The South of Mauritius, is where it all began. The island’s history emanate from this peaceful village, “Vieux Grand Port” which has been the first port of Mauritius. The region received the first Dutch explorers’ camps in 1638. When in 1735, the well-known French Governor Francois Mahé de Labourdonnais decided to develop the actual port (Port-Louis) right on the opposite side of the island, as main harbour and administration centre, the South did not lose any of its importance.
The southern part of the island remains the wildest and less developed region of Mauritius. Apart from Mahébourg and its surroundings, this region has remained untouched because of the absence of calm lagoons. The ‘deep south’ as it is sometimes called, is probably the unknown and forgotten side of coastal region of Mauritius with its high cliffs and raging seas.
Mahebourg Historical Naval Museum
Located at the entrance of Mahébourg village, the Naval Museum was inaugurated sometime around 1950 and specialises in the history of Mauritius relating to the sea; sea battles, shipwrecks, naval war items.
The Museum is housed in the Gheude Castle, a magnificent French colonial mansion, built around 1772, used to belong to the Commandant of the district of Grand Port, Jean de Robillard’s family, and played an important part in the island’s history. The house was bought by the government in 1950 and turned into a museum under the direction of the Mauritius Museums Council
The museum occupies three floors, tow of which are accessible to the public. On the ground floor wreckage of sailing ships that took part in the Grand Port battle, original cannon, cannonball, paintings and swords and weaponry of Robert Surcouf, the eighteenth-century corsair, popularly known as the king of the Corsairs. Objects from shipwrecks along the Mauritian coast are also exhibited, and the museum also displays a preserved Mauritian village settlement, where visitors can gain a glimpse of the typical lifestyle of the rural island inhabitants.
The bell, recovered from the wreckage of the St Geran which sunk off the east coast in 1744, is also on display. There is an interesting newspaper cutting of Charles Seabourne, who with survivors from the ship Trevessa, landed at Bel Ombre in the south in 1923 after spending 25 days at sea. On display are the ship’s biscuits, a razor and the lid of a cigarette tin which they used to measure water rations. In a separate showcase is a Roll of Honour dedicated to Mauritians who died in World War II. Wreckage from the naval battle of Vieux Grand Port in 1810 can also be seen.
A regatta is a competition where there are one or more races of either traditional rowed or sailed boats (known locally as pirogue), it is a colourful ballet of boats for the eyes.
There may be different categories, depending on the size of the boats. Each boat (pirogue) comprises of a team for the competition. These competitions dates back to 1874. They form part of old traditions and have been taking place for a long time in Mauritius
It started in the south of the island, thanks to the initiative of some sailing enthusiasts. At that time the races were so popular that special trains were organised to allow the public to attend the event. Unfortunately lately they had been abandoned for some years, but thanks to some associations they are now being organized again almost every year.
The regattas are typically held for the amateurs to meet and share moments with other sea lovers, and general promotion of the sport. The event is a great opportunity for popular gathering. It is usually accompanied by social and promotional activities making it like a family day out with activities and discovery for everyone. The regatta is usually named after the town or venue where the event takes place. Though there have been different venue throughout the years, the icon remains the one at Pointe des Régates.
The Blue Bay Marine Park
The Blue Bay Marine Park, located in the South East of Mauritius was proclaimed National Park under the Wildlife and National Parks Act 1993 in October 1997. It was declared a Marine Protected Area and designated a Marine Park in June 2000 under the Fisheries and Marine Resources Act 1998. In January 2008, it was officially nominated as the second wetland of International Importance (RAMSAR Site) for Mauritius. The total area of the Marine Park is 353 hectares; it includes the lagoon starting from Pointe Corps de Garde as its northernmost point up to Pointe Vacoas, its southernmost point and extends about one kilometre seaward from the reef crest. The depth of the park varies from 1 to 150m metres.
The Blue Bay Marine Park is known for its diverse and rich fauna and flora especially the corals, mainly for a brain coral of diameter 6-7metres. 108 species ( 33 genus)of coral , 233 fish species , 201 species of molluscs were inventoried in 2012.
Pointe D’esny Beach
Pointe d’Esny have some of the most beautiful stretches of beach on the entire island and they’re many travellers’ favourite corners of the country. Pointe d’Esny is also the jumping-off point for those interested in visiting the nature reserve on Île aux Aigrettes.
Île aux Aigrettes
Ile aux Aigrettes is a small (27 ha) island situated in the Mahebourg Bay, about 850 m off the south-east coast of Mauritius. Unlike the mainland which is of volcanic origin, Ile aux Aigrettes is made up of coralline limestone. It is home to the last remnants of dry coastal forest, once found around most of Mauritius.
Like the mainland, Ile aux Aigrettes was affected by tree logging and land clearance, and the introduction of exotic animal and plant species almost destroyed the native fauna and flora. In 1965 the island was declared a nature reserve and our intense conservation efforts have resulted in the restoration of the forest and reintroduction of rare species that had long since disappeared from the island.
Île aux Phare
For those who think Mauritius is just one big island with an abundance of beaches and lagoons, you might not be entirely correct. In fact, you would be surprised to learn about the numerous nearby islets close to the mainland of the paradise island. The one we are talking about here is the Ile du Phare, located in Mahebourg.
Also known by the name of Ile aux Fouquets, Ile du Phare is indeed one of the first islets to be discovered by the Dutch back in 1598. It is situated towards the southeastern corner of Mauritius and is closest to the Vacoas Island. It is also reputed as one of the national parks of the island nation.
This rocky island sits between the calm sea towards the side of the lagoon and the high sea, which can be discovered on walking across the island. It is right beside the Ile aux Vacoas and Ile de la Passe and is the second island of the chain. In comparison to the other islands, Ile du Phare is relatively hilly. A ruined lighthouse sits on its topmost point, from which the island derives its name.
Vallée de Ferney
The Vallée de Ferney, a forest and wildlife reserve, is an excellent spot to discover the flora and fauna of Mauritius and enjoy quality time by yourself or with your friends and family in a highly serene setting.
The 200-hectare nature sanctuary is located in the north of Mahébourg in Grand Port District. Discover the Vallée de Ferney at your ease by following the guidelines through a 3km track that winds through the native forest.
The hike will give you the opportunity to admire indigenous plant species like Ebony trees, Coffea Mauritania, Takamakas, Eugenia Bojeria, Araucarias and other species such as the Ravenala, commonly known as the Traveller’s Tree. As you make your way through the endemic forest, you might also come across the Mauritius Kestrel, the only bird of prey on the island, as well as the Mauritian Flying Fox, a megabat.
The Valleé de Ferney is must-see conservation site for Mauritian biodiversity. Along with discovering the unique natural habitats and ecosystems of Mauritius, you will also be able to admire picturesque surrounding views; making this hike an ideal excursion for wildlife-lovers and nature lovers.
Biscuiterie H Rault
Biscuiterie H. Rault is a family business situated in Mauritius, whose biscuits are unique in the world. These biscuits, available in various flavours, are made following a traditional method, which has remained unchanged since its creation over 140 years ago. A visit to Domaine Les Délices, owned by the Rault-Sénèque family, will allow you to discover our complete range of biscuits and will take you back to an atmosphere of days gone by.
Eau Bleue (Blue Water) Waterfalls
Eau Bleue Waterfall Mauritius is the ultimate adventure trip for anyone looking to escape the crowds. The water has an incredible emerald hue and is among the clearest in Mauritius
Eau Bleue actually consists of six waterfalls scattered in between the dense vegetation and the good news is that they are totally free to visit!
Pont Naturel (Natural Bridge)
Pont Naturel in the south of Mauritius is an exciting place to visit, it a place where you can see some of the most beautiful rock structures. The name Pont Naturel can be literally translated in English as ‘Natural Bridge’. As you see it you will understand why, as the rocks act as a natural bridge on the sea. It is beautiful, with water making a smashing noise as it gushes under a rounded rock structure. This attracts a lot of locals and tourists.
Pont Naturel is situated in close proximity of Mauritius airport and Le Bouchon. The lovely landscape, built by hanging cliffs on your right and left, forming an incredible natural bridge, offers you an unforgettable view. Watch out for the waves showering you with drops of water!
La Vanille Nature Park
The Park spreads over 3.5 hectares in the south of the island. This reserve, created in 1985, has the largest colony of tortoises in captivity in the world. It is home to 1000 individuals, including Domino, who is the oldest and also one of the largest tortoises in the world.
The site is also home to 2000 Nile crocodiles where you can observe them at different stages of their growth.
Your visit will not end here, the park also houses many other animals that you will have a chance to see from monkeys, bats, deers, geckos, wild boars and carp to name a few.
The insectarium is one of the main attractions of the reserve. It is where the work of Jacques Siedlecki is stored and has a collection of 23,000 species including beetles, butterflies and other insects of all shapes and colours. The collection has some specimens of inestimable rarity, some of which are now extinct.
The park also has another valuable asset – the fossil museum. You will be introduced to Owen Griffiths’ ammonite collection along with skeletons of various species on the island and the history of marine mammals.
During your visit, you will also be able to taste something a bit out of the ordinary, crocodile meat! The restaurant Le Crocodile Affamé has a special crocodile meat dish for adventurous foodies or you can keep it simple and enjoy a selection of Mauritian dishes on the menu.