Driving South towards la prairie from Tamarin the journey can be broken at La preneuse and some two kilometres away at La Grande Riviere Noire, a little further down at petite riviere noire. All these villages are found on the western coast.
The Black River District derives its name mainly from the natural greyish and black basaltic mountainous rocks that are the trademarks of the region. There are other natural phenomena that account for its exoticism. The region is best known for the Black River Gorges.
La Preneuse Beach
The opportunity to stop at La Preneuse cannot be missed. it is the most beautiful beach on the western littoral that bewitches visitors and compels a few hours’ stay and have some fun swimming, playing on the sand, building castles or chasing the tiny crabs to their lair.
Even lazing on the chestnut coloured beach (Mauritius Beaches) and tanning is wonderful.
La Preneuse has a two-century old cemetery. It contains tombs of great visitors and administrators. Colonel Edward Alured Draper lies there in peace and all serenity. Mauritians owe to him one of their favourite pastimes: horse riding. The MTC has reserved an event known as the Draper’s mile run over a distance of 1500 metres. There is ample scope also for many sea-related activities that delight young and old.
Grande Rivière Noire
The next stopover is La Grande Rivière Noire, another coastal village with a population of around 2000 inhabitants, mostly fishermen formerly, but now moving to more sophisticated jobs that tourism and the hotel industry are providing them with. However, the village has lost nothing of its specificity that that part was well known for the typical creole séga, another aspect that forces tourists or young couples or those cherishing such stuffs to spend a few days and enjoy the variety of fun, fare and recreation available. Dancing the séga to the accompaniment of sensual and sensuous music, the sizzling of ample maxi skirts and other breath-taking rhythms carry the audience off their feet and they cannot help joining the all-time entertainment.
Big Game Fishing
The village has become famous as a major centre of big game fishing. It has a modem shell museum called “Snellorama”, the first of its kind in the Indian Ocean region. It houses unique specimens of shells collected from the Indo Pacific lagoon to the delight of conchili-culturists.
London Span, Welmer ltd factory, specialising in the preparation of smoked marlin, St Augustine church-consecrated in 1857 and fishermen’s colony inaugurated in 1963 have helped enhance the look of the village. The church deserves a visit as it is decorated with beautiful paintings including the masterpiece of a local artist named Alfred de la Hogue. The church serves a lively parish with more than 1000 parishioners. Tourists or even campers can attend Sunday morning mass in the company of a myriad of faithful.
The village regained its former spell with the eradication of malaria in the 50s. Colourful villas, varying in shapes and sizes, were constructed on Carlos hill overlooking the sea. They are cosy and beautiful bungalows offering a certain calmness and serenity to the tenants. The view from the sea is just amazing specially at sunset when the sun sheds its last rays on them.
The region does not cease to attract visitors with its hotels and restaurants of high standard. Natural attractions are galore. It abounds with game, stag, fresh water fish and sea fish, fruit trees, mangoes, wild apples, hibiscus, tropical trees covered with an avalanche of big colourful flowers.
It is also a fishing station par excellence. It attracts buyers and sellers and also curious people who just admire the different types of fish. There is a certain liveliness when die fishermen Land with their fish. Plenty of opportunities for visits and other useful activities exist.
Petite Rivière Noire
Petite Rivière Noire is a small, poor village that never suffers from hunger. Such was the remark of a writer some time back. It lies between Grande Rivère Noire and Case Noyale. It is well-known for its saltpans and present a resplendent view on a nice sunny day. Stag breeding, charcoal making, fishing, picking of seasonal fruits are the usual occupations of the villagers. The typical séga is the very soul of culture.
Africanism is still very much present. It still hovers over the area. Tourists are avid for exotic organised sega nights and make the best of them. There is a chapel. It is a handicraft jewel made of wood, straw and aloe sprigs. A real fitting tribute to nature. Nature, the sea, the woods feed the villagers. Most of the houses are made of wood and iron sheets and straw. It has a deeply ecological character.
This stretch of Black River is rich in every sense of the word as landscapes beautifully adorned with mountain ranges, green at places, yellowish, and bluish and even black, waterfalls felling from mountain slopes, water streaming down present a fairyland atmosphere.
Boating, kayaking, snorkelling, kitesurfing, hiking, horse riding, cycling, walking, photographing, hunting, admiring the virgin beauty complete the dream of nature lovers and adventure lust people. The Tourism Authority and other stakeholders are concerting their efforts to offer tourists fun and frolic perhaps conceived in their wildest dreams.