Mauritius is a stunning island country in the Indian Ocean that’s famous for its paradisiacal beaches, lagoons and luxury resorts. Aside from its glorious coastline and marine activities, there are many things to do in Mauritius in its beautiful hinterland. The interior of the island is characterised by rolling landscapes and plains against a backdrop of low mountain ranges with jagged peaks, remnants of the island’s volcanic past. My favourite part of Mauritius is arguably the southwestern corner, with its blindingly white beaches and aquamarine lagoons framed by mountains, the most famous of which is Le Morne Brabant, a 556 meter basaltic monolith. This mountain was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. On a recent trip to Mauritius, I spent a few days exploring southwestern Mauritius and the Chamarel area, with its unique natural attractions.
Places to visit in south west Mauritius
The south west coast of Mauritius has some of the island’s best beaches and is also a world-renowned spot for kite-surfing. Head inland and you’ll find forest-clad mountains, gushing rivers, waterfalls and other natural attractions. I explored south west Mauritius with a few friends but it’s also possible to join a guided tour to discover this corner of Mauritius. Here are the best places to visit in south west Mauritius, all of which can easily be covered in a day:
The Chamarel Falls
From Case Noyale on the coast, we made our way up the winding, scenic B104 road into the Chamarel hills. At the top of the road was a lookout point with panoramic views of Le Morne mountain and the lagoon.
From here, we continued to the other natural attractions that this area is famous for. Our first stop was the Chamarel Falls, a gorgeous waterfall that emerges from the thick jungle and plunges almost 100 meters into a gorge. There are upper and lower viewing platforms – walking between the platforms allows you to spot the birdlife and enjoy the flora.
Seven Coloured Earths, Giant Tortoises and the Ebony Forest
From the Chamarel Falls, we continued to another natural attraction: the Seven Coloured Earths. This is a small area formed by volcanic activity to form dune-like mounds covered with different coloured sands. It’s best viewed on a sunny day when the colours really pop – unfortunately, it was pretty cloudy when we were there.
Next to the Seven Coloured Earths is a small reserve for giant tortoises. Also in the vicinity is the Ebony Forest, with its unique species of trees that are endemic to Mauritius. This nature reserve has well-maintained paths and canopy walkways.
Lunch at Le Chamarel Restaurant
After a short stroll in the forest, it was time for lunch. We decided to head to Le Chamarel Restaurant, which serves local Mauritian cuisine. The best part about having a meal here, aside from the delicious food, is the stunning panoramic view of the south west coast.
After lunch, we continued along the Plaine Champagne Road (love that name!) past the Rhumerie de Chamarel – a popular rum distillery where you can taste this famous Mauritius rhum. We didn’t stop here but instead followed the road through the lush Black River Gorges National Park to a place I’d heard of and which really piqued my interest: the Takamaka Boutique Winery. There are no vineyards here but they do produce wines made of typical Mauritius fruits. The winery has a tasting area and a restaurant which is also a great lunch spot. I’m not a big fan of fruity wines (as they’re usually very sweet) but the Takamaka wines were a very pleasant surprise. I was particularly impressed by the Aperichy lychee wine. I wasn’t expecting much but this semi-dry variety, with its gorgeous pink colour, soft lychee flavour and smooth finish was simply top-notch!
From there, we made my way down to the south coast and continued west towards Le Morne Brabant along the B9 road. There was time for one more stop: a viewpoint atop a cliff. The view across the massive lagoon would’ve been amazing on a sunny day, but alas, the weather wasn’t on our side that day. If it’s a clear day, I do recommend a quick photo stop here though. You can’t miss this viewpoint as you drive along the B9 road towards Le Morne Brabant.
Hiking on Le Morne Brabant
Further along the road is the entrance to the hiking trail that leads to the top of Le Morne Brabant. It’s a pretty challenging hike (especially the second half) and I recommend going with a guide, and only in the early morning before it gets too hot. The views from the mountaintop are simply worth the effort though! On a good day, you’ll be able to see the famous ‘underwater waterfall’, an optical illusion formed by coral reefs and sand banks.
Where to stay in south west Mauritius
South west Mauritius, with its mountains, forests and thinly-populated coast, is a great area to explore, that’s if you can tear yourself away from the beach! You can also choose to stay in one of the beautiful resorts in this corner of Mauritius. Luxury resorts I can recommend include Dinarobin Beachcomber, Paradis Beachcomber, The St. Regis Mauritius, LUX Le Morne and Heritage Le Telfair.
I’ve stayed at Dinarobin Beachcomber Resort (watch the video of my stay below), Le Telfair as well as the St. Regis Mauritius and they are all included in my list of recommended luxury resorts in Mauritius.