Indian Ocean Cruise - Mauritius

We arrived at Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, on Saturday morning and were there until midday on Monday. Mauritius is also a volcanic island but was formed much earlier than Reunion so although the landscape is mountainous it's much more accessible inland and there are no active volcanoes. It's almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs so there are calm lagoons in many areas of the coast.

The view of Port Louis from the ship.

I'd booked a car for the 2 1/2 days that we were in Mauritius. We used it each day and were able to leave it safely in the docks area, right next to the ship, overnight.

 

On Saturday we visited Trou aux Cerfs, an extinct volcano near Curepipe. We'd stopped there briefly on our previous visit when we did an MSC excursion but only had a little time there - just enough to get some photos really. This time we had a walk around the track which goes around the top of the volcano. The vegetation was very thick and we only caught glimpses of the bottom of the crater where there's a small lake.

Looking down into the heavily forested crater of an extinct volcano.

From the track around the top of the volcano there are some great views.

On our way back we found a car park by the waterfront in Port Louis (free on Saturdays and Sundays) so we had a wander around before returning to the ship.

Sunday morning we drove to the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Gardens (named after the first Prime Minister of independent Mauritius) which is situated in Pamplemousses to the East of Port Louis. The garden was initially opened as a private garden by the French governor of Mauritius nearly 300 years ago, later to become the national botanical garden of Mauritius.

One of the entrances to the Gardens which had long avenues of trees and many lakes and waterways. There are over 60 different palm tree species in the Garden.

The Gardens are famous for the giant water lilies, Victoria Amazonica, which are native to the Amazon Basin in South America. The leaves are up to 2m across.

Just a couple of the many water features around the Gardens.

There's an enclosure (rather small we thought) with lots of giant tortoises. It's not often you get to see - and hear - tortoises mating!

Another small enclosure had male deer ("Cerf "in French) after which several places on the island are named - eg Trou aux Cerfs.

Just a couple of beautiful water lily flowers that we saw. The white ones had a very unusual centre part which looked like a piece of plastic.

A lizard which was sitting on a wall by the tortoise enclosure.

This chameleon moved surprisingly quickly across the grass and up a tree.

The formal gardens in front of the house (sadly closed).

We heard lots of birds but didn't see that many in the thick vegetation. However we did see several of these red-whiskered bulbuls.

A replica of an ox- powered sugar mill. They used to be common on the island.

The herb / medicinal garden had a huge number of plants in it.

After a morning in the botanic garden we drove to the East of the island and then along a winding coastal road with bays and lagoons. We did try to find a sandy beach but, being a Sunday, the ones that we passed were absolutely chock-a-block so we didn't bother and returned early to the ship - and had the pool deck to ourselves!

The coast road to the north of Mahebourg.


Breakers on a distant coral reef with a lagoon between the coast and the reef.

There were the remains of a French battery at the Pointe du Diable on the East Coast.

Leaving Mauritius.

 

On board.

Reunion.

Mauritius.

 

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We sat and watched the island disappear from our favourite place - the back of Deck 10.