Mauritius, the paradise island on the Indian Ocean, although not large in size, is exceptionally rich in natural beauty. Actually, the size of the island can be its biggest asset as far as visiting is concerned. The amazing gorges, beaches, cliffs, waterfalls and natural wonders are situated just a few steps away one from another. The tropical climate is ideal for vacation too, all year round.
The easiest way to travel in Mauritius is by car, but there are also many tours available in tourist offices in the capital, Port Louis. I was very lucky to be able to travel around the island to its southernmost point with the local family, to experience the hospitality and try some delicious Mauritian food.
Gris-Gris cliffs and the beach
Gris-Gris, the southernmost point of Mauritius is completely different from the rest of the island. You will not find the ubiquitous coral reefs and the idyllic, quiet scenery here. The sea at Gris-Gris is very rough and the black cliffs made of volcanic rock may remind a little of Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. However, here the waves are incomparably larger than in Ireland and, crashing against the walls of the cliffs, they make a wonderful show of the power of the nature. Beside the car park, before you get to the cliffs, there's a beautiful golden beach but swimming there is extremely dangerous. The waves are really big and you have to be prepared to get wet even while walking along the cliff edge. The place gives a truly amazing opportunity to take great pictures, but the mist from salty sea water is in the air everywhere, so be sure to protect your lens as it may cause some damage.
Gris-Gris is located near the village of Souillac. To get there, you must drive through some private sugar cane fields and the road is not paved. There are some hand-painted signs along the way that will guide you to the coast.
Pont Naturel - Natural Bridge
Pont Naturel (Natural Bridge) is exactly what the name says. It's a volcanic rock formation (2 meters or 6.5 feet long) that looks like a man-made bridge yet it is formed by natural processes. It's a part of the cliff at Gris-Gris. If you are brave enough, you can try to cross it, you will see the waves hitting the rocks underneath and sometimes passing over the bridge. This spot is another amazing point for great photographs, you just need to be patient while waiting for the waves to come. On the surface, there are many little holes through which sea water goes making whistling sounds. That's why this place is also called "le soufler" which means "a blower". Nearby, there's a nice wooded area where you can find shelter from the heat. It's a perfect place for picnics, very popular among locals. I had a chance to take part in one and try some tasty (and spicy) Mauritian food.
Rochester Falls are located 2.5 km (1.6 miles) from Souillac. They are not the biggest, tallest and greatest in the world but while visiting the south of Mauritius, really worth seeing. The falls are hidden in the valley among trees and sugar cane fields. What's interesting is that the volcanic rock formations in the shape of black columns create ledges which, with water flowing down, look very impressive. Also, if you are lucky, you might see young people showing off their their skills and jumping down the 10 meter (33 feet) waterfall into into the river.
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