Nature Parks of Mauritius
June 04 2018
June 04 2018
The stunning and visually dramatic volcanic island of Mauritius makes for a fabulous holiday destination, whether you seek huge expanses of beautiful beaches on which to spend your days or glorious outdoor adventures; this magnificent destination truly has it all. Uninhabited until the 16th century, this fascinating country was said to once be covered in a blanket of thick Jurassic Park-like jungle, teeming with unusual endemic flora and fauna. Thankfully, despite the fact that Mauritius is well-developed, there are still areas of the tropical island that have been beautifully preserved, where people can get a glimpse of what this paradise might have been like before man set foot on it.
If you would love to get your full of nature, go on incredible hikes or would like to spot some endemic flora and fauna (there are some magical and very rare plants and birds in Mauritius), than we highly recommend heading to at least one of these stunning nature parks of Mauritius:
Black River Gorges National Park
Arguably the most famous of the three national parks of Mauritius (the other two being Bras d'Eau National Park the Islets National Park), Black River Gorges National Park, which is located in the southwest of the island, is an absolute must-visit. It’s also the biggest nature reserve in Mauritius at 67.5 square kilometres. This gorgeous, lush, undulating park is home to a huge section of Mauritius’ rainforest, some of the rarest birds and plant species in the world—it has over 300 species of endemic and indigenous flowering plants—as well as a troop of mischievous monkeys.
On a visit to the Black River Gorges National Park you can simply enjoy the view from the viewpoints, embrace the vistas as you enjoy a picnic or discover the intricate forests on a hike or while mountain biking. Avid hikers will be thrilled to hear that there are over 60km of hiking trails, which you can embark on with a guide or try solo (the former being recommended).
Frédérica Nature Reserve
Another of the nature parks of Mauritius located in the southwest of the island, the Frédérica Nature Reserve spans an area of 1300 hectare. Managed by the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation and the Bel Ombre Estate on which it is located, this wonderful nature park offers a host of exciting activities that include mountain biking excursions, quad biking, ‘discovery’ tours for kids as well as extraordinary hikes to some of the waterfalls in the area, which also allow visitors to take in the full extent of the incredible biodiversity in this park.
La Vallée des Couleurs
Mauritius is famous for its seven coloured volcanic earth in Chamarel but what many people don’t know, is that in the 90s, a remarkable site with over 23 different colours of sand was discovered which was named La Vallée des Couleurs. This extraordinary reserve, situated in Rivière des Anguilles, shows signs of this extraordinarily coloured earth almost everywhere you go. There is also a range of wonderful activities on offer, from zip lines (the longest zip line in the Indian Ocean and the third longest zip line in the world is here) and hiking routes to quad biking and a Nepalese Bridge, there’s a range of activities for wild-hearted explorers.
Nature lovers can also spend time taking in the gorgeous surrounds and keep an eye out for tortoises, deer, monkeys and other animals as well as some of the rare Mauritius birds which include the echo parakeet and pink pigeon. Visitors to this park can also explore the five beautiful waterfalls in the area.
Casela World of Adventures
Situated in the west of the island, Casela World of Adventures is by far one of the most popular adventure/nature parks of Mauritius. This phenomenal park—which deserves at least a solid day to explore—unfolds over 14 hectares and offers guests a variety of different ‘kingdoms’ to explore. Here you can discover over 1500 species of birds and spectacular African mammals that include lions, zebras, monkeys as well as the likes of tigers and tortoises. Pre- or post-safari visitors can indulge in segway rides, go canyoning, try zip lining or simply make the most of the wildlife at the petting zoos, on photo safaris or even by walking with lions. On-site, Casela also has a restaurant and bar which offers a host of different dishes inspired by various cuisines (namely European, Asian and Mauritian).
Chamarel Adventure Park
In and around the quaint village of Chamarel there are a number of tourist hot spots, two of the most famous being the Chamarel waterfall and the Seven Coloured Earth reserve, which are definitely worth visiting. There is, however, another park, immersed in the beautiful surrounds of this stunning tropical area; the Chamarel Adventure Park. Adventure lovers can enjoy an array of exciting activities that range from a botanical track and an obstacle course to zip lines and tightropes courses.
La Vanille Crocodile Farm
A special nature park set in the south of Mauritius, the Vanille Crocodile Farm is spread over 3.5 hectares of vivid lush vegetation. This farm—which is home to different species of tortoises, bullfrogs, iguanas and donkeys and impressive insectariums (or insect zoos) and, naturally, crocodiles—was the first crocodile farm in Mauritius, where these dinosaur-like creatures were reared, originally for their skin. A wonderful outing for the whole family, there is also a restaurant on the property that includes crocodile dishes on their menu and a boutique that sells products made from hardy crocodile leather.
Ile aux Aigrettes
This very special nature park of Mauritius allows visitors the rare glimpse into what the island and the ecosystem really might have looked like before man set foot on it. This extraordinary nature reserve located just off the southeast coast of Mauritius was declared a nature reserve in 1965 and is managed by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF).
An incredible amount of work has gone into restoring the 26-hectare coral island to its former glory (or as close to it as possible), as the MWF worked to remove exotic species and allow the natural vegetation to recover and thrive. The organisation has also reintroduced certain bird and tortoise species, all of which contributes to a fabulous natural destination that is well worth exploring.
Enjoy a tour of the island and marvel at the rare and exotic plant and bird life, paying special attention as well to the smaller or less appreciated species such as skinks and fruit bats as you carefully make your way through the endemic plant life. This wonderful oasis is an absolute must-see but visitors need to book in advance to visit it.
If you are a nature lover looking to head to Mauritius then you should definitely consider a stay at one of the four magnificent Sun Resorts. With eco-conscious practices at the heart of each of these hotels and sublime tropical gardens along some of the best beaches of the island, any of them would make the perfect place to relax after a long day of exploring the island. What’s more, many of them offer guests the opportunity to explore beautiful endemic trails on their very own properties.