Reefscaping around Constance Halaveli

An innovative eco-project has just launched at Constance Halaveli, Maldives.

Reefscaping at Constance Halaveli

Reefscaping at Constance Halaveli

Our Reefscaping programme aims to stimulate the growth of coral in the lagoon around the resort, to help repair the damage caused by the Tsunami in 2004.

At the beginning of December, we launched a metal cage structure into the lagoon. Our team has removed healthy live coral from the reef, and transferred it to the cage which is held securely to the lagoon floor. The aim is to grow healthy coral that can then be replanted.

What happens next

Over the coming months our team will track progress of the coral’s growth. If successful, we will be able to increase the marine life in the lagoon.

Reefscaping team carry metal cage to lagoon

Reefscaping team carry metal cage to lagoon

We’ll be posting more photos of the coral as it grows, both on our Constance Facebook page and on this blog.

The 2004 Tsunami impacted greatly on the natural environment around the South East Asian region. The significant damage to local tourism in this region is widely known, and there was also a large amount of damage done the coral reefs.

By taking these steps, we hope to improve the condition of the reef for future generations.

Wildlife of Madagascar

Mention Madagascar to travel-hungry adventurers and it conjures up images of an exotic and remote landscape, home to some of the rarest creatures on the planet.

Lemur in Madagascar

Lemur in Madagascar

More than 80% of Madagascar’s plants and animals can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Here’s a look at some of the rare animals you might see on the island.

1. Lemurs

Probably the most famous inhabitants are its 33 species of lemurs. All are endemic to the island, with scientists continuing to discover new species.

Some of the most well-known include:

 
  • Ring-tailed lemur – living in the southern and western dry forests of the island, these highly sociable creatures live in groups of up to 30 largely female dominated communities.
  • Sifakas – the ‘dancing’ lemurs found mainly in the dry forests of the West and South. They get their nickname from their dance-like movement, as they walk on hind legs while moving their arms about.
  • Dwarf lemur – small nocturnal lemurs found throughout Madagascar.
  • Aye-Aye – another nocturnal lemur that lives in the rainforests but is threatened by extinction due to deforestation and hunting.
  • Indri – living in the rainforests of the East coast, the Indri is the largest living lemur in the world. It has a distinct black and white coat, and an eerie sounding call.

2. Fossa

Fossa

Fossa

A large cat-like predator, there are very few of these creatures still in existence in Madagascar. The Fossa’s stealth and secretive habits make it difficult to track. But natural scientists believe its facing extinction due to the destruction of its habitat, and hunting by humans as it ventures into populated areas looking for food.

3. Birds

Of the 258 bird species found on Madagascar, some 115 are endemic. They can be found in parks and forests around the island, and include:

  • Madagascar Lovebird
  • Red tailed Vanga
  • Collared Night Jar
  • Marsh Owl
  • Sparrowhawk of Madagascar
  • Madagascar Wood Rail
  • Rufous headed Ground Roller

4. Chameleons

 

Over half of the world’s species of chameleons are found on Madagascar, including the recently discovered Furcifer Timoni.

Some of the smallest chameleons on the island are the Brookesia, measuring just over an inch. These tiny creatures live in the forest undergrowth across the island.

5. Amphibians

With more than 300 species of frogs on Madagascar, an amazing 99% are endemic to the island. Frogs are the only amphibians found here, there are many beautiful species including:

  • Mantella – who use their bright colours to scare off predators
  • Tomato Frog – brightly coloured frog that releases a sticky secretion to protect against larger predators
  • Mantidactylus – hides from predators using its heavily camouflaged skin.

6. Fish

Scorpion fish

Scorpion fish

The seas around Madagascar are brimming with fish. The area offers superb diving sites for all levels. Check out our article on the top 5 diving sites off Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina.

Where to stay?

If you’re looking for a place to escape from it all, Tsarabanjina is a by-word for laid-back luxury. Get the low-down on this beautiful island lodge – Spotlight on Lodge Tsarabanjina,Madagascar.

Send us your wildlife photos  

And if you’ve already travelled to Madagascar, we’d love to see your wildlife photos. You can post them to the Constance Facebook page.

Top dive sites in Mauritius

The warm waters surrounding the island of Mauritius make it an ideal year-round diving destination.

Fish in Indian Ocean

Underwater world of the Indian Ocean

Here’s a look at some of the top dive sites on the East and North West coasts of the island.

Belle Mare Plage

The dive school at Constance Belle Mare Plage caters for beginners right through to qualified divers.

Small numbers go out on the boat to the reef that’s a short distance off Belle Mare Plage, or the lagoon off Constance Le Prince Maurice.

Here, you can expect to see beautiful corals and large shoals of colourful fish. You may get a chance to see the rare stone fish, dolphins, guitar shark and turtles, as well as whales further out to sea during the winter months.

In addition to the incredible underwater creatures you’ll see, the service you get both diving and on board the boat is everything you’d expect from a 5* luxury hotel.

Ile Aux Cerfs

Scuba diver and shoal of fish

Incredible underwater world of diving

The tiny island of Ile Aux Cerfs is renowned for its sandy beaches and calm waters. The coral reef is beautiful and brimming with marine life.

You can arrange diving trips to the island either from your hotel, or once you arrive at Ile Aux Cerfs.

Grand Baie and Trou aux Biches

If you’ve already explored the East coast, and want to see more of the underwater world of Mauritius, head to the North West coast, where you’ll find some great dive sites including Whale Roc, Lost City, The Tube and Waterlilly.

Expect to see huge numbers of fish, corals, rays and sharks. There’s a wreck of a Japanese fishing boat at Stella Maru, just in front of the reef. Here, an abundance of sea life have made this their home over the last 15 years.

Share your dive experience

And if you’ve got photos from a diving experience in Mauritius, you can post them to our Constance Facebook page. We’d love to see them!

Mauritius – top 10 ideas for a day on the water

The beautiful turquoise seas of the Indian Ocean are a big draw for most people who visit Mauritius.

Here are 10 great ways to spend the day on these sublime waters.

Diving in Mauritius

Diving in Mauritius

1. Diving and snorkelling
Undoubtedly, diving and snorkelling are on most people’s must-do list when they visit Mauritius, and it delivers in spades. There are some 23 dive centres on the island, including at Constance Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice. Visibility is good – the best time of year for diving is October-April, although you can still dive in calm waters for the rest of the year.

2. Blue Bay Marine Park
On the South East tip of Mauritius sits Blue Bay Marine Park – one of the best spots on the island for snorkelling. This national park is home to 38 coral species and 72 fish species including wrasse, parrotfish, goatfish, damsel fish and eeltail catfish.

Waterskiing in Mauritius

Water skiing in Mauritius

3. Head out to Ile aux Cerfs
Rent a speedboat with an experienced skipper and head out to Ile aux Cerfs off the east coast of the island. This tiny island is renowned for its sandy beaches, beautiful lagoon and many watersport activities. Snorkel, swim or try your hand at water skiing before feasting at one of the island’s restaurants. Some speed boat tours can arrange a lobster BBQ on the beach.

4. Deep sea fishing
Mauritius is the ideal destination to try your hand at deep-sea fishing. Just 1km off the coast, the water measures 70m deep. Here you can expect to catch tuna, shark, barracuda, marlin and sailfish. Half day and full day trips are offered by operators – ask at your hotel for details.

 

5. Kitesurfing and kiteboarding
If you’re looking for a rush of adrenalin, this should hit the spot. There are various kitesurfing schools on Mauritius where you can pick up the basics before heading out to the surf. The warm water of the Indian Ocean is a great place to try your hand at this fast and exhilirating sport.

6. Surfing
The West coast of Mauritius, at Le Morne and Tamarin Bay, attracts surfers from around the world. If you’re a novice, there are several surf schools located here where you can give it a try. Waves can reach approximately 8 feet.

7. Sea kayaking
Glide across the water in your kayak, and visit Ile d’Ambre just off the North East coast. Tamarin on the West is also a good starting point for a kayak trip.

8. Catamaran cruises
What could be more luxurious than hiring your own catamaran and sailing out for lunch or a sunset cruise? If there aren’t enough of you to justify a private hire, jump on board a tour and you could visit Grand River North East Waterfalls, Ile aux Cerfs and Trou d’Eau Douce fishermen’s village among others.

Dolphins off the coast of Mauritius

Dolphins off the coast of Mauritius

9. Swimming with dolphins
Dolphins continue to inspire awe in anyone who swims with them. A pod of spinner dolphins regularly swim off the West coast, at Flic en Flac. Organised tours will take you out to where they play and some give you the option to swim with the dolphins, accompanied by experienced guides.

10. Undersea walk
Don the weird headgear, and you can walk freely underwater while fish swim around you. It’s a bit like snorkelling except you’re upright and no breathing exercises or techniques are required. Check at your hotel for details.

If you’re heading to Mauritius, get inspired with some of our other articles about the island: