A deep gorge slices through lush land, waterfalls tumble from dramatic heights and swaths of old-growth ebony carpet the rolling terrain to create mile upon mile of rippling green – Mauritius showcases earth’s eden-like abilities with the Black River Gorges National Park.
Established in 1994 to protect the flora and fauna found here, its wild forests now cover roughly 3% of the island’s surface. This is Mauritius’ largest national park and with 60 km of twisting trails, the hikes here are some of the region’s most rewarding. It pays to get off of the beach on this island getaway, we promise.
Any avid bird watchers are in for a treat as the park is home to nine endemic species. But, if you don’t know your kestrels from your pigeons, not to worry as there is plenty more to see here. Between stumbling across oasis-like volcanic lakes, noting the 300 varieties of plants that make up the jungle-like expanse and being spellbound by pretty cascades, it’s likely that the hours will pass without you even noticing the time.
And the beauty of this wilderness is its ever-changing nature. Start in the east and you’ll experience damp, rainy uplands, but make your way to the west and you’ll come across drier, lowland forest. The varying microclimates just adding to the sense of a Jurassic Park-esque adventure.
Bats hang out in caves and only emerge in the inky cloak of darkness, right? Wrong. And that’s something that the 4000 resident giant fruit bats of Black River Gorges National Park, flying overhead in their masses, will quickly prove.
Then there’s the birds. Three of this mystical forest’s nine endemic bird species are considered to be some of the rarest birds in the world. Sightings of the oh-so-exotic Mauritius kestrel, echo parakeet and pink pigeon will be enough to bring out the inner bird watcher in anyone. But the birds and bats aren’t the only wildlife attractions in this park, wild boar, monkeys and deer can also be found here.
Wildlife? Tick. Fairytale forest trails? Tick. Incredible views? Obviously. Make sure to stop at the designated view points for unprecedented sweeping vistas of an endless sea of green unfurling along volcanic peaks – pack a picnic and soak it all in.
Visit this incredible national park during your Mauritius retreat, our highly recommended beach add-on to our South Africa holidays.
The dramatic, mountainous region of the island’s southwestern corner.
Gates are open between 7am and 4pm daily.
During flowering season – September to January – the park is even more impossibly pretty than usual.
Comfortable shoes and walking clothes.
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