Mauritius has incredible opportunities for exploration and this site only covers a small portion of the islets, lava tubes, rivers, forests, and beaches. Most of the areas on this site are located around the three main mountain ranges: the Port Louis-Moka Mountain Range, the Black River – Savanne Mountain Complex, the Bambous Mountain Massif; and the two national parks: Black River Gorges and Bras D’eau.
The quality of the trails in Mauritius varies wildly as there is nobody, except in Black River Gorges, that actively maintains and marks them. The reality that much of the land in Mauritius is private property makes it difficult to establish trails and create signs. Expect limited guidance and trails that vary in quality with the seasons. Be aware that you often must pass through somebody else’s land to hike in Mauritius; if you are polite and courteous it is unlikely that you will have a problem anywhere.
Using this site
Regardless of whether you have a GPS or smartphone, I suggest that you write down/print out the instructions, print out the map, carry a compass, and make a plan for how you will get to the location where the hike starts. Carefully examine the photos for each hike as some are useful diagrams. Electronic devices frequently do not work properly and can lead you astray, so be ready to use your own intelligence and eyes to get you where you would like to go. If you have a GPS or a smart phone with GPS – you can either download the GPX file from the link above the map or use the icon on the map that looks like a series of connected dots to download the KML file.
There are many different Android/Iphone applications that can us e these GPS tracks. There is a wealth of information on this topic. A few are listed below.
I am also an excellent resource if you have any questions. Email me at alex at exploremauritius.org
Mauritius has tropical weather that changes frequently. There are generally two seasons: summer – lasting from December until April and winter – lasting from April until December. The summer season is characterized by hot temperatures, cyclones, and frequent heavy rains. The winter season has milder temperatures and is quite dry. The forecasts for Mauritius are notoriously inaccurate and the weather varies wildly throughout the island in the mountains. Keeping an eye on the sky will be your best indicator. Be flexible with your plans.
Mauritius Meteorological Services is the be the best place to find information on weather and tides.
What to bring?
Expect strong sun, high humidity, high temperatures, mosquitoes, and spiny plants in places. Bring sunscreen, plenty of water, snacks, some sort of map and compass or a GPS, and a way to communicate if you get lost or injured. There are some hikes where you might want a machete and long pants/sleeves.
If you do not have your own transport do not despair as there is good bus service running to most of the island. Using the bus also allows you to do more creative hikes and connect many of the trails on this site. Bus service on major routes generally starts at 5:30am and ends at 8:00pm. For smaller villages service generally begins 6:30am and ends at 6:30pm. For detailed route information visit: http://www.mauritius-buses.com/
The Ecology and Landscape of Mauritius
The plants, animals, and landscape of Mauritius are unlike anywhere else on the planet. The island emerged from the Indian Ocean due to volcanic activity roughly 10 million years ago. The body of the volcano gradually eroded leaving several mountain ranges scattered about the island that rise up to 2716ft. The mountains receive significantly more rainfall than coastal regions. This varied landscape and the significant isolation from major landmasses fostered many unique, endemic species.
There were no terrestrial mammals until the arrival of humans 500 years ago. Humans have transformed much of the landscape for economic reasons and much of what remains is private property. A mere 2% of the original forest remains and many of the unique species have gone the way of the Dodo. The remaining original forest and endemic species are clustered around the three main mountain ranges.