If you have chosen Mauritius as holiday destination, you will not regret it. Mauritius is not only a peace haven where the beaches are simply breathtaking; Mauritius is also an island surrounded by wonderful islets that you should not miss the opportunity to visit.
Whether staying in a hotel or a villa, visiting most of the islands is no big task and is accessible to anyone except for some nature reserves that are accessible upon request. Those which are inaccessible can however be observed while having boat trips or cruising around the islands.
Each island has its own uniqueness. You will definitely enjoy unparalleled experiences and at the same time make stunning discoveries. Various activities are offered on the islands and and array of routes are proposed so as to make you better enjoy your journey towards the islands.
Here are some islands found around the island of Mauritius that you will be able to cruise around and observe:
Coin de Mire – Gunners Coin
You will come across it in many holiday magazines given its attractive wedge-like shape, visible from the Northern tips of Mauritius. It is situated at 8 kilometres to the north of Mauritius and this islet of 65 hectares still has remains of the main flora surviving regardless of the presence of rats and hares. You might not be able to visit the island but snapping a picture of you on your catamaran with the island as background will surely make a perfect shot for your traveler’s album.
Ile Plate – Flat Island
Also found in the north of Mauritius, Flat Island is amongst one of the largest islets of the island, with an area of 253 hectares. It possesses a rich flora of endemic plants. You will spot an old lighthouse on the south west of the island which will simply amaze you. Around the island, a dive site around 20-40 minutes by boat is accessible to the public upon request. Since the sea can be rough diving needs to be arranged in advance and divers will need to be experienced.
Ile Ronde – Round Island
Situated 22 kilometres to the north east of Mauritius, this island is an ecological treasure house that is unfortunately inaccessible to the public. Numerous species of endemic plants some of which no longer exist on the mainland and the presence of endemic reptiles make this island a unique place. It covers some 150 hectares and raises like a cone out of the water to reach a maximum height, above sea level, of 300 metres. The geological basic composition is an agglomeration of tuff, volcanic ash, laid down in compact layers that look like rock. The island can be cruised around and can even be perceived from the eastern shore.
Ile d’Ambre – Amber Island
Situated inside the lagoon to the north east coast of Mauritius, much of the coastline of l’ile d’Ambre is surrounded by mangrove trees or rocks, making it impossible to access. On the islet, you will only find a small and old stone building most probably erected by the French, an inland salt lake and a marshy salt pond.
Ilot Gabriel – Gabriel Island
A smaller island compared to its neighbour Flat Island, Gabriel Island is a sheltered shallow cove offering an interesting place to snorkel and dive. You will be able to spend a day on the island and have lunch on a catamaran. With its compeling turquoise blue waters, you will definitely not miss a swim. Scuba diving takes place around Pigeon House Rock, where the main attraction is the proliferation of sharks, particularly during the period November to April.
La Roche Bénitiers – Bénitiers Rock
Mostly known as The Diamond, Benitiers Rock is found in the South West of Mauritius, close to the Bénitiers Island. Naturally carved out to look like a plate coral, this ‘rock’ stands unrivalled in the vastness of the Indian Ocean, with sparse young filao trees growing on its rocky structures.
Here are the islands where you will be able to enjoy a day while visiting the surrounding:
Ile aux Cerfs – Deer Island
Ile Aux Cerfs is a large island, with neighbour Ile Aux Margini. It covers a surface area of nearly 100 hectares and is siturated off the east coast of Mauritius close to the coastal village of Trou D’Eau Douce in the district of Flacq.
It is a favourite recreational spot for both Mauritians and tourists , with its stunning calm emerald-blue waters. The island is accessible through various operators offering an array of services. A visit to the island can comprise of a visit to the GRSE River followed by a trip to Ile Aux Cerf and a lunch on Ile Aux Manginie.
For years the hotel group Sun Resort Ltd has operated two restaurants, a bar, and a boathouse and provided other beach amenities on the island. There is also a golf course on the island and other operators offering the opportunity to practice nautical sports like parasailing and pedalo.
Ile Aux Deux Coco
Ile aux Deux Coco is a famous island mostly used to celebrate wedding in an utmost private environment. With lush surroundings and its more than perfect location near Blue Bay, this islet will definitely surprise you. It is the perfect place for those planning on having their wedding in a tropical environment.
Ile aux Aigrettes
A small island, classified Nature Reserve by the MWF(Mauritius Wildlife Foundation) barely a kilometre off Pointe D’Esny near Mahebourg covers up a surface of 24.7 hectares. During World War Two, the island was used as a military base by the British who installed two artillery pieces there, one of which can still be seen while having your trip around the island.
Efforts are being undertaken to save the endemic flora and fauna there and a visitor centre is to open on the island and nature trails marked with guides for visitors wishing to go in the depths of the islet. A nursery of rare plants has been set up to propagate endemic plants in view of re creating the type of forest that prevailed on the coast before the arrival of man.
The elimination of rats from the island has allowed the natural regeneration of several endemic plants like Ebony and Bois de Rat. You will be able to spot one of the endemic bird of the island-the pink pigeon- there and you will also have the opportunity to come across some unusual specimens endemic to the island.
Ile aux Bénitiers – Bénitiers Island
Situated off the coast of La Gaulette (South West of Mauritius). Benitier Island is a large coral sand island approximately 65 hectares in area. On the northern tip of the island there is a small colony of migratory sea birds which will fascinate any visitor.
The lagoon is vast and shallow with large coral fields in relatively good health. The region surrounding the island has been a fishing spot for locals who for years have used the islet for leisure purposes and a stop over when fishing in the lagoon.
Visiting Mauritius without finding some times to visit the outer islands is an incomplete visit, so make it a must to go around the island and let your eyes enjoy the feast.