Explore the national parks and reserves of Mauritius
The parks and reserves of Mauritius protect a wonderful heritage and natural biodiversity that many visitors may not be expecting.
Beauty, nature, biodiversity, conservation
Exploring these natural, biodiverse spaces showcases Mauritius in a different light, it’s more than just beaches, cocktails, sunsets and warm ocean waters.
Black River Gorges National Park
Black River Gorges National Park is perhaps the most well known of the parks and reserves. It boasts a varied network of trails catering to both gentle strollers and experienced hikers alike. Take to the park under your own steam, routes are well sign posted. Better still, get the best from your hike by taking along a local guide who will know the best view points, how far it is from A to B in terms of actual hiking time rather than distance on a map – it’s well worth it. Hike through huge tracts of native Mauritian forest, enjoy a well earned break overlooking an idyllic ocean bay or sit mesmerised at the foot of a waterfall as the water cascades down the rock face.
Bras d’Eau National Park
Located in the north east of the island, somewhat off the beaten track, is Bras d’Eau National Park with its well signposted hiking and mountain biking trails. This park is less visited than Black River Gorges, though its beauty is undeniable. Thick forests provide a home to the Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher, it’s the only place in Mauritius where you are likely to hear their birdsong. Within the park are the ruins of an old sugar mill, though the springs, lakes and forested areas are far more attractive to nature lovers. The Coq de Bois Loop trail is the park’s only signposted trail. It takes you along a forest track, passing several inland lakes. It’s a shady gentle trail of just over 5km with little or no elevation.
Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary
Bird fanatics could be interested in the Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary near Port Louis. Each year this becomes home to migratory birds seeking shelter from harsh weather elsewhere. The estuary is visited by about 14 migratory species each year as they seek the warmer conditions for feeding and moulting, preparing themselves for their return journey and the breeding season that lies ahead. The best time to visit is from October to March at low tide. (Do be aware that due to the proximity to busy Port Louis a certain amount of rubbish and debris does get washed up on the shores and whilst efforts are made to regularly remove this, it is a problem.)
Gerald Durrell Endemic Wildlife Sanctuary
Though not open to the public the Gerald Durrell Endemic Wildlife Sanctuary is still worth a mention. The sanctuary takes its name from the well known conservationist who played an important role in conserving biodiversity in Mauritius. The sanctuary is housed in an area of dense forest in the Black River Gorge region. The National Parks and Conservation Service work together with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation to conserve rare and endangered species such as the Mauritius kestrel. This beautiful bird was once one of the rarest on the planet with just 4 individuals left in the wild and now boasts a population of approximately 240 on the island, a success story, we’re sure you will agree.