" It's a single tree. This is the prince of palm trees. I believe that this is the tree of the science of Good and Evil, "said the British General Charles Gordon in 1881, who will have a tragic end in Khartoum. Christian ardent, half-poet and half-philosopher, the one we also called Gordon Pasha was so captivated by the Valley of May that he thought he had located the mythical garden of Eden, the original paradise. In a test he devoted to him, he specified that sea coconut was the tree of Knowledge and artocarpe (bread tree), the tree of life. Original paradise? At least tropical paradise… In any case, this famous cocofesse is one of the most astonishing curiosities of the plant world. He has even aroused many covetous and legends. What would become of this Valley of May without this bilobed nuts of global reputation? In any case, since 1983, the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites has been classified as a consecration for this green cathedral, which until 1930 had had the rare privilege of being unaffected by man. His new owner then decided to transform this almost primitive forest into botanical gardens, introducing ornamental trees and imported plants.
Fortunately, twenty years later, the precious valley would again change its hand, with the state being appropriate as part of the island's main water catchment basin. As a Natural Reserve in 1966, it became a priority. To restore its original appearance, it was necessary to eradicate the exotic plants, already invasive, revégétaliser the peaks of the summits victims of the fire (the Pope's chalices rows, low-fuel wood, used as a firewall) and maintain the sea cocos forest. It was a long-term goal, all the more justified since a fire in 1990 destroyed 40 hectares of the palm grove of the Ferdinand Fond, at the southern tip of the island, thereby destroying the last relic forest of Praslin.
Three decades were not enough for the Valley of May to regain its pre-virginity before 1930, but the recovery is well on track, especially since the Seychelles Islands Foundation, established in 1979 to manage and protect the Faune fauna and flora (other World Heritage site), has ensured careful management of this preserved valley, nevertheless threatened by l 1989. Philodendron'appetite, this parasitic virilio plant (which sucks the sap's sap), resisted attempts at eradication. Some fifty thousand tourists each year enjoy this canopy of foliage and this tangle of roots, procedurally, mosses, dead leaves and rocks. We hear only the whisper of the streams (the seven-source valley) and the whistles of black parrots, returning to nest there after several lieues at the round. Above all, we must not miss the circular trail ravine, which includes five of the six endemic palm trees in Seychelles and three of the four species of vacoas peculiar to the granitic islands. We can imagine how the tropical world was to be the tropical world, millions of years ago, when palm trees predominated and that trees, birds and mammals did not exist. We are here in a forest of ferns and oranges at the Jurassic Park. Some seven thousand coconut trees (56% of them males) were recorded in this valley, 80% being still too young to produce, the trunk appearing only in their fifteenth year. Becoming adults at age, the tree can live more than four hundred years; the oldest, about meters is currently about three hundred years old. This Casanova of the Valley of May is still valiant to judge by its phallic appendage. How many mer has he been the father? From the fertilization of the female tree to the fall of the large bilobed nut (from 14 kg to 23 kg when it is full), in any case, it takes seven years, whereas a normal coconut falls to six months. It is estimated that three thousand of these extraordinary nuts annually picked (only the most callipyges), both in the valley and in Ferdinand's Fond, some owners also produce with their private coconut trees. Which happy producers are forced to transfer their cocos to the Ministry of the Environment, who buy them at low prices and sell them more expensive, the producer can only recover only half of their production. Prior to their sale, the precious nuts will of course have been emptied of their flesh before being glued and possibly polite. The two hemispheres of this sacred coco will then take place on the shelves of the souvenir shops, empowered to market only two of these nationalized wonders, duly numbered, their price varying according to their perfection. While palm trees reign in this exceptional sylve (this sanctuary of eight species - of which six endemic - representing the largest concentration in the world of diverse palms in a pristine medium), other trees also thrive in a virtually mystical atmosphere.
Lovers of botany will be happy. They can observe the mango, the jacquier, the Capuchin, the Pope's calyx, the traveller's tree, the bread tree, albizzia, filao, hard wood, red wood and cocoa. But the main thing is not to see, smell, listen and let yourself be wrapped up by the protective vegetation of this fascinating ex-island of Palmes. There is a bit of traffic from these trails that it is better to discover early in the morning, before the groups of hikers disturb serenity and some honeymoon couples affix their names on the tree trunk, these graffiti by weakening some. A coffee snack and a shop are located in the chalet where tickets are issued, but there are no mosquito cream. However, we need it. Hell is never far from heaven…
Circuits. Three arrow circuits cross the remarkably well maintained trails of this forest so perfect that it is thought to be reconstituted for a new Indiana Jones, whose classified part covers 19,5 ha. From the shortest (about 1 km) to the longest (about 2 km), each of these routes is found to be enchanting anyway. At the entrance you will be advised that the itineraries are 1 hour, 1 hour and 2 hour, respectively. In fact, these hikes are taking place much faster and have no major difficulties.
Guides. At the entrance to the May Valley, you will be offered the services of a guide. Is it a good idea to offer its services?
Yes, if you are solo. This will allow you to enjoy the tranquillity of the place while having all the information about this little piece of earthly paradise.
No, if this means you will find yourself with a group of 15 to 20 people (which is often the case). You will certainly have information, but on the one hand, it is not certain that you hear everything, since you will not be alone and, above all, you will not enjoy the main charm of the place, namely its calm and wild character.
A good part of the pleasure in the Valley of May lies in the fact that they are alone in the middle of nature, with the only noise of the leaves bruissant by the wind. Walking with a group literally ruins the experience. So if you don't have the means to offer a guide for yourself and your spouse, visit the park yourself. There are many explanatory signs, you will not be lost!
Average price of a guide: from 100 to 120 SR per person (to be negotiated for visits to 2 or 3 people).
Since 2016, two free tours are available every day (departure at 9 am and 14 pm).
Open every day from 8.30am to 5pm (last entrance at 4.30pm). About 350 SR the entrance. Free for under 12-year-olds (justifying asked). Possibility of calling on a private guide for the rest of the day.
The Vallée de Mai was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.
This one is a must if you're going to the Seychelles.
Often described as the Garden of Eden for its secluded location and somewhat mystical atmosphere, this one, located in the heart of the Praslin, is home to the famous Sea Coconut and the Black Parrot.
The current trend in tourism policy in Seychelles is towards ecotourism, which requires well-preserved and well-maintained landscapes and sites.
It is important to know that 40% of the tourists who visit the country every year go to this magnificent natural place
The site is open to visitors from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day of the week.
Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of 20 €.
Each visitor receives a free leaflet that provides all the necessary information about the site.
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