Republished from TravelMole
Mauritius is quickly gaining traction as must-visit destination to visit and Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort is an ideal home base from which to explore the ecotourism attractions of the ‘wild’ south of the island.
The beachfront resort is on the doorstep of the original Bel Ombre and Macchabee nature reserve, which was declared a sanctuary back in 1960 and later became part of the spectacular Black River Gorges National Park, a unique 6574 hectare (16 acres) biosphere comprising steep waterfalls and forested slopes.
The mountains and valleys of the southern massif reach down into a tapestry of plantations, lagoons and mangrove reserves, adjoining coral reefs and offshore islands. Many of them are bio-reserves in their own right, such as Ile aux Aigrettes.
Outrigger Mauritius offers ten ecotourism experiences in the south of the island to get acquainted with the stunning biodiversity and ecological history of the Indian Ocean island.
In all, there are today 10 endemic protected nature sites across Mauritius, most of them in the south. All are all open to the public.
Guides can be arranged for guests who want to learn about flora and fauna — or just get out and about on a forest hike or an electric bicycle ride.
As part of Outrigger’s ZONE (OZONE) conservation initiatives a number of ecotourism activities are available at Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort, such as:
- Guided Hike in Biosphere Reserve: A guided five-hour hike among mid-altitude forest, tropical evergreen forest, marshlands and heath at the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Bel Ombre, adjacent to the resort. The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation guide will help you spot rare endemic birds such as the Echo Parakeet, Mauritius Kestrel, Pink Pigeon, the Cuckoo Shrike and more.
- E-Bike Tours: The best of the south coast on an e-bike. The rides last half a day or a full day and allow guests to enjoy the landscapes, take pictures and relax. Go independently or with a guide.
- Horse Riding in Riambel: Located just a few minutes away from the resort, the Centre Equestre de Riambel offers horse riding sessions on a 2.5 km stretch of beach. Horse riders can also swim with the horses in the lagoons.
- Hike Black River Gorges National Park: Awild and rugged corner of Mauritius, the last stand of many indigenous forest and wildlife species in a remote area covering 2% of Mauritius’ land surface. Hike off trail with a guide or enjoy over 50km of tracks.
- Lagoon Trip by Glass Bottom Boat: In the Bel Ombre lagoon at the Outrigger there are pristine coral reefs, and sea grass beds, with approximately 70 different fish species observed in the lagoon. The activity is a key part of Outrigger’s global marine conservation initiative, ‘OZONE’, which is committed to preserving coral reefs.
- Hike Frederica Reserve: Take a guided trip in sugar cane fields on the coast, up valleys with waterfalls to deeply forested highlands. It is the habitat of rare birds: the Black Bulbul and the Echo Parakeet. Look out for the Java deer. Night safaris are also available.
- Iles Aux Aigrettes: The 27 hectare low-lying islet just under a kilometre off the southeast coast of Mauritius is now a nature reserve, scientific research station and ecotourism attraction. The island retains the only surviving “Mauritius Dry Coastal Forest” and is home to endangered species. Visitors can see the Aldabra giant tortoise, the slow Telfairs Skink, and the wildly coloured day gecko.
- Kite Surfing: The south of Mauritius is ideal for kite surfing, especially June to September. It takes between six and 10 hours to learn the basics. It’s a challenging sport that requires a degree of resilience before you can perform freestyle, wave riding, jumping, and air-style. The dedicated will receive an updated IKO progression card from the instructor.
- Le Morne Mountain Hike: The 490m peak is a World Heritage site. It honours the island’s slaves who found refuge on the mountain. You need a guide to reach the top and enjoy the views from this coastal mountain. For the fit only.
- Seven-Coloured Earth: Apart from waterfalls, mountains, plateaus, crater and valley views, one of the attractions of a trip to Chamarel is to witness the ‘Seven Coloured Earth’ phenomenon. Through variable decomposition of volcanic rock, sand dunes have settled into surreal stripes of seven different colours in a process that geologists don’t yet fully understand.
For resort information and booking visit outrigger.com.
Note: some activities may be limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.