Diving in Mauritius
When you think of the Indian Ocean island paradise Mauritius, what images immediately come to mind? Mountainous terrain covered by wild jungle? Sugarcane fields that stretch as far as the eye can see? Or is it the tropical waters with the ability to mesmerise with its kaleidoscope blue colours? The picturesque island featured on the covers of countless travel magazines and postcards, has so much to offer the intrepid traveller—especially those that are intent on discovering its mysterious underwater wonderland, with all its colourful and hidden treasures.
Almost completely surrounded by an exquisite coral reef, diving in Mauritius is incredibly rewarding for those that are looking for experiences that border absolute perfection. While diving in Mauritius is good year round, it’s exceptional in summer when the warmer waters attract a plethora of sea life; on the far side of the reef you can expect to see anything from gorgeous coral and silver sea bream to lionfish, spotted eagle rays and if you are really lucky, reef and hammerhead sharks. Interested in knowing where you might glimpse these magnificent creatures (and many more) while diving in Mauritius? Here are our top recommendations:
If you are a beginner and looking for a good spot to explore and build your confidence when diving in Mauritius, then this site, situated just beyond the reef at Trou aux Biches in the northwest of the island, is a great option. The depths range from five metres to 11 and it only requires a short speedboat trip to reach the right spot. Here you will find a long dive site typically filled with vivid coral and tropical fish.
Stella Maru Wreck
This wreck, the remnants of an old Japanese Trawler, was purposely sunk off the northwestern coast of Trou aux Biches 30 years ago (in 1987) by the Mauritius Marine Conservation Society with the goal of creating an artificial reef and attracting marine life. Growth in terms of it being an artificial reef has been a little slow, with some algae, small soft corals, sea urchins and anemones slowly making the wreck their home. But the sight of the wreck itself is impressive and divers can explore it at an average depth of 23 metres. The spectacle is something to behold, with the ship still largely intact and a huge array of sea life making their home in and around the wreck—scorpionfish, leaf fish, giant moray eels, and other fish commonly found on ocean floors and in coral crevices. This dive is suitable for the more advanced divers.
Advanced divers who are looking for another great spot a short boat ride from Trou aux Biches can make their way to Pereybere Aquarium, more commonly known as Coral Garden. The name Coral Garden aptly describes what you can expect here: gorgeous expanses of vibrant coral are dotted with amazing sea life from huge shoals of breams, to lionfish, crustaceans, snappers and anemones. This dive spot is certainly one for the books and makes for excellent underwater photographs. If you are fortunate, you may also encounter some turtles or even a pod of dolphins while exploring this marvellous site.
Situated off Grand Baie in the north, Whale Rock is wonderful for diving in Mauritius, specifically for intermediate to experienced divers. The dive comprises of fluctuating depths, with exquisite views of the reef in the 20 metres depth zone which is generally teeming with incredible marine life that ranges from angelfish and clownfish to moray eels and triggerfish. During the summer months, you might be blessed with a sighting of swordfish or even hammerhead sharks.
Pass St Jacques
This gorgeous location, set off the south coast is one of the best for drift diving in Mauritius. The depth of the dive spot varies from around three metres in the lagoon to a maximum of 30 metres on the other side of the coral wall. Typically, divers start in the shallow lagoon waters, the current taking them through a break in the coral as they descend. During a drift dive at St Jacques, it’s highly possible to get phenomenal sightings of grey reef sharks patrolling the current in search of their next meal, eagle rays and turtles among many other interesting larger species.
Hoi Siong No 6
Another fishing vessel, intentionally sunk for the greater good of the ocean, the wreck of the Hoi Siong No 6, lies just off the coast of Le Morne and rests on a sandbank approximately 28 metres under water. Sunk in 2003 by the Mauritius Marine Conservation Society, the Mauritius Scuba Diving Association and the Mauritius Oceanographic Institute, this artificial reef has become a veritable diver’s playground with a huge variety of tropical fish and marine life ranging from barracudas to vibrant butterfly fish, tuna fish and surgeonfish. This magnificent and fascinating spectacle has become a dream come true for marine photography enthusiasts.
Situated just off of Flic-en-Flac on the west coast, Rempart Serpent, or “Snake Reef” is an interesting dive, the name alluding to the abundance of seaweed which, when it gently sways with the tide, resembles a huge snake moving languidly along the ocean floor. While the dive spot itself doesn’t look like much initially, closer inspection will reveal scores of colourful tropical fish as well as the unique (and poisonous) scorpionfish, lionfish and the occasional eels. This dive is recommended for divers of all levels.
One of the most exceptional and popular places—in fact, many deem it to be the very best place—to go diving in Mauritius, is the Cathedral, another great spot just off the west coast near Flic-en-Flac. A short boat trip takes you to area, where 18 metres under you will find yourself at the entrance of ‘The Cathedral’. The name itself refers to the awe-inspiring underwater cave, with interesting arches and caverns which, when illuminated by incredible rays of light, creates the remarkable impression of light passing through cathedral windows.
The dive ranges from 18 metres to a maximum of 30 metres on the ocean floor and is perfect for intermediate to advanced divers. Visibility is generally good, revealing vibrant corals and an abundance of fish. The likes of stonefish, lionfish, moray eels, dolphins and even the rare hammerhead sharks can be seen here. Avid underwater photographers should bring their equipment with them because the dramatic underwater scenery combined with the incredible marine life makes for extraordinary photographs.
If you are interested in experiencing the exceptional diving in Mauritius first hand, then look no further than the perfectly situated La Pirogue or Sugar Beach. This gorgeous and laid back boho-chic resort near Flic-en-Flac offers everything you could possibly desire during your island holiday; from delicious beachside cocktails and romantic seafood dinners on the beach to a wide range of adrenalin pumping activities.
For those that haven’t yet obtained their diver’s certification or those that are interested in completing advanced courses, our diving centre Sundivers Mauritius offers a range of PADI courses as well as a CMAS and underwater photography course. These can be completed at the property itself during your holiday in paradise. Remember, diving can be dangerous, so it’s important to be trained by the island’s most reputable and experienced professionals utilising only the best equipment. You want to opt for a dive centre that’s committed to ensuring that your dives are as safe and rewarding for you as possible—which is why we highly recommend our world-class diving centre.