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Mauritius Underwater Sand Waterfall Flight Tour over Le Morne

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A Honeymoon Destination

As many young couples do, together with my wife, we have chosen Mauritius for our honeymoon from a very few options that were open for traveling outside European Union in 2021. Thankfully, this paradise island was the best wedding gift we could hope for. 

For some reason, the underwater sand waterfall illusion has a relatively small amount of information online and we got to know it completely by a chance. It so happened, my wife’s hairstylist went to Mauritius for her honeymoon as well. She mentioned the underwater waterfall as the highlight of the island and told us that we must book a flight now or else we wouldn’t get it. We didn’t care too much at once but after checking some photographs of the illusion online – we understood that if we manage to get to the island during these strange times – we must try to experience this exceptional sight.

Is the Underwater Waterfall in Mauritius Real?

Since Mauritius underwater sand waterfall is rather an illusion than an actual waterfall, a certain angle is required to see this unique vista. Therefore, it is impossible just to paddleboard to the edge of it to see the waterfall from a different angle. I imagine it wouldn’t feel much different than going out beyond the coral reef anywhere else on the island. Of course, you can try – it wouldn’t hurt. Like so many kitesurfers know, the underwater waterfall is not dangerous. Nevertheless, as I told you, one needs to get high to see the illusion. Only a flying machine can get a human there.

We decided to go by two separate seaplanes. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Mauritius Underwater Sand Waterfall Explained

This natural miracle is not that simple to explain in scientific terms. The underwater waterfall is simply an illusion caused by the water currents slowly moving out of the lagoon into the open ocean and by the rapid change of the depths. Naturally, the moving currents affect the sediments on the bottom of the lagoon and they are slowly displaced towards the edge, where the coral reef ends. This leaves a fake impression of rapidly moving sand, which is especially misleading once observed in photographs. In reality, the underwater sand waterfall illusion is still like a picture. Nothing is really moving.

The outflux of currents is clearly visible from the opposite angle. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Though there is no sand dropping down the waterfall, the topography drops about 4 km / 2,49 mi straight over the coral reef, right at the middle of the illusion. This might sound dreading but it helps to imagine that Le More Brabant is a 4.000 m / 13,123 ft + mountain with most of it lying underwater. You see, Mauritius is a relatively young volcanic island risen from the abyss of the Indian Ocean about 10 m years ago. In reality, it is not surprising to find these depths in the middle of the ocean, the miracle here is that the volcanic hotspot managed to surface such a large island over sea level.

All these geological conditions helped to create this wonder of nature, a truly aspiring sight, which could be hardly replicated anywhere else in the world. The underwater waterfall was even listed on The Telegraph’s “24 of the world’s most incredible natural phenomena”. All of this wouldn’t be possible if it was not for the crystal clear water surrounding the Island Nation.

Waterfall or not, the sight is gorgeous. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Though some will claim that the underwater waterfall is a part of UNESCO World Heritage sites, Le Morne Brabant is listed in this prestigious list of protected areas for historical reasons, not for its nature, especially not for the illusion. Given that, the topography of the area is the precursor for both the underwater waterfall and the safe shelter to slaves who hid in the mountain during 18-19th centuries.

Mauritius underwater waterfall from a different angle. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Underwater Waterfall Details

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Mauritius Map

The seaplane flight over the underwater sand waterfall starts on Prairie Beach. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

 

Photo Gallery Tour

Nothing will describe the immense beauty of Mauritius underwater sand waterfall illusion and its surrounding as well as photographs. These are just a few moments from a short yet long 15-minutes flight.

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Mauritius Underwater Waterfall Tours

Basically, there are two options to see Mauritius sand waterfall illusion, or rather, two means of transportation: a helicopter and a seaplane. Both can get quite expensive beyond the reasonable reach of common travelers. The good news are that if you want to see the beautiful turquoise lagoons from the bird’s view – you can climb Le Morne Brabant Rock for magnificent vistas in all directions.

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Personal Experience

I have to admit that before taking the flight I was still sceptical about all the “illusion stuff”. I was not sure if it is worth the money. What if there won’t be enough light, what if we won’t reach the correct heights, or the angle is just not going to be right. What if we won’t see the famous Mauritius underwater waterfall illusion, what if it is only visible on an edited photo? In the end, I can’t say that I cared much once we got into the air. Waterfall or not, wherever it was the coral reef or Black River Gorges National Park, the views were simply breathtaking.

Le Morne Brabant overshadowing Ilot Fourneau in the majestic surrounding lagoon. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

The short flight of 15 minutes felt like an instant and forever at the same time. The adrenaline rush and the awe caused by the exceptional experience seem to have distorted reality. The views are still fixated in my mind and I’m not sure if even the pictures do them justice. As my pilot said: “In reality, it is even better, isn’t it?” I absolutely agree, this could easily be the crown jewel of my whole trip to Mauritius. Underwater sand waterfall illusion trip is a must-do on the island for everyone, even if you can barely afford it. This is once in a lifetime opportunity.

A synced seaplane flight will cost 50€ extra. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

What Can I Do to Protect the Underwater Waterfall Illusion?

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

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