Nature is everywhere in Mauritius, so whether you’re hiking up a mountain, taking a stroll in the botanical garden or simply admiring the view, you’re sure to see incredible sights.
Take the road less travelled. Hiking and trekking are the best ways to discover Le Pouce Mountain with its breath-taking view of Port Louis; Le Morne, a UNESCO World Heritage site; or the Black River Gorges ecosystem. The pink pigeon, Mauritius kestrel and echo parakeet, can be viewed on hikes among endemic ebony trees on trails criss-crossing Black River Gorges National Park which extends over 16,680 acres and provides a haven to highly endangered native plants and animals. It plays home to around 311 species of native and endemic flowering plants and nine species of birds that can only be found in Mauritius.
Pamplemousses Botanical Garden is undoubtedly one of the most visited attractions in Mauritius. Created over 300 years ago by the famous French botanist Pierre Poivre, the garden is the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere and boasts a plethora of indigenous plants. The talipot or coryphe parasol is of particular interest: the legend says that it flourishes only once every sixty years before dying. The Botanical Garden in Curepipe is also well worth a visit. Created in 1870, it is the second largest botanical garden in Mauritius. The garden is home to some rare trees and other indigenous plants. You’ll find locals fishing in the river that runs through the gardens and there is a lake surrounded by Nandia palms.
The island’s geological marvel in the Chamarel highlands has been a tourist attraction since the 1960s. Caused by mineral oxygenation, its multi-coloured lunar-like dunes of mineral rich volcanic sand – shades of pink, green, brick red, orange, purple and grey – look their best at sunrise and sunset. The Chamarel Falls is also a sight to behold as one of Mauritius’ most beautiful waterfalls.
Trou aux Cerfs
Trou aux Cerfs is the most famous dormant volcano in Mauritius. From there, you have a fantastic 360° view of the high plateau of the Island of Mauritius.
Ile aux Aigrettes
Since 1985, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation has weeded, replanted and restored 90% of the Ile aux Aigrettes Nature reserve, by reintroducing native plants, birds and reptiles. This small 27-hectare island, located 800m off the south-east coast near Mahebourg, is home to the last remnants of dry coastal forest, once found around the entire island. Over time, Ile aux Aigrettes was affected by tree cutting and land clearance, and the introduction of exotic animals and plants almost destroyed the native fauna and flora.
Today this lost paradise is open to the public. A professional guide will accompany you amongst the giant tortoises and the pink pigeons that have been rescued and freed after a 30-year conservation effort.
The Rochester Falls in the Southern part of the island are simply beautiful. Surrounded by trees, you can swim, walk or climb among them.
Pont Bon Dieu
On the eastern plateau, at Brisée Verdière, hidden in the middle of a sugar cane field, is the Pont Bon Dieu Cave. A trail leads to this natural cave, which is approximately 15 metres high and 20 metres wide. As well as the volcanic phenomenon you are likely to see swallows nesting inside the cave and wild monkeys. With beautiful surroundings and views of the sea, the cave is a little treasure off the beaten track.