Pictures from Morne Brabant and Ile aux Bénitiers in the Southwest of Mauritius: Le Morne, the beaches, the lagoon and Ile aux Bénitiers.
Le Morne Brabant, in the Southwest of Mauritius.
Le Morne Brabant is the mountain that occupies most of the eponymous peninsula in the southwest tip of Mauritius. Both the location and the form of the mountain make it easily recognizable from most places of the southwestern coastline of the island. The mountain has become a classic tourist postcard from Mauritius, just like Cap Malheureux in the North or Ile aux Cerfs in the East.
Le Morne Brabant is one of the two World Heritage sites in Mauritius. It has been listed as cultural landscape by UNESCO. With its wooded and almost inaccessible cliffs, the mountain provides a shelter for escaped slaves (the "maroons"). The mountain was used as a fortress by the maroons. The amount of settlements that the maroons formed on Le Morne was once so high that the mountain came to be known as the “Maroon republic”.
In the early 19th century, the slaves on the whole island numbered about 60.000 and accounted for over 85% of the population of the island. They came mainly from Madagascar and East Africa. While their amount decreased thereafter, the slaves still formed two-thirds of the population at the time of the abolition of slavery in 1835. The heroic resistance of escaped slaves who lived on Le Morne and the long-living oral traditions associated with them made Le Morne a symbol of the slaves’ struggle for freedom, well beyond the Mauritius borders.
So it is told that some maroons threw themselves into the void to avoid capture and return to slavery when they saw the arrival of soldiers in 1835 while the latter came in fact to announce their emancipation.
At the foot of Le Morne, a Village named Trou Chenilles was created for freed slaves. It was devastated by a cyclone in 1945. The inhabitants - mostly descendants of slaves - moved to the location of the today village.
Keep in mind that the other world heritage site in Mauritius (Aapravasi Ghat near Port Louis) is related to the coolie trade, the coolies being the workers, mostly of Indian origin, hired to replace the emancipated slaves in the plantations.
Most tourists ignore the tragic role Le Morne played in the history of Mauritius. They just come and enjoy the beautiful tropical beaches and turquoise waters of the peninsula.
Five large hotels - most of them being luxury hotels - are set at the foot of the mountain, along the long sandy beach of the peninsula. You find, in order, Le Paradis, Lux Resort (formerly Les Pavillons), Dinarobin (which belongs to the Beachcomber hotel group, just like Le Paradis), St. Regis Mauritius (which replaces Berjaya Resort) and Indian Resort. They provide all useful services (spa, fitness, and many more) tourists may require. Their sailing club offers all nautical activities.
Le Paradise Hotel has also a 5899 m golf course with 18 holes par 72 in an idyllic setting between Morne and its lagoon. More recently, two other golf courses were created in nearby areas: the 6886 m Tamarina Golf Estate par 72, opened in 2006 on the west coast of the island and the 6498 m Heritage Le Telfair Golf par 72 in 2004 at Bel Ombre on the south coast.
Sailing and leisure in the Morne Brabant lagoon, Mauritius. In the photo: Le Paradis Hotel beach and the La Morne lagoon.
The beautiful lagoon at the foot of the Le Morne mountain - one of the largest lagoons of the country - attracts many tourists, not only those who stay in the area, but also those who stay elsewhere on the island and are anxious to discover the Le Morne lagoon.
The lagoon of Le Morne Brabant is well suited to water sports like snorkeling, fishing or boat trips
Giant coral in the Le Morne lagoon in the Southwest of Mauritius.
Situated in the lagoon of Le Morne, Ile aux Bénitiers is a flat island, with coconut and casuarina trees, which stretches over two kilometers (about 500 m wide) near the southwest coast of Mauritius in front of the small fishing port La Gaulette. The islet has a beautiful and quiet sandy beach but water sports are not allowed.
Ile aux Bénitiers is a haven of peace propitious to relaxation, picnic, and exploration of the clear waters. This is a classic destination for boat trips, as are Flat Island and Gunner's Quoin in the North of Mauritius and Ile aux Cerfs in the East. Boat trips are offered in various forms (catamaran, sailboat, speedboat, and other boats) for varied durations with or without picnic
Not far from Ile aux Bénitiers, you find a giant coral, the image of which illustrates many postcards and became the emblem of Ile aux Bénitiers and the whole lagoon.
Dolphins are also present in the region, especially in the Black River Bay and the Tamarin Bay. Many operators offer boat trips to the discovery of dolphins. The very early morning trips are usually successful. For others, it's more a matter of luck. It is better to get good advice before booking.