In the Part 1, we had left Pont Naturel and were heading towards Plaine Magnien. Due to our tight schedule, we couldn’t visit places like Le Bouchon, La Cambuse, Mon Desert Mon Tresor and the alien-built Mauritian Pyramids.
En route, we were debating where to have lunch. More specifically, which was the better seaside between Blue Bay & Le Chaland. As you would expect, we did this properly and...
... ended up here. At the runway of SSR International Airport.
Waiting for planes to arrive.
That proved to be a long wait as when I checked the timetable, the first plane wouldn’t come until an hour later.
So we waited until a speck appeared in the sky…
It turned out to be an Air Mauritius plane.
An Airbus A340-312.
The Pink Pigeon. 3B-NAU. The oldest plane in the MK fleet (nearly 18 years old).
We went back to our road-trip with our next destination being Pointe d’Esny, near Ile aux Aigrettes.
At the wharf where visitors take the boat to Ile aux Aigrettes.
The view on the sea was quite spectacular.
With contrasting elements in the picture.
& just a few metres behind the hut, I discovered one of the most amazing places I’ve ever laid my eyes upon.
One of the last remaining wetlands of Mauritius – the Pointe d’Esny Wetland. It was inaugurated in Feb 2012 as the 3rd Ramsar site in Mauritius. Ramsar sites are wetlands of international importance, designated under the Ramsar Convention.
The Pointe d’Esny wetland is one of the largest remaining wetlands of Mauritius, and is one of the few situated in the South-East of the island, and a rare example of a large wetland in the heart of a main village (Mahebourg). The site is characterized by a sub-tropical mangrove forest containing Rhizophora mucronata and reportedly, the rarer Bruguiera gymnorhiza, mud flats and a sub-mangrove belt of pan-tropical coastal plants.
This site is the habitat for some threatened plants (eg Zornia revaughanaina, recently rediscovered), vagrants and has great potential for bird and plant reintroduction. It provides recreation to the local population and the site is used for recreational fishing and bait collection. The wetland is thought to serve important local flood abatement functions.
However, due to the high value of coastal lands, there are intense pressures to convert the wetland for various ecologically unsustainable economic purposes. The area is also suffering from adverse anthropogenic activities. The rate of conversion of the sub-mangrove areas has accelerated exponentially over the past decade, being converted to illegal settlements, tourism development, social amenities (walks, football grounds, bus stops, road development etc), and development pressures are unabated.
Moving on, we saw an isle near Île du Hangard that was linked to the mainland by boulders.
Our next stop was of course at the Mahebourg Waterfront.
Ilot du Mouchoir Rouge.
The perfect postcard photo. :)
One which has been used as early as 1916.
Ile de la Passe & Ile aux Fouquets.
The bay of Grand Port/Port-Impérial/Haven Warwyck.
The boat ‘Treasure’, going towards Mouchoir Rouge. Can’t forget the ‘parasol’ for such a long trip!
& those people with cameras are, I believe, PAPM members. I didn’t spend much time here as it was very crowded. So we went back to the city centre to visit another monument.
Le Lavoir, a public basin used by “dhobis.”
These rectangular stone on the banks of Rivière La Chaux provide washing facilities to local washerwomen for the cleaning of the uniforms and other outfits of French soldiers posted in the batteries at Ile de la Passe, Ile aux Fouquets, Pointe des Régates, Pointe Jérôme and Pointe de la Colonie.
The washhouse is still being used and is part of our national heritage.
Here as well, like for the “abreuvoir”, the traces of the existence of the public basin during the French period do not exist. It can be deduced that it was created by the British. We must note that 400 soldiers resided in the quarters which were situated from the public basin.
So we don’t actually know if it’s of French or English origin? At least it’s still being used for its original purpose.
The next monument we would visit is the Cavendish Bridge, also known as Ville-Noire Bridge, over Rivière La Chaux.
The longest bridge in Mauritius, which celebrated its centenary last year.
The Ville-Noire bridge was originally a wooden bridge built in 1850. Due to the increase in traffic and the fact that the bridge could only support half-tonne carts, construction of the stone-concrete bridge started in 1908. It was built by Paul Le Juge de Segrais who was inspired by the Pont d’Alexandre of Paris. Construction finished in 1911 and it was inaugurated by Sir Cavendish Boyle.
Same bridge in 1943.
Unfortunately, we had to leave Mahebourg without visiting the National History Museum as it closed at 12.00.
So we travelled towards Vieux Grand Port & stopped at a spot which I still remember like yesterday… Oh yes, that trip to Lion Mountain.
This time though, we weren’t going to be lost and certainly weren’t visiting this furnace.
What we came for was the monument celebrating the arrival of the Dutch on the 20th September 1958.
In 1598, a Dutch expedition> consisting of eight ships set sail from the port of Texel (Netherlands) under the orders of admirals Jacob Cornelisz van Neck and Wybrand van Warwijck towards the Indian subcontinent. The eight ships ran into foul weather after passing the Cape of Good Hope and were separated. Three found their way to the northeast of Madagascar while the remaining five regrouped and sailed in a southeasterly direction.
On 17 September, the five ships under the orders of Admiral Van Warwyck came into view of the island. On 20 September, they entered a sheltered bay which they gave the name of "Port de Warwick" (present name is "Grand Port").
They landed and decided to name the island "Prins Maurits van Nassaueiland", after Prince Maurits (Latin version: Mauritius) of the House of Nassau, the stadtholder of Holland, but also after the main vessel of the fleet which was called "Mauritius". From those days, only the name Mauritius has remained. On 2 October, the ships took to the sea again towards Bantam.
Arrival of the Dutch in Mauritius Island
The presence of the Dutch in Mauritius dates back to the year 1598. It was by a sheer mishap that they reached here. Mauritius was not on their itinerary on their way to the East Indies. Fate, through the play of a severe tempest, drove them to the shore of the island.
On May 1, 1598 Admiral Cornelius Van Neck and Vice-Admiral Wybrandt van Warwyck commanding eight Dutch ships left Texel in the North Sea for the Indian Ocean. From there they were to sail to Bantam (a major seaport in Indonesia at that time) to load cargoes of precious exotic products for trading in Europe.
Roughly three months after leaving Texel they rounded the Cape of Good Hope and sailed towards Madagascar. The fleet, while navigating off the eastern coast of Sainte-Marie island, went into the turmoil of a violent storm. It was on August 28, 1598. The group of vessels was disbanded.
On September 17, five out of the eight ships - the Amsterdam, the Zeeland, the Geldria, the Utrecht and the Vriesland managed to reach the south-eastern part of Mauritius. Vice-Admiral van Warwyck was on board the Amsterdam. He ordered two of his officers, Hans Hendricksz Bower and Hendrick Dircsz Jolinck, to look for a proper shelter to anchor the ships. They discovered the present day bay of Grand Port (which the Dutch named Warwyck Haven.) The landing of Bower, Jolinck and their crew marked the arrival of the first Dutch in Mauritius.
On September 20, all ships were moored in the bay and most of the crew landed. Mauritius was still uninhabited and the Dutch found the island a dreamlike land and an extremely safe stopover for Dutch ships navigating across the Indian Ocean. On that date, in honour of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange and stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, the island was named "Mauritius".
Various places were given the names of important leaders of the fleet. Present day Ile aux Aigrettes (Aigrettes islet) was named Eylandt Heemskerk, in honour of Jacob van Heemskerk, a merchant on the Geldria. Cornelius Jansz Fortuyn's name, captain of the Amsterdam, was given to another islet which is known today as Ile de la Passe.
At dawn on October 2, 1598 the fleet left Mauritius, which was then officially a Dutch island, for Bantam. For the next forty years Mauritius remained uninhabited; only to be visited by ships from Dutch provinces and that of other nationalities for fresh supplies and crew rest. The colonisation of Mauritius by the Dutch started in 1638.
Between the start & end of Lion Mountain, there are a few monuments that we skipped because we had already visited them. A detailed account can be found in this post here – Lion Mountain – Part 1.
Fast forward, we found ourselves at the jetty of Bois des Amourettes. Luckily, there were few people here.
This jetty was built by the Royal Air Force to supply fuel to ships. Yep, Grand Port was once a naval base during WWII.
The remains of the fuelling terminal.
It contains vestiges of buildings associated with World War Two. They are remains of tanks of an oil terminal which formed part of the naval base of Grand Port Bay and of a jetty built by the Royal Air Force to respond to the revictualling needs of British warships in diesel during the Second World War when the Admiralty decided to construct a terminal at Bois des Amourettes. The completion was delayed because of the ship Amarula flying British banner that was carrying material for assembling was torpedoed off the coast of Black River.
Source – defimedia.info
Looking towards Pointe du Diable & Vieux Grand Port.
That must have been an outpost looking on the bay.
We resumed our road trip to another military installation.
Pointe du Diable.
There we found the ruins of an 18-century French fort with cannons dating back to 1750.
Our trip further East was mostly uneventful. Crops being grown in the sand-like soil in Grand Sable.
The Bambous Mountains - Mt Villars.
A Dodo-shaped peak? Montagne Le Chat et la Souris?
The weather was taking a turn for the worse as we reached GRSE.
The bridge over Grand River South East.
The river goes further down until the GRSE waterfall that is so admired by tourists speedboating to Ile aux Cerfs.
That turned to be our last stop of the day because the rest of the trip to Trou d’Eau Douce & Belle Mare was under cloudy weather with intermittent rain – conditions under which my camera was practically useless. & as it was nearing 4pm, we had to make the long journey back home.
So that was our road-trip through the South-East coasts of Mauritius. From Rivière des Anguilles, Benares, L’Escalier, Trois Boutiques, Pont Naturel, Plaine Magnien, Pointe D’Esny, Mahebourg, Rivière des Creoles, Vieux Grand Port, Bois des Amourettes, Pointe du Diable, Grand Sable, Quatre Soeurs, Deux Frères, GRSE, Bel Air Rivière Sèche, Trou D’Eau Douce, Palmar & ending at Belle Mare. A 100km journey (again!). Not to mention the 45km to return home.
I’m a bit disappointed that we had to miss several places like Le Souffleur, the Pyramids, La Cambuse & didn’t stay long in Mahebourg, but we’ll definitely make up for it in the future. The first part was really awesome with all those ruins and the fantastic weather. The second part was unfortunately marred in the end by the rain. These long road trips really tire you out, but not in a good way. Overall, it wasn’t as good as the South-West trip. Next up, in the summer – the East-North road trip. :)
- MWF - Ile aux Aigrettes
- Le Mauricien - ENVIRONNEMENT: Pointe d'Esny, troisième site "Ramsar" à Maurice
- Le Mauricien - 3E SITE RAMSAR:Le gouvernement s’engage à préserver les zones humides a déclaré Satish Faugoo
- L’Express - Pointe-d’Esny : sauvegarde de 21, 5 hectares de forêts riches en diversité biologique
- Flickr - Mauritius Beaches - South - Pointe d'Esny by Isla-Mauricia
- Flickr - pte d'esny by nohasar
- Flickr - Lle Aux Aigrettes by Joachim S. Müller
- YouTube - Pointe d'Esny : sauvegarde de 21, 5 hectares de forêts riches en diversité biologique by lexpressmu
- YouTube - Mahebourg Espoir Tournage MANGROVES by bquadfr
- Yashvin’s photoblog - Mouchoir Rouge
- Akpool.co.uk - Postcard Mahebourg Mauritius, Le Mouchoir rouge, Haus, Baum
- delcampe.com - AFRICA - ILOT DU MOUCHOIR ROUGE - MAHEBOURG - PM 1916 - STAMPS ON FRONT OF POSTCARD - VINTAGE ORIGINAL POSTCARD
- delacampe.net - ILOT du MOUCHOIR ROUGE ( mahébourg )
- ebid.net - Ilot du mouchoir rouge mahebourg
- Flickr - mahebourg-le-mouchoir-rouge by dookhy
- Flickr - Mouchoir Rouge, Mahebourg, Mauritius 1, 2, 3 by j-riviere
- Flickr - Mouchoir Rouge_Mahebourg_Mauritius, Mahebourg Jetty_Mauritius by Udaye1
- Flickr - en face de Mahebourg by K-NAR
- Flickr - Power to paradise Island by FFV1
- Flickr - an island at Mahebourg (south-east) by wesleyLeung
- Flickr - Mahebourg Waterfront by Ethelreal
- Flickr - Mahébourg by stef974run
- YouTube - Mauritius (ile Maurice) – Mahebourg, Mahebourg waterfront by mauricien06
- YouTube - Mahebourg by bestofmauritius
- Espace-temps au goût de fraise Tagada - Le lavoir
- Le Mauricine - Incursion dans le quotidien des lavandières
- Geo.fr - Ile Maurice – Rue du Monde – Lavoir
- SOS Patrimoine en Péril - Le Lavoir de Mahébourg
- L’Express - Vol à l’abreuvoir de Mahébourg
- fourmis de l'île Maurice - de Mahébourg à Keystrel Valley
- Picasa - Lavoir de Mahébourg
- News on Sunday - Ville Noire – Industrial and Historical
- Le Mauricien - PATRIMOINE: Cent ans écoulés sous le pont
- Le Mauricien - CAVENDISH BRIDGE- MAHÉBOURG: le centenaire de sa reconstruction célébré
- Le Mauricien - Le pont Cavendish, le plus long de l'île, a 150 ans
- DefiMedia - Le pont Cavendish fête ses 101 ans
- SOS Patrimoine en Péril - Le pont de la Ville Noire (Cavendish Bridge)
- Google Books - Mauritius Illustrated - Cavendish Bridge
- Flickr - Mauritius - Mahebourg by Isla-Mauricia
- Flickr – Mahebourg by zenfantterrible
- Flickr – Lavoir 1, 2 by Isla-Mauricia
- Flickr - Riviere La Chaux a Mahebourg vers 1902, cotier 1910 by tamarin98
- Flickr - Cavendish Bridge 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 by huxley1312
- Flickr - Cavendish Bridge by FFV1
- Flickr - on the bridge: mahebourg by Mullur Shashikiran
- Flickr - Cavandish Bridge in Mahebourg by Steven KUO
- Flickr - Mahébourg by f_serranito
- Flickr - 20090222112304 by davidelmlund
- Flickr - Le pont de Mahébourg by Pluck!
- Flickr - The Mahebourg bridge and red umbrella woman by webracoon
- Flickr - Cavendish by PraVin146
- Flickr - Mahebourg bridge by Di.Kro
- YouTube - Ville Noire Mahebourg by xotof69
- Red Needles Tropical Passions – The First Dutch Landing
- Mauritius Photography - Ferney Snapshots
- Google Books - Mauritius Illustrated - The Dutch Period
- Flickr - Dutch landing point of 1598 by Velsamy
- Flickr - Monument to the Dutch & Lion Mountain by rubared
- Flickr - mauritius first landing by norwhichrocks
- Flickr - Old Grand Port by timaaa
- Flickr - vieux grand port 1, 2 by zenitpetersburg
- Flickr - Dutch first landing bay by llee_wu
- Flickr - Bucht von Vieux Grand Port, Hintergrund Lion Mountain by naturgucker.de
- DefiMedia - a paragon in the South East of Mauritius – Bois des Amourettes
- Mauritius Photography - Bois des Amourettes snapshots
- Yashvin’s photoblog - Bois des Amourettes
- Flickr - Bois des Amourettes, Jetty, Mauritius 1, 2, 3, 4 by j-riviere
- Flickr - Landscape of Mauritius near of the village Bois des Amourettes by Intlekofer_Roger
- Flickr - Pier at Bois des Amourettes by rubared
- Flickr - DSC02945 by huxley1312
- YouTube - A la découverte du village de Bois des Amourettes by lexpressmu
- Red Needles Tropical Passions - Hiking from Ferney to Devil's Point - Part 1, Part 2
- Mauritius Photography - Pointe du Diable (Devils Point)
- Fitsy - Pointe du Diable GPS route
- Picasa - Pte du Diable coastal road by Rey
- Flickr - Pointe du Diable by Isla-Mauricia
- Flickr - Pointe du Diable 1, 2 by llee_wu
- Flickr - Pointe du Diable by rubared
- Flickr - Pointe du Diable by Henry & Tersia
- Mauritius Photography - Grand Sable Waterfront snapshots
- Maurice Pascal et Moi - Le Chat et la Souris
- Picasa - Montagne Bambous by REy
- Flickr - Some mountain in the South of Mauritius by Khatleen Minerve
- Flickr - Bambous Mountain 1, 2 by rubared
- Flickr - Le Chat et La Souris by rubared
- Panoramio - View of Mauritius from the Ocean
- Flickr - GRSE by vivosi8
- Flickr - Grand River South East by rubared
- Flickr - Grand River South East waterfall by ash matadeen
- Flickr - At Grand River (South-east) Falls by Nagesh Kamath
- Flickr - Grand River South East waterfall by Adamina
- Flickr - Grande Rivière Sud-Est Waterfall by Ileef
- YouTube - Grand River South East Mauritius by tvmauritius
- YouTube - Ile Maurice (Mauritius) - Trip to GRSE waterfall by mauricien06
- YouTube - Grande Rivière Sud-Est, un village paisible by lexpressmu