Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden
Commonly known as Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mauritius, located near Port Louis.
Built by Pierre Poivre in 1767, it is the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere and covers some 37 hectares.
The attraction is most famous for its giant water lilies, spice garden, and a unique collection of 85 different kinds of palm from Central America, Asia, Africa, and the islands of the Indian Ocean.
The “seven-coloured earth” of Chamarel is a geological curiosity, and a major tourist attraction of Mauritius.
Chamarel is the only place in world where visitors can find clay earth of seven colours in one place. The nearby Waterfall of Chamarel is another attraction, with three distinct streams plunging 100 metres down into the gorge.
Trou aux Cerfs This 605 metre-high dormant volcano is located in Curepipe, Mauritius. The crater is about 300 metres in diameter, and 85 metres deep, with a small lake at the centre. Trou aux Cerfs is considered the main attraction of Curepipe. From the crater, visitors enjoy a spectacular view of Mauritius Island. The volcano was active until 600,000 to 700,000 years ago.
Vallée de Ferney
This reserve protects a 400 year-old forest, which is the natural habitat of the endangered Mauritius kestrel: one of the world's most at-risk raptors.
A well-marked three-kilometre walking trail winds through part of the forest, with a number of lookout points along the way. We recommend taking the guided tour to make the most of your visit.
The trail begins and ends at a thatch-roofed restaurant where locally-sourced venison dishes are a specialty. Four-wheel drive expeditions into the reserve are also available.
Domaine de L’Etoile
This popular forest reserve spreads over 2,000 hectares of unspoilt terrain, and can be explored on foot, on horseback, or by quad bike.
Mountain biking, guided hikes and archery are also on offer, and there is a restaurant on site. If you're lucky, you'll spot Javanese stags hiding in the forest – there are over 1,000 living in the reserve.
François Leguat Giant Tortoise and Cave Reserve
This giant tortoise and cave reserve aims to re-create the natural paradise described by the island's early explorers. Hundreds of tortoises roam the grounds, the outcome of a successful breeding program; a small enclosure houses several giant fruit bats, the island's only native mammal; and over 100,000 indigenous trees have been planted over the last four years.
The on-site museum recounts the history and settlement of Mauritius, and offers detailed information about the extinct solitaire, cousin of the dodo. Don't miss the guided tours of the on-site caves and keep an eye out for the tibia bone of a solitaire that juts out from the ceiling of one cavern. The reserve is around 1.5 kilometres northeast of the airport.
The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation / Ile aux Aigrettes
The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manages the island’s many reserves and also conducts tours of Ile aux Aigrettes, with proceeds going towards local conservation efforts.
The tours take between 1.5 and two hours, starting from Pointe Jérome, around 250 metres southeast of Le Preskîl hotel.
Longer tours of two to 2.5 hours are also available, allowing visitors time to meet members of the scientific teams working on Ile aux Aigrettes. Day tours and volunteering opportunities are also available.
Bookings should be made in advance by phone, via email or in person. The tour involves a good deal of walking: Wear comfortable shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen and water. At the end of the tour, there is a small museum and shop.
Le Souffleur is a hidden attraction known only to locals, near the village of L'Escalier. On the coast between Souillac and Blue Bay, this geological anomaly is a half-formed grotto on the side of a cliff, which spouts a geyser of water up to 20 metres in the air when seas are rough. We strongly recommend hiring a local guide to to reach Le Souffleur.