Before Man settled on the island, it was almost entirely covered with forests, but today the country is fighting to preserve whatever is left of its primitive nature. Here is a guide to nature trails that will take at the heart of the Mauritian forest.
Black River Gorges National Park
With a total of 6,754 hectares, the Black River Gorges National Park in the south-western part of the island is the country’s largest park. It shelters ebony trees, guava trees, traveller’s trees and a great variety of palm trees, ferns and giant bamboo. During the guava season, you can go on a fruit-picking excursion.
Frederica Nature Reserve
Spreading over 1,300 hectares, Frederica rises at 550 meters above sea level and extends from dry coastal forest to higher wetland with stunning views over the mountains and the south-western coast of Mauritius. You might be lucky enough to spot a Roussette bat, the only living endemic mammal on the island, among other animals such as deer, wild boars, monkeys, mongooses, white-tailed tropicbirds and the Mauritius Parakeet.
Bras d’eau National Park
Located in Roches-Noires in the north-eastern part of the island, Bras d’eau National Park invites you to a nice stroll within 497,2 hectares of forest, where you will find an old sugar mill, a lime kiln, a 200-year-old well, an old railway… Such relics of the past were left by indentured labourers who used to live in the area. The park is also home to various animals, including antthrushes, wild boars, monkeys and some rare birds.
La Vallée de Ferney
La Vallée de Ferney shelters a vast array of native species, many of which are rare or endangered. The entry fee does not only give you access to one of the most popular and spectacular trails on the island, but is also a way for you to contribute to the preservation of the country’s biodiversity.
Sophie Nature Walk
The lesser-known Sophie Nature Walk spreads over 10 hectares of forest. If you are visiting the area of Mare aux Vacoas, stop by for a picnic or a healthy walk in the park. It has an arboretum, a museum and a fern greenhouse. Along the trail, you may spot various endemic plants, birds and a few monkeys.
Powder Mills Nature Walk
After a visit at the Pamplemousses Garden, ask your way to this trail set in a 60-hectare forest. Powder Mills Nature Walk owes its name to an old gun factory, which was transferred there in 1774. Many plant species such as Mahogany, Teak, Tecoma, Araucaria and some medicinal plants grow on this site, which also houses an endemic garden and a nursery.
Montvert Nature Walk
If you are travelling across the island, take a break to stretch your legs in the area of Forest Side. You can choose from different trails of about 3 km each to explore the local wildlife. At about 1 km from the forest, you will find a botanical garden and a museum with a photo exhibition.
There are so many reasons to take a walk into the woods and discover in the meantime the rich endemic wildlife of Mauritius.