Le Morne Brabant is a historical mountain in the Indian Ocean, most precisely, in the south-west of Mauritius. It was the refuge of the maroon slaves between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, where they re-grouped in caves and at the top of the mountain. This place, nicknamed the “Republic of the Marrons”, is today a symbol of the suffering of the slaves and their struggle for freedom.
A local myth tells that the group of chestnuts had carried out a collective suicide at the top of the summit of Le Morne. This act testifies to their resistance to the end against the colonists. They chose to die rather than allow themselves to be captured. Anthropologists and archaeologists from the University of Mauritius carried out research in 2003, but they could not demonstrate the truth of these facts.
This mountain has been declared World Heritage by UNESCO since 6 July 2008, under the name of “Cultural Landscape of Le Morne”.
Slavery in Mauritius
The island was first populated by the Dutch in 1638, by a Dutch governor and about twenty families. At the end of the 17th century, 200 Dutch people lived on the island, with between 500 and 1,000 slaves from Madagascar, Africa, India and Java. However, they abandoned the island in 1710 because it no longer offered enough resources, which were degraded by climatic conditions.
The French then took possession of the island and renamed it “Isle de France”. In 1721, fifteen settlers and a priest settled there. The island quickly flourished thanks to large sugar plantations administered by settlers from France and Bourbon Island.
In 1810, the island was taken by the British and officially joined to the British Empire in 1814. It then reverted to its old name – Mauritius.
Slavery in Mauritius was abolished on 1st February 1835, but the planters would continue to bring British Indians coolies (workers of Asian origin) to work in conditions close to those of the black slaves. At an altitude of over 550 meters, Morne Brabant is an impressive hill located just on south western tip of the island. Surprisingly arid during the dry season, this mountain is ideal for hiking but is also the best spot to enjoy the panoramic view that it offers.
A true landmark
More than a trek destination for those traveling to Mauritius, Morne Barbant also derives its reputation from its sumptuous beach and the luxurious hotels that have established themselves in the heart of its tropical setting. LUX * Le Morne, Paradis Golf Club, St. Regis Mauritius and its villas are among the best hotels nestled in the Morne.
A true paradise for hikers who spend their time in Mauritius, the Morne Brabant is one of the spectacular summits of the island even if it is less frequented. Although its slopes are steep and difficult to access, it is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it served as a refuge for running slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries. Climbing the Morne Brabant is worth it because it allows you to admire the landscapes of the surroundings that are formed by filaos, banyan trees and badamiers which are bordered by a sandy beach of a brilliant whiteness.
Activities in Le Morne
Many activities can be practiced in Le Morne and an excursion remains a must for this corner of the island. To mark your holidays in Mauritius, you can for example, opt for trekking in the mountains. This trekking is divided into two stages: the first is to follow the steep path that crosses half of the mountain and the second to reach the summit by using the ropes installed on the rock walls, ideal for adventurers in search of thrills and in good physical condition. Those who are on a family trip to Mauritius can also hike on the Morne Brabant and the journey takes only about 3 hours. If you are rather sporty, you can practice the trail running which allows you to leave the seaside and walk about 15 kilometers to reach an altitude of 260 meters.
The Morne Brabant beach is undoubtedly part of the most beautiful beaches of the Mauritian coast. If this beach is a must visit during a stay in Mauritius, it is because of this exceptional environment that surrounds it: lush nature, almost wild and verdant mountain that offers a contrast of colors with the immaculate whiteness of the sand. Its location also allows you to admire the sunsets in a paradisiacal setting, perfect for those staying with their loved one. The Morne beach is divided into two parts: the northern part which is a privileged place for swimmers and idlers who spend their holidays in Mauritius to enjoy the sun and the crystal clear water to relax. The south part of the beach welcomes mostly water sports enthusiasts including kitesurfing and windsurfing.
Have fun in Le Morne!