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Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin

Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin

by Tsvete Popp

This post is part of the series Praslin

Other posts in this series:

  1. Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin (Current)
  2. 10 Best Beaches in Praslin You Can’t Miss
  3. The 10 Best Things to Do in Praslin Island, Seychelles

This post is part of the series Seychelles

Other posts in this series:

  1. Interesting Facts About Seychelles
  2. Seychelles Itinerary: How to Spend 2 Weeks in Seychelles
  3. Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin (Current)

Good morning World, good morning Paradise! It was our first day in Praslin and also our first day in Seychelles. The night was surprisingly cold (16°!) but after the sun came up, the outside temperature went up quickly to 22 at 7:30 a.m.
 

Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin
 

We enjoyed our tropical breakfast – a coffee, some toast with jam, watermelon, mango and baby banana. As simply as Saturday morning!

 

Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin 1

Aldabra giant tortoise, Seychelles

 

After our breakfast, we decided to visit Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve – the smart alternative to the very popular Vallée de Mai. Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve is one of the most picturesque locations in the Seychelles Islands. The former palm plantation was destroyed by fire in 1990. After its major restoration, it was opened to the public in 2013. Nowadays Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve is a major visitor attraction in Seychelles but is not as crowded as the popular Vallée de Mai. Some parts of the foundation are open to visitors.

 

Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin

Aldabra giant tortoise, Seychelles

Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin
 

 

The Fond Ferdinand Foundation (1,5km²) is home to hundreds of indigenous species, including the famous Coco de Mer palm trees. Fond Ferdinand is more than six times larger than Vallée de Mai! Its flora and fauna are richer in terms of endemic plant and animal species. Fond Ferdinand is less touristy than Vallée de Mai, the entry is way cheaper and the views over Praslin, the clear ocean and the neighbouring Seychelles Islands are just amazing!

 
Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin
 

Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve is located near Baie St Anne. The road leading there is rather wide (compared to other streets in Praslin) with many steep twists and curves. You will find the starting point thanks to the red sign in the car park at Anse Marie-Louise. This point can be easily reached by rental car or bus.

 
Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin
 


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Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin

 

Things to Know Before You Go

 

If you are coming by car you should take the scenic drive around the coast road – the only road in Praslin. The entrance to Fond Ferdinand is in southern Praslin along the coastal road near Anse Marie Louise.

 
Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin
 

You cannot walk alone around the park. You should book one of the guided tours from Creole Travel Services. The guides are very passionate and have some amazing knowledge about the wildlife, flora and fauna in Praslin. During your trip, you will learn a lot about Praslin’s flora and fauna and of course – Coco de Mer palm trees! Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve is also home to another 6000 juvenile trees.

 

Entry Fees: 8 € p.p.

Trail Length: 2 km

Time to walk: 1 to 2 hours; Difficulty: easy

 
Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin
 

Zimbabwe point

 

My favourite part of the trekking (after seeing Coco de Mer for the first time in my life) was the spectacular view from Zimbabwe point. This is the highest points of the nature reserve which offers some breath-taking views: in one direction you can see Sister Island, Curieuse, Coco Island, Round Island, Felicité, and La Digue; in the other direction, you can spot Mahé, Frégate, and Silhouette. If you are lucky and the weather is clear, you will be able to see even Denis Island on the horizon.

 

Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin

 

Coco de Mer

 

Coco de Mer, officially known as Lodoicea maldivica, grows naturally only on two of Seychelles’ islands Praslin and Curieuse! Coco de Mer has the largest seed in the plant kingdom and its palm tree (gets up to 34 metres in height) has some of the longest leaves compared to any plant in the world. In mature individuals, the leaf blades may be 6 metres long and 4.5 metres wide! The seeds usually have two lobes and the largest fruit recorded weighed 42 kg – the world’s heaviest nut.
 

 

The King of nuts is the stuff of legend – is one of the many Seychelles wonders and considered as a giant in the plant kingdom. The palms need 25 years to reach maturity and to start growing fruit! The nuts of Coco de Mer need another 7 years to reach maturity. When the nut reaches maturity and falls to the forest floor, the germination takes further 2 years! The leaves of Coco de Mer have some remarkable lifespan of over 50 years – the longest lifespan of any leaf in the plant kingdom!

 

Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin
 

The male and female flowers of the Coco de Mer has separate male and female trees. The male flowers look like catkins. They can grow up to 1 metre which makes them the longest male flowers in the world.

 

The male and female flowers of the Coco de Mer

The male and female flowers of the Coco de Mer

 
The male and female flowers of the Coco de Mer

The male and female flowers of the Coco de Mer

 

! Interesting fact!
The blossom of the male flowers smells like popcorn! … Which makes it attractive to birds and bees.

 

Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin

The blossom of the male flowers smells like popcorn! … Which makes it attractive to birds and bees.

The male flower of the Coco de Mer

The male flower of the Coco de Mer

 

Before Seychelles were discovered and settled, Coco de Mer nuts were found in the Maldives, where the tree was unknown. Unlike some other smaller coconuts, Coco de Mer nut cannot float, because it is too heavy. After the has been lying on the ocean’s floor for an unknown period, the shell falls, the internal parts of the nut rot and the fruit rises to the surface. At that time the nut can float. These floating nuts never germinate. The nuts were found often in the Maldives but it cannot grow there.

 

! Interesting fact!
The female palms grow the Coco de Mer nut. The nut is oddly shaped like a woman’s butt on one side, and a woman’s belly on the other side.

Coco de Mer, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin
 

*This post contains Affiliate Links. I only recommend high-quality items and services I am confident about. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

 
Zimbabwe point, Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve ~ Praslin
 
Enjoy the day!
 
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