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Vallée de Mai

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Vallée de Mai in Praslin is one of two islands in the Seychelles (and therefore the world) where the infamous Coco de Mer palms occur. The largest, heaviest seeds on Earth; the Coco de Mer can weigh up to 42 kilograms and span over half a metre in diameter. These enigmatic palm products are something of a Seychelles staple due to their endemic nature.

The Coco de Mer’s symbolic history has been a colourful one, once thought to grow on underwater trees and to hold mystic healing qualities. Now, it is believed that new nuts are produced by intercourse between male and female trees when the two embrace on a stormy night. This may be something to do with the large appendage boasted by the male palms and vulvic aesthetic of female fruits. Its pelvic nature and sexual folk narrative must go some way to explain the usage of its soft, jellyish flesh, which is allegedly an unparalleled aphrodisiac.

Unfortunately, the Coco de Mer’s renown has led to their fervent scavenging and near-extinction. Now, these hallowed seeds are protected by the government, illegal to eat and each one must have a license in order to be exported. Their value is therefore unsurprising; you can find individual Coco de Mers on EBay for upwards of £700.

The park is also home to the endemic Seychelles bulbul and the endangered black parrot. Three hiking trails wind their way through the foliage, stretching just 1 or 2 kilometres, making the walk ideal for couples and families with young children. The park also hosts a visitor centre, cafe and gift shop.
Vallée de Mai
Morne Seychellois National Park
Cousin Island
Curieuse Marine National Park
Silhouette Island National Park
Sainte Anne Marine National Park