The south is the last region to have obtained the favours of national
development policies. A visit to the South is always described as being
a refreshingly soothing outing.
Perhaps it has to do with the prevailing south east trade winds blowing 10 months of the year. The barrier reefs in that area are only 20 metres away from the beach and swimming is strictly prohibited.
The South of Mauritius stretches from Blue Bay to the east and Le Morne Peninsula to the west, with Souillac, its most famous stopover village, halfway in between. This is a land of natural splendour with wild and undeveloped landscapes, empty beaches and dramatic cliffs dropping 50 meters into the surging, untamed and treacherous tides of the South Seas.
This rugged stretch of coastline is in complete contrast with the lush and green landscape as one drives inland towards the central plateau where Plaine Champagne offers the visitor a spectacular view over the Black River Gorges. A few kilometres away the immaculate mansions of Bois Cheri and St. Aubin announce the visit to the tea plantations of the island. Further to the West, inland the Savane range stretches south-westerly from the Central plateau, right down to the Le Morne Mountain overlooking the peninsula, where the crystal clear waters are home to a range of four and five star luxury hotels built directly on the beachfront. The peninsula also boasts one to the best Golf ranges in Mauritius – a world-renowned 18 hole 72-par golf course.
The obvious attraction in the area is undoubtedly the Chamarel coloured earths nestled in the very heart of Chamarel village, by far one of the most typical villages in Mauritius. As you drive east along the coastline, take a few minutes to stop at Riambel and further away at Souillac. This village seems to have stopped in time and its natural charm gives it an atmosphere of tranquillity. Next to the Telfair Gardens, overlooking the cliffs is the Robert Edward Hart museum called Le NEF, where the Mauritian poet lived and died.
The coast road from the Telfair Gardens will then take you to Gris Gris where a breathtaking view over the southern cliffs and lashing tides awaits you. Despite the inviting shallow lagoon and clear waters below, take heed, swimming here can be deadly!
Looking west from the Gris Gris viewpoint, a large boulder stretches out at sea. Hiking down the steps or taking the trekking paths from there, take the walk to La Roche Qui Pleure (Crying Rock)– a basaltic promontory which will take you even further out at sea. When riding this rock make sure you have a steady step as any fall from this 75 meters high rock would be fatal.
From there the next place of interest is the famous Vanilla Crocodile Park – a real life reserve for exporting crocodile skins whilst the owners offer the visitors an array of reptiles, birds and monkeys in their mini-zoo. The insectarium boasts more than 20,000 species of butterflies, beetles and insects. Guided tours take visitors around the “croc” farm, explaining in detail the whole process of raising and curing these wild reptiles.