In a remote past, Praslin island was completely covered by coco de mer palm trees, but as in so many other places on the earth, humans largely changed the face of the island. The World Heritage site of Vallée de Mai has been restored as an area where plants and trees grow and flourish freely. As you approach the entrance from the road, the abundance of life is obvious. Trees are everywhere, the earth is permanently covered by fallen leaves, you see birds everywhere, while you hear a delicate waterfall cutting through the green wall.
Walking around inside the park is a joy for the senses and makes you feel a dwarf. The coco de mer tree is the main attraction of the park, there are around 4000 of them, and they are huge! The tallest tree can reach up to 30 metres, the leaves can grow up to being 6 metres wide and 14 metres long. Truly giant palm trees! As we entered, a wind was blowing through the top of the trees, causing them to accompany us with a continuous clattering sound. The base of the palm tree is so stable that it keeps the palm straight, even under tropical rains and storms. Realizing the natural power emanating from these giants, and their age (over 200 years), makes you feel humble and respectful.
The large leaves prove especially useful when it is raining, when they naturally transform into giant umbrellas. The trees are most famous, though, for their nuts. As might be expected, they are large, too. One of these enormous fruits can weigh up to 20 kilograms, which makes it the heaviest nut in the world. Its fame, however, comes mainly from its erotic connotations, form, and supposedly aphodisiacal effects. It has even been thought that the Seychelles were the original Garden of Eden, because of the nuts.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Vallée de Mai (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Vallée de Mai.
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