Most of us are keen to discover more about our holiday destination beyond the resort, and we’re increasingly looking for ways to do this that take us beyond our comfort zone.
If that’s you, then you’re in the right place. Here in Mauritius our coastline and interior is ripe for exploration, and we’ve plenty of adrenalin fuelled ways to experience it.
1. Rock climbing
If you’re looking for a sport to test your strength, balance, flexibility and endurance – with the reward of a magnificent view and a mammoth sense of achievement – then rock climbing could be for you.
In Mauritius, the major rock climbing site is at the Belle Vue Cliffs near the village of Albion on the south west coast, which has five routes equipped to UIAA standards (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation).
Other well known sites include the mountains Pieter Both and Corps de Garde, the latter of which translates as ‘body of soldier’ after the peak’s resemblance to a sentry man lying down. Its highest point is around 720 metres, and the basaltic rock face is a popular location for early morning climbs as the views of the sunrise are spectacular.
Pieter Both is part of the Moka range, and at 820 metres is the second highest mountain in Mauritius. It’s easily identifiable by the huge round boulder atop its peak, which has iron spikes affixed to its surface to aid climbers on their way to the final summit – a flattish top no wider than about six feet across, but with 360 degree views that are well worth the scramble.
The extreme sport of canyoning uses a variety of techniques to get from the top of a canyon to the bottom – including hiking, climbing, jumping, wading, sliding, swimming and abseiling – and there are several stunning locations across Mauritius to test your skills.
Not for the faint hearted, canyoning is an activity that will push you to your limits (as well as being a lot of fun) so make sure you hook up with experienced guides who can match the right location to your level of expertise.
One such company is Vertical World Adventures, who offer fully supervised trips for the complete beginner and expert canyoner alike, including a full day out at Tamarin Falls – which includes 9-11 abseils and a spot of cliff-jumping – or a short but exhilarating excursion to Chamarel Falls, where a single 90m abseil puts you straight into the pool below.
3. Wreck diving
If you’re looking to add a new level of excitement to your subterranean adventures, try adding a wreck to your next scuba itinerary. More than 100 have been registered in the waters surrounding Mauritius, so advanced divers seeking a glimpse into the Indian Ocean’s maritime past are genuinely spoilt for choice.
Three of the most popular wreck dive sites include the Djabeda wreck, Stella Maru and HMS Sirius. The Japanese fishing boat Djabeda and trawler Stella Maru are both located off the northern coast, with the former lying upright on the sandy sea bed at 34m and the latter deliberately sunk at a depth of 23m to create an artificial reef.
Stella Maru remains in a slightly more intact condition than Djabeda, though both offer exceptional sightings of giant moray eels, lion fish, sting rays and other common tropical fish.
HMS Sirius, off the south east coast at Maheborg, was a 36-gun Royal Navy frigate first launched in 1797 and wrecked during the naval battle of Grand Port in 1810. Today, she lies at a depth of 25m and though the ship itself is broken up, the site contains many archeological artefacts and remains a challenge for advanced divers.
4. Surfing and kitesurfing
Mauritius is one of the world’s premier watersports destinations, so if you’ve always wanted to try your hand at surfing or kitesurfing this is an ideal place to learn.
Some of the best known surf spots on the island are concentrated around Le Morne Brabant – a dramatic rock formation and peninsula down in the quieter south west corner of the island. Its popularity stems partly from its incredible natural beauty and partly from the variety of its surf conditions. Consistent winds (300 days per year) are coupled with access to great waves and a flat lagoon with waist-high water, which means guaranteed satisfaction for beginners and advanced riders alike.
Many of the area’s hotels offer kiteboarding lessons for beginners or gear rental for more experienced surfers, such as LUX* Le Morne and Beachcomber Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa. And if you’re just visiting from another part of the island, there’s no reason to miss out – independent surf schools like the Le Morne Surf School and Son of Kite will get you up and riding in no time.
Tempted to book a holiday?
Read Jerry Kite’s blog for top tips on kitesurfing in Mauritius.
Watch the video from blogger trip #My Mauritius – packed with scenes of adventure from across the island.
This post is also available in: French