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The western coast, or the sunset coast as it is commonly referred to, has numerous beaches that make the delight of millions of tourists and nature lovers. Flic en Flac is such a beach. It is a fashionable resort centre with a very powerful pull for tourists, and local holiday makers. 

It has also become a favourite with film makers as it affords a large expanse of blue water for conceiving romantic scenes underlined by savoury music or hip swinging dances or sometimes fighting trig or swash buckling scenes which are sure ingredients for success. 

 Where is Flic en Flac situated?

Flic en Flac is situated between Bambous and Tamarin. It is within easy reach from either Port Louis or Lower Plaine Wilhems. Transport facilities exist Buses, Taxis and even illegal taxis ensure; a regular service from dawn till dusk. Flic en Flac has developed tremendously in the past 50 years from a marshy; open plain covered with bushes. It was a breeding ground for mosquitoes spreading malaria that had chased away a few souls living there. Only a handful of fishermen stayed behind to earn a scanty living by using old fishing methods. 

 

However with the eradication of malaria in the early 50s, Flic en Flac took a turn for the better. It now occupies a prime place in the hearts of tourists, Mauritius travelers, campers, trekkers and the population at large. It has become very popular seaside resort, the favourite of all ages with high standard hotels, restaurants, bungalows, and a clean environment conducive to healthy and pleasant living. Those interested in buying bungalows, offer first choice to Flic en Flac. This has helped Medine SE to chum billions by selling part of its property within the confines of Flic en Flac that keeps on expanding and sprawling People are even paying exhorbitant prices for small plots located far from the beach houses in different models and various shapes and sizes have emerged. 

 

Flic en Flac derives its name from a Dutch word FriedlandFlac, meaning “terre libre plate”(flat free land). A French map in 1725 used the name FrilanFlac for the place. It was later altered to Flic en Flac It was spelt Flic en Flacq in 1807 by Lislet Geoffrey, Flique en Flacq by de la Caille in 1753 and the De Nyon map called it Frid land-flacRobert Edward Hart suggested that it is an onomatopoeic phrase reproducing the’sound made by people’s feet as they trudged through the marshy land there. 

 

Anyway Flic en Flac has grown into a modem seaside resort with all the amenities that one can imagine. lt is the most popular public beach on the west coast. lt provides welcome relief after a week’s hard work in the congested Port Louis area or within the confines of offices or crammed classrooms. 

 

Five-Star hotels, luxuriously and elegantly filled with every possible comfort, provide a dream vacation. They cater for all purses. They give special rebates to locals and they too can spend a few days with families in a fairy like atmosphere. Others can pitch a tent and spend a nice time with friends and families and enjoy the many relishes that are available in such places. Security is ensured 24/24 and there is no need to worry unless imprudent action or daring activities are practiced. There is a limit to everything in life and moderation is recommended. 

 

Flic en Flac is an oasis of peace and tranquility offering leisurely, easygoing and cool opportunity for recuperation and recovery: Families turn up in large numbers especially on Sundays and leave after dark. There is much in terms of fun and frolic for those seeking sensation along all lines. The white beach fringed with filao trees lend to a whole range of beach related activities. Even the most fastidious taste finds something that is relishing. The clear blue warm and serene water is inviting and it’s difficult to resist the temptation. Thrilling moments with boating, surfing horseriding, fishing, cruising, skiing, water-games like waterpolo, beach volley, scuba diving can be enjoyed. Card parties, dominoes, dance sega while accompaniment of guitar and ravannes provide unforgettable moments. 

 

Coucher de Soleil à Flic en Flac
Coucher de Soleil à Flic en Flac

Free pastimes are available; spicy conversations, developing new relationships, boys meet girls, fall in love and ultimately marry. Strolling along the beach in the evening exposes to a different kind of pleasure. The setting sun, lavishing its full splendour on the glistening sea water and on everything around is a real treat for die eyes and the painter’s brush. 

 

Flic en Flac has lately been endowed with a collection of shops, banks, discotheques that enhance the developing town. The shops sell a whole gamut of products ranging from garments, jewellery, shoes to handicrafts and boat models that tourists appreciate. There are night clubs for dancing or watching others dance while sipping some whisky or meeting beautiful people and converse with them. 

 

Nightlife in Flic En Flac
Nightlife in Flic En Flac

As far as food is concerned, restaurants exist that cater for till tastes and purses. Chinese cuisine, Mauritian simple menu, rice and fish curry, chicken pulao or briani, Italian pizza and Indian sweets complete the picture though much more can be obtained on order. Ice cream vendors, cake sellers, dhollpuri merchants do good business. Others go there and pitch a tent and stay a whole day dispersing food till late Flic en Flac is a colourful seaside resort presenting a kaleidoscopic view all the year round with plenty of things to do and to enjoy. It’s not easy to do justice to the variegated aspects and splendid glimpses of the cosmopolitan soceity that it accommodates. Seeing is believing. 

The south has undoubtedly many cynosures that account for its touristic pull and appeal, Chamarel is the icing on the cake. To some it’s sheer marvel, to others it’s the eighth wonder. They don’t stop praising it. They wouldn’t mind coming again and again just for the sake of it. 

CHAMAREL IS A SMALL VILLAGE of around 750 inhabitants, mostly of African origin .They still possess traces of their ancestral characteristics that thev manifest in their conversation, their dialect, their lifestyle that modernism has not deprived them of. 

Chamarel has a rich history,very attaching and down to earth. It is situated at an altitude of 300 metres. It’s often shrouded in clouds as seen from Case Noyale. This explains its temperate climate favouring the growth of a special flora that attracted the first settlers, It is situated close to the declining slope of the Gorges. It is relatively on a plain. It derives its name from its concessionary Monsieur Antoine de Chazal de Chamarel. Knight and Commander of the Infantry of the Regiment of Provence and his brother Tristan. Both were conferred a state of an area of 300 arpents. A sugar mill operated until 1872 when it joined the property of Bel Ombre. 

 How to reach Chamarel?

Chamarel can be reached from Vacoas by passing through La Marie, Mare aux Vacoas, Plaine Champagne, and Viewpoint From Case Noyale on the west coast, one can drive through a twisted road, zig zagging at times and serpentine as well. Its not a smooth drive. It calls for caution, otherwise the journey may end at the bottom of piedpices at the mercy of wild pigs and monkeys.The less tortuous and risky and easily accessible is the road from Bale du Cap. It is less stressing though it runs uphill before reaching Chamarel. 

It’s  famous Seven Coloured Earth

Chamarel is endowed with all the elements that dress it into an attractive tourist magnet but there is one feature that stands aloof and makes of it a must visit place. It is the seven coloured earths and its magnificent waterfalls .They have become a favourite site with tourists. It is situated in a very peaceful atmosphere. It is a unique natural site offering a stunning view of colourful dunes of earth.The different shades of blue, green, blue, red, yellow of the earth are the result of me erosion of volcanic ash. The neighbouring waterfall rises from the native vegetation, a magnificent scenery of rare beauty. The way to the site inrolls in turn coffee plantations, the Chamarel falls, approximately 100 metres high, taking its source from Ri veriere ST Denis and Viande Salée. No tour operator can afford to exclude this spot from the itinerary. It’s incredible and unique with its splendid and breathtaking landscape. It has become a focal point for adventure, tourism and multifarious activities. Tourists and visitors alike relish the coloured earth that is now arranged in undulated dunes. It is indeed a pageant of colours presenting a spectacular view in a wild and green background. It’s regrettable that commerce and other motives have robbed the place of the virgin beauty it had some time back Old George aged about 70 expresses this view with a slight heart twinge and speaks of the past nostalgically. 

 Seven couloured earth of Chamarel

He however adds that the way has been opened for the village development offering employment to the villagers in the hospitality sector, and other related jobs. A young man says proudly that he is studying German, Spanish and English to work as a guide. Now entrance is Rs 125 per person. The collection helps proper maintenance of the spot. 

 

The drive from the gate to the site is not easy. It’s sloppy, narrow and reminiscent of lanes in mountainous areas. Steep slopes and unfriendly bends contribute to the thrill and excitement the trip offers. There’s opportunity to go round, admire the dunes, photograph them and the vicinity. Small bottles filled with the afferent coloured earths are on sale in a shop within the compound. Light lunch is available too. Typical Mauritian cuisine can be enjoyed at some Tables d’hôte recently set upon sloping sides 

 

The area reserves enjoyment for all tastes. Wonderful trekking adventure in the mountains just by following the road, scope for some archery and even hiking and biking exist. Leisurely walks on sodden ground in the shade of big trees give a new form of sensation. The return journey, too, may be fruitful Valriche is a truly rich valley in Domaine de Bel Ombre as its name implies It may be visited. It contains many hidden treasures, ruins of a traditional chimney, vast meadows with grazing stags, an amazing waterfall running through a rich forest with plenty of rare birds, exotic plants exuding. an exotic fragrance. There is also an old stone maision transformed into a pleasant restaurant catering tor the delight of the most fastidious tastes. 

 Fauna and Flora

There is also an inexhaustible store of unexpected wealth in terms of plants, trees, fruits, birds fauna and flora, rivers are not to forget The Alexandra Falls,The trail across the creek may be followed and get informed about the dwarf upland forest that unveils taller trees and gives the possibility of exploring a large chunk of the area rich in sylvan niceties. The rustling of the wind in the foliage, the hissing of many streams, the splashing of the water below and the cacophony of the birds send one in an ecstasy. A nature lover would surely indulge in the manifold pleasures available and lose himself in the many intricacies and maze that won’t fail to entice him. 

Crowded in its courtyard were French tourists with backpacks and cameras. Its unassuming location betrays a rich history and cultural admixture that have made it mandatory on the itinerary’ of every tourist visiting our capital. 

Originally established in 1853, through the contributions of Muslim tradesmen and merchants, die ‘Mosque des Arabes’as it was then known, could only accommodate two hundred people at a time. It is the second oldest mosque in Mauritius. 

A growing congregation meant that by 1877, adjoining property was purchased to expand the mosque; it subsequently took cm the name Jummah Mosque. This included commercial property that was leased and rented out to finance its maintenance. “Our ancestors sacrificed a lot to ensure that the mosque is able to continue for a long time to come” affirms Nissar Ramtoola, President of the Jummah Mosque. Apart from government subsidies that every religious institution is entitled to, rents from adjoining stores ensures that the facility does not depend upon charity or individual contributions to keep itself running. 

What captivates the first- time visitor is the architectural motif of the Mosque. Prom 1878 onwards, Indian artisan* worked on the edifice and woodwork. The result is a fusion of Mughal and Persian themes consistent with the dominant architectural patterns on die subcontinent at die time. 

From the rooftop spires in the Mughal style to the courtyard and its pond reflecting a Persian aesthetic, the admixture is so subde that “very often the casual visitor mistakes the mosque for a temple” smiles Ishmael Mungroo, administrator of the mosque. 

Services to the community 

When asked what role the Mosque plays in the lives of members of the Muslim community in Mauritius, Ramtoola pointed out that apart from routine rituals such as weddings, blessing of babies, preparations for pilgrims going to Mecca and funerals, the mosque is active in disseminating moral and spiritual education. 

“Our role,” Ramtoola elaborates “is to encourage the young to go for higher education, to balance education in secular subjects with spiritual development.” 

Making sure that we know which restaurants and food suppliers are consistent with Islamic dietary laws (Halal) and also helping the rehabilitation of prisoners by offering spiritual advice and ensuring that they are supplied with all the means necessary to observe Islamic rituals are other services. “Naturally, any assistance and service that we provide is not restricted to Muslims but is extended to people of any faith,” Ramtoola is quick to point out. 

That, however, is not what is most striking about the operation of this institution. After all, this is what just about every religious body purports to do. 

“We are in the age of ICT,” was how the subject was introduced. “Since 2005, we have been streaming live videos of events at the mosque on our website. We have had 12 million hits on our website and have our very own Facebook page,” beams Ramtoola. 

“Our way of contributing to a greener environment is to operate an SMS service with 12,000 registered users who receive notifications about prayer timings, ‘Halal’ foods, meanings of names, obituaries and any other queries they may have,” but not too much. “After all we don’t want to spam!” quips the president. 

Hardly the stuffy old ecclesiastical lecture I was expecting as I went in. It seems that this particular facility has embraced modem technology with a vengeance. 

My particular interest, however, lay in what efforts the mosque undertook to promote interfaith relations. After all, in the ethnic and religious melting pot that is our island, no religious institution can be called a responsible one, unless it makes a conscious effort to promote integration and harmony. 

Promotion of interfaith dialogue 

“Our role,” asserts Ramtoola “is to ensure that Muslims cohabit with others in peace and harmony.” The exchange of opinions with representatives of other faiths constantly takes place because “after all, despite the differences of faith, we all largely confront the same problems; drugs, delinquency and temptations that may lead our youth astray”. 

The mosque is open to everybody, not just Muslims. That much I figured from the streams of tourists filing in and out of its wooden doors. It was interesting to learn, however, that this building in Port Louis figured on the study group of university students and the ecclesiastical tourism circuit as well. 

Priests, Imams and Pundits from the Indian Ocean rim often carry out symposiums on comparative religion and emphasize the commonalities of the different faiths. “Just last week,” affirms Ramtoola “we received a mixed delegation from the United States and Reunion to hold a discussion on the commonalities of Christianity and Islam and the role of Christ in both faiths.” 

The mosque also boasts a well-stocked library that adherents of the mosque, tourists and anybody that desires to do so can consult. Many of the publications of the mosque are distributed free of charge or at subsidized prices. 

Needless to say, there is much in this institution that came as a surprise and contradicted my expectations. Hopefully, this hitherto undervalued historical site in Mauritius will figure more prominently in the list of places to visit for Mauritians of all faiths curious about the rich religio-cultural mosaic that is our society. 

It is also a spot of predilection for nature and sports lovers. Albion is such a spot that blends a whole gamut of scenery resplendent with, sand, sun, sea and craggy coast lines couched on the west coast between Pointe aux Sables and Flic en Flac. It can easily be readied from Port Louis by passing through Petite Riviere. Another route is the main road to Bambous and then turning right after Canot and driving straight to it. Those from Plaine Wilhems can borrow the same itinerary that passes through variegated landscapes with aloe trees, acacias, cordia macrastatia on one side and plantations either of sugar cane or tomatoes on the other side. The lack of water in this part is made good by overhead irrigation and the drive leads through different vistas that townees or tourists starve to behold.

 Sleeping Beauty 

 Albion, as the name suggests, has been taken from the blonde Albion because of the disrupted relief that is reminiscent of the cliffs of Dover in England. There was a time when Albion was associated with weird happenings. It has recently come into the limelight because of cases of rape and murder. However its population keeps on increasing. It has reached almost 5000 and land for building houses is still in great demand as it is a haven of peace. It is the best place to relax after a hard day’s work. A shower freshens the body and mind and nothing disturbs the soothing atmosphere that reigns.

Motorcycles’ earsplitting noise or the whizzing sound of passing cars at night it, or the unnecessary barking of dogs or hoodlums strolling in the streets till late. This is perhaps the reason why many middle class people are leaving the hurly burly of the towns and the incessant noise of vehicles that add to the already stressed and strained mind. They hope that these serene and soothing moments continue. Retailers of alcohol are-rare and alcoholics hardly vitiate the peace and harmony of the region. It can be said that it has a sleepy charisma.

In addition to this very inspiring and harmonious atmosphere, Albion has a lot of attractions to offer to the visitors in that there is scope for research. An old sugar estate covering 500 arpents of land fringed on a roaring and rocky sea Cotton, too, was cultivated in that area by an officer of The French East India Company, Sir Pierre Guillaume de Seligny. He had set up a water mill to treat the cotton.

Albion had its share of distress. The malaria epidemic from 1866 to 1944 had completely depleted the village of its inhabitants. The eradication of malaria infused new life into the area. The sea, fishing, sugar boom of the early 70s gave a new lease of life and since then mere is no looking back Albion is becoming a sort of hub along the western coast.  

A mythical Lighthouse 

The lighthouse at Pointe aux Caves known as Albion lighthouse had boon for quite long the principal attraction. The road to the lighthouses lined with sugar carte fields that at tire approach of harvest look like a wheat field. Sometimes it reminds us of the undulating movements of tire daffodils. One side of tire path is bordered with huge trees and on the other side there are cliffs with caves; the air is fresh and humid, the sound of tire waves breaking gently against tire rucks and tire whisper of tire breeze quietly lulls the visitors to sleep. Tire chirping of different kinds of birds like the redbird, tourterelles and many others fill the heart with joy. Students, tourists and visitors never miss the opportunity to visit it. The lighthouse still operates and guides ships that enter the harbour. It’s rough gem worth a visit. There is also the opportunity to step up the lighthouse. 

The sea as usual offers swimming, fishing facilities coupled with a lot of fun and frolic Boating, collection of corals and other fauna thrill the lovers of such games. 

 Hunting Ground 

 Another highlight is the spectacle the sea gives at low tide. Vast expanse of the sea becomes a sort of hunting ground. Old, young, women and children are seen wading as for as the reef to collect fish, crabs, sea fruits and whatever interesting things they can lay hands on. Most of them are sure to get something for supper. It’s a spectacle not to be missed People from far turn up to admire that magnificent view rendered doubly eye catching by the setting sun. 

There are many things like villas and bungalows that have enhanced the value of the village close to the emerald sea. lt is as if a village has emerged by magic. Restaurants, pharmacies, bungalows have cropped up and cater for the needs of the inhabitants. Ah Coy’s fish or chicken balls or cakes are highly appreciated. Recently a church has been built satisfying a badly felt need. The advent of the Club Med is like icing on the cake It has conferred a new dimension on the village, a sort of world class resort. 

The village has been graced with the building of a Shiv Kali mandir found near the Albion experimentation station at the “Petite Rivière Albion” station. This lends a divine and propitious atmosphere to the place .

Albion has a few research centres, namely the Formosan government experienced growing of rice that proved conclusive, Fisheries and Aquaculture research centre Japan sponsored. The streets have been named alter great naval battles namely Cutty sark grounded at Greenwich in South London, Aquanaut, and Endeavour Albion has moved a long way from the deserted, impoverished diseased region it was some 50 Year back. 

The south continues, to tantalise visitors, tourists and locals alike by the many gifts Dame Nature has so profusely bestowed upon her. It does not cease to astound us as the beauty spots are as picturesque as they are beautiful. 

They seem to be freshly moulded and exposed to the eyes. Keats’ line comes rushing to the mind: ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever.’ 

A trip to the south and through its diverse and natural setting and mountain and sea backdrop is the experience of a lifetime, resembling a stroll in a sort of wonderland. 

Leaving the extreme south, with its high cliffs battered by waves presenting a craggy and bleak look and at times awe-inspiring, a certain respite is needed and something more artistic and soul soothing is looked for. 

Beau Vallon

Driving along the south eastern coast, the journey is broken at Beau Vallon in the district of Grand Port It is a sort of territory embedded by the limits of Mahebourg, Blue Bay and Plaisance. 

The drone of flights taking off and landing at short intervals has made the village a special one. The very name conjures hie picture of a splendid panorama mingled with the ever increasing air movements in the vicinity. The heavy traffic to and fro the airport has helped make life more lively and colourful. It is fast developing into a nerve centre with tourists and businessmen in the area. Scope for hotels, commerce, fishing and other important developments exists. It is also envisaged to create a model village reflecting its past This evolution should not blind the present generation to its past. 

One of the oldest tamil temples, Shri Vinayagar Seedalamen Kovil, founded on October 25,1856, still exists off the main road leading to Mahebourg. It draws its name from and old sugar estate that belonged to the Rochecouste family. The family occupied a pride of place in the Mauritian bourgeoisie, owning pharmacies, a racing stable, and other flourishing businesses and a certain Mrs Rochcousle was elected to parliament in 1948, the first lady MP. 

Beau Vallon is on the path of progress. An attraction of the name, lire Garden of Beau Vallon, has taken birth. It offers mirth, joy and pleasure in an exotic and fairy atmosphere. A family dinner or lunch can be enjoyed in an orchard of Itlehis, mango trees, and oil ter varieties of tropical plants and scented flowers In terms of food a Its al speciality is uttered to be selected In an a recipe card nicely presented in a rafia cover and all the spices of the food itself as a rememberance of a memorable moment. Some time may be devoted to relaxing during the trip to the south. Afew nights may also be spent in a romantic pavilion in a colonial residence with terrace found in the wonderful enchanting tropical garden. Other facilities are catered for and all efforts are made to delight the visitor. 

 Ile aux Aigrettes

There is another highlight of the south that keeps on mesmerising tourists as well as local visitors and has helped the area to evolve as a must destination. A visit helps to discover the unique Mauritian fauna and flora. It is the Ile aux Aigrettes that lies off the coast of Mahebourg. lt can be reached by a short boat trip on turquoise waters in the fairy setting of Mahebourg Bay. It is rich with 400 years of history It is a nature reserve island, a nature conservation site. Great effort has been mane by the authorities and nature lovers to preserve the endangered endemic species thus restoring the island to its original state. Wildlife foundation hopes to raise conservation awareness and sensitise the public and tourists as well to the need © preserve our fauna and flora. These are treasures unique to Mauritius and it behoves everyone to conserve them and impress upon others the need to do so. 

 

ile-aux-aigrettes-maurice
Ile aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve

On this island, there are Pink Pigeons, distant cousins of the Dodo gazing down from above, ornate day Geckos basking in the sun and the Grant Aldabra Tortoise that live freely perhaps the very rare tody flying from branch to branch of the native Bois de Boeufi Bois Chandelle, or Pipe wood. 

Telfair Skink has recently been introduced. It was extinct. It could only be found on Round Island. This lizard can now be seen on the islet. A rare orchid may be encountered with a bit of luck. It may also be discovered discovered how a world famous conservation programme is ensuring the survival of those species for our children and grandchildren.  

The island also contains the list remnant of lowland coastal forest of Mauritius. The mainland has long been depleted of it and once home to the famous Dodo. There is also a gift shop that sells souvenirs among which may be found bones to bronze collections.  

The trip has a charm and thrill of its own and provides a lot of fun to the visitors especially children always to be watched. 

Tourists and even Mauritians will find something useful and beneficial if they decide to visit Montagne Ory, in the district of Moka, not far from Port Louis. 

This small village at the foot of Montagne Ory mountain from which it derives its name, is hardly 15 minutes drive by bus or half an hour walk. 

According to some the fact that rice grew along the banks of the river flowing through it conferred the name upon it It has a small population of around 1500 engaged mostly in the cultivation of vegetables, pineapples and bananas. Rearing cows was for some time a very lucrative occupation for there was no dearth of fodder .The surrounding environment abounded with it and still abounds.Ihe point is that most of today’s youth look for white collar jobs. However, the village, though transformed by foe construction of the new road has grown in importance as traffic ply incessantly up and down. 

In the early days Montagne Ory enjoyed a privilege of a different kind. The governors used to travel in post chaise along Montagne Ory Road to attend official functions in Port Louis or sometimes parades held at the Champ de Mars. It gave the then inhabitants the opportunity to admire the carriage and the horses and sometimes the whole village was found lining the roadside according to a writer. 

Montagne Ory, by its very location promises a lot of excitement and thrills due to its steep and abrupt paths that are blurred at places and the inadvertent trekker may stumble in a crevice and can only reach the surface with a lot of difficulties .this too gives immense pleasure as the victim tries his best to get out of the hole. 

The mountain side is riddled with a maze of paths that run into one another Most of them are covered with bushes and boulders that collect rain water that looks very clean and on a hot day the trekkers or mountaineers do slake their thirst by drinking that water. Reaching the peak of Montagne Ory or even climbing Le Pouce in the same range pushes even the dullard to flex their muscles to attain the summit whence they can catch a wonderful view of the city on the northern side and the river and part of Beau Bassin standing on the bank of Grand River North West when looking west-ward. The cars, lorries, buses and other vehicles appear as colourful toys moving up and down the trunk road. Facing the harbour and watching the various activities in progress is a fare not to be missed. Climbing clown provides sensations of a different kind: running, shouting gliding plucking flowers, hiding behind trees and shouting stop thief or hide and seek. It sometimes happens that while coming dowry the wrong direction is taken and the destination is totally missed. The trekkers find themselves either at Bois Chen Road or elsewhere .There lies the whole fun Sometimes a whole day is spent in recuperating the right track. No wonder one may come across monkeys, other tiny animals, or wild boars that are dangerous. Monkeys are funny. They try to scare you, make faces at you and feel very happy when offered bread or bananas. They also throw wild fruits, guavas .mangoes or prunes at the visitors. Children can spend hours in this wild environment Once while walking indolently group of adolescents came across a boundary stone marked with a fleur de lys reminiscent of French colonial days when the slaves were branded with fleur de lys. The mountain has a lot to tell to the climbers regarding the different boulders, the basins formed, the formidable scree and all the caprices of the weather it endures. 

The rain has carved and hewed on the steepest flank water basins, scattered crater caldeira. Other phenomena appear and offer materials for study to geologists There are many weird and frightful stories connected with the village. An elderly person called Ramlall has a store of inexhaustible anecdotes that hold his audience spellbound for hours and hours.The mountain makes a terrifying noise during a heavy rainfall especially at dusk when the sun has slipped down the horizon.The rumbling of thunder in the dark sends a chill down the spine and nobody dares venture outside 

 

Ramlall also lustily recounts tragedies and painful stories connected with the river and the mountain. Once a furious white horse ran out of control and fell down in the precipice with the carriage and all on board. Since then the river banks have become haunted and nobody however intrepid shivers to stroll by the banks at nightfall. It is supposed to be the time for the dead to come out of their watery um in quest of a fixed tomb. Mothers exploit these to make their children obey. Cake vendors take advantage of Ramlall’s audience and do good business selling their foods and mango drips sprinkled with red chili sauce. 

The village has a lot more to offer in terms of rustic pleasures. The river running through the village still retains (the magic of yesteryear. It still attracts washer-men or washerwomen in large numbers. They turn up from Moka, Rose Hill to do their washing, conveying a picture of a colourful and lively row moving simultaneously. The shouts of the children accompanying their mothers echo on the banks, and they climb smilingly the steps lined with almond trees with branches bending over the water or at places forming an arch or a dome. The children take full advantage of the opportunity especially during the holidays. They fish and with luck get a good catch, including a black shining eel that they show with pride. They also catch tiny and tasty shrimps, lobsters and prawns which are their most cherished trophy.They have to be careful as poachers can snatch their booty and scurry away with it. The river on the other hand, surprises visitors by its tantrums for upstream it gathers momentum and speeds up to join the wonderful Reduit Cascade. 

The village has been rebuilt due to the trunk road displacing many villagers from their houses and enabling them to occupy the upper land bordering the road. But it has still a few landmarks that make it go down in history. The late Seewoosagar Jhugaroo also known as Sookhoo Sirdar had donated a plot of land for the construction of a temple. The two stone stars standing on the pillars at the gate of the temple constitute a marvellous piece of craftsmanship. The beauty or it lies in that the pillar is mounted with a star and a ball inside the star is hewed in one piece. This wonderful piece of work has been crafted by Pondicherians. 

Sir ColevilleDeverell Bridge is another attraction In 1962 when it was completed, people from far flocked to enjoy a view of it Standing on any side exposes the eyes to landscapes rich in natural scenery with mountain backgrounds or the new MBC premises. It is difficult to rob from it what nature has so bountifully bestowed on it. 

Recently the setting up of Le Bocage International and the Clavis primary school has acted as a cherry on the cake. The fairy setting the surrounding villages cultivating a wide variety of fruits and flowers have made the village a unique one.The tourism authority may with some thought turn this place info a teal hub for eco and green tourism. 

If you are travelling to the Secyhelles, and looking for the ideal compromise then Praslin is the perfect choice. More developed than La Digue but less than Mahé, Praslin offers the best opportunities for your next holidays on the Seychelles archipelago.

Praslin is found 36 km north-east of Mahé. The island can easily be reached from there. Whilst you can reach Praslin from Mahé by boat, the best option is to book a charter flight with Air Seychelles. The flight is only 15 minutes long.

Take the boat and you’ll be there in 45 minutes. Praslin comes just after Mahé, in terms of area and population.

Being the Second largest island of the Seychelles, Praslin is home to the most exotic wonders of the archipelago. Praslin is an epitome of tropical splendour. One of the best examples is the Valley of Mai, a world heritage UNESCO site. This green oasis shelters endemic fauna and flora. Some of its plants grow not only nowhere else in the world but also nowhere else in the Seychelles! Her Panadol-white beaches makes her one of the best beach destinations in the world.

The 7500 inhabitants of this garden of Eden makes life on Praslin very peaceful. Like Mahé, Praslin is also a granitic island but with a less mountainous landscape. The highest peak on it being only 370m high.

Whilst the roads are in perfect conditions for driving cars on the island, the best option not to miss a spot during your visit is to rent a bike. The island is relatively small and can easily be toured by bike.

Brief History

It was in the year 1768 that a French vessel landed on the eastern coast of the island, on the beach of Anse Possession.

The island was then named after the Secretary of State of that time who was the duke of Praslin.

This was the third time that the island was being renamed. The first time, it was names “Isle de Palmes” for obvious apparent reasons by the French navigator Lazare Picault.

The then “Isle de Palmes” was then later renamed “île Moras” in hounour of  François Marie Peyren de Moras.

Geography

Praslin is the second largest island of the Seychelles archipelago. It makes about 12km in length and an average of 4.6 km in width. The island covers a total surface area of about 38.5km2.

Praslin is covered in lush vegetation and is home to some endemic species of the Seychelles. The Seychelles Bulbul and the Black Parrot of the Seychelles can be observed on the island.

Praslin is so enchanting that it was stated that General Charles George Gordon of Khartoum (1833-1885) was persuaded that Vallée de Mai was the Biblical “Garden of Eden”.

Accommodations

Since a large area in the south of the island has been designated as National Park and Bird Area, the number of hotels are limited and hence making of the island an exclusive one for holidays. If peace and tranquility is what you are looking for, then Praslin is the perfect place.

Beach restaurant Praslin sunset

The hotels are mainly found on the eastern and western coast of the island.

Since the majority of accommodations are coastal, you will have no problem to enjoy the Panadol-white sand for sunbathing, taking a dip or snorkeling in the crystal clear waters.

Beaches

Anse Petite Cour

Delimited on its periphery by a marine park, Anse Petite Cour is a gorgeous sandy beach. Protected by a coral reef, this beach is perfect for swimming and for diving. That is where the hotel “Domaine de La Reserve” is located, one of the finest hotels in Praslin. In an idyllic setting and cut off from the world, this place invites you to a relaxing holiday.

 

Anse Georgette

Located northwest, this small deserted beach is one of the hidden treasures of the Seychelles. Anse Georgette is rather special, because you can only access it by foot. If you are passionate about hiking, this beach is definitely worth seeing because it really gives a sense of lost paradise.

Anse Lazio

Another wonderful beach on Praslin is Anse Lazio. It features a lagoon with crystal clear water and a long deserted beach. The sound produced by the waves over there are relaxing. In this already spectacular scenery, you can shade yourself under huge coconut trees, Takamaka trees and splendid granitic elevations.

Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve

Sea coconut in May Valley

Similar to the beaches, Seychelles has benefited from a more than abundant fauna and flora, especially on the island of Praslin. Vallée de Mai gives an idea of what Praslin looked like over two hundred years ago. Talking about biodiversity, Vallée de Mai is a very important reserve for all the plant and animal life of the Seychelles as it shelters all its indigenous species.

Of all the different species of plants sheltered in Vallée de Mai, the coco de mer is by far the most outstanding. They have a life expectancy of an average of 400 years and on average it takes 20 years before producing its first fruit.

The famous coco de mer is also known as “coco fesses” since one will be astonished to discover that its nut has the shape of a woman’s buttocks while the male part has the shape of a phallus. A real wonder of nature.

 

The park is located in the heart of Praslin and is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983. This park is the nucleus of Praslin. To visit without hesitation.

Praslin Airport

Praslin airport is located in Grande Anse on the western coast of the island. The Airport is also known as Ile des Palmes Airport. The best way to island hop in the Seychelles is through charter flights. Book your flights with Air Seychelles to move from Mahé to Praslin or from Praslin to other islands.

If you want to discover Seychelles, the first place you will set foot on is without a doubt Mahé since it is home to its only international airport.

Trade wind- Mahe island

With a total Area of about 144 km2 and a population of 70000 people (90% of Seychelles’ total population), Mahé is the largest island of the Seychelles archipelagos and makes up about one third of its total area.

The island is the political and commercial centre of the Seychelles and is home to its capital City, Victoria. A colourful city representing the global lifestyle of the Seychellois Creole people which makes about 70% of Seychelles’ population.

A slow paced “city” where the inhabitants are always smiling. It seems that the time in Seychelles has been stopped a long time ago as can testify the picturesque colonial architecture of its buildings and the clock tower, built in 1903, (also known as the little big ben) standing proudly in the city centre. The clock tower makes us recall the rule of the British on the island.  Mahé is without a doubt one of the prides of the Seychelles.

You will find in Mahé two ports, both allowing deep-see vessels to dock.

 

Brief History

Mahé was named after the famous French governor Bertrand-François Mahé de Labourdonnais. The British first landed on Mahé in the year 1609.

French people then began colonizing the island in the year 1778. The colons built their houses in Victoria, then known as “L’Establissement du Roi”.

Being a strategic location on the spice route, the island was highly disputed by the French and the British. It first started as a French colony and later became an English colony in 1812.

It was during that period, in 1841, that “L’Establissement du Roi” was renamed after the queen Victoria.

The island remained as such until its recent independence in 1976.

The international airport of Mahé was built by the British while being still under its rule in 1971. It was inaugurated by her majesty the queen Elizabeth one year later in 1972.

Geography

Only 27 kilometres long and 7 wide, Mahé is special to the Seychelles as the Seychelles is special to the Indian Ocean and the world.

Found in the north east of the 115 islands making up the Seychelles archipelago, Mahé is described as a granitic island.

The island is home to Seychelles’ highest peak, the Morne Seychellois rising to a height of 905m above sea level. At such an altitude, its peak is often covered with a blanked of clouds, accentuating the sensation of lost paradise.

The island is covered with a lush green vegetation. Mainly coconut trees populate the coastal regions while on the mountainous regions, you will find tropical forests with endemic plants.

Since the climate is ideal for the growing of some plants, coconuts, vanilla and cinnamon are grown on the island. Tea plantations can also be found at altitudes greater than 600 meters.

 

Accommodation on Mahé

Depending mainly on the tourism sector, it is not hard to find accommodations on Mahé. For all prices and taste, one cannot miss out the perfect option.

Since the Seychelles is an exclusive tourist destination because of its incredibly protected nature and its immense beauty, the number of tourists and hence visitors on the island is restricted to always ensure that it remains as such over the years.

From five stars’ hotels, to bungalows, lodges, villas, etc… all offer perfect standard to ensure that you stay in the maximum possible comfort.

The Seychellois people are warm and friendly and can easily be befriended. The best way to discover Seychelles is through its people.

 

Activities

Activities are not what Mahé lack. Numerous land and water activities can be practiced on Mahé. Horse riding, Golf, sport fishing, diving, snorkeling, sailing and much more. For the most adventurous, paragliding is also an option to discover the island at bird eye.

 

Beaches

Mahe beaches seychelles

Mahé is home to the best beaches in the Seychelles.

Petite Anse Beach

Petite Anse is the most beautiful beach in Mahé. With incredibly soft sand, palm trees and a turquoise lagoon, the décor easily rivals with the best Hollywood scenes.  The beach is excellent for snorkeling and watching sunset.

Beau Vallon Beach

Beau Vallon is without contest the most frequented beach in Mahé. The beach is not the quietest one in the Seychelles. It hosts a food and souvenir bazaar every Wednesday. Beau Vallon is perfect for a family picnic.

Anse Royale Beach

Anse royale is the best beach situated on the eastern coast of the Seychelles.

Amongst the other beaches on Mahé, we have Anse intendance, Anse takamaka, Anse forbans, Anse soleil, Grande Anse, Anse Carana and Port Launay.

 

The Airport

Seychelles International Airport

Aéroport de la Pointe Larue is the international airport of the Seychelles. The airport also serves as the head office of the national airline of the Seychelles: Air Seychelles.  Once you arrive to the Seychelles, it is compulsory that you disembark at Mahé before taking domestic charter flights to other destinations. Bird Island, Denis Island, Fregate and D’arros can be reached from Mahé.

Mahé is also used as a stopover for flights to/from Paris, flights to/from Johannesburg, flights to/from Mumbai, etc…

To book a charter or to find out more about charters, please email the Domestic Charters Operations of Air Seychelles at hmcharters@airseychelles.com or call us on [248] 4391068.

 

Sir Selwyn Clarke Market

The Sir Selwyn Clarke Market is one of the symbolic sites of the Seychelles. Also built during the British rule in the year 1840, it boasts of a charming Victorian architecture. The market was renovated in the year 1999. This lively marked can give you a foretaste of the culinary style of the Seychellois. The colorful fresh vegetables and tropical fruits only calls for the click of your camera.

You will also find a variety of spices, local crafts and souvenirs.

 

National History Museum

The national history museum of Mahé is found in Victoria and is housed inside a building with a beautiful colonial architecture, making of the place a rather authentic and unique place to visit whilst in Mahé.

The museum has various sections on anthropology, geology, zoology and botany. The museum mainly aims at promoting the conservation of the natural heritage of the Seychelles.

There is a very low entry free (about SR 15.00 for non-residents) which is used in the conservation of nature.

 

 

Il n’est pas la peine de dire que nous voulons tous le visiter. Notre soif de voyage et notre constante envie de découverte nous pousse à faire des voyages et faire des découvertes surprenantes à travers le monde. Mais parfois, nous avons besoin de quelques conseils pour savoir ou aller et que découvrir pour nous aider à étancher cette soif.

Que découvrir en 2018 ? Indian-Ocean.com vous propose une liste de pays à ne surtout pas manquer en 2018.

Les Seychelles

La Digue Beach
Just another beach on La Digue Island.

Les Seychelles est la destination de vacances par excellence de l’océan-Indien. Cet archipel idyllique offre plus de 115 îles de pure merveille. Le meilleur est le fait qu’un bon nombre de ces îles sont exclusives et donc quasiment désertiques. Vous aurez la chance d’avoir des plages et des lagons à vous tout seul. Réserver un vol pour les Seychelles avec Air Seychelles.

L’ile Maurice

Cascade_de_Chamarel_ile_Maurice

L’ile Maurice célèbrera ses 50 années d’indépendance de la Grande Bretagne en 2018. L’occasion parfait pour visiter ce petit coin de paradis. Durant les dernières années, une panoplie d’activités nautiques et terrestres ont vu le jour sur l’ile, de quoi vous occuper durant vos vacances. L’avantage avec l’ile Maurice est son large choix d’accommodation à différents prix. Le concept « touriste chez l’habitant » prend de l’ampleur sur l’ile. Donc, si vous voyagez avec un budget assez restreint, vous serez quand même excellement bien loge et nourri. De quoi vous incruster dans le quotidien des habitants de l’île. Vous pourrez profiter de nombreuses plages.

Afrique du Sud

C’est la célébration du centième anniversaire de l’icône anti-apartheid et du président sud-africain Nelson Mandela. Pour célébrer le centenaire de Madiba, il y aura de nombreuses expositions, des programmes, des événements sportifs, des défilés et des événements qui plongent dans la vie, l’histoire et l’héroïsme de cet homme remarquable.

Chili

Séparé de l’Argentine et de la Bolivie par les Andes, ce pays possède une biodiversité, des paysages et des phénomènes naturels remarquables. Du plateau aride du Désert d’Atacama (le desert le plus aride sur terre) aux volcans coniques du Lake District en passant par les glaciers du Parc National de Torres del Paine, la destination est un rêve fou pour les amateurs de plein air. Plus encore : dix millions d’hectares de nouveaux parcs nationaux, dont des glaciers, des forêts et des côtes sauvages, viendront s’ajouter à la région déjà immense des aires protégées et préservées grâce aux dons de terres sans précédent de Tompkins Conservation et du gouvernement chilien.

 

Malte

Son nouveau titre de capitale européenne de la culture met en lumière l’archipel méditerranéen, en commençant en janvier par une cérémonie d’ouverture dans les rues de La Valette. Les visiteurs viendront pour 7 000 ans d’histoire, des temples préhistoriques, l’architecture médiévale préservée, les eaux bleues étincelantes avec des criques cachées, et 300 jours de soleil par an.

 

Norvège

Le pays le plus heureux du monde de 2017 fait plus que quelques petites choses. La combinaison gagnante de la nature, du commerce et des vibrations décontractées en fait un endroit idéal pour passer du temps et rencontrer de nouveaux amis. Avec un accès facile et sans entrave à son centre-ville (Oslo), aux voisins Scandinaves (Stockholm, Copenhague), aux îles préservées (Lofoten) et au cercle polaire arctique (bonjour, aurore boréale !), Il n’y a aucun moyen de s’y perdre.

 

Le Nord de la France

 

Le nord de la France commémore le 100e anniversaire de la fin de la Première Guerre mondiale avec un calendrier chargé d’événements incluant les célébrations de l’offensive des Hundres, les événements sur les champs de bataille historiques de Dunkerque et du circuit du souvenir de la Somme, une route de 40 kilomètres conduisant les visiteurs à travers les monuments commémoratifs, les cimetières et les tranchées préservées. Au-delà de l’histoire de la guerre, la région est riche en sites du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO (comme le remarquable Mont-Saint-Michel), villes charmantes et villes côtières, et une excellente cuisine.

 

Le Japon

L’île est presque toujours tendance. Alors que les Jeux olympiques de 2020 suscitent un nouvel intérêt, c’est maintenant le moment pour visiter le japon, tandis que les destinations et les événements culturels sont encore sous-le-radar pour la plupart des voyageurs occidentaux. Au-delà de Tokyo et de Kyoto, les points forts à ne pas manquer comprennent Numata (où les gobelins défilent dans les rues), Morioka (où l’on entend le tambour taiko) et Hokkaido.

 

Le nord-ouest Pacifique

La nature est roi dans cette poche de l’Amérique du Nord (Oregon, Washington et Colombie-Britannique). Les citadins de Portland, Seattle et Vancouver peuvent rapidement s’évader vers les parcs nationaux pour des randonnées, faire du VTT et des trail en pleine nature sauvage. La zone est moins fréquentée que Zion et Yosemite mais pas moins magnifique. Une autre raison de célébrer le nord-ouest pacifique : La Loi sur le système de sentiers national, qui a contribué à la création du célèbre Pacific Crest Trail, célèbrera ses 50 ans en 2018.

Singapour

La petite île-nation, surnommée la « ville dans un jardin », est l’un des environnements urbains les plus verts au monde. Prochainement: une politique de croissance zéro pour les voitures et les bus sans conducteur. Vous regardez le futur.

 

Anse Lazio

Sur la côte nord-ouest de Praslin, nichée derrière une colline recouverte d’une épaisse verdure se trouve Anse Lazio, probablement la plus belle plage que vous pourrez admirer aux Seychelles. Avec un parfait long banc de sable blanc de presque et de magnifiques eaux turquoise il n’est pas surprenant qu’Anse Lazio soit souvent appelée «la meilleure plage du monde ».

Il est plus facile d’atteindre la plage en voiture – le bus s’arrête à la dernière colonie près du bas de la colline vers le Zimbabwe, vous laissant faire une petite randonnée pour traverser la colline avant d’atteindre la plage. Quelle que soit l’heure de votre arrivée, le voyage en vaut la chandelle avec des vues à couper le souffle et une bonne baignade pendant la majeure partie de l’année.

Il ne fait aucun doute qu’Anse Lazio mérite sa réputation – la plage est vraiment un spectacle spectaculaire – mais sa renommée a conduit à une grande popularité, ce qui signifie que la plage peut être bondée de gens. La seule façon d’éviter cela est d’essayer de planifier votre visite – tôt le matin et juste avant le coucher de soleil sont les meilleurs moments, les minibus seront rentrés chez eux et vous pourrez profiter d’un magnifique coucher de soleil avec quelques autres amoureux.

Il y a des sauveteurs sur cette plage – rare pour les Seychelles – et pendant une grande partie de l’année l’eau est calme et vitreuse, mais parfois les vagues et les courants peuvent être dangereux, alors faites attention et réfléchissez deux fois si la mer est agitée.

Anse Georgette

Anse Georgette est d’une beauté exceptionnelle et un héros méconnu des plages de Praslin. Alors qu’Anse Lazio remporte des prix dans le monde entier, Anse Georgette reste silencieuse, cachée dans le parc de la station de Constance Lemuria, restant vide, intacte avec sa merveilleuse nuance de bleu.

Ce qui la rend si unique – en plus d’être complètement inexploité – c’est qu’il n’y a pas un seul rocher ou corail dans la baie, ce qui permet aux sables blancs sur le fond marin de créer une eau turquoise merveilleuse et sans tache. À notre avis, c’est la plage la plus attrayante de l’île, mais il est dangereux d’y nager en raison des fortes vagues et des courants.

Son emplacement est à la fois une bénédiction et une malédiction. Pour les clients du Constance Lemuria, la situation ne pourrait pas être meilleure : la plage est éloignée du complexe par le terrain de golf, avec un service de buggy toutes les heures pour vous y déposer, serviettes, eau et pique-nique en option.

Pour les autres visiteurs, le processus est plus compliqué, car la station cherche à limiter le nombre de visiteurs pour préserver la beauté du site. Cela signifie que vous devrez appeler à l’avance et planifier un moment pour visiter la plage – frustrant, bien sûr, mais l’avantage est que peu feront l’effort, gardant cet endroit merveilleusement calme et vide, contrairement à la célèbre Anse Lazio ou Anse Source D’Argent.

Grande & Petite Anse Kerlan

De l’autre côté de l’aéroport vers la ville de Grande Anse se trouve Anse Kerlan, une partie de la côte qui va du village au nord de l’aéroport jusqu’à la station de Lemuria.

De gros rochers créent une frontière naturelle entre l’extrémité du village d’Anse Kerlan et les plages du complexe Constance Lemuria. La plage est divisée en deux; Grande Anse Kerlan est une large et belle étendue de sable sauvage, sans brise-lames, adossée à des arbres, cachée derrière la végétation.

A l’extrémité opposée de Grande Anse Kerlan, une petite pointe de terre crée un abri naturel autour de la Petite Anse Kerlan, une petite crique charmante aux eaux douces et une plage assez raide pour faire une petite baignade agréable, ainsi que du snorkeling. L’hôtel dispose d’un bar sur la plage et d’un restaurant construit sur les rochers surplombant la baie. C’est l’une de nos plages préférées sur l’île, mais à moins de rester à l’hôtel ou d’avoir l’intention de manger dans leur restaurant, vous aurez peut-être du mal à venir prendre un bain de soleil.

La plage située à côté du village a subi une érosion considérable au cours des dernières années et, en conséquence, un certain nombre de brise-lames ont été construits pour réduire l’impact de l’élévation du niveau de la mer. Cela fait que cette partie de la plage semble plus “gérée” que les plages sauvages et vierges que vous pouvez imaginer quand vous pensez aux Seychelles, mais la région est très belle et presque dépourvue de touristes. L’eau ici est plus profonde qu’à Grande Anse et il n’y a pas le même problème avec les mauvaises herbes, mais les vagues et les ressacs peuvent être assez rudes et parfois dangereux pour la baignade.

Cette zone entière de l’île est également une zone de ponte pour les tortues de mer, une expérience incroyable si vous y êtes durant la saison.

Anse La Blague

Si vous suivez la route de Baie St Anne après Anse Takamaka et sur une colline escarpée, vous descendrez à la belle et isolée Anse La Blague. Ici se trouve une longue bande de sable désertique, divisée en Grande Anse et Petite Anse La Blague. Pour atteindre Petite Anse La Blague, vous devez suivre une piste sur une autre colline très raide, et si vous continuez le long de cette route, vous atteindrez Anse La Farine, où vous trouverez le New Emerald Cove Hotel.

La chose la plus frappante à propos d’Anse La Blague est à quel point elle est isolée. En dehors de Villa Anse La Blague, un petit hôtel avec seulement 3 chambres, ainsi qu’un bar et un restaurant pour les visiteurs affamés, il y a peu de choses cachés parmi les arbres.

La plage elle-même est belle, avec vue sur les îles de Grande et Petite Sœur et Félicité, des eaux très calmes excellentes pour une baignade ou pour y faire du snorkeling. Si vous avez loué une voiture et que vous voulez visiter une plage complètement éloignée c’est un endroit extrêmement paisible pour faire une escapade.

Baie Ste Anne

Baie St Anne est une jolie petite ville sur une large baie faisant face à l’île de La Digue. C’est près d’ici que vous trouverez la jetée pour les bateaux entre Praslin, Mahé et La Digue, mais la ville elle-même a un charme unique qui en fait un endroit agréable pour y faire du shopping ou pour y manger.

Répartis le long de son front de mer pittoresque se trouve deux supermarchés, une station service et quelques appartements indépendants, ainsi que le Coco Rouge, qui offre une excellente cuisine créole. S’y trouve aussi un magasin d’électronique et une école.

De l’autre côté de l’eau, vous verrez des bateaux flottant dans les eaux calmes et en face de la ville se trouve une petite plage, Anse Madge, accessible à marée basse.

Si vous suivez la route autour de la baie au nord, vous atteindrez l’Anse Takamaka (l’une des trois plages appelées ‘Anse Takamaka’ sur l’île !) Et l’hôtel Ile Des Palmes. C’est une station balnéaire attrayante avec vue sur l’embouchure de la baie.

If you are an adventurer at heart, the Reunion Island may well please you. An Overseas French department located just next to Mauritius, Reunion is a small volcanic island perfect for hiking. With an area of about ​​2,512 km², Reunion has a unique tropical ecosystem and fabulous landscapes for the pleasure of hikers.

A large UNESCO World Heritage National Park occupies 42% of the total area of ​​the island. The region is well known for its three Cirques: Cilaos, Mafate and Salazie. They are natural formations with steep slopes and circular shapes, formed by a volcanic depression. A must-visit for all lovers of hiking and nature.

While visiting Reunion Island, don’t forget to bring along your best walking shoes as the island offers over a 1000 kilometer of trails through forests, ramparts, circuses and volcanoes. The island has 40 different hikes with a lot of options for beginners. In total you will find 18 hiking trails and 22 long-distance hiking trails. Here is a small guide for hiking in the island of Reunion:

 

The best time for hiking in Reunion Island

Hiking is an activity that can be practiced throughout the year on the island. However, the ideal period is between May and November when particularly mild conditions are present. During this period, a dry wind from the windward coast ensures a pleasant climate for wildlife and also optimal conditions for hiking even the highest peaks. Hiking is also possible in summer as long as the rainfall remains low as heavy rainfall often bring mud slides and rivers overflowing from their beds. As for all tropical countries, there are two seasons in Reunion:

Summer, which is from November to April, has temperatures ranging between 23 and 30 ° C. During this period we also note partial rain and high humidity.

Winter , which is from May to October, is mild and rather dry, with temperatures varying between 20 and 25 ° C.

As on many tropical islands, weather conditions are quite unexpected, especially in summer. The island has a mild microclimate and the island can be cut in half revealing the windward coast (east) and the leeward coast (west).

It is always advisable to start the hikes only after consulting the weather forecasts. Expect to hike in real tropical conditions with fog, sudden showers. If this is your first visit to Reunion, make an easy hike or moderate difficulty to acclimatize!

If in doubt about a hike or an excursion, do not hesitate to seek the advice of the inhabitants or to inform you at the different tourist offices around the island.

Always check your gear and of course, never go on a hike alone or without warning someone. Also bring plenty of water and high energy bars.

 

Reunion: trekking paradise!

Reunion Island offers an exceptional range of wide open spaces; mountains, peaks, majestic waterfalls, cirques, peaks and ramparts. You will discover lava fields lined up on vast plateaus, glabrous peaks overlooking stocked valleys, rough waterfalls sinking into deep basins.

Here are the most beautiful places (and most known) for hiking in Reunion:

 

Reunion National Park – UNESCO World Heritage

Reunion National Park brings together the largest collection of animals and plants on the island. You will spend long days exploring its many wooded cliffs sheltering a remarkable biodiversity. It is the core of the island that covers more than 100,000 hectares, preserving most of the fauna and flora of Reunion.

The “volcanic landscapes, valleys and plateaus” were declared National Park in 2007. This nature reserve is home to many native species. Since 2010, the national park is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A site that can be hiked and even inhabited!

 

The roof of the Indian Ocean: Piton des Neiges (3,071m)

Piton-des-neiges-Réunion Island
Piton des neiges Réunion Island

The extinct volcano that gave birth to the island of Reunion; The Piton des Neiges. Located in the heart of the island, this volcano is 3 million years old and died about 12,000 years ago. According to scientific experts, the collapse of the volcano’s vault has created gigantic cliffs that are now clover-shaped around the summit.

You can hike the cliffs of the volcano to enjoy the spectacular views of the island and the Indian Ocean. There are many tour operators and guides who offer hiking as an activity. However, if you want to hike on your own, you can. The starting point is 3 kilometers from Cilaos.

You can take the bus from the village of Cilaos or walk to the starting point. There are hikes for all levels. You can hike the volcano in one day, but many prefer to rent a cottage to spend the night and continue hiking at dawn. As it appears, in clear weather, one can even distinguish the silhouette of the nearest land; Salazie.

Salazie Circus

Salazie is the largest and greenest of the island’s three natural amphitheaters known for its abundant flora, its great cliffs and its extraordinary waterfalls. With its humid climate, the Salazie circus is covered with a vegetation so dense that we almost forget that it is of volcanic formation. Nature has made its wonders and visitors can watch a spectacle of verdant valleys with tropical scents unfolding on both sides of the road.

The circus trek begins in the village of Hell- Bourg known to be one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is a small corner where nature, Creole culture and authenticity meets. If you want to stay, Salazie does not lack accommodation, restaurants and local craft shops.

Continuing your day to the circus, you will discover a breathtaking site, a true wonder of nature, “La Voile de la Mariée”. This waterfall provides an optical illusion resembling the veil of a wedding dress because of its many streams. Hikers describe the Salazie circus as rugged and beautiful. You will discover a long and deep canyon, surrounded by more than a hundred waterfalls along the valleys. For motorists and hikers, special attention is required in Salazie because the humid climate often creates fog. Due to its attitude and climate, it is best to hike the Salazie circus in summer or during sunny days.

Cilaos

Cilaos caldera

The Cilaos Circus is a real bastion for hiking, and extreme sports like canyoning, climbing and hiking. Cilaos is the most animated of the three circuses, probably because it is the one that receives the most sun of the three.

Its interior relief is characterized by many small peaks. The village is accessible by road and you will surely hear about the Cilaos 40 Turn Road. The route offers a good overview of the hikers’ show. The Cilaos Circus has experienced a significant erosion with the Bras Rouge River, the most important river in the amphitheater creating deep gorges that over time have given way to cliffs more than 100 meters high, real playgrounds for extreme sportsmen.

The village of Cilaos is located at more than 4000 feet. For hikers, there are several trails. The two best-known are the Taïbit Pass at the north-west point, where hikers come from Mafate and the northeastern route that leads to Piton des Neiges.

The shortest hike will take you to the foot of the Piton de Sucre crossing the cracks of a magical waterfall. Cilaos is an excellent starting point for many hikes and also a surprising stop for hikers.

Mafate

Mafate Reunion
Mafate Caldera

Mafate is the wildest and most intact of the three circuses. This marvel is only accessible by helicopter or hike. With an area of ​​95 km², the Mafate circus alone offers more than 100 kilometers of hiking, including the famous GR R3 hike. Around the basin of the Mafate Valley, the mountains form a protective wall at over 2,000 m altitude. From here, a 2-3 hour hike into the mountains is enough to reach the remote villages of Mafate that served as a refuge for slaves fleeing slavery in the 19th century. It is also a cultural walk, to hike the same routes used by slaves.

Between forests, gorges and rocks are many small mountain villages, called Îlets. Do not hesitate to stop in the small villages, you will discover the authenticity of the locals cut off from the rest of the world.

Piton de la Fournaise

Piton de la Fournaise
Piton de la Fournaise

The last active volcano of the island, Piton de la Fournaise (2,631 m), is a place not to be missed for all visitors to the island. The volcano emerged more than half a million years ago and is today one of the most active volcanoes on the planet.

Nevertheless, the Piton de la Fournaise is considered safe for visiting and hiking. This volcano produces an effusive eruption that does not project lava from its summit.

The lava arrive by numerous small lateral openings on the surface, which then move towards the sea. With an average eruption per year, the volcano gradually adds to the surface of the island and the lava flows have formed huge underground galleries, caves and tunnels. We recommend guided tours to discover tunnels and caves.

The volcano offers devastated landscapes. The sudden change of scenery from the lush forests to the apocalyptic red land is quite shocking. At 1000 m altitude, between the Piton de la Fournaise and the Piton des Neiges mountain ranges, the plateaus connect the south of the island to the east. Visitors will find particularly varied landscapes, which can be completely different from the rest of the island. The N3 road, coming from the south, crosses the plateaus and climbs up to 2,000 m, where the fantastic lunar landscape of La Plaine des Sables extends.

From there, north towards the rainforest on the Plain Palmistes, nestled between the magical Bébour forest and the volcanic massif of Piton de la Fournaise.

Cap Malheureux is a historical village in the sense that the British in 1810 had already lost the battle of Grand Port to the French.

The history behind the name

The British sailing along the coast since quite a long time knew a bit about the topology of the island and some vantage points as well, helping them in their bid to capture the island which was their leitmotiv as the French were doing a lot of harm to their commerce. They landed in 1810 at Cap Malheureux with a force as big as 20,000 men and marched towards the capital and forced General Decaen who capitulated in the impossibility of rallying an army capable of confronting the enemy. The name may be suitable because the place spelt the doom of the French. Malheureux also because of arid and unproductive land in the area. It was at first covered with forests, teeming with all sorts of plants and bushes. Hoe plants grew profusely and they were used for sack and rope making and construction purposes.

Why Malhereux (Sad)?

Malheureux also because legend wants it that the corpse of Virginie was swept to the beach of Cap Malheureux following the wreck of St Geran in 1744. According to Rene le Juge de Segrais, Cap Malheureux got its name from the shipwreck of St Geran which broke on the reefs off Amber Island, nearby. It lies in the extreme north about five miles from Grand Bay. It can be reached either by car or boat. The latter is more interesting as it enables to enjoy a spectacular view of the hinterland from the sea. There is also the possibility for admiring the grand bleu that lies open to the action of the wind and monstrous waves in stormy weather.

While the name can represent sadness, there are amazing villas situated in this coastal village of the island. Exclusive Villas Mauritius has superb waterfront villas in Cap-Malheureux.

A vivid and beautiful Village

Cap Malheureux is not as sad and dull as the name suggests. It does not disappoint visitors or tourists for it always has something to offer. It has a very beautiful beach, made attractive by its lukewarm water. There are points from which the beauty of the sea can be admired. Nothing stands in the way of the eyes.

The sea looks a sky blue, with at times emerald water sparkling and simmering in the bright sunny weather. Mirages are not lacking. The eye mistakes objects for boats, leaves for fish and so on and so forth. Therein lies the beauty of it. There is no dearth of real boats operating sea trips sometimes going as far as the horizon or to the Serpent Island and Flat Island. Landing nearby is dangerous as big waves wash the rocky shore. The very sight and the roaring sound of the sea make the flesh creep and freeze. Landing can be effected with the help of expert boatmen habituated in the task. However it needs a lot of courage. The wild nature no doubt invites a stepping onto the island. It really caters for man’s wild and savage instincts just as in Coral Island and a Pattern of islands by Grimble. Perhaps with a bit of luck one may catch the glimpse of a shark or sharks, it is said, swim as far as the island. It is a big risk but not worth taking. It involves loss of life. Some young inspired by dare devils or just to impress girlfriends or excite envy in friends take the risk.

The trip enables watching the water in its various shades and at the same time coming across several types of fish and creatures. Some choose glass bottom boats enabling viewing the water below with seaweeds, corals, shells and a lot of treasures hidden below.

 

The sea trip also fulfils the dream of witnessing a glorious sunset. From the beach a similar sensation is felt but from the boat it is something entirely different. One feels to be a part of it participating in the festival and riot of colours. Boating around, fishing in the lake, swimming, competing with friends, diving, surfing, playing water polo and indulging in other aquatic games are the highlight of the marvellous time spent there. Nobody can deny the adrenaline rise once in the vicinity of the village. Those who pass by cannot refrain from stopping a short time in the vicinity of the church Notre Dame de l’Auxillière to Indulge In the sheer simple pleasures. The environment, the church cosiness, its red roof seen especially from afar arouses a certain ineffable ecstasy. It conjures up the exotic picture of a building In a Swiss village or Lake District in England. On Sundays, the atmosphere is sheer fantastic. The faithful of both sexes mostly the ladies smartly dressed in multi coloured outfits steal the hearts of many a visitor. Some stay put till the ceremony or mass does not end. On the other hand, the beauty of the beach dotted with children, holidaymakers, vendors are no less luring. One cannot but admire the idyllic beauty of the surrounding and the magnificent panorama that unveils itself here and there and then. The waves hissing towards the shore and kissing It and the rocky shore a few yards away with the Islets of the North cutting their proud silhouettes in the far distance. It really creates a wonderful snap. Many art students turn up with their canvas, paint, brush and easel and spend hours painting the fascinating and captivating scenery that Is Indeed the hall mark of the village.

The name Is a misnomer as the village abounds in natural surroundings and a whole gamut of Interesting activities that can be practised. The small forests, plantation and the new buildings beside the fishermen’s huts, the bars and smack eating outlets dispensing palatable and tasty dishes arid even dainty nightlife replete with songs and dances leave no one insensitive to its charms. Returning again and again and relishing the countryside pleasures Is the cherished wish of all.