| Jardin Botanique
|The jewel of the
crown! The gardens are known to naturalists throughout the
world for their countless species of indigenous and exotic
plants, including the giant Victorial Regia water lilies,
and the talipot palm, said to flower once every sixty years
and then die. The garden was created by Pierre Poivre in 1767
in the Estate of the French Governor Mahe de Labourdonnais.
The latter's Chateau de Mon Plaisir, built in 1735, can still
be seen there.
Coloured Earths of Chamarel
||Among the oddest
sites of the island are the seven-coloured dunes at Chamarel,
believed to result from the weathering of volcanic rocks.
These undulating and vividly contrasted layers of earth are
a short drive away from the beautiful Chamarel waterfalls.
The Bird Garden of Casela
|Set in a magnificient
site between Bambous and Tamarin in the Riviere Noire district,
the Casela Bird Park hosts some 140 varieties of birds from
around the world. The main attraction remains the Mauritian
Pink Pigeon, one of the rarest birds in the world, still fighting
to avoid the fate of the dodo. One of the giant tortoises
is 150 years old. The park is open every day from 9 am to
5 pm and the entrance fee is Rs 125/150 on weekdays/weekends.
Ile aux Cerfs
||There are no stags (cerfs)
remaining on this small island which now belongs to Le Touessrok
Sun Hotel and attracts large numbers of holiday-makers on
the east coast. The ferry runs several times each hour between
9 am and 4 pm and costs Rs 80 per person return, although
this is expected to increase. Le Touessrok Sun Hotel residents
travel for free. What you get when you step off the ferry
is a sheltered, crowded beach and lagoon for water sports
or sunbathing, restaurants and several souvenir stalls. You
can walk only around the seaward half of the island, that
is, clockwise from the landing site. On the island, there
is a boat house where you can hire water skis, pedalos, sailboards,
surfcats, Laser dinghies and canoes. Two-hour boat trips are
offered to the Grande Rivière Sud-Est waterfall; and
there's also a tour around Île aux Cerfs.
|Ten minutes south
of Port-Louis lies the nature park of Domaine Les Pailles,
stretching over 3,000 acres at the foot of the Moka mountain
range. You can choose between touring the park in a Land-Rover,
riding in a horse-drawn carriage or in a train. The gardens
also feature a replica of an ancient sugarmill, an "alambic"
- an apparatus formerly used in distilling rum, a spice garden
and a natural spring.
||Situated between Pointe-aux-Piments
and Trou-aux-Biches, hosts some 200 species of indigenous
fish, invertebrates, corals and sponges, providing the visitor
with a unique opportunity of admiring the fauna and flora
of the Indian Ocean.
Domaine du Chasseur (Anse Jonchee,
Vieux Grand Port)
|Situated in the
south-east of the island, near Mahebourg, in the heart of
abundant greenery, Le Domaine du Chasseur covers about 1,950
acres. It is also an exciting natural hunting ground with
its herds of some 1,000 deer and hundreds of wild boar. Lovers
of leafy walks can chose between 5 and 15 kms long, allowing
them to admire rare kinds of trees and protected species,
such as the famous windhover kestrel. A panoramic restaurant
with a very good typically Mauritian menu completes the attractions
of this unusual trip, which has become a must for hunters,
walkers and... gourmets.
Le Val Nature Park
||Situated in the
south-east of the island at Cluny, Le Val offers a view of
the natural aquatic life of shrimps, eels and freshwater fish.
The park also hosts anthurium green-houses, watercress ponds,
deer parks, as well as monkeys and various bird species.
The Well-known Creole Houses
Chateau de Labourdonnais:
Privately-owned colonial house dated circa 1850, down the road
from Belle-Vue Mauricia to Forbach, Goodlands.
Chateau Bel-Ombre: Private property, dated 1776, part of the Bel-Ombre
Sugar Estate, in the south-west coast of the island.
Chateau de Mon-Plaisir: Built in 1735 by Mahe de Labourdonnais
and around which the Pamplemousses gardens were created.
Chateau du Reduit: Built in 1778, actual residence of the President
of the Republic of Mauritius, situated in the Reduit area. Can
be visited once a year.
Chateau de Villebague: Built in 1740, house of Mahe de Labourdonnais.
Now private property, on the road through La Nicoliere and to
Eureka: Colonial house built in 1830 at Moka, on the road from
Port-Louis to Curepipe through Montagne-Ory. Now a museum.
Riche-en-Eau: Colonial house, part of the Riche-en-Eau Sugar Estate.
This is where the TV series "Paul & Virgine" was
shot. Now a private property. Situated on the road to Mahebourg
|These falls are awkward to
reach, but it's worth the effort for a beautiful, deep, cool
bathe at the bottom of the series of seven falls. You can
see them from the Vacoas side, if you follow the sign from
Henrietta. From Curepipe or Quatre Bornes, take a bus to Henrietta,
then walk to Tamarind Falls. If you're coming from Tamarin,
turn right about 3Km north of Tamarin, at the round about
to Magenta and Yemen. A tarred, bumpy road through cane fields
leads to the Magenta and Tamarind Falls turn-off. Continue
through all the 'Private Estate', 'Permit Needed' and 'Prohibited
Entry' signs, down towards the power station. Leave your car
or bike and walk along the river up to the falls. The path
is quite heavily overgrown and you must cross to the other
side and boulder-hop the last 300m along the river bed to
reach the top, but you will richly rewarded!
Trou aux Cerfs
||Possibly the main attraction
of Curepipe for tourists, apart from the shopping, is the
Trou aux Cerfs crater. It's been extinct for a long time and
the crater floor is now heavily wooded, but the crater affords
lovely views around the island. A tarred road leads gently
up to and around the rim. There are benches for rest and reflection,
and a radar station for keeping an electronic eye on cyclone