Monday, July 2, 2012

Mauritius South-West Road Trip - Part 2


In Part 1, half of our day had already been spent in Souillac. As we left Rochester Falls, for the first time, we were moving West…



& since it was nearly 12:30, we decided to pull over at the beach for lunch.



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The beach being Pomponette, just after Riambel.


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I was quite surprised to find that this seaside is now bordered with gabions to protect from sand erosion.



On the other side of the road where we stopped, I found this lake. The remains of what used to be a sand mine.




Getting back on the road, we noticed that the beaches in this region were quite crowded.



Apparently, they were celebrating year 5114.



The St-Felix cemetery.


A small shop which reminded me of someone...



Our next stop was at Rivière des Galets.



For ages the river has rolled the stones down to the shore. The sea ebb and flow have sculpted them smooth. Neither the river nor the sea would like them to be removed from here.
[This sign is now broken]


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Instead of the pebble beach, what we saw was mostly sand. Some kind of inverse erosion process had occurred, causing sand to be deposited on the pebbles.



The good news is that since then, the sand has now disappeared. :)



Just as we were leaving Rivière des Galets, we saw a very peculiar building. For once, I can’t find out what that is - a radio telescope, radar or satellite base station? (Update: It's a KSAT ground node)



Further ahead, we came across Ilot Sancho.

A prized place for pirates of olden times where they buried their loot.



Ilot Sancho had a queue waiting to go on the island.


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Beyond Ilot Sancho was the Baie de Jacotet, where the SAFE undersea cable lands.

The Jacotet Bay is the historical naval site that saw the first English offensive to take Mauritius from the French. In 1810, Captain Willougby, commander of The Nereide, attempted to gain control of the South West of Mauritius but was rapidly discouraged by the French retaliation. At the entrance of the bay is l'Ilot Sanchot, famous for its privateer and pirate legends that have fuelled the creation of many hidden treasures.




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It may have trees and small animals, but Ilot Sancho still remains a coral islet.




Some fishermen were hard at work trying to catch fishes caught in the sea currents. But it was something else that caught our eye…



...Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!



Sadly, try as hard as we could, the anchor didn’t reveal any secret loot on the island, so we made our way back to the vehicle.



This is the landing point of the SAFE cable. The building on the left, which I failed to take a photo.



The Belle Rivière Estate - 33 villas & a hotel complete with 18-hole golf course. The whole of Bel Ombre area is now occupied by multiple IRS projects. Built for low-income Mauritians obviously.



An old sugar factory near Heritage Le Telfair Resort (in front of C-Beach Club).



Baie du Cap. Typical…




& then came one of the most popular tourist destinations of Mauritius….


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We were pleased to find that while rebuilding the Baie du Cap causeway, the authorities had also made way for a layby.


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We were less pleased that it allowed more people to come here. Here’s an advice – never come to Macondé on a Sunday. The tiny place was packed with people.



Imagine having to wait up here…



A GPS marker? Not really… GPS means Grand Port Savanne. & MHL, Ministry of Housing & Land.



Real-life spam. What an idiot! No need to open that link, it’s dead.



A TBS bus!



A district boundary marker.



We jumped over the barriers to take photos without hindrance and to avoid upsetting the Facebook fauxtographers! Yeah, I saw a handful of them with their shiny DSLRs.


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A view over Baie du Cap. This whole stretch of sea, from Riambel to Le Morne is used by kite surfing aficionados. & yes, on that day, it was very windy.


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La Prairie & Montagne Canon. I’ve got some very good news for you… Take a good look at this panorama. (You can click the link & download a full-sized version on DeviantArt)



Here’s what is being built here. A marina, 20 islet villas, 150 other villas… Imagine it.



The Baie du Cap causeway. To be honest, I prefer the old road.





The hairpin turn and its grotto. Countless people have died here.



As we left, I saw a bus-load of people stopping right after us! We were lucky we visited at Macondé at the right time.




As we moved further west, we saw the gigantic figure of Le Morne getting closer…


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La Prairie.


It’s not an Audi but still… (Those who watch Top Gear will get the joke).




Damn those cars blocking that picturesque inland beach!



Our next stop was at the village of Le Morne.


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From where we could see Le Morne Brabant and Ilot Fourneau. Did you know that you can ride a horse up to Ilot Fourneau!


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The beach dog.



Pirogue Photography™.



The entire Le Morne peninsula being littered with people, we didn’t have a chance to stop and take photos at the beaches.




Le Morne UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can read all about the archaeological finds here.


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We travelled further North until we reached a jetty at Case Noyale. The mountain on the left is Piton du Canot.


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Tourelle du Tamarin & Ilot Malais.


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The mangroves of Petite Rivière Noire.



As I had previously scouted Google Maps, I knew that there were salt pans at L’Harmonie, in Grande Rivíère Noire. So just before we reached the bay where the IRS marinas were being built, we took a left turn.



As if that was going to stop us… :D




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Our destination was the Batterie de L’Harmonie, a National Heritage site.


The Black River Range, the mountain on the right being the Black River Peak (aka Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire). It does look less tall, but that’s due to the perspective.


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The mangrove fields that are doomed to be uprooted to make place for a superfluous marina. Sustainable development.



Unfortunately, when we saw a guarded post ahead, our curiosity ran out and we turned and fled back on the road.

It’s only afterwards that I found out from this Week-End article that the supposed private area isn’t private at all. Anyone can have access to it.
I so wanted to see this part of the island, before the IRS project is brought to completion – the Domaine de L’Harmonie. It’s an abomination - "Le Bal du dodo" : un dodo pour toujours?




We decided not to go to La Preneuse, but instead took these photos of the salt pans under Tourelle du Tamarin.



An old furnace.




It was nearing 4:30pm and as our journey was coming to an end, we skipped Flic en Flac…. That’s Montagne du Rempart & Corps de Garde.




And instead stopped at Cascavelle.




Which on a Sunday afternoon was amazingly void of crowds.


My first nude photography. Close enough.




Some say that it’s like a mini-Bagatelle. All we know is, it’s not.



We stayed at Cascavelle for 40 mins before we set off for our final destination.



The road bordered by coconut trees leading to Medine Sugar Estates.



An irrigation canal.


& a nearby reservoir. The fishing prohibited notice didn’t do its job.




The alley in Bambous, once again leading to Medine.



& finally… just as the sun was setting, we reached our last stop of the day.


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The Albion lighthouse.


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We were luckier this time that we could capture the sunset.


So, this brings to end the road trip along the South-West coasts of Mauritius. Starting from Rivière des Anguilles, St-Aubin, Gris Gris, La Roche qui Pleure, Souillac, Rochester Falls, Rivière des Galets, Ilot Sancho, Macondé, Le Morne, Black River & ending at Albion. A 100 km journey. The only complaint I have is that we visited… too many places! I would have preferred spending more time on certain places instead of speeding through them. A bike road trip would have allowed that.

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Obviously, a road trip is something every Mauritian should try one day. Just one advice; don’t do it on week-ends or public holidays – it’s better to avoid the crowds.


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The map.










Yashvin Awootar

Haha. I had a good laugh at some of your captions.
I have done this coastal trip so many times and I love doing it. I usually start from Tamarin and drive till Mahebourg, or the other way round.

Tussy will love you.


Oh indeed crowded :s When I went it was nearly empty. 

Nice trip :D


 I shouldn't have missed Tamarin... :(

Siganus Sutor

"Macondé, named after the governor Jean Baptiste Henri Condé"

Ha, it's the first time I hear this. Wouldn't it be "Mo Condé" then? :-)

Another origin for the name (an African one this time) can be seen here:


 A quick look at the list of of French governors revealed that it is definitely false. :p

The slave/tribe  Macondé from Mozambique probably gave this rock its name.

Siganus Sutor

I wonder where you found that pseudo-information about the name Macondé coming from the name of an imaginary French governor. There is indeed a street called "Condé" in Port-Louis, a quiet one with nice old houses, but it might have been named after a boat. (See here and here.)

Maybe we ought to write that toponym “Makonde”, with a -k, to make it be more in line with the African people's name.


Sinon, inn fini / bien composé ?  :D


The pseudo-information was found here.

Yes, exams over. Waiting for results. :)


great road trip and presentation, will definitely try it soon

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