Nature hiking and outdoor family activities
In Mauritius, nature lovers can enjoy the great outdoors, located only minutes away from downtown. Being such a small island, Mauritius is really ideal for treks and rambles. It is no secret, beaches are the most attractive feature of the island, but few know what it feels like to explore a forest, observing its fauna and flora while drifting to the sound of its waterfalls.
The country offers a collection of sceneries and orography that stand out as a fabulous destination for those seeking maximum contact with nature. Marathon trails for example, is another popular activity on the island. Mauritius has 18 national parks and naturel reserves both on the island itself and on neighbouring islands and islets. You will cross small farmer villages, trek in forgotten valleys, enjoy breath-taking views of both the coast and the high peaks of the island.
There are numerous places to hike at the centre of the island. This region is abundant in rainfall and a lush vegetation flourishes on its volcanic dunes. You’ll come across the island’s most beautiful waterfalls like Rochester Falls in Souillac or enjoy a plunge in Léon waterfall. Chamarel Falls, Les 7 cascades, La Vallée des Couleurs or the summit of Pieter Both are just some of the other attractions to contemplate the beauty of the region.
Some are unique in the world, like the curious Seven Coloured earth of the small village of Chamarel, an ineffable and mesmerizing land of mounds rounded by the wind, producing seven distinct earth colours.
The Black River Gorges National Park
Black River Gorges National Park is a gigantic natural enclosure containing the very last vestiges of Mauritius’ indigenous fauna and flora. If you want have an idea of how a tropical island looked like before man, you have to visit the park, its décors look like scenes taken straight from Jurassic Park. But unlike the movie, the species are harmless and for their preservation, the park is only accessible by foot. The park spanning an area of 6,574 hectares offers fantastic opportunities for hikers of all ages. The denser paths in the eastern part of the park offer 50 kilometres of trails. The other part to the west of these is much more popular with its 120 kilometres of track under dense vegetation and rare birds.
Black River Gorges offer several trails for all ages and levels. Most hikes begin and end in the southwestern part of the park. In the epicentre of the park you will find an information Centre for tips and maps for the different hikes in the park. The national park provides two information centres for visitors. The first is located at Pétrin (entrance A) and one at Black River (entrance B). The Black River Visitor Centre does not provide much information about the park, but you can buy a trail map for RS 50. Also, for the more challenging hikes like the Black River Peak Trail, it is recommended to book a guide.
Pétrin Information Centre: Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 15:15 and Saturday from 8:00 to 11:00
(phone: +230 258 0058 or 507 0128)
Black River Gorges Visitor Centre: daily from 9 am to 5 pm
(phone: +230 258 0057)
For more information:
National Park and Conservation Service
Ministry of Agro Industry, Food Security
Phone: +230 464 4016 or 464 4053 or 464 2993
E-mail : [email protected]
Le Morne Brabant
Le Morne Brabant is one of the very best places to be in Mauritius. The small village located on the southwestern tip of Mauritius kept its authenticity and its many facets will appeal to both hiking enthusiasts and tourists alike. Le Morne is the famous mountain backdropping the undersea waterfall illusion in Mauritius. Le Morne Brabant is a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape site and its natural wonders start to unfold as you get closer to its summit where you will be able contemplate true beauty of the peninsula rising above the ocean.
This hike is also a cultural trip in some way. The site is a sad chapter in the history of Mauritius and the path you’ll take is the same one slaves took to escape from settlers. The hike is relatively easy and should be practicable for adults and younger. After a walk of about an hour you will discover the splendid views of the Indian Ocean and the neighbouring islets. Once you reach Le Morne’s peak Plateau, you can enjoy a peaceful picnic while watching the blue waters and the birds flying below you, a magical moment! The summit (556 meters) of Morne Brabant is a wildlife reserve that is naturally protected by a cliff, it is farthest you will go without climbing equipment.
For more information:
Casela World of Adventures
Sometimes it is overlooked, but Mauritius is part of Africa, and a large number of animal species from the continent can be observed and approached in the adventure park of Casela. This park spans over 250 hectares and is located in the west of the island midway between Flic en Flac and Tamarin, it is the picture-perfect place to go with children.
Who hasn’t dreamed of seeing lions and tigers? You can even walk with lions in Mauritius; this activity is however reserved for those aged over 15 years. Kids will appreciate Camel safaris, feeding giraffes or maybe tilapia fishing. Between quads, mountain trekking, zip lines, the Nepalese bridge, and animals in absolute freedom, it’s a true African adventure that will please young and old alike.
For more information:
La Vanille Crocodile Park
On an island where nature is so present, thousands of animal species inhabit the land and seas of Mauritius. Casela’s Safari is an option but there’s more. The crocodiles and the giant tortoise of La Vanillle Crocodile Park will definitely entertain you for a whole day. You will spend long minutes feeding hundred-year-old animals, photoshoot with reptiles or watching crocodiles from a distance or even discovering the park’s natural museum to see thousands of species of insects and butterflies.