While some people may think that ecotourism is riding a quad-bike on top of a hill, others consider only strenuous activities such as abseiling or canyoneering to be ‘real eco’. But the fact is that in recent years, a host of green ecotours in Mauritius have been launched. These activities aim to keep Mauritius' unique nature intact. And, by adding the ‘adventure factor’, they can make a Mauritius holiday special and thrilling, filled with many stories to tell the folks back home.
Quad Biking at Casela Nature Park Mauritius
Dolphine Swimming in Tamarin Bay Mauritius
More than ever, unique excitement is everything guests look for during their holiday. And in order to stay fit and slim, despite all the tasty local Mauritius food, visitors are offered any imaginable nature activity on a tropical island. However, in making an activity or Mauritius ecotour choice, one is recommended to carefully select those known to be safe and sound – both for those participating and for the island, which is home to some of the rarest flora and fauna on this planet.
For instance, let's start with water and boat activities. Even though dolphin excursions, especially those in the Bay of Tamarin, have become questionable due to overload and harassment of these gorgeous and intelligent sea-dwelling creatures, some organisers do it correctly by offering soft dolphin watching in small boats within government regulations. One such organisation is Dolswim.
Others like Patrick Haberland's organisation, Yemaya, have completely abstained from disturbing Mauritius animals in their sleep during ecotours, and instead have resorted to kayaking through untouched mangrove forests and other exotic seascapes: a unique and profound experience! The former bicycle champion also provides mountain biking tours for all ages and ranges of fitness in remote and unspoilt areas such as Chamarel Valley, the wild south of the island or La Nicoliere in the north.
As Mauritius is surrounded by a tantalizing blue and turquoise ocean, boat activities are a must; but where to book? Going for smaller companies can be a smart move, as their owners are mostly true locals and know everything under the sea – and on the islands that dot the reefs surrounding Mauritius; they adjust their activities with ecotourism and sustainability in mind. Two such examples are people like Jocelin from Totof or Benjamin Rose from Babacool. Both built their boats themselves, and are known as staunch protectors of nature, collecting even the smallest pieces of garbage in order to leave the areas visited by their groups just as they have been before. Totof operates in Blue Bay, taking tourists around the southern lagoon and to sights such as Ile de la Passe and Ilot Vacoas, whereas sturdy catamaran Babacool leaves the protective barrier behind to venture into the high sea on its visit to northern isles like Coin de Mire, Flat Island and the area around Gabriel islet.
Kayaking With Patrick Haberland In Mauritius
Guide Making Vist on Aigrettes Island Mauritius
Combining the treasures of the real Mauritius with a short trip over turquoise waters, the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation offers a guided Mauritius ecotour to their project on Aigrettes Island in the Bay of Mahebourg, where flora older than human conquest can be seen. Rare birds like the pink pigeon or the Mauritius fody, the famous skink and lots of reintroduced giant tortoises all enjoy a peaceful life in the shade of ebony trees. This Mauritius tour is a must for all those who want real insight into the natural surroundings of Mauritius.
Sportive individuals eager to climb mountains or explore riverbeds can have it all with Olivier Bourquin, whose company Otelair also also offers guided Mauritius ecotours in the mountains and trekking. His canyoneering excursions down the wild Tamarin Falls are highly recommended. He also offers mountain climbing and tours to all those famous island peaks such as the Pouce, Lion Mountain, or Pieter Booth.As nature tourism has developed fast and turned into a profitable venture, parks or domaines such as Casela, L'Etoile and La Vanille offer guided tours, canyoneering and mountain hiking; whereas legendary Ferney Valley, where a road project once threatening precious and rare endemic species has been successfully stopped, is a treasure trove for any Mauritius ecotourism activities.
Canyoneering in Mauritius
Zen nature lovers seeking their own routes off the beaten track may put on their hiking boots and try the narrow path starting at the forestry office in Chamarel, right behind the restaurant Le Chamarel. It winds up all the way to the top of Piton Canot and, if one descends towards the end of the afternoon, one may enjoy the colourful sunset from the lookout by the small gazebo.
Another nice way to enjoy great views, have a super time and get to special places is by horseback riding. Mauritius Horse Trails is a small stable with the laudable task of saving retired race horses from the slaughterhouse. Tours are offered for riders of any kind - even first-timers can enjoy a ride on their well-mannered and carefully re-trained geldings. The opportunity to ride on noble thoroughbreds, combined with visits to special natural places with glimpses of the magnificent southern coastline and a refreshing dip into crystal clear mountain streams, is really a treat. Mon Choisy Horse Riding Delights also offer a guided Mauritius ecotour on former race horses through a hunting estate in the far north, with the possibility to spot wildlife such as stag, buffalo or hare.
The Mauritius ecotours most appreciated by tourists and locals alike are focused on contributing to a new understanding of nature as something worth preserving.