The best photos from Mauritius 2019

Over the Christmas holidays, I had time to reflect on the hundreds of photos I took in Mauritius during 2019. It has been a pleasurable task to choose.

Photos say more than a thousand words, hopefully these say even more! Let’s start with a sunset (I have many!)

I am so lucky to have been able to enjoy many experiences in Mauritius thanks to the lovely people and the wonderful environment. Sugar cane is part of the heritage of Mauritius. The origins of the lava stones made into 7 pyramids are unclear but here they are in fields close the airport.

There are many temples, mosques and churches on the island. All are well supported, maintained and used. The Hindu temples in particular are fantastically colourful and happy places. It has taken years to complete the decoration and painting of this one in Port Louis.

The lagoon is a great place for fun above and below the water. Kite surfing is very popular at Le Morne in the South West and a spectacular backdrop. On the best days, around a hundred kitesurfers can be seen hurtling across the water.

Swimming with dolphins is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. The best trips are further out to sea, you can see why these are called bottle nose dolphins.

A trip to Crystal Rock was also planned for the same morning and it did not disappoint neither did the snorkelling in crystal clear blue water.

There is a monument at Le Morne for the abolition of slavery, now a world heritage site. Slaves who had escaped and hidden on the mountain would rather jump than be caught.

The lagoon, sugar cane and the mountains define Mauritius, sometimes you just have to take a photo and enjoy the view.

Occasionally, something happens that really surprises you, like when walking through a forest coming across a herd of goats marshalled by dogs and a single goatherd (if that is the name)

Or when stuck in traffic seeing a brilliantly coloured rainbow.

Inside an abandoned sugar mill, there was vegetation growing in the ruins and beautifully lit by the sun creeping through a leaking roof.

Outside a tree has survived years of sun, rain and wind to cling on to life by its roots.

Trees let us know its nearly Christmas as the aptly named Flamboyant flowers in December.

Palm trees provide a pleasant place for birds to have a rest.

Trees can provide a spectacular cover to the drive at the entrance to a grand old colonial Chateau like Labourdonnais.

The lagoon is teeming with fish and also beyond the reef. Fisherman soon sell their catch, you just need to know where to look.

Street food like Faratas, Gateau Piment and Dholl Puri are tasty and great value for money.

Street Art grabs you in Port Louis.

What a labour of love this factory office entrance is!

The street that sells thousands of flowers every day for garlands, bouquets and decoration is a hive of activity early in the morning.

Umbrellas provide shade and colour on a busy street in the waterfront at Caudan.

Waterfalls and rivers amaze you in the Black River Gorge.

Incredible roots and colours in the Gorge, it must come from the heat and humidity.

When visiting the Gorge, a popular tourist attraction is the rum factory at Chamarel, especially for the tasting.

There is even cactus growing wild on the cliffs.

To finish of some of the best photographs of the year, it has to be a sunset.

What will 2020 bring?

Salt Pans at Tamarin

This is sadly the last place in Mauritius that salt is produced using traditional methods that have not changed in over 200 years.

The gates are often locked but if you go early in summer you can ask to go in and look around, children seem especially curious about how salt is made.

Sea water is pumped directly from the lagoon into large black cobblestone ‘pans’ and simply left to evaporate.

Collection of the salt mainly happens in the hot, dry summer periods as when it rains, well, it is back to square one or pan one!

It takes a couple of days for the water to evaporate and crystals to form.

It could be like walking on ice, frost or frozen snow.

The more delicate ‘Fleur de sel’ (rich in magnesium) is gathered from the surface water in a ‘lousse’ and larger crystals of rock salt from the bottom of the pans.

Salt used to be put into wicker baskets and left out to dry but these have now been replaced by plastic ones with drainage holes.

These ladies must be the fittest in Tamarin.

Harvested salt is now left to dry indoors in the rock building prior to bagging and despatch.

Natural as well as flavoured salts are available to buy in selected stores around the island.

The salt pans are an important part of the history and culture of Mauritius, it is sad to see them gradually being replaced by luxury property development and cheaper imports of salt. It is of great interest to visitors on the island as is obvious by the number of people stopping to photograph and discover how salt used to be harvested.

Photography exhibition at Caudan

Caudan waterfront in Port Louis has an outdoor exhibition of some wonderful photographs from around the island to celebrate 50 years of independence for Mauritius in 2018.

This is a selection of photographs I have taken of the excellent ones taken by talented local photographers.

Watching a sunset after a day on the beach is what many people do at the weekend and sunsets here are spectacular.

Sometimes, the sea just looks like it is on fire.

I am learning how to take better photographs in different lighting conditions; this is a tremendous one.

Some local “Sega” dancers performing on the beach.

The different colour sands at Chamarel can be seen clearly here.

Many of the public beaches are busy with local families at the weekend, most preferring to enjoy their time protected from the sun by the shade from the trees whilst mad dogs (of which there are many) and Englishmen (of which there are few) lay out in the midday sun … and get burnt!

The lagoon is teeming with fish and all you need is a hook, some nylon thread, a stick and a little patience to catch your supper.

Only one black and white photo and it is a great one.

Local ice cream vans are busy at public beaches especially during public holidays and weekends. There are only two songs they play though, “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” or “Greensleeves”. It just seems out of place!

Kite surfing at Le Morne, one of the best places in the world to do this.

An extraordinary photo of Pieter Both mountain, easily identified by the boulder seemingly perched precariously on the top…. but I can see an elephant ….

The deer are on red alert when anyone comes close … especially in the hunting season.

Some of the photographs show the wonderful life under the turquoise lagoon and on the reef that surrounds the island.

A very clever photo of a diver under Crystal Rock, close to the beach at Le Morne.

Just look at the colours of these ‘Blotcheye Soldier’ fish!

An ‘Indian Lion’ fish seen during a diving session at Flic en Flac.

Exploring at the “Cathedral” dive site, also at Flic en Flac.

A local bus hurrying through the cane fields, recently cut in the foreground, waiting to be cut in the background.

A view of Gunners’ Point at Grand Baie with a flamboyant tree in the foreground.

One of the many colourful birds at Casela Park on the West Coast.

The turtles at Casela move surprisingly fast especially if you offer them something to eat.

And finally, Pieter Both mountain in the background seen from fields of sugar cane with their beautiful flowers bending in the breeze like snow laden Christmas trees.

I go to this outdoor exhibition every time I visit Caudan and enjoy the inspirational photographs.

There will be more of my photographs soon!

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

The first part was a walk up a gentle slope in the early morning

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.

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.

Time for a water break and words of wisdom!

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

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.

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


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

The views of the South coast as you climb are superb

Sometimes you have to stop to let people go the other way

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.

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.

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.

No sign of Julie Andrews anywhere

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.

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.



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

Cane fields at Souillac

Quatre Bornes Saturday Market

Red whiskered bulbul in a coconut palm on the beach

Pont Naturel

Lord Shiva at Grand Bassin

An offering at Grand Bassin

Idols at Grand Bassin

Kestrel Valley

Crystal Rock

Dolphins at Tamarin

It has been amazing!

Domaine des Aubineaux

Pooches on the porch

This colonial house was built in 1872 and is now a museum at the start of the Tea Route in Forest Side, near Curepipe. Yes, there is tea produced on the island.

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The house was the home of the Aubineaux family and originally built in wood.

The guide sends you into the attic via a circular staircase. There is a very casual display of, well, things you would find in an attic in the 1950’s including camera equipment and wind-up gramophone.

State of the Ark photography and The Joe Loss Orchestra on 78rpm

On the ground floor, you can explore the main parts of the house.

The house is filled with original period furniture, paintings and photographs.

It was extended and refurbished years ago adding, amongst other things, a wide central corridor by taking space away from the main rooms; this was very unusual at the time. The house was also the first in Mauritius to have electricity installed which must have been a shock.

The bed was harder than the floor but the room light and airy

Original wallpaper and some lovely rosewood furniture

The house and its contents give you a very good idea of what life was like in those times on the island.

They knew how to entertain in those days as this extending table displays

Some of the wood used in the decoration and construction of the house came from shipwrecks.

It has been a long time since these ivories were tinkled
It has been a long time since these ivories were tinkled

The local Philharmonic Society would play music at the house. (Gramophone was clearly not loud enough).

Plenty of rum from St Aubin distillery to choose from
A great selection of aged and flavoured rums from St Aubin distillery

The stables have been transformed and include an essential oil distillery.

Nice to have a small distillery in the back garden
Nice to have a small distillery in the back garden, this one produces flavours

South facing side of the house over looking the stables and the stunning garden

The shop has tea and gifts on sale
The shop has tea, rum and other gifts on sale

The Floral Park has many trees endemic to the island and some exotic plants too; well worth a stroll around.  These palms looked amazing, the trunks so neat and tidy.

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Palmier Royal or Roystonia Regia

I will continue the Tea Route at a later date: it may be a bit of a rum do.

Casela Nature and Leisure Park


This was originally a bird sanctuary and has gradually developed to become a major tourist attraction on the West Coast between Cascavelles and Tamarin.

With over 250 hectares, Casela is home to 1,500 birds as well as white lions, Bengal tigers, cheetahs, hyenas, camels, pygmy hippos, white rhinos and giant tortoises amongst others. There are also zip wires, mud karting and other activities.

Having enjoyed African safaris I was only really interested in the giant tortoises and the birds.

Loose ruck practice

Time for a nap after eating a leaf

It is amazing how fast these tortoises move when there is food around.

The birds have so much colour, it  comes from the most unbelievable paintbox.

Latino Lovebird

An impressive display

Scarlet Ibis

Fischer’sLovebird. Just impossible colours!

Not a Norwegian Blue but wonderful plumage

Blue Indian ring-necked Parakeet

A very large canary

A pair of ducks going for a swim

Mother hen preventing chicks from getting too clucking close

Guard duty

It was enjoyable to see the birds at close quarters with such amazing colours.

A very successful enterprise but give me a game park, everytime.

Casela Nature and Leisure Park

Views and Blues

Sugar cane covers almost all of the island and, as it is cooler, has just come into flower. It will stop growing, ripen and be harvested over the next six months.

Everyday I find myself looking at the sky and the sea and appreciating the various shades of blue. Blue is the colour, of course. The mountains and sugar cane seem to be in almost every view of the island and look stunning illuminated by the Indian Ocean sunshine.

I drove to Grand Baie in the North for an early meeting; the sea is a very special of shade of blue there, almost metallic, it always surprises me.

The East side of Grand Bay, the early morning sun reflecting on the sea

The second photo was taken a few minutes later, having turned to the West.

Just after sunrise in West side of Grand Baie

This is a fishing area and the hull of the one behind was being worked on by five men, it had been damaged by coral.

It took a while to get the right angle to photograph this as the men kept standing up to see what I was doing!

The next morning I was up at dawn to go dolphin watching.


Early morning winter sunlight is not so spectacular on the West coast.

The dolphins were feeding deep in the water for a change

Mother and child

Many more boats started to appear with tourists eager to go swimming and snorkelling among the dolphins.


It was getting crowded and so we decided to head for home.


Returning to Black River an hour after sunrise, I was stunned by the blue of the sky, the green of the vegetation and the reflection of both in the lagoon.


It was like a mill pond; beautiful.

Dragon boat racing


Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis harbour is often used for displays and exhibitions as it is usually well supported. The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival was no exception.


The Waterfront was looking splendid in the Winter sunshine (yes, it is really Winter). The coastguards had to move their boats to clear the racing area.

New shiny flags have appeared in Place d’Armes overlooking the harbour

The latest Bollywood film was a big distraction to many

A crowd gathered in the sunshine around the Caudan arena to watch Chinese Lion dancing and other displays. It was not raining.

The Yoo Sin Boat dance

Horse tail swishing

Not now Kato!

The first race!

A clear winner and three tying for second place.

They all had to turn around, not easy, and bring the boats back for the next teams to race.

The drummer is vitally important for the rhythm and the dragon for good luck.

Multi national crowd waiting for the second race

The four dragon boats are in position … or are they?

No, not quite. Back a bit.

Yes they were but no sooner than three boats were touching the wall, the fourth would drift away!

Ready with a starting pistol and a fan

Seconds after this, the Officials’ boat had to be moved away from the wall delaying the start by another twenty minutes.

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And finally they are off!

Fuelled by desire, spirit, dim sum and chow mein they sprinted to the harbour entrance

Next stop, Hong Kong!