When the end of the year approaches, the flame trees on Mauritius start to bloom in a bright red colour. When this happens, the locals know that the end of the year is approaching. The trees are therefore sometimes thought as New Year Trees, or in Mauritian Creole, Bouqet Bananè. You can find a whole alley of them at the side of the Médine Sugar Cane Factory. Drive along the road in front of the production halls and see, besides a sea of red, yellow jacaranda trees there. At the exit, there is also a row of king palm trees, making this factory almost like a small botanical garden.
Blue Bay is located in the south-east of Mauritius, above the Blue Bay Marine Park. The unique blue tones of the water here gave it its name, ranging from from navy blue to turquoise to an almost-transparent light blue. These colours are created by the coral reef, which, at 22 km in length (around 14 miles), makes the largest lagoon in Mauritius, and makes up part of the Blue Bay Marine Park. The sun reflecting off the water, which is just about 10 metres deep, creates the blue colour displays that attract numerous visitors each and every year. The warm water and the lack of strong currents make this the ideal spot for coral to grow, so you can these days find huge pieces of coral that are over 1000 years old. The bay is also home to colourful fish and sea turtles. You can discover this natural display with a glass-bottom boat, or jump in yourself from the boat and go snorkelling, diving, or simply swimming in the endless blue.
The natural spectacle of the multicoloured hills of Chamarel is a real highlight for all visitors to Mauritius. Depending on the sun's rays, the earth here shimmers in colours from yellow to orange to violet. The different colours are due to iron and aluminium oxides, which have seeped from the earth over hundreds of years due to rain. Tourists are not allowed to set foot on the multicoloured earth itself. The surrounding park has a circular path that you can walk around, right up to the edge of the colourful display.
The oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere is located in Pamplemousses on Mauritius. The French governor Mahé de Labourdonnais set the garden up in 1746, planting a spice garden. These days, the gardens contain tropical plants, including rare species such as the talipot palm tree. Giant water lilies line the ponds of the path, and monkey bread trees grow along the paths. Visitors can walk around the park freely to discover the scenery at their own pace. Alternatively, there are guided tours; at the end of these tours you can even buy cuttings of tropical plants as souvenirs. The tours are carried out in numerous languages.
The small town of Souillac is located rfar in the south of Mauritius. This part of the island is not protected by a coral reef, making the ocean noticably rougher here. Large waves crash against the stony coastline and create imposing fountains. The Crying Rock, or ‘La Roche Qui Pleure‘ is around 600 metres behind the beach of Gris Gris and, with a little imagination, the waves look a little like tears.
Close to the town of Deux Frères, one of the largest rivers on Mauritius falls down a gorge before flowing into the sea. Many tour operators offer boat tours to discover the waterfall from the ocean, or you can walk to the waterfall yourself.
The Bras d'Eau National Park, opened in 2011, offers an incredible forest and water landscape to visitors. Rare bird species, monkeys, orchids, and wild boars can also be found here. Several fish ponds are also dotted around the park, completing the well-maintained natural image of the park. The park also contains the ruins of an old sugar mill.
This large reservoir in the north is well worth a visit. Take the road from the small village of Villebague past the conifers and into the forests and mountains round to the reservoir. The fresh air and the landscapes will make you forget that you are even on Mauritius. After a while, you will reach the viewing platform on the damm over the reservoir. If you walk across this, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the north of the island and the mountain peaks.
Famous for its old trees, the Telfair Garden is a popular excursion destination for fans of nature and botany fans. The park contains many old almond trees, fruit trees, banana plants, and a high banyan tree. The garden was set up in 1820 by the British sailor and plant-lover Charles Telfair. The old water basin in the Park Lavoir used to be a place where clothes were washed by slave women.
This secluded valley consists of 23 different colours, but is nonetheless less well known than the seven-coloured earth in Chamarel. Tourists come here to try out the numerous different activities such as ziplining, water walking, and quad biking. With its many waterfalls, ponds, ferns, and a spectacular viewing point, the valley offers numerous reasons for a visit. The walking paths through the park also provide the chance to see rare plant and animal species.
The tea fields of Bois Chéri stretch out across the green hills in the hinterland of Souillac. Visiting a tea plantation during your time in Mauritius is a must; the delicious tea leaves which were originally introduced by the British are these days picked by hand. The adjoining factory makes the most of the ingredients, turning them into tea. If you take a tour of the factory and the integrated tea museum, you can taste tea at the end in a picturesque viewing pavilion. The factory shop also lets you buy your favourite tea to take home as a souvenir.
These days, the Tamarin Saltworks work to remove sea salt, the so-called 'Fleur de Sel', from the ocean water. As Tamarin experiences less rainfall than anywhere else in Mauritius, it is the perfect location for the evaporation basins which are placed there throughout the year. If you take a tour of the estate you can see how salt is extracted and buy some of the produce at the souvenir shop to take home with you.
This 200-hectare nature reserve is home to a number of endangered species, including the kestrel falcon. There are currently around 400 such birds on Mauritius, of which 15 live in the reserve. The park also contains endemic plant species. Visitors can enjoy birdwatching and see the falcons being fed. There is also a three-kilometre hiking trail in the park; the trail leads past a small coffee plantation and a museum, and offers beautiful views.