Situated off the coast of Africa approximately 900 kilometres east of Madagascar, Mauritius first achieved worldwide recognition following the extinction of its indigenous and unusual Dodo bird. The largest and most developed island of the Mascarene archipelago, the island is home to over 160 kilometres of beautiful white-sand coastline surrounded by coral reefs.
For those who like to venture away from the addictive beaches, Mauritius has its fair share of parks and attractions, many of which are located in the luscious and well preserved inland areas, which include sugar cane fields, historic volcanic boulders, waterfalls and tea plantations. Mountainous Black River Gorges National Park is definitely worth a visit. Located in the southwest, it occupies around 3.5% of the island’s landmass, and has some exceptional hiking trails that include coastal viewpoints and which take you through dwarf forests and woodland areas with rare tambalacoque and dodo trees. Valley of Colours National Park is another area of natural beauty with lush vegetation, streams and waterfalls. The Botanical Gardens in Pamplemousse were originally opened as a private garden by the French Governor of Mauritius over 200 years ago and are home to a vast variety of approximately 800 plants including 80 palms, many of which are indigenous to Mauritius.
Finally, Domaine du Chasseur reserve has over 1,000 hectares of landscape and trails where it is possible to see Javan deer, wild boar and monkeys as well as a variety of birdlife.