At 828m, the highest point in Mauritius - the Black River Peak, most commonly known as Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire. This photo was taken last year when I had gone for a hike with fellow bloggers down the Black River Gorges. At that time, I had decided that one day I would definitely climb that mountain.
Well, that day has finally arrived. After having earlier savoured the views from Cascade 500 pieds, we were now on our way to conquer the highest peak in Mauritius.
Leaving Alexandra Falls, we travelled to the Black River Gorges Viewpoint where we discovered...
... a fancy fair! Attracted like bees to honey, some hawkers had set up shop to sell their wares to the tourists (who come here armed with their DSLRs).
Once again, there was no way for us 3 amateur hikers to get lost because the trail to the summit is an easy 3.5km walk to the summit. According to the descriptions I've read, only the last 15m was a difficult climb. In any case, I had my GPS tracker with me.
Leaving the vehicle at the car park, we had to walk some 300m down the road before reaching the start of the trail. See that mountain up ahead. Yes, that's the Black River Peak.
“You are here.”
& so we started on the trail.
It didn't take long before we reached a clearing & saw part of the Black River Gorges.
& the Black River Peak which is the left-most one. I've no idea of the name of the adjacent peak. If you’re still wondering which one of the two peaks is higher, look no further than this photo. :)
Moving on, we came across this stone pillar, which is a District Boundary Stone.
After a few minutes rest, we continued down the trail.
This was the last time we saw the Black River Gorges before the forest engulfed us.
Endless. That's how you would describe this trail.
Up & down it went. Mostly up. Hey, at least, there were no mosquitoes!
As we had trekked to Cascade 500 pieds earlier, this easy trail had now become hard for us. We had to make frequent stops, the harsh midday sun certainly not helping us.
It took us 50 mins before we reached the only viewpoint on this trail.
The viewpoint gave us a magnificent view on the entire South-West coast of Mauritius, especially Le Morne Brabant.
The Rhumerie de Chamarel & a nearby lake/reservoir.
Moving on, the trail got steeper as we were approaching the mountain.
Looking at the positive side, that meant it would be much easier to come back.
Black River Gorges was back in view.
& then we came to a clearing where the entire valley was spread before us.
We rested for a while admiring the abundant flora.
Black River Peak was in sight but great was our surprise when we saw that there were two specks on the summit!
A closer inspection with my friend’s super-zoom revealed these specks were actually two people. Hmmm, we weren't alone after all.
Invigorated by this fact, we trudged on the trail which had turned into a proper mountain-climbing trail. Rocks & roots & dried mud.
30 mins later, I saw what appeared to be a wall of earth.
I was finally at the foot of the summit! But that wall of earth was something worse - a slippery slope of sand-like dry earth.
While I waited for the two trekkers we had seen earlier to tumble themselves down the slope, I shot this panorama.
& there goes one of them... If it was that difficult while dry, I wouldn't want to know what it would feel like on a rainy day.
What lay ahead was an even steeper slope but fortunately someone had left a chain-link metal cable for us to use.
Holding on to the cable & the plants, I managed to overcome this difficulty & go beyond the tree.
It had taken me nearly 10 mins, but at last the summit was in sight.
OH YEAH!!! I am the highest man... in the world... in Mauritius!!!
& the highest LEGO in Mauritius.
In whichever direction we looked, the views were just fabulous!
The West coast.
The South-West coast.
Panorama of the summit.
The summit was bare except for the remains of this geodetic marker.
There was also a path to the second peak. I presume the views from there would be even better, but that would be for another day as it was already very late - 15:15!
& here's a video of the summit. As you can see, there were tons of birds flying all around us. (Sorry for the low quality & the shakiness!)
From above, we saw a lot of things - Tamarin & its salt-pans, the reservoirs & a helicopter. So far, at every mountain summit we've climbed, we've seen a helicopter flying below us!
We also saw the Batman - a massive diurnal Mauritian fruit bat. This wasn't the only animal I had seen that day - a monkey & a mongoose on the Black River Gorges road, plus a non-venomous serpent which I saw on my way back home!
It was nearly 15:45 before we decided to start the return journey. However, there was one more thing I should mention, which we discovered quite accidentally - the echo! Seriously, we were bewildered by just how clear the echo sounded!
The long way back to the Viewpoint, which was somewhere very far away.
First, we had to go down the slope using the cable. As expected, it was very hard & took me nearly 15 mins before I reached the bottom.
It was going to be a long walk but I had a powerful ally with me, gravity. The trail had to be going downwards.
& at these points where it started to go up, I unfortunately found out about the limits of the human body. The trek to Cascade 500 pieds along with my flu had shredded out all my strength.
The easy trail had turned into a nightmare. I'm not kidding! I had reached the point of complete exhaustion. & there was hardly any water left in my bottle.
Every time the trail sloped, I had to stop & rest, not only to catch my breath but also to gather enough willpower to keep moving.
"Oh god, please let this end." I was really praying. At every turn, I was hoping to see the boundary stone. Because the trail was so long, I couldn’t remember any of the landmarks I had passed earlier…
I had refused to consult my GPS because I knew if I did I would lose all hope. Finally, unable to bear it anymore, I checked it & found that I was still some distance away.
& then I saw the boundary stone. Oh dear, it's nearly over.
& finally the road! That terrible ordeal had taken 1h 10mins to end. & now, relief beyond measure!
Which was cut short in a few seconds as I found that the road was even worse than the forest trail. The hard tar road was sending shockwaves through my feet with every step...
We reached the Gorges Viewpoint where the fancy fair had cleared out.
& where our car was waiting for us... unattended. A short trip to Curepipe where I discovered that even the "ordinary" water is chilled! & the long way back home… utterly dead tired.
The Black River Peak a.k.a Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire - what a journey it had been! & what an achievement - we’ve conquered the highest peak in Mauritius! I confess that the photos didn’t come out that well because we had reached the peak at the worst time of the day when the sunlight was shining on us & the “mist” was all over the place. Do check out the Flickr links for much better photos.
& what a traumatic experience I had to endure! But I don’t regret it all. Few people can claim having glimpsed paradise & hell on the same day. The trek to both Cascade 500 Pieds & Black River Peak in a single day definitely had been over-kill. Don’t ever try that out. As some would say, we were ambitious but rubbish! :)
- Fitsy - Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire (Black River Peak) GPS route
- Wikiloc - Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire mountain (Black River Peak)
- Wikiloc - Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire - 10 Oct 2010
- Maurice Pascal et moi - 828 c'est le maximum.
- kimanier - Le piton de la petite rivière noire
- mauritius-bureaudetude - Dimanche 16 Aout : Le piton de la petite rivière noir 828m.
- PascalG - Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire – Mauritius
- Dilip Maripuri - Trekking at Black River Peak
- Bill Wallick - Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire
- Flickr - Mauritius - Piton de la Petite Rivere Noire - The Black River Peak by Isla-Mauricia
- Flickr - Le piton de petite riviere noire by GenTYann
- Flickr – Piton de la petite riviere noire by Rubared
- Flickr – Black River Peak by Avinash Meetoo
- Picasa – On Black River Peak by Dilip Maripuri
- Picasa - Black River Peak by REy
- YouTube - Black River Piton (828m) by yanature
- YouTube - Hiking in Mauritius Black River Peak Highest Mountain 827 meters by happyholidaysmru