Nature holidays in Mauritius, a peek to the edge of our planet.
You could feel the excitement of the preparations before our next adventure in the atmosphere of our lovely home, situated in the North of Mauritius, a village called Trou aux Biches. We started packing our tents and bags for our so-awaited camping trip the night before. A tent, lantern and a lighter are the “must bring” to any camping trip, but we went for the comfort, so we packed some more supplies; blankets and mats for our tents, couple of pans, a grill and cutlery for the meals. Not to mention the delicious homemade pizza and snacks we also cooked beforehand. I went to bed so excited I could barely sleep that night.
We woke up very early in the morning to get everything into the car and set sail to our adventure. Of course, not without first stopping by the next neighborhood, Triolet, for my now favorite local breakfast. A round piece of bread stuffed with poulet (chicken), gros pois (broad beans) and potatoes, or my hosts´ favorite – stuffed with veggies and soya in a spicy tomato sauce, known as rougaille.
A Cultural Morning in the North
It was the first weekend of February, and the second full moon of the year; thus, the Tamil-Mauritian community was celebrating the last day of the Thaipoosam Cavadee festival with a seemingly endless parade paying tribute to God Muruga, the Hindu God of War. They were doing a bare-feet procession from the Maheswarnath Shiv Mandir Temple at the start of Triolet, to the Solitude Mariammen Kovil Temple right at the exit of the village, carrying all types of beautifully decorated Cavadees. A wooden structure made of bamboo and rods, adorned with coconut leaves and flowers which symbolize a mountain of burden that they carry in hope for repentance.
Sacred piercings are also done with vels (small needles shaped like lances) on the tongue and cheeks to help them fulfill the vow of silence that will be observed during the whole pilgrimage. Marching bare feet under the scorching tropical sun with pierced tongues and cheeks while carrying a cavadee is no easy feat but the pilgrims are accompanied by religious groups who sing devotional mantras to lift their spirits.
We sat there to enjoy our breakfast, while listening to their prayers and chants as they did their colorful pilgrimage through the main road of Triolet.
The First Port of Mauritius
After this multi-sensorial experience, we continued our way towards the southeast on a drive of about an hour and a half until we reached a charming town on the eastern coast named Mahebourg, the first and oldest port of the Island. You can tell how important this town used and remains to be, as you feel the animated vibe and crowded streets. After all, not every coastal village counts with a market and colorful lively stalls facing the sea.
We met with the rest of the crew in the Port by a fruit seller stall, where we bought a refreshing coconut and enjoyed it while contemplating the calm waters of the Mahébourg Bay; imagining how the place used to look back then, when the first explorers anchored their ships hundreds of years ago.
A Slice of Heaven on Earth
At only 20 mins. drive from Mahébourg, we arrived at what, in a matter of seconds, became my favorite place on the Island so far, La Cambuse beach. One of the few remaining beaches preserved wild and construction-free in Mauritius.
Standing on the beach, you can admire the fierce Indian Ocean in all its splendor and feel the tree-bending South East Trade Winds in your ears. On your back, a beautiful coastal forest of very tall pines expands. A combination of three different ecosystems: the fierce ocean, the tranquil beach and the vivid forest, all sustaining each other in perfect balance.
It is the ideal landscape to be by yourself, with your sweetheart or with your friends and family. I’m thankful that I was able to spend a whole weekend in this magical place. I am looking forward to be back with our conscious team and trash bags to do a cleanup, because as sad as it sounds, we saw a lot of plastic brought onshore by the sea. So here´s a little reminder to take responsibility into our own hands and our own travels, for the future generations to keep discovering the beauty of these places, just as we do today.
Camping in the South: The highlight of a nature holiday in Mauritius
It took us a little while to take down all the supplies and get them to the camping spot. We then split in two groups, one to set up the tents and the second one to look up for wood for the bonfire.
Once everything was set, we jumped right into the crystal clear water; but don’t get me wrong, this is not the famous calm lagoons of Mauritius. I would actually say you need to be an experienced swimmer to better enjoy the powerful ocean of the south, with waves of about 3-5 ft. It’s amazing how much you can see underwater without a mask, I can only imagine the things you get to see with one.
After the energizing swim, we laid down on the warm sand to admire the breathtaking landscape while the sun was waving us goodbye. It was hard to stop looking at the hypnotizing ocean, but we eventually managed to go back into the woods to our camp. We lit up the fire with fallen branches and with much help from the dry needles of the pines. After a little while, but before it got dark, we were already settled down, ready to enjoy a happy campers dinner.
All of a sudden, the wind brought a big dark cloud on top of us and dropped its rain for about 5 minutes. Just enough to wash away the salty layer from the sweat and ocean, without shutting off the fire. It felt like nature was giving us a shower of fresh water before going to bed, rounding up this truly magical day. We continued enjoying our evening until midnight, when the wind blew away the rest of the clouds and we finally admired the full moon of God Muruga, accompanied by the view of the Milky Way, shining just for us.
Good Morning Sunshine
We woke up to the sound of the singing birds and the fierce waves of the ocean crashing on the beach in the background. We lit up what remained of last night’s bonfire to have our typical camping breakfast: perfect sunny side-up eggs with canned beans and pot coffee. Thinking about it again makes my mouth water.
This is the part I love the most about campings, the day after, when you have already spent a whole day in nature and start getting ready to reconnect with it again, as one. Especially when you are camping for more that one night, to avoid that weird feeling that comes when great things come to an end, similar to the one you get on a Sunday evening.
Anyways, this time was not the case, as we had a whole day and night ahead of us to enjoy this place. So we headed on a coastal trek for about a couple of hours or so. What amazed me the most was that every 300 ft. or so we would find a new river. Some would create a natural pond before reaching the shore, others a little waterfall from the top of the cliffs into the ocean and in some places, we could even listen to the water running underground, right beneath our feet, always running towards the ocean.
The Wild Wild South
As we made our way down to the southern tip of the island through the cliffs and the coastal forest, we traded our beautiful wide beach for a more rocky landscape, where the waves hit so hard, I don’t think anyone in its right mind would dare to get any close. But after a while, we made it to a little hidden sandy beach where we could enjoy a refreshing splash. Such a breathtaking view, it felt as if the whole Indian Ocean was our own private pool.
We walked a little further from the sandy beach and found a little waterfall falling from the cliff straight into the rocks where we were standing, just before reaching the sea. It was just the perfect spot to shower off the salty water before heading back to our camp. By the time we got back we were starving, so we lit the fire back and toasted our home made pizzas, a perfect reward after swimming and trekking all day long.
After dinner, we sat around the bonfire and enjoyed some drinks in that special moment that arrives as the night falls, when the atmosphere gets very quiet and we all just stare at the fire. Just before midnight the strong winds blew away the clouds again, so we went for a short walk on the beach to admire the beautiful moon and the vast stars for a last time in this place.
We woke up the next morning and went straight into the fresh ocean for a good-bye splash, trying not to let that weird Sunday feeling sunk in. We came back to the camp for our traditional breaky and packed up our things. We headed back home to treat ourselves for a hot shower and our comfy beds, thanking nature for giving us another great opportunity to enjoy it and hoping for the next adventure not to be so far away on the calendar.
If you ever come to Mauritius…
…I’d highly recommend contacting the friendly and savvy guys that hosted me. Thanks to them I was able to discover all these hidden gems, as well as enjoyed a lot more amazing experiences. Most importantly, you’ll be able to do it in a conscientious way, helping to preserve and restore the natural environment and supporting the local economy of this beautiful Island.
You can contact them directly on this website, Mauritius Conscious, where you’ll be able to find more inspiring stories, local tips and, if you feel ready, they’ll be glad to start tailor-making the perfect trip for you!