The south coast of Mauritius is the wildest, least-developed part of the country, with mountainous cliffs, small fishing villages, and thick forests taking up the majority of the landscape. While not as developed for tourists as much of the rest of Mauritius, the area is nonetheless home to some of the most beautiful attractions in the country.
Black River Gorges National Park
Perhaps the best example of this is the Black River Gorges National Park, a large nature reserve, focused around the Black River Peak mountain, which is the country’s highest point at 828 metres (2717 ft).
There are a number of different trails that take you through the park in various directions, allowing you to take in the many different sides that it has to offer, as well as numerous plant and animal species, including 9 endangered species of bird. Hiking in the park can be a little difficult, particularly if it is raining or has been, but the view from the top is well worth the effort.
Further to the west is the Morne Brabant, an imposing rocky formation that was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 due to its connection with Mauritius’ slave past.
Mauritian slaves who had run away used to hide out in the mountain’s crevices, throwing themselves to their death if they thought they were about to be discovered. Once slavery was abolished in the 19th century, a force was dispatched to inform the slaves hiding in the mountain of their impending freedom. However, seeing forces approaching, many of the newly-freed slaves jumped to their deaths, thus never experiencing freedom at all. This tragic event and the abolition of slavery in general are commemorated on 1 February every year with a festival in Mauritius.
Besides that, the Morne Brabant is popular amongst surfers, kitesurfers, and windsurfers thanks to the sea conditions there. With the Morne Brabant looming over the coastline, there are few more impressive locations to surf in Mauritius, if not the world.
Vallée de Couleurs and Seven-Coloured Earth at Chamarel
The small town of Chamarel is home to a unique rocky formation with seven different colours of rock and dust. The impressive lines that the colours make in the earth make it a popular tourist attraction in its own right.
If seven colours aren’t enough, further along the coast is the Valée des 23 Couleurs, literally the ‘Valley of 23 Colours’. The different shades here are indeed impressive, and have transformed this old plantation into a tourist attraction too.
What Else Is There?
Besides these beautiful natural attractions, the south of Mauritius doesn’t offer too much to tourists, especially compared with the other regions on the island. The town of Chamarel may merit a visit, especially on 15 August for the feast of the Assumption, which is celebrated in a particularly fervent manner here. Besides that, other small fishing villages like Souillac may interest some holidaymakers, but can probably be ignored by the majority. Finally, the region's hilly, mountainous landscape can be a good spot for some hiking if you wish.