Highlights of Mauritius: from Islands to Mountains

Posted on October 3, 2013 by

We’ve just left Mauritius after spending a week island-hopping and exploring the beaches and jungles of the island. From the west highlands of Chamarel to the eastern shore of Pointe d’Esny and the northern coast of Grand Baie, we traversed the island in search of unusual experiences. And although we didn’t find quite as many adventures as we wanted to, we still had a good time soaking up the island vibes and hanging out on pristine islets and beaches. Here are some of our favorite things to do on the island:

Flying over the North Coast on a Seaplane

With miles and miles of picture-perfect sandy beaches and acres of greenery further inland, Mauritius is definitely best seen from the skies. While island-hopping and exploring on land give you good perspectives of the island, taking to the skies allows you to take it all in and understand the geography of the island nation. From above, the water sparkles in different shades of blue, from light spearmint color of the shallow lagoon to the dark navy blue of the sea surrounding the reef. Tiny heart-shaped islets pepper the rugged coastline while coral reefs sprawl across the entire coastline. For more photos, see our photo essay here.

Flying over Mauritius

Canyoning in Seven Casacades

In the western highlands of Mauritius, we went canyoning down Les Sept Cascades, also known as Tamarin Falls. This part of Mauritius defies all stereotypes of the country with its lush greenery, thick tropical forests and impressive mountains — far from the beaches and luxury resorts that most people associate the island with. With a hodgepotch of deep ponds, cliffs, craggy rock faces, and steep hiking trails, this natural site is an excellent spot for canyoning. Led by our brilliant local guide Olivier Bourqin from Otelair, we abseiled down a 45-meter waterfall, jumped off a few cliffs, and hiked in the muddy trails surrounding the falls. Read more on the experience here.

Canyoning Tamarin Falls

Sailing on a Catamaran to the remote Île de Plat

On board a catamaran, we headed out to sea from the beautiful colonial-style 20 Degres Sud and set sail to the quiet and remote island of Île de Plate (meaning ‘flat island’ in French). We had expected it to be just a relaxing island excursion but it sprang several surprises on us. A mother and calf pair of Southern Right Whales swam just inches away from our boat, while a pod of dolphins cheekily followed us on our ride back. As though the journey wasn’t exciting enough, our destination itself was a phenomenal place — and best of all, we had the island all to ourselves. We spent the day at the Governor’s House, a simple restaurant with an exclusive location on an isolated part of island, where we feasted on delicious traditional Mauritian cuisine (fresh-from-the-sea grilled marlin and shrimps), sipped cocktails, and just lounged on the gorgeous beach. What more could we ask for?

The catamaran from 20 Degres Sud

Chilling on the beach at Governor's House

Standup Paddleboarding along the Tamarin River

The wind and wave conditions at Tamarin Bay in the northern coast of Mauritius are perfect for surfing and paddleboarding. But the winds were too strong during our visit, so we headed off to the Tamarin River, just a few meters away from the bay, for a very different paddleboarding experience. Both Alberto and I have only paddleboarded in the sea, so it was definitely interesting to paddle in the calm, brackish river, spotting wild birds and mangroves along the way. Our instructor Arnaud, owner of Tamarin Surf School, was an interesting character who shared fun tales with us and showed us secret corners along the river that even locals have no idea existed.

Our friend Meruschka paddleboarding with Arnaud

Immersing in the Mountains at Lakaz Chamarel

As curious travelers, we like to seek out unconventional experiences and less-visited areas. At Lakaz Chamarel, we felt as though we’d found a different side to Mauritius. This ecolodge is tucked within the mountains and valleys of the Chamarel region, far beyond the beaches and resorts. To get there, we zigzagged our way along the winding switchbacks and climbed up steep mountain roads. Once in the peaceful grounds of Lakaz Chamarel, the sounds of birds singing echoed through the jungle and the smell of lush tropical foliage surrounded us. Designed with a stylish Balinese flair and elegant African decor, our bungalow featured high ceilings, natural hardwood furnishing, a private plunge pool and a spacious outdoor area was perched on a hilltop, overlooking stunning mountain peaks. Of all the hotels we stayed at in Mauritius, this was definitely our favorite.

Lakaz Chamarel

Here’s a fantastic movie by the Story Travelers to give you a glimpse of the trip:


Disclaimer: The #MyMauritius blog trip was created and managed by iambassador and AHRIM, in association with the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and Air Mauritius. While our trip was sponsored, all opinions expressed above are our own.

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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is the co-founder of WildJunket. As a professional travel writer with a special interest in offgrid destinations and adventure travel, she scours through the world in search for a slice of undiscovered paradise. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, swam with sealions in the Galapagos and built a school in Tanzania.

4 Responses to “Highlights of Mauritius: from Islands to Mountains”

  1. Renuka October 3, 2013 11:55 pm
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    What a blissful place! I am green with envy!

  2. Peter October 11, 2013 12:17 am
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    Yes, There is no question about Mauritius that it's a beautiful place of the world and already I have visited this place and have enjoyed a lot. True thing is that by notifying some beautiful pictures from here it seems to me that you people have enjoyed a lot as well and I have been very glad to see your enjoyment mate. So keep visiting all over the world and hopefully next time you will visit some new place and until that stay well. Look forward once again for knowing about another place.

  3. Highlights November 16, 2013 9:12 am
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    Brings back great memories. Probably the best vacation I ever had ! Thank you !

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  1. My Mauritius Travel Blogs Are Truly Inspiring - Ido Productions - September 8, 2014

    […] Wild Junket: Highlights of Mauritius. Nellie Huang is a very inspiring travel blogger. She speaks several languages fluently, is from Singapore and has seen and done more than most people could imagine doing in a lifetime- in a few years. Her post is about her Mauritius adventures in the mountains canyoning and sailing on our clear crystal waters. She embraced all sides of the adventures Mauritius offers. […]