With its volcanic landscape, safe beaches and tropical climate, Mauritius is a playground for visitors in search of thrills.
Exploring the Sea
The island’s diving opportunities include wrecks and canyons in the west and northern islands, and the chance to see sharks, turtles, eagle rays, and moray eels. The island’s best snorkelling spot is Blue Bay Marine Park and the clearest waters are found from November to April. Non-divers can try aqua scooters and undersea walks. Deep-sea sport fishing is popular on the west coast, while windsurfing, glass-bottom boat trips, snorkelling, waterskiing and kayaking are complimentary at most hotels, and standup paddleboarding options are growing. An early-morning trip to swim with and watch wild dolphins play in Tamarin Bay is a must or take a spin along the scenic southwest coast on a sea kart (like a jet-ski but safer and more comfortable). Catamarans visit pristine islands while powerboats whisk guests to remote islets.
There are DIY hiking trails in the Black River Gorges National Park and cycling or canyoning island-wide. Eco-parks offer hikes, quad biking, horse-riding and mountain biking, while Casela World of Adventures on the west coast features wildlife safaris, ziplining and canyon swinging. Domaine de Chazal offers river trekking, canyon swims and the longest zip-line in the Indian Ocean. To see the island from above there are many opportunities to admire its beauty by skydiving, parasailing, or flying in an X-air amphibian seaplane. For a less fast and furious approach, why not try a helicopter ride for a bird’s eye view?
Ile aux Bénitiers
Surrounded by turquoise sea, this island is set in a lagoon near Le Morne, where it is safe to go swimming and snorkelling. You can reach the island of Bénitiers using the local fishermen’s boats at Case Noyale and La Gaulette, or by catamarans and speedboats from Le Morne, Black River, or even further from Flic en Flac and the North. This small island is completely flat and measures just 2 kilometres by 500 metres – perfect for exploring.
The One Eye surf spot at Le Morne is world renowned, with its fast left tube that makes the shape of an eye before breaking on the shallow reef. On one side of the mountain of Le Morne, which has seven faces, you will see a huge hole crossing the cliff that looks like an eye in a Rasta profile.
Le Morne Brabant
The southern part of Le Morne is ‘The Place’ to try kitesurfing, windsurfing and surfing in the strong and steady south-east trade winds that gain momentum after crossing the high mountains of the Black River Gorges.
At 600 metres, Plaine Champagne is the highest plateau in Mauritius and is covered with forests and lakes. Travel by car from Vacoas or Curepipe towards Mare aux Vacoas, the main water reservoir in Mauritius, and visit the sacred Grand Bassin Lake along the way. At Pétrin you can hike in the Machabée Forest past the Mare aux Joncs waterfall and walk around the Mare Longue reservoir back to Pétrin. If you want to walk further and have someone to drive your car, you can walk down into the Gorges and meet your driver in Black River. You can also cycle along these same trails.
Climbing the Moka Mountain Range
Looking like a ‘thumbs up’, at 811 metres Le Pouce mountain is the third highest mountain in Mauritius and forms part of the Moka Mountain Range. Close to Le Pouce is the 820 metres high Pieter Both with its distinctive stone ball that appears to balance right on the top. You can hike up these mountains from both Saint Pierre and Port Louis, but always check on the weather conditions beforehand and plan accordingly. If you prefer to be accompanied by a guide, book through an adventure company. From the top, you are able to see most of the island, so it goes without saying that the view is incredible!
Roches Noires Caves
In the area of Roches Noires, there are plenty of caves, with amusing names like Madam Cavern and Princess Margaret. You can walk from the villages of Roches Noires or Rivière du Rempart and discover the remains of the volcanic activity that formed the island of Mauritius. Birds such as the Mauritian fruit bats and swallows live in these cool, dark caves. Rocks and stones can be loose underfoot so watch your step! In Roches Noires there are also numerous lava tubes connected to the sea, which have been transformed into cool freshwater springs where you can swim and snorkel among fishes.
Bras d’Eau National Park
The mountain-bike trail in the Bras d’Eau forest is open to the public and winds its way through the bush and through the shady exotic forest before following an old railway line to the lava caves where you will discover the ruins of an old sugar factory. Bring your own bike or book a trip with an outdoor adventure company. If you are not into cycling, you can follow the trail on foot. Pack lots to eat and drink and make sure you have plenty of sun protection too. A special Milky Way observatory is found in the Bras d’Eau forest where small radars on kilometres follow the movement of our galaxy.