The last time I took this road was at least 10 years back and driving on that road again brought back a bit of folklore. Since then, the road has been significantly improved, expanded and secured: To the delight of visitors, because I recommend, if you live in a hotel south of the island not to forget to go explore the South West beaches halfway up the island. No doubt why part of this Roadtrip has been awarded one of the best roads in the world – Macondé.
Mauritius, the Observatory of Baie Du Cap!
I left my hotel around 10:00, took off in my rented car, on that magnificent road going all along the Southern coast and turning right at Baie du Cap towards the Western coast of the island of Mauritius. Baie-du-Cap is a small village located along the south coastal region of Mauritius. The southern coast of Mauritius is known for its natural beauty because of which you will be tempted to go for a drive around the coast from Bel Ombre down to Baie du Cap.
This region, stretching itself from Bel Ombre to Le Morne, from one point to the other, is exceptional. From small coastal villages to the township, the coast is wild and the open sea is never sea off. After the sandy beaches, the coast becomes more and more wild and rocky and the climate more and more breezy. Rain is very frequent in this part of the island and so are the cascading waters that travel down the picturesque landscape, forming canyons by deeply cutting into the soft soil where hiking, canoeing and other nature activities thrive.
So I spent the day on the road, and on the beaches. Also under the mountains at the foot of Morne Brabant, majestic cliff whose caption – or the story? There is always a bit of history in a legend – claims that many slaves who wanted to escape their condition jumped from the top of that cliff.
Le Morne Brabant
Le Morne Brabant is one of the most iconic hikes on the island with spectacular views of southwestern corner of the island. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 in recognition of its function as a refuge for freed slaves in the 19th and early 20th century. It served as a vibrant hub for Creole culture for over two centuries. The history of the area is very interesting; more information can be found at UNESCO.
Quick lunch on Road
At noon I had lunch at the Ritz! Finally say that I reconnected with my habits, buying a bowl of mines (Fried Noodles) and fried chicken in a truck on the beach for a few rupees. Then I sat down to eat while facing the lagoon. Like other Mauritians gathered there for a few hours or for lunch. Imagine you lunching in a unique spot, facing a lagoon which is one of the most beautiful beaches you have ever seen … This is really special, and this is a really unparalleled moment one appreciate fully.
I stopped many times on the road, to admire, to seek, to chat too. In southern part of the island everyone says hello. One gentleman even asked me “Are you alone?”. I answered in the affirmative. And he said “why?”. It was not indiscreet, it was not his intention. He just does not understand that a woman is walking alone with her backpack through a village. I laughed.
Stopping at Le Morne Beach was a must. Once you’ve turned on the road leading to Le Morne, and you’ve passed the little roundabout (see Le Morne beaches page), the road carries on straight for a little while, with the mountain on your left and the hotels on your right. After the Dinarobin hotel, the road turns sharply to the right and then left again. Click here to read the article on hotels in Mauritius.
Just after these sharp turns, look at the mountain and see if you can see the ‘one eye’ spot on its right edge. Children especially love searching for this man’s profile in the rocks. The first access to the beach is right there on your right, opposite the monument for slaves. You enter little sandy roads leading you to the sea. Casuarina trees offer nice shade all along this beach, where there is a lot of space to get comfortable!
I stopped on the salt road too. Salt production dates back to the French period and today the tradition of its making almost two centuries later on has not changed much. Salt production in Mauritius is made in salt pans; these are small, square, shallow basins made of cobblestone that are filled with sea water. Most of the salt pans can be seen in Tamarin on the west coast of the island where the hot and dry environment provides the ideal conditions for salt making. They cover an area of about 30 hectares and can be seen right on the road side during a drive. The water is pumped directly from the sea which is not far away and allowed to evaporate in the basins. Simply Fascinating!
The end of the Road Trip: Flic-En-Flac!
My final stop was at Flic-En-Flac. It seems fitting that a place with such a great name has an equally impressive get-up. The public beach sets the bar high. Its white sweep of coral sand is one of the longest and loveliest on the island. Plus, it’s got a lagoon, protected by coral reefs. In recent years, the place’s A1 setting has attracted high-end hotels like bees to a honeypot. They’re bolstered by a good mix of restaurants and souvenir shops.
I took almost 8 GB of photos and some videos. And I also took a lot of notes on my notebook. I concluded this day with the best venison stew I’ve eaten here in Mauritius since 15 years I’ve regularly; this is the restaurant Annabella’s Hotel. 100% truthful and non-residents at the hotel can book to dine there.
I had a great day. I did not tell you everything, I saved some for later.