Mauritius. National Park – Black River Gorges: Chamarel and Tamarin Falls!

Mauritius. National Park – Black River Gorges: Chamarel and Tamarin Falls!

There’s a lot to write about Mauritius. A lot. And to show even more pictures. It’s an amazingly picturesque island. A real paradise in the Indian Ocean. Incredibly beautiful, safe and interesting. Here everyone will find something to his liking: hiking, rock climbing, paragliding, helicopter rides, kitesurfing, surfing, diving, snorkeling … and just lie on a lounge chair drinking coconut – why not?

And now I will show you the most famous National Park in Mauritius – Black River Gorges National Park. 

The park is located in the southwestern part of the island, and its area is 65.74 km², which is about 3% of the entire country! 

The park gets its name from the Black River River system just south of the park. Black River Gorge Park is part of the Black River Gorge, located above the gorge plateau Pitrin (before Tamarin Falls), Macchabé and Brise Fer forest, Mgenta escarpment and Tamarin Gorge. The height of the plateau is 550-600 meters. On the territory of the park is the highest point of the island – Little Black River Peak (Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire) – 826 meters. 

About 25% of the flora and fauna are endemics of the island, and many rare species of animals and birds live there (a total of 8 rare species: pink pigeon, Echo parakeet (Psittacula eques), Mauritius cuckooshrike (Lalage typica), Mauritius kestrel (Falco punctatus), Mauritius fody (Foudia rubra) and some others. There are now programs in place on the island to restore their numbers. 

The park was “created” (declared a sanctuary) on June 15, 1994, to protect the island’s tropical evergreen forests and endemic flora and fauna. 

An incredibly beautiful species of tree grows on the island: the Ebony. It is the tree with the most expensive wood in the world. There is a whole area in the park called “Ebony Forest”, but unfortunately we did not have time to get there. Admission is paid and there are guided tours for 3-5 hours. In addition to the stunning trees, you can look at rare species of animals and birds!

Must-see at Black River Gorges Park 

  1. Tamarind Waterfalls – Seven Cascades (free, but better with a guide);
  2. Chamarel Waterfalls(free of charge);
  3. Alexandra Falls (free);
  4. Gorges Falls – Gorges (free);
  5. Gorges observation deck (free of charge);
  6. Seven Coloured Earths of Chamarel (fee: about 300 rupees – about $8);
  7. The Chamarel distillery where rum is made and the Rhumerie de Chamarel restaurant at the distillery. We did not get in, but I know that it is very interesting and delicious (the factory is paid, by appointment). 

Terres des Sept Couleurs (Chamarel 7 Coloured Earth)

Whether it’s worth coming here is up to you to decide. I know that many people here are bored and not interesting. However, we liked it. To fly more than 8000 km and regret such pennies, at least silly.

The seven-colored sands of Chamarel are land with different layers of rocks that do not mix even after the rains. The reason lies in their different density and mass.

The basalt debris from the volcanic eruption and the volcanic ash mixed with the clay formed the seven-color earth. The different colors most likely resulted from the cooling of the lava at different temperatures. There is another opinion: oxidized iron contained in the local soil has a reddish color, and oxidized aluminum has a blue-green hue. In any case, it’s incredibly beautiful and picturesque.

Walking on the dunes, of course, is impossible. For this purpose, wooden decking is laid. It is also forbidden to take the sand with you. If you want a souvenir – sold flasks of sand (sand in them as well is not mixed even after shaking and is divided into seven colors).

As a souvenir you can buy coffee – it’s very good here by the way! A bag of coffee costs about $7.

There, next to the sands is a park with trees and large turtles imported from the Seychelles. It’s very beautiful here, especially near sunset. 

Chamarel Falls 

This is the highest and largest waterfall in Mauritius. Its real name is named after the French officer Charles Antoine, but the name Chamarel (Chamarel Waterfall) has stuck. The waterfall is formed by two (three) falling “arms of the river. And they fall not just into the lake, but into the crater of an extinct volcano. Why did I write two (three)? The thing is that at different times of the year and depending on the level and fullness of the river, the waterfall may divide into two or three streams. The height of the waterfall for some reason varies from 88 to 125 meters. Okay. Let’s say the average height is 100. Which means that the falls are higher than the Statue of Liberty in New York! Not a few! 

It’s almost impossible to see the whole thing. Although you can try from the top observation deck. That’s what we did) 

Gorges Viewpoint and the Gorges Falls! 

This observation deck offers one of the most beautiful views of the entire National Park and Gorges Falls! By the way, you can walk to the waterfall in just 8 minutes, but we didn’t go.  A few kilometers away is also the famous Alexandra Falls. But on that day, there were so many people that we didn’t have any good photos. There was some kind of holiday and people were washing their clothes and swimming right in the lakes between the waterfalls. 

Tamarin Falls or “Seven Cascades” 

The trip to this waterfall was on another day. From Chamarel Falls to Tamarin Falls is about 35 km. And on a serpentine road, that’s not too little at all. We weren’t trying to see everything at once, so we split our exploration of the national park into several days.

We drove to the falls from our Villa Marguery >>> in the town of La Preneuse – it’s about 30 km, but on a good wide road. To the Tamarin Falls (which are actually waterfalls, as it consists of 7 cascades) it is quite difficult to walk. We walked with a guide (our friend) who knows Mauritius very well. So it was easy and relaxing for us. We did not see signs, so how to get there on your own for the first time – I do not know, better to take a guide (they say they are not very expensive, about $40-50). 

The total height of the waterfalls is 300 meters. And if you go down from the top to the base of the waterfall, you can swim and kayak there. We passed about 4 cascades and decided not to go down again. The day was not very sunny, and there was no great desire to swim.

In general, I am dressed well, but if there is an opportunity and you intend to go down – it is better to wear pants. Which I actually did after the photo. And of course comfortable shoes, and preferably the one that is not sorry. Because there is a lot of dirt (it rained the day before, and there were whole mud streams, which have not had time to dry out in the bushes of trees). 

An amazing park that I highly recommend to visit. We didn’t see everything, but I definitely want to go back to Mauritius and the National Park! 

Well and be sure to study my guide! I have tried to be as clear and interesting as possible about all parts of the island and how to make a choice for a dream vacation! I will give you the link. THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MAURITIUS: HOTELS, ENTERTAINMENT AND BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS! >>>

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