Discover the South of Mauritius
If you are looking for a landscape which is both wild and beautiful, head to the south of Mauritius. You will find pristine sandy beaches which are bordered by impressive cliffs, spectacular mountains, and sugar cane fields.
This area has remained virtually untouched because there aren’t many calm lagoons for swimming in. But there do exist areas where you can swim, surf and do water sport activities. In addition, you will find breath taking views and plenty to keep you occupied.
Towns and Villages
Mahebourg is the main village in the south. In fact it used to be the capital of the island until it changed to Port Louis during the time colonisation of the island by the French. The village was founded by the French Governor, Charles Decaen and named after the Governor Mahé de Labourdonnais. It was the centre of economic life under the administration of the French.
Nowadays Mahebourg is a peaceful village with no hustle and bustle except on Mondays which is market day. It has a great market which is popular and where you can get good deals on spices, clothes, and more.
You also have the Mahebourg waterfront where you can sit and relax and enjoy the magnificent view of the sea. Mahebourg is usually voted as the most beautiful village on the island in yearly village contest.
A few kilometres away from the village of Mahebourg, you will find the only airport in Mauritius the “Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport” in a small village named Plaisance.
About 15 minutes’ drive from the airport you have the village of Rose Belle which hosts a newly built commercial centre which bears the name of ‘Plaisance Shopping Village’. It has shops selling local as well as international brands.
Souillac is a village close to the southernmost point of the island. Here you can visit the Robert Edward Hart Museum dedicated to the Mauritian poet and painter, and the Telfair Municipal Gardens.
Bel Ombre is a village a few kilometres away from Souillac which is home to some of the most beautiful hotels on the island; Heritage Telfair Golf Spa and Outrigger.
Beaches where you can swim are rare here, but when you find one, it is striking. Blue Bay is the most popular family beach venue in the south and for some even the best on the island. It is surrounded by casuarina trees and has a well preserved marine park. Corals and fish can be seen only a few meters out from the beach. It is a great place to snorkel or to take a trip on a glass bottom boat. You could be lucky enough to see parrot fish, trumpet fish, and baby barracudas.
While on the Blue Bay beach you will catch a glimpse of the majestic Ile aux Deux Cocos. You can take a boat trip to reach there.
On the road to Blue Bay you have another little treasure known as Pointe D'Esny, it is a magnificent beach but can't be access by car, you have to leave your vehicle on the main road and walk through a small path in between bungalows to reach there.
Mauritius is surrounded by coral reefs which explains the calm sea and beaches that we are able to enjoy around the island. Gris Gris which is found in the village of Souillac is an exception with a break in the coral reefs which explains the rough sea and waves crashing over the cliffs.
Gris Gris is therefore a place for sightseeing as it is dangerous and prohibited to swim there. There are kiosks and barriers to enable you to admire this amazing scenery of waves crashing against the volcanic rocks. If you approach the barriers be ready as you may get wet with the power of the waves. This is a wonderful show of the power of nature.
Not far from Gris Gris you also have ‘La Roche Qui Pleure’ which translates to ‘Crying Rock’ in English. This place is found a few metres from Gris Gris, it is so called because the continuous crashing of the waves on its flanks gives the impression that it is crying.
Riviere des Galets is another beauty of nature in the South East of the island. Here forget about picture postcard beaches with white powdery sand, on this beach the sand is replaced by pebbles hence the name Riviere des Galets with the word ‘Galets’ which means pebbles in French.
Riviere des Galets is in fact a river. The mouth of the river flows into the sea down the heights of the village of Chemin Grenier, this place is thus known as Riviere des Galets beach. The pebbles of various shapes and sizes are stones which have been shaped by the force of the river.
The sound of the waves on the pebbles is amazing, it’s like small firecrackers. This pebble beach is unique on the island and once again makes the beauty of the natural and wild southern region.
A few kilometres away from Souillac you have the village of L’Escalier. From this small village following a bumpy road in the middle of the sugarcane fields, you will reach ‘Le Souffleur’. Here like in Gris Gris you can admire the beauty of the crashing waves.
Not far from Le Souffleur there is another natural phenomenon which is worth a visit namely ‘Pont Naturel’ which translates to Natural Bridge in English. This spectacular rock formation forms a natural bridge on the rough sea.
You also have Ilot Sanchot which is a beauty of nature. It is a small island situated a few metres from the beach, what makes it unique is that there is small natural path which links the beach to the isle, therefore you can walk to go on the islet.
Le Morne, on the south western coast is popular with surfers, kite surfers, and gliders. Surfing is also good at Riviere des Galets and Ilot Sancho. A great place to go snorkelling is St Felix Beach. It also bears a great historical heritage with Le Morne mountain classified as a World Heritage Site.
Riambel and Saint Felix beaches are found between the villages of Souillac and Bel Ombre and are great places to meet the locals.
All these places are symbolic of the wilderness and beauty of the south coast of the island.
What to Do
If you are in Mahebourg, don’t miss going to the National History Museum where you will see the bell which was recovered from the wreck of the ship, St Geran. There are old maps on show, swords which belonged to pirates, and fragments of shipwrecks.
Near Ferney in Mahebourg, you will find a monument marking where the Dutch landed in 1598 and The Frederick Hendrick Museum. You can walk over the little bridge and have a lovely view of the small islands close by.
In Souillac you can visit the Robert Edward Hart Museum dedicated to the Mauritian poet and painter, and the Telfair Municipal Gardens.
If you are interested in nature, head over to the Ile aux Aigrettes which is a nature reserve 800 meters off the coast near Mahebourg. A guide will take you to see giant tortoises and pink pigeons.
La Vanille Nature Park is also worth a visit. Here you will find crocodiles from Madagascar as well as other reptiles. La Vanille Nature Park is home to fish, tortoises, birds, and monkeys, all living in a fantastic tropical garden.
At La Vanille Reserve des Mascareignes there is a fossil museum, insectariums, an aquarium, tortoises, and monkeys. If you want to try something different there is a restaurant close by which serves crocodile meat.
If you enjoy trekking why not scale the mountain of Le Morne. From the top you will be rewarded by a marvellous view of the peninsula and an unusual optical illusion of an underwater waterfall.
In the Domaine de Bel Ombre, you can have the opportunity to play golf, go quad biking, hiking, and 4 wheel drive touring.
There is a very interesting trip you can take called La Route du The, which will introduce you to the plantation past of Mauritius. You will visit three of the remaining colonial estates. The first is a Creol Mansion which is now a museum. The second is Bois Cheri Tea Plantation and the last is St Aubin where you will find a rum distillery.
In the south east of the island there are ruins of ancient fortifications which the French constructed to mark their naval battles.
As can be seen there are plenty of fascinating places to go in the south of Mauritius. If you are looking for a less touristy place to go and see how the locals live, head here.