next morning it’s time to head back to the main island,
Mahe, to connect to our next flight. Rather than return on the ferry, we decide
to leave in style, on a tiny passenger plane flight which lasts around 20
minutes. The sensible, and perhaps stylish, way to get to the airport would
have been to use the hire car, or perhaps even a taxi. But we’re a mere 10
minute walk from the airport, so we decide to go by foot. The woman managing
the hotel gives us a strange look when she learns of our decision, but she
studied in Adelaide for many years, so presumably she was just stunned to see
‘The Castle’ come to life. It is only a quick stroll, but it does result in a
landing plane flying just a few metres above our head, which is more adrenaline
than anyone should have to deal with before coffee.