Spread over a massive area of about 6,754 hectares (16,690 acres), the Black River Gorges National Park is a green haven and a testament to the island's biodiversity that constitutes nearly two percent of Mauritius' expanse. The national park is a rippling sweep of verdant foliage, pierced sparingly by rocky outcrops. This park is home to several species of flora and fauna, including trees like the Trochetia Boutoniana, Cassine Orientalis, and Diospyros Tessellaria, as well as birds such as the Pink Pigeon, the Mauritius Cuckoo-shrike, and the Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher. The old-growth ebony forests are the haunt of giant fruit bats, macaque monkeys and wild boar, alongside endemic species of birds and hundreds of flowering plants. As it contains such a wealth of wildlife, it is protected by the Mauritian government and has also been recognized by UNESCO.
Situated off the south east coast of the mainland of Mauritis is the Ile aux Aigrettes. This tropical island functions as a wildlife and nature reserve beckoning tourists to its shores all year round. The island includes forests, nature trails, aviaries and viewing posts. A spectacular place to bring the family, the reserve educates all on the bountiful flora and fauna found on the island. The reserves organizes regular tours for its visitors and includes a souvenir shop as well. To know more about the island, visit their website or call ahead.
The Flat Island, aptly named for its low-lying geography, is located a few miles off the northernmost tip of the main island, Cap Malheureux. Tourists can access this island via catamaran or boat excursions which take place daily. The ride to the island alone is beautiful; you travel away from one paradisaical island, and move towards another one. Sparsely inhabited by people, the island also has a lighthouse and a cemetery, which speak of the island's history. The most popular activity on this island is snorkeling, and the Shark Pit, a dive spot, is most famous because one can see sharks swimming near the surface to take in the rich oxygen available at that spot. Do call for more information.
The island of Mauritius is blessed with a gorgeous landscape; nature has been preserved and allowed to flourish without much disturbance to her beauty. Le Val Nature Park is one of the places where one can experience this natural bounty. Located at Cluny, to the southwest of the island, this park is spread over a sizable area of about 2800 hectares and is home to a range of species of birds, animals and trees. Now a nature park, this area earlier used to be sprinkled with several sugar factories; but today, the only reminders of this past are a few remaining chimneys scattered here and there. Owned and operated by the government, the park also has greenhouses and ponds where prawns, eels and other fish are bred. Visitors can either choose to discover this park on foot, on bike, or by renting a boat. Call for more information.
Rising up as the highest peak on the island of Mauritius is the Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire. This mountain forms part of the Black River mountain range and stands at 828 meters (2717 feet) above sea level. Adventure travelers can head to the Black Gorges National Park and can try a hike up this slope and from there take it the panoramic views of the lush island below. For more information, contact the local tourist board.
Curepipe, the second most important Mauritian city is located in the center of this island. It is also known as La Ville Lumière, since it was the foremost village on the entire island to be equipped with electricity. Curepipe has many tourists attractions that are worth visiting. The extinct Trou aux Cerfs volcano, Carnegie library and Curepipe Botanic Gardens make for an interesting day trip. So when you are in town, do include Curepipe in your travel itinerary.
One of the several islets that can be found off the northern coast of Mauritius, the Coin de Mire is a little piece of heaven on earth. Spread over an area of about 65 hectares, this island used to be the site for Dutch sugar plantations, and the only evidence of this past can be seen in a few scattered remains. Also known as Gunner's Quoin, this island is very popular among tourists for the views of the main island it gives. Do rent a catamaran, or a speed boat, and cruise to this absolutely beautiful island.
Located a few miles off the norther coast of the mainland, and right below the Flat Island, the Îlot Gabriel is a tiny islet. One of the many islets surrounding the main island of Mauritius, this islet is truly a treat for the senses. Any one who appreciates nature would be enthralled and captivated by the untouched beauty of this place; with the pristine blue waters of the Indian Ocean enveloping the islet in a sort of paradisaical cocoon, no imprint of human encroachment anywhere. It is recommended to board a catamaran and head here, the journey to this place itself being a memorable experience. Make sure you bring along a camera, because the view is just gorgeous.