Friday, 16 October 2015

Day 16: Black River Gorges National Park, Alexandra Fall and Chamarelle

If you were on holidays in Mauritius, and you only had one choice of a day tour during your stay, this is the one.

Start off your day by visiting Ganga Talao Hindu temple. In the afternoon, stop at  Alexandra Falls, then take a break at the Black River Gorges National park, drive up to the Seven coloured earth in Chamarelle, drive down the mountain to the Morne beach and finish the day by enjoying the sunset...

Alexandra Fall

Black River Gorges National Park offers a splendid view of the tropical vegetation that covers the island. If you're lucky, you could spot a white-tail tropic bird, which is the emblem of "Air Mauritius". If you're unlucky like I was on my first trip, you could get attacked by a monkey. I might be a bit dramatic here, but that monkey just decided to scratch my arm while I was minding my own business, admiring the waterfalls... All I'll say is, be careful of those little animals.

Apart from being known for its Rum and Coffee, Chamarelle is famous for its 83 metres waterfall and the Seven Coloured earth.

The Seven coloured earth is an area of sand dunes comprising of sand of seven distinct colours. When it rains, the colours go from bright ocher to brown and red to purple. When the rain stops, the clouds dissipate and the brightness of the sun makes the colours paler. The heat dries and soften the soil, and other nuances appear.

So how did these colours form in the first place? Well, it's mainly due to the minerals that make up the earth there. And scientifically speaking, it is in fact the presence of volcanic ash that contain mineral oxides of different colours.

Fabrice remembers going there as a kid and playing with his parents in the middle of this land that stretched much further. People were even allowed to take sand from the dunes. Over time, erosion and especially the man has reduced this space to a few hundred meters, now closed to preserve the place (and taking sand home is strictly forbidden!)

When you drive down the mountain, be very careful. There are A LOT of turns. Fabrice used to try and count them when he was a child and came up with 75! The view from up there is absolutely breathtaking and sadly my poor camera couldn't really capture the extreme beauty of the place.

When you're finally at the bottom of the mountain, make your way to the Morne. If you can, look for a little beach hidden in between two hotels. It's an absolute gem, and the view of the mountain from the sea is just something else.

This is my absolute favourite place to be in Mauritius. This mountain is one the symbol of slavery in Mauritius. 

A lot of slaves had found refuge there, and the day the officials came to tell them slavery had been abolished, they thought their masters had found them. Instead of giving themselves in, they decided to jump from the mountain. They would have rather died than give up their freedom...