Mauritius: The Ultimate Hiking Destination
April 04 2020
April 04 2020
Off the east coast of Africa lies a magical dazzling gem; here the lush, volcanic island of Mauritius rises dramatically out of warm, jewel-coloured waters and provides one of the ultimate holiday destinations for travellers of virtually any kind. Smitten couples can enjoy private, candlelight dinners with toes in the sand and families can embrace the golden beaches and the phenomenal year-round weather as they share quality time outdoors. Groups of friends can revel in the sheer number of novel offerings and activities, while keen adventurers can immerse themselves in the varied landscapes of the country—there is truly something for everyone here.
If you are drawn to this island for adventure, then you will be thrilled to know that this “land of the dodo” is the definition of perfection for intrepid travellers looking for memorable ways to discover the island’s phenomenal wonders. And for those who enjoy exploring a country on foot, there are some truly epic hiking trails in Mauritius. Here are some of our favourites:
Also known as Sept Cascades or “seven waterfalls”, visitors are able to choose between two spectacular hiking trails here that lead to mesmerising waterfalls. As the name implies, there are seven waterfalls in this area (although, many argue that it’s closer to 11) and they are all visible from a specific viewpoint making the experience quite extraordinary. One of the routes, the more popular trail of the two, is a little precarious as it involves trudging along muddy and slippery terrain as well as manoeuvring over the rocks in the water, so it requires a level of hiking ability to enjoy fully.
The hikes here are wonderful for travellers looking for a full-day adventure as they each take around six hours, which means ample time to enjoy the lush surroundings, gorgeous views and waterfall rock pools. It’s advisable not to do these trails alone (or just with your group), however, rather organise a trip with a reputable company and local guide to ensure that your excursion is both enjoyable and safe.
In the northwest of the island lies an iconic range of mountains; the Moka Mountain range with it’s highly recognisable “Le Pouce” (translated as “the thumb”) peak. This peak, which sits between Signal Mountain and Pieter Both, is known as the third highest peak in Mauritius. But that shouldn't deter you; it’s a fabulous and relatively easy hike, perfect for hikers of varying abilities and guarantees an exceptional payoff—an utterly sensational view. The final stretch of the hike to the top is a little challenging, but if you can persevere, it’s certainly worth it.
If you enjoy birding as much as you love hiking then the Kestrel Valley is a great place to head. Named after the rare Mauritian Kestrel, this gorgeous oasis also offers twitchers the opportunity to see a variety of other rare birds, for which Mauritius is famous. The stunning and massive reserve here has four main trails to explore, which take around two hours to complete and are great for beginners. If you love picturesque scenery, being in nature, birds, stunning vistas and gentle hikes, a visit to Kestrel Valley is a fantastic option for you.
La Vallée de Ferney
The stunning Vallée de Ferney looks as if it has been taken straight out of the pages of Lord of the Rings. This unbelievably special hidden gem is a 200-hectare sanctuary that is home to a plethora of endemic species (many of which are endangered). As you navigate the mythical, lush jungle here, you can find takamaka trees, ebony trees, Traveller's Trees and more.
Enjoy the three-kilometre walk that will take you from dense forests to dazzling plains and magical views of the southeastern part of the island. Keep your eyes out for the Mauritian Kestrel here as well, as lucky visitors have been known to spot them. If you want to enjoy a truly memorable experience, watch the kestrels being fed at noon and then perhaps head to the restaurant for a sumptuous lunch, well-deserved after a walk in the reserve.
The Corps de Garde
If you love the jungle-like forest hikes of Mauritius, here’s another to add to your must-do list. The Corps de Garde lies between Plaine Wilhems and Black River, opposite to Les Trois Mamelles. This part of Mauritius has a bit of a dark history. During the period in Mauritius where slaves were used for labour, many runaway slaves would hide in the mountains and the jungles (much like with Le Morne Brabant). They would get their revenge by killing colonisers and by looting and destroying nearby farms, which prompted the government to act. A hunt for the slaves ensued by the military and a post was erected nearby, thus, the name Corps de Garde, which translates into “guardhouse”.
The walk to the peak is slightly challenging but fairly gradual, so it’s suited to most hikers. It’s such a wonderful hike because it rewards those who take the trail with ever-changing scenery (from vivid green patches of grass to forests), and with unparalleled views of the reservoir nearby, the ocean in the distance and some of the most iconic natural sights of Mauritius, it’s a must.
Île aux Aigrettes
One of the best things about Mauritius is that while it’s the main island of the destination, there are wondrous islets nearby that make for fantastic picnic spots or day trip stops. One of the most incredible is definitely Île aux Aigrettes, a 27-hectare nature reserve/island. Situated in Mahebourg Bay, and less than a kilometre off Mauritius itself, the island is a fantastic place for a unique hike through endemic flora and is home to an array of unique animals and birds (like the very rare pink pigeons and Aldabra tortoises). It’s a beautifully conserved islet and very special. The hike is an easy one and is best enjoyed with a trained guide.
Domaine de L’étoile
In the southeast of Mauritius, you will find a private nature reserve with some phenomenal trails that lead to the Bambou mountain range and which offer exceptional views over the magnificent volcanic oasis of Mauritius. This reserve also offers an array of other activities from adventure games and sports to ziplining. There’s an on-site restaurant here as well.
What to bring
When you go hiking in Mauritius, it’s important to always bring enough water with you to prevent dehydration, wear adequate clothing, and ensure you have enough sunscreen on at all times. For walks that take place in forests, it’s advisable to bring some mosquito repellent and for hikes that offer opportunities to swim, make sure you pack your swimming costume and a towel. By packing a few basics you are able to have the best possible experience hiking in Mauritius.
If hiking these incredible trails sounds like your idea of magic, then book your next holiday in Mauritius. When you book your stay with Sun Resorts, we will ensure that you have everything you could possibly need for an exceptional holiday in the sun.