The tropical island of Mauritius, located around 900km east of Madagascar, is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and rare plant and animal life in the world.
Formed by a series of volcanic eruptions 8-10 million years ago, Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands along with Reunion and Rodrigues.
Divided into nine districts, the capital of which is Port Louis in the north, the island is typically tropical around the coast, giving way to forests and mountains further inland.
Temperatures on the island can reach up to 31C during the summer months (December-March), lowering to 21C during the winter (June-September).
Conservation in Mauritius
Most famous for being the home of the now extinct dodo, Mauritius has a high level of wildlife not found in any other part of the world, but due to human activity much of its beautiful plant and animal life, much like the dodo, is dying out.
The Mauritius kestrel, Mauritius parakeet and pink pigeon (right), all indigenous to the island, have been close to extinction in the past, but thanks to several dedicated conservation areas, numbers have increased.
The island’s main conservation area, the Black River Gorges National Park in the south west, is where visitors will find the most diverse range of flora and fauna endemic to Mauritius.
Acres of protected rainforest are the home to all the island’s indigenous birds, as well as the Mauritian flying fox.
Native plants and flowers
Most of the island’s 670 native species of flowering plants can also be found at Black River Gorges, although the Mauritian national flower, Trochetia Boutoniana, or Boucle d’Oreille, can only be found on the slopes of Le Morne Brabant.
The orange-red bell-like flower grows from June to October and produces a nectar thought to attract geckos. The plant itself can reach up to 3m tall and is relatively rare.
Other native plants include the Mauritius ebony tree, takamaka tree and various palms, although several introduced plants such as the Chinese guava and frangipani can also be found on the island.
Spectacular coral reefs surround the island, offering a diverse and colourful array of marine life.
A resident pod of dolphins inhabit the area off the coast of Flic en Flac in the west, offering visitors a chance to swim with the friendly creatures, while regular boat excursions and snorkeling and diving trips offer the chance to get up close and personal with other marine life such as turtles, clown ‘Nemo’ fish and even sharks for the more daring visitor.
The turquoise ocean is also home to a raft of other popular fish including tuna, barracuda and lobsters.
For those without sea legs the white Mauritian beaches plays host to a number of beautiful shells washed up from the shores.
About Constance Hotels Experience
Constance Hotels Experience offers luxury holiday experiences in Mauritius, the Maldives, Madagascar and the Seychelles. See our hotel links on the right for more information.
Picture credit: to see more shots like our main featured image, the Tortoise, please see Joachim Mueller’s photostream on Flickr.