The West & South-West
The West and South-West coasts of Mauritius are the driest areas on the island. At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the African bush. Protected from the prevailing winds, the region boasts some superb hotels and lagoons calm enough for swimming, snorkelling, diving, water-skiing, kayaking, pedal boats and sailing activities.
Head to Tamarin Bay, or to the world famous “One Eye” at Le Morne, where you can find the best waves for surfing. Le Morne is also well known by kitesurfers due to the steady winds that blow in from the South-East and accelerate in this corner of the island almost all year round.
The West is where you’ll find the lush Black River Gorges. You can spend the day visiting the different Nature Parks (Casela, Gros Cailloux) in the region, going for walks, great activities for kids and taking in the stunning surroundings. There are even some tame African lions, giraffe and other animals to see.
Do some shopping at the nearby shopping centres and why not try a karting race at Cascavelle? For a truly magical experience, be sure to book a trip to Ile aux Bénitiers and swim with wild dolphins!
What to See?
Albion and Pointe aux Sables
Albion is more of a residential area than a tourist spot but it has a public beach worth visiting, and if you take a walk along the coast towards Club Med, you can have a lovely swim in the shade of the trees which border the shore. Albion is also known for its lighthouse.
Not far, at Pointe aux Sables, you’ll find “Montagne Zako” (Monkey Mount) where you can try a 20-metre-high cliff dive into the sea. Check the water below and the wave movement carefully before making the jump! It is definitely worth the detour. Adrenaline rush guaranteed!
Flic en Flac
If you want to relax on the beach, catch a tan and meet some friendly locals, Flic en Flac is the place to be. With its white beaches fringed with Casuarina trees, it is a popular location for weekend beach activities such as swimming and snorkelling, and also has a wide range of bungalows for rent. When you’re done soaking up the sun there are a number of restaurants to choose from, and a lively nightlife.
When the moon is full, the starry sky is clear and the rain ‘walks’ over the ocean far on the horizon, you can see a tiny white moon-rainbow over the sea. Rub your eyes, blink hard and look again… Yes, it’s true!
Tamarin and Black River
Tamarin and Black River were once simple villages inhabited by locals and fishermen, but today they are quite different. Although it has been transformed by many luxury villas, shopping centres and restaurants, Tamarin Bay remains a popular surfing spot, with a long left-hand reef break and 10-foot swells.
Part of the cultural landscape, the salt pans of Tamarin are a unique place to visit. Due to the dry conditions of the area, Tamarin is the ideal place for salt making. Simply stop your car on the side of the road and take a look!
The bay of Black River is teaming with deep-sea fishing boats, skippered by professional fishermen who have given their lives to the sea. Try your hand at fishing and see if you’re lucky enough to catch some marlin or tuna.
Martello Tower at La Preneuse
The Martello Tower at La Preneuse was built by the British between 1810 and 1846 to protect them against their sworn enemy, the French navy. Since being restored in 1999, the tower is now accessible for guided tours.
If you have some time to spare, take a dip in the sea at La Preneuse. The scenery is dominated by the beautiful Black River mountain range and the unmistakeable shape of the Le Morne mountain that towers over the transparent lagoon below. Be careful of the strong current!
Black River Gorges National Park
One of the main “green” attractions is the Black River Gorges National Park which extends over 16,680 acres and provides a haven to highly endangered native plants and animals. It plays home to around 311 species of native and endemic flowering plants and nine species of birds that can only be found in Mauritius.
You can walk along a number of dedicated trails inside the gorges itself and can even hike up to the plateau. Make sure you wear the right shoes and clothing if you want to attempt a hike, and take your own food and drinks and other supplies along with you, as there are no shops or medical support within the park.
Case Noyale and La Gaulette
In these small fishing villages, you can find cheap rooms, apartments and guesthouses to stay in, which is great for kitesurfers on a budget. What better way to discover and appreciate how the locals live, work and play! From there you can drive up to the plateau and see the exquisite views from Chamarel and other tourist sites. You can also take a boat ride to Ile aux Bénitiers or, for the more adventurous, go kitesurfing at Le Morne.
Ile aux Bénitiers
Surrounded by turquoise sea, this island is set in a lagoon near Le Morne, where it is safe to go swimming and snorkelling. You can reach the island of Bénitiers using the local fishermen’s boats at Case Noyale and La Gaulette, or by catamarans and speedboats from Le Morne, Black River, or even further from Flic en Flac and the North. This small island is completely flat and measures just 2 kilometres by 500 metres, so you can easily explore it! The boat trip usually includes a barbeque and drinks on the island.
Le Morne Brabant
Some of the most beautiful hotels and golf courses are found at Le Morne. The oldest ones were established with the arrival of the first tourists on the island and have an authentic hostelry culture. There is something for everyone; whether you prefer to walk along the kilometres of white sandy beaches, actively take part in sea sports, or simply want to lounge around and rest. The southern part of Le Morne is ‘The Place’ to try kitesurfing, windsurfing and surfing in the strong and steady south-east trade winds that gain momentum after crossing the high mountains of the Black River Gorges.
The One Eye surf spot at Le Morne is world renowned, with its fast left tube that makes the shape of an eye before breaking on the shallow reef. On one side of the mountain of Le Morne, which has seven faces, you will see a huge hole crossing the cliff that looks like an eye in a Rasta profile. Some say that this is how the surf spot got its name. Interestingly, the owner of the area around Le Morne has only one eye, so we can safely say that the spot is well named!
Piton de la Rivière Noire and Chamarel
The Piton de la Rivière Noire is part of the mountain range circling the National Park. In the highlands, Chamarel village is known for its seven-coloured earth, its charming restaurants and its rum factory, where you can learn everything about distillation and even do some rum tasting. The viewpoints over the ocean and the West coast are breathtaking, especially at sunset!
In winter, when the sky tends to be clearer, you can see the grey silhouette of the high mountains of Reunion Island far in the distance.
The mountain of Le Morne is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a commemorative landmark of the harsh slavery period in Mauritius.
Protected by the mountain’s isolated wooded and almost inaccessible cliffs, the escaped slaves formed small settlements in the caves and on the summit of Le Morne. The traditions associated with the maroons have made Le Morne a symbol of the slaves’ fight for freedom, their suffering and their sacrifice, all of which have relevance to the countries from which the slaves came – the African mainland, Madagascar, India and South-East Asia.
Things to do
There are quite few Nature Parks (Casela, Gros Cailloux, etc.) in the West where you can see some tamed animals imported from Africa, as well as local birds, reptiles and mammals. Different family activities, extreme sports, safaris, and much more are on offer. On-site restaurants serve lunch and refreshments to keep your energy up. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the memories of a day you’ll treasure forever!
View all adventure parks in the West & South-West.
The shopping centres have something for everyone… You can buy souvenirs and gifts, and clothes that you will proudly wear on the beach and back home. Feeling hungry? Local cuisine and world famous dishes are all available at the wide range of restaurants. At Cascavelle, you can even try your driving skills on fast and furious karting tracks!
View all shopping malls in the West & South-West.
The West is the best place to swim and play with wild dolphins. This attraction is famous among tourists in Mauritius. Whether by motorboat or catamaran, simply book your excursion to meet the dolphins at any time of the year, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Mauritius in September, you may even get to spot the whales as they migrate at that time of the year.
View all dolphins activities in the West & South-West.