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Mark Twain wrote, “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius.” While the island in the Indian Ocean is famous for its beautiful powder-white sandy beaches, lagoons, reefs, azure waters and fabulous resorts, there’s much more to it. Thanks to hotspots like its mountainous interior and protected forest, there are some exceptional natural sites to win the heart of flora and fauna lovers who are ready for an adventure. From stellar hiking trails to jaw-dropping waterfalls and beautiful giant water lilies, this friendly, multi-cultural sub-tropical East South African haven with a pleasant climate all year round really does have a lot to offer for nature enthusiasts. Here are the top two places to get closer to nature according to the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority.
Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
As one of the most famous spots on the island, nature enthusiasts and travellers automatically add the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden to their itinerary. Also known as the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, this wonderful garden created over 300 years ago houses a multitude of native and endemic plants and the famous giant water lily ponds. For nature lovers, Pamplemousses Botanical Garden is the ideal place to stroll with family or a partner with its paths bordered with greenery. Lucky visitors might get a chance to experience the marvelous phenomenon of seeing a Talipot tree blooming, which only happens every 30 to 80 years before the tree dies, a truly wonderous sight. Plus, of course, the famous ponds with giant water lilies are definitely worthy of a visit and provide one of the best backgrounds for souvenir photos.
Black River Gorges National Park
The Black River Gorges National Park is a lush forest that houses a great variety of native and endemic trees. However, it’s also where you can find treasured animal species, such as the Pink Pigeon, the Mauritian Parakeet or the Paradise Flycatcher, which are highly monitored protected birds. Visitors are always impressed by the size of the Mauritian Bats, which go out in broad daylight above the trees. The park is also one of the best places for trail amateurs. It is perfect for family hikes, with marked trails and an information centre to learn more about the flora and fauna of the region.