History Guide to Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, Zoo & Monuments, Vienna

Guide to Staffa Island & Fingal's Cave Tour from Oban, Scotland

The Guide & Map to Top 10 Best Beaches in Crete Island, Greece 2021

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

South West Mauritius Island Highlights Tour & Map

, , , , , , , ,

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Quick Navigation

About the Tour

Mauritius South West tour is one of the most popular tourist activities on the island, making it in high demand with even higher supply. Naturally, different chauffeurs are trying to make their tour more interesting than the others. For this reason, there is no exact formula to the exact itinerary of the tour, but there are a few obvious highlights, which makes the South West of Mauritius a unique destination on the island. The region is very mountainous, filled with some of the last remaining natural jungles on the island. Most of the tour will take place in the largest protected forest in Mauritius – Black River Gorges National Park.

The full Mauritius South Tour could include even more activities like visiting Chamarel Rum Factory, a typical Mauritian food restaurant and bottled ship factory. As interesting as it sounds, visiting all the places would take a lot of time. It was decided to stick to the natural landmarks and, still, it was a tiring journey in the end. I felt like I would have preferred to visit even fewer places but spend more time there. I would say that Chamarel 7-Coloured Park with Black River Gorges were the highlights of the tour. Though, the Grand Bassin is very hard to compare to anything I’ve seen. Still, I’ve no regrets about the chosen itinerary but if you want to have some spare time during the day – I suggest making it even shorter. Despite all the difficulties, the memories will remain and there is plenty to remember from the Mauritius South West tour.

Aldabra tortoises were brought to Mauritius in 1880 after a recommendation of Charles Darwin to replace the extinct endemic giant tortoises. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Tour Details

Map of Mauritius

Chamarel has many interesting places to visit, which comes with a price. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Trou aux Cerfs

It doesn’t really matter which operator you choose, the tour will probably going to start by visiting Trou aux Cerfs – a dormant volcano in the middle of the island. As you probably already know, The origins of Mauritius are volcanic. Conclusively, Trou aux Cerfs gave birth to the current shape of the island. Throughout this tour, you’ll learn more about its volcanic past.

The caldera of the volcano is nothing you’d expect of a tropical island. The central parts of Mauritius are consumed by the local population and Trou de Cerfs is no exception. Though it is located on the highest plateau on the island, you won’t notice much of a change getting there. Today, Trou aux Cerfs is an urban park within a city called Curepipe. It somewhat downplays its status as a volcano but Trou aux Cerfs is still worth a visit. The overgrown caldera is quite a sight and if that is not enough, the opening views are just breathtaking. Trou aux Cerfs is a dormant volcano, therefore it is perfectly safe to visit. Due to the plate tectonics, the hotspot is in a totally different place today (Reunion Island), making eruption virtually impossible anytime in the future.

Trou aux Cerfs looks like not a typical volcano you would imagine. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

On the volcano, you’ll come across many runners. It is because a popular marathon is held here around the caldera each year. Many people train here as you’ll hardly going to find similar conditions anywhere close.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Grand Bassin

Ganga Talao (also known as Grand Bassin) is the most sacred Hindu site in Mauritius island located about 550 m / 1,804 ft above sea level. Given the relatively short history of the nation island, it was not so long ago that Grand Bassin was discovered by the Hindu pilgrims. The special aura of the site was first noticed by a merchant Pandi Sanjibonlal in 1866. He had a dream of turning Grand Bassin into a pilgrimage site and it didn’t take long. The breakthrough happened in 1897 when some Hindu priests saw a vision of the water source of the lake being the same as of Ganga river. The news immediately started to attract more pilgrims and it only increased over the years.

Since 1972 the lake has been known as Ganga Talao. The direct translation of it is “the lake of Ganga”, referencing Grand Bassin’s sacred connection to the holy Hindu river Ganga in India. Today, temples of Lord Hanuman, Goddess Ganga and Lord Ganesh could be found by the sacred lake. Many statues of other deities could be found accompanying the temples, including the gigantic 33 m / 108 ft height monuments of Lord Shiva (completed in 2007) and Lord Durga (2017). The exact same height of these giants was selected not by a chance – 10b is a sacred number in Hindu mythology. If you multiply this number by the diameter of the Sun, you’ll get the distance between the Sun and the Earth. A similar principle could be applied to Moon and furthermore, the diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.

It is possible to meet many Gods and Goddesses in Ganga Talao (Grand Bassin) Temple. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Interestingly, Grand Bassin is actually a crater lake, which makes it connected to the origins of the island. A legend says that one day Lord Shiva landed in Mauritius with his wife Parvati and have wandered the land. Accidentally, he poured a few drops of Ganga water into the lake, making it a sacred place. Since that day, Ganga Talao became a hotspot for Hindu celebrations, especially, during Maha Shivaratri (Great Night of Lord Shiva) – a major Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Shiva himself. During this celebration in the months of February and March, thousands take their pilgrimage to Grand Bassin.

Alexandra Falls

Given that there is no fee to access Alexandra Falls, the area around seems to be very popular not only with tourists, but with locals as well, who come here for recreational reasons or a picnic. In my opinion, the waterfall is not as beautiful as the one in Chamarel 7-Colored Earth Park, nor there is a really good vista to observe it. Nevertheless, Alexandra Falls is well worth a stop, especially, if you haven’t seen Chamarel one yet. Alexandra Falls is also the best area for a picnic on the whole South Mauritius Tour. Too bad, people leave much trash and even those, which are put into trash cans are dispersed by the wind or birds before the authorities are here to clean it.

Alexandra Falls is located in the middle of the very few remaining jungles in Mauritius. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Other than picnicking or peaceful recreation, Alexandra Falls is a popular destination for hiking. It takes just a couple of minutes from the main area to get into the untamed Mauritian jungle, full of endemic plants and animals.  There are quite a few hikes available around Alexandra Falls but for your own safety should be attempted only with a professional guide. If you like adventures, this one might be just for you.

Black River Gorges Viewpoint

Black River, or Rivière Noire in Mauritanian Creole language, derives from Luvvy waterfall, located in the same National Park but different Savanne District. It goes down the mountains to the ocean by the town with the same name. With time, Black River carved out a huge gorge which opened up a vast area from the middle of the jungle straight to the open blue waters. Black River Gorge viewpoint reminds us that Mauritius is actually an island in the middle of the ocean. The scenery and impact of Black River is so majestic that the whole district and the National Park is named after Black River. The name itself comes from the fact, that despite being one of the biggest districts on the island, it receives less rainfall than any other. As the result, the Black River has fewer inhabitants than other parts of Mauritius and more of the untouched wild nature.

The ocean is located about 7 km / 4.35 mi from the Black River Gorge viewpoint. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Between the parking and the vista itself, you’ll find many locals selling various stuff. There are no tables and seats, I would say that the area is not so great for picnics. If you tried to eat anything, the local macaque population would steal it from you anyway. The primates were brought here by humans from the other parts of the world but Black River Gorges National Park is a great place to look for a few remaining endemic species like tropicbirds, Pink Pigeon, Mauritius Parakeet and smaller birds. In fact, the Black River Gorges viewpoint is a great place for bird-watching, just be sure to bring powerful binoculars as the open space is very very big. All thanks to the park being one of the very few places remaining with its original flora.

There are some options for hiking from Black River Gorges Viewpoint but it is only allowed with a local guide. This is for safety and economical reasons, if you want to, you can buy the Black River Gorges National Park map in one of the information centres located in Petrin and Grande Rivière Noire.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Chamarel Waterfall

Two rivers (St. Denis and Viande Salee) feed this iconic waterfall in Chamarel 7-Coloured Earth park. Their snow-white tails fall over 100 m / 328 ft before it reaches the ground level, where the waters continue to flow as a part of the larger Baie du Cap river. During the rainy season between November and April, the volume of the waterfall could double compared to the regular flow. Through the ages, this massive natural erosive force formed a huge cataract, resulting in the iconic shape of the Chamarel waterfall as we know and appreciate today.

Chamarel waterfall is one of the “canonical” landmarks of Mauritius island. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

This marvel of nature reveals details of the ancient past of the island. By ancient, I mean geological ancient, not cultural, which spans only a couple of hundred years into the past. Chamarel Waterfall is a testimony to the volcanic past of Mauritius. At the foot of it, lie the volcanic rocks ageing to 8 – 10 million years ago. Above this ancient layer, geologists found evidence of heavy weathering, proving that this layer remained exposed for a vast period of time. The upper layer dates to relatively younger past about 3.5 – 1.9 million years ago, during the second phase of Mauritius’s volcanic activity when Trou aux Cerfs has erupted and remained dormant ever since.

Chamarel 7-Coloured Earth

7-Coloured Earth is a geological exposition composed of various colours. Without a doubt, it is the main attraction in the whole of Chamarel Park despite the type of entrance ticket. Different from the other parts of the Mauritius South tour, Chamarel 7-Coloured Earth Park is a privately owned area, therefore you need to pay to enter it. I believe, that I don’t need all the interesting details about it to make you want to visit it but some background could make it even more interesting. 

The geological marvel and Chamarel waterfall are not the only attraction in the park, arabica coffee beans are being grown in the nearby area within the territory since 1967 (These coffee beans could be bought in a souvenir shop and I had to admit it was one of the best coffees I ever tasted). Chamarel 7-Coloured Earth Park is an exemplary model for privately owned businesses within a National park area. Part of the funds collected from the entry tickets is used for the preservation of the endemic flora and fauna. The private park collaborates with Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) on programs to restore, conserve and manage the forests around Chamarel.

Chamarel 7-Coloured Earth Park covers 7,500 sq. m / 80,730 sq. ft. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

7-Coloured Earth itself is one of the most visited places in Mauritius. It is reminiscent of the much more popular Rainbow Mountain in Peru but the geological mechanics are a bit different. The powers herein play are simpler but have generated a true wonder of nature nevertheless. 7-Coloured Earth is another witness to the volcanic activity of the island between 3.5 m and 1.9 m years ago. Over time, the basaltic surface was eroded and deformed by the humid and hot climate of Mauritius. Chemically, these were perfect conditions at the surface for such unusual geological formations to emerge that we see today on 7-Coloured Earth. This area has very clear edges for a reason, the colourful rocks stripped the land from the nutrients that plants need to grow. All that is left are deposits of iron and aluminium oxide, responsible for various shades of red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow coloured earth. These metals repel each other, forming a clear edge between the shades. Iron is responsible for red-brown colours and aluminium for blue-violet.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show for you. If you still want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.
If you have some spare time you could ask your driver to bring you to Chamarel viewpoint. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Mauritius South Island Tours

If you have rented a car and feel adventurous, it is possible to attempt to do the trip to Mauritius South West by yourself. Though, I highly recommend taking a tour for this one. The roads are hard to drive without experience and some of the places like Grand Bassin requires a local understanding of how everything works. Also, the guide will keep you busy with interesting about each point that you visit.

Personal Experience

In my own experience, Black River Gorges Natural Park in the south of Mauritius is probably the best what the island can offer outside the water. As a foreigner, if you want a tamed jungle experience – this is the tour to go. Not only you’ll see vast patches of the original Mauritian forests on an exceptionally beautiful landscape, but you’ll get a chance to see some of the most interesting landmarks on the island. Black River Gorges Natural Park is a gem of nature’s wonders from both inside and outside. Mauritius South West Tour is definitely a must thing to do in the island for everybody. It is well worth spending a day exploring what it has to offer. From my own experience, I would say if I was to pick only one tour during my visit to Mauritius, I would pick Mauritius South West Tour.

All content and photos by Alis Monte. If you want to collaborate, contact me on info@ctdots.eu Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Share.
the.Word

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Thank you for visiting Connecting the Dots Journal's official website!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you, if youu want to support my work in a different way, please, subscribe to newsletter or become a Patron

Click on the Ad to support my work.

Connect.to.
the.Adventure.

Connecting the Dots blog requires a lot of my time and I do it alone on my free time. If you appreciate my work, you can contribute to it by becoming a Patreon or subscribing to my newsletter.