10 Must-See Sites in Mauritius
Even though Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean, it holds a large number of wonderful sites and attractions including 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that every visitor should see. Because of its small size, it is very easy to see all of these sites either by hiring a tour guide and doing a tour or renting a car and driving on your own. While these sites are spread throughout the island, they are rarely more than an hour and half drive from each other depending on traffic since the island is not particularly large.
Please enjoy the photos! All photos were taken by me using a DSLR and iPhone.
Here are 10 must-see sites to visit while in Mauritius!
1) Le Caudan Waterfront
Le Caudan Waterfront is the main tourist and commercial area of Port Louis, which is the capital of Mauritius in the northwest part of the island. Le Caudan Waterfront is located next to the Port and is impossible to miss. There are many different boutiques, shops, currency exchanges, cafes, restaurants, and food courts scattered throughout the area, so it is very easy to spend a couple hours walking around and checking out the different stores and cafes. In addition, there is a casino and several 4-star hotels in the area, so a visitor will never be far from the action.
This is a great place to relax, walk around, people watch, and take in the sites and sounds of Port Louis.
In addition to the many restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops, Le Caudan Waterfront is also home to the Blue Penny Museum.
The Blue Penny Museum is the main history museum, which is located in Le Caudan Waterfront near the 5-star Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel. This is a museum that tells the history of Mauritius from its beginnings as French and British colonies. There is also a fascinating exhibit dedicated to the story of “Paul et Virginie” (Paul and Virginia), which is a famous story written by Jacques-Henri Bernadin de Saint-Pierre from the 18th century. The story of “Paul and Virginie” is about two young lovers who grow up and fall in love on the island of Mauritius. It not only includes various artworks related to the two characters but also several editions of the book.
The Blue Penny Museum also has many kinds of maps, navigational instruments, paintings, and extremely rare stamps from Mauritius’ early days as a colony. This is a wonderful place to visit if you are interested in history. It is also a great place to get out of the hot Mauritian sun for a bit.
2) The Port Louis Citadel
The Port Louis Citadel is located on a hill overlooking Port Louis south of Le Caudan Waterfront and near to the Champ de Mars Racetrack. It was a former defensive post to defend against invaders, but today it is a tourist attraction that provides beautiful panoramic views of Port Louis from all directions.
The Citadel is free to enter, and there is a small gift shop on the premises which sells various kinds of souvenirs including cold drinks. This is especially good if you decide to walk uphill to the Citadel since the weather can be very hot and humid, and you’ll need to keep hydrated to avoid heat stroke and dehydration.
3) Le Morne Brabant
Le Morne Brabant is one of two UNESCO World Heritage sites located in Mauritius. The other UNESCO site is Aapravasi Ghat, which was the immigration station in Port Louis for Indian laborers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Le Morne Brabant is a mountain that is located in the southwestern corner of Mauritius. It is related to the myth and legend of Mauritius. According to the story, this mountain was a common place for runaway slaves to hide. When slavery was abolished by the British on February 1, 1835, the British arrived to tell the hideaways to come down since slavery had been done away with. However, the slaves misinterpreted the presence of British troops at the foot of the mountain and killed themselves since they thought they would be put back into slavery. Whether this story is true cannot be verified with certainty, but today Mauritians still celebrate the event on February 1.
4) Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
The Pamplemousses Botanical Garden (Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden) is a famous and well-known tourist attraction on the island, which is located in the northwest part of Mauritius in Pamplemousses.
The Botanical Garden is 25 hectacres and features a variety of plants and spices from a variety of countries. It is easy to spend several hours here walking around and exploring, but I would strongly recommend bringing mosquito repellent while visiting here since it is very easy to get bitten and eaten alive by mosquitoes. In addition to the wide variety of fauna, the Botanical Garden also has some wildlife, such as giant tortoises and deer that are placed in enclosures.
5) Cap Malheureux
Cap Malheureux (Cape of Bad Luck) is located at the northern tip of Mauritius. The rather foreboding-sounding name comes not from bad weather conditions but from history when the British and French were vying for control of the island. The French defenses were weakest at this place on the island, and the British were able to easily defeat them. Hence, the French named this area the Cape of Bad Luck because of what had happened.
Today, the main attraction is the famous red-roofed church of Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice de Cap Malheureux set against an idyllic coastal scene. The church itself is quite modest on the inside, but the exterior provides wonderful photo opportunities for the photographers since it is set against open water with Gunner’s Quoin in the background, which is a small island just off the main island.
6) Chamarel Waterfall
Chamarel Waterfall is a site located in the southwestern part of Mauritius. The waterfall drop is roughly about 100 meters (330feet).
There are two views of the waterfall. The first view is when you first arrive. While the view is beautiful, it will not let you see the entire waterfall since the bottom is hidden. However, there is a path that leads uphill. After a very short walk, it is possible to get a better and fuller view of Chamarel Waterfall.
For the more adventurous types of visitors, it is also possible to do some abseiling from the top down to the bottom, which is where a pond is located.
7) The Seven Coloured Earths
The Seven Coloured Earths is a highly unique geological formation that must not be missed. In my opinion, it is the absolute must-see in Mauritius. The area is located not far from Chamarel Waterfall and is within the same nature reserve.
The area gets its name from the different colored sand dunes that have seven clear colors (violet, red, orange, yellow, brown, green, and purple). Because of previous volcanic activity, various minerals came up to the surface and turned the area different colors. Over the years, the rain has moved and merged the colors into the surrealistic and wavy appearance that it has today.
Because of the large amount of minerals in the ground, no plants grow in the area, yet it is surrounded by a bunch of very thick vegetation.
It is not possible to go onto the dunes themselves, but it is possible to get various viewpoints from different observation decks.
8) Black River Gorges National Park
Black River Gorges National Park is located in the southwestern part of Mauritius. The national park is meant to protect the remains of the Mauritian rainforest and the various species of plants and animals that reside there.
When you visit, it is not uncommon to see monkeys climb up to the fence to get food from visitors. Therefore, you need to be careful if you have food since they might grab it and make a run for it.
9) Trou aux Cerfs
Trou aux Cerfs is located in the heart and center of Mauritius near the town of Curepipe. This is a crater of a dormant volcano that lies at an elevation of 605 meters (1,985 feet) above sea level.
Even though the area is filled with vegetation, it is not possible to go down into the crater since it is seen as dangerous and almost inaccessible because of water and silt. Therefore, it is only possible to take pictures from above.
10) Ganga Talao
Ganga Talao is a holy lake that is considered sacred by the Hindus of Mauritius. Many Hindus believe this lake to be sacred because in the Hindu religion, it is necessary to visit and bathe in the Ganges River in India. Since the lake is dedicated to Shiva, who is one of the principal deities in Hinduism, it is seen as sacred and a way to pay tribute to Shiva. The lake itself is a crater lake and during the Indian festival of Shivaratri, many devout Hindus will conduct a pilgrimage barefoot to the lake from their homes.
The are numerous temples to various Hindu deities all around the lake, and there are many statues featuring a variety of Hindu gods and goddesses and various avatars of the deities that visitors can see and take pictures of.
For those who are interested, it is possible to enter the temples if you take your shoes off. It is also even possible to receive a blessing from one of the Hindu priests who attend the shrine in exchange for a small donation.
While there are many other wonderful sites to see in Mauritius, these are 10 absolute must-sees.
Have you been to these sites? What did you think of them? What are some other places in Mauritius a visitor should visit?