Le Morne Brabant

Mauritius is a beautiful island filled with many things to discover and enjoy but nothing could have prepared me for two mornings hiking on the West of the island. The first trip was to climb up Le Morne Brabant and the second, to hike up the Tamarin Falls and swim in some of the seven cascades. Nothing could have prepared me for two of the most enjoyable days I have spent on the island in the last ten months.

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Le Morne from the sea on the West coast. The hike was from the left to right and the summit

This blog will deal with Le Morne Brabant. It forms an important part of the history of the island and is a now world heritage site.

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The entrance to the heritage site, opposite the beach and car park, showing the terrifyingly steep cliffs from the top

In the early 19th century, slaves would escape to Le Morne and hide in the many caves on the mountain. When slavery was abolished in February 1835, the police went to mountain to tell the slaves they were now free. They were not believed and many tragically jumped to their death, fearing the consequences of recapture.

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The view half way up Le Morne Brabant with the West and South coasts in full view.

Le Morne beach is one of the island’s most beautiful and is a peninsula on the South Western tip of the island. There is an aerial view often used in travel brochures of the lagoon looking a little like a waterfall and an opportunity to see both the South and West coasts from the top of the mountain. Public access to the mountain had only recently been granted and a new road had been laid for access.

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I wanted to learn more about Le Morne and its role in the history of Mauritius so I chose a guided tour with Yan, the founder of Yanature. His company has permission from the Gambier family, the owners of Le Morne, to take visitors across their land and on the mountain. This was an excellent decision.

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Having met opposite the Paradis hotel, we drove a short distance from Le Morne to the main coastal road and then through a private access gate across some fields and up a rocky unmade road suitable for 4 wheel drive only. The weather was perfect. Around 15 of us, all ages and build, listened as Yan and his colleague Zack gave us a brief introduction to the walk which was expected to last around 3 to 4 hours.

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The first part was a walk up a gentle slope in the early morning
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Some pretty wild flowers to spot on the way up

The sun was making it difficult to photograph the West coast view but the South coast was looking amazing.

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A stunning view which has to be seen to be truly appreciated

Yan gave us a short talk on the what we might see on the way up the mountain, some safety advice and some tips on how to manoeuvre the tricky parts of the climb.

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Time for a water break and words of wisdom!

The weather was improving by the minute, sunny, warm and acres of blue sky. Beautiful.

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Some of the hike was like taking a walk along a country lane

You need to be reasonably fit to do this hike and walking boots or shoes are very useful! On the steeper parts of the climb you have to go slow and work out where to put your hands and feet. There is are ropes in places to help as well.

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This hiker has just passed the national flower of Mauritius on his right

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The view up can be daunting. Staying close to the rock and spreading your hands and feet gives good anchor points. Believe me!

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The views of the South coast as you climb are superb
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Sometimes you have to stop to let people go the other way
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Trochetia Boutoniana (Boucle d’Oreille)

This is the only place you can see the National Flower of Mauritius in the wild. It flowers from June to October.

It had taken us about 90 minutes to get to this viewpoint over looking Le Morne and the coastline used by hundreds of kitesurfers each week.

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The bottom left hand quarter of the photo usually is filled with kite surfers. Either having breakfast or not enough wind! This is the view of the illusion of waterfall as seen from the air

The last steep climb seemed to take an age and it was frustrating to see people already there.

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Nearly there. “It is easier coming down!”

And so, two hours after starting the climb, we are at the top, 1825 feet above sea level.

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No sign of Julie Andrews anywhere
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Time to take a rest on the edge … if you are not frightened of heights
It had to be done
It had to be done

So after 15 minutes admiring the views and getting our breath back, we started to descend. It really was easier going down with your back to mountain rather than facing it going up.

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It does look a bit steep going down!

It only took 80 minutes to get to the base of the mountain and it was much easier with the rope.

This is definitely a hike to do with a guide and I could not recommend Yan and Zack from Yanature enough. They were great company and great fun to have an unforgettable morning with.

http://www.facebook.com/yanaturemauritius

http://www.trekkingmauritius.com

 

Amuse-bouches

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The view from the top of Le Morne Brabant

I have not posted a blog for two months now but I have been busy photographing and enjoying so many things that Mauritius has to offer. Here is a little selection of images to whet your appetite for the many blogs that will follow.

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Tamarind Falls
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Cane fields at Souillac
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Quatre Bornes Saturday Market
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Red whiskered bulbul in a coconut palm on the beach
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Pont Naturel
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Lord Shiva at Grand Bassin
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An offering at Grand Bassin
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Idols at Grand Bassin
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Kestrel Valley
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Crystal Rock
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Dolphins at Tamarin

It has been amazing!