Discover the underwater paradise of the coral reefs of Mauritius on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation off the East Coast of Africa.
A veritable tropical paradise, Mauritius is the stuff of desert island fantasies. A small, multi-ethnic island, Mauritius is home to one of the most abundant marine ecosystems in the world with around 430 different creatures recorded. Parrot fish, napoleons, angels and clown fish are present, as well as dolphins and whales near the south of the island. Other than the southern coast, Mauritius is almost entirely encircled by coral reefs, making it an excellent destination for snorkelling.
The coral reefs of Mauritius are one of the few locations in the western Indian Ocean to have escaped mass coral bleaching in the late 1990s, which so severely affected other areas. The country has since established a number of protected marine areas, including 6 fishing reserves and 9 islets declared as Nature Reserves
The Best Coral Reefs of Mauritius
Blue Bay Marine Park
Blue Bay Marine Park is the most obvious place to start. The visibility is usually excellent and as the depth is quite shallow, it is a great place for beginners. Blue Bay is known for its clean, soft beaches and clear waters. In 1997, it became the first marine park in Mauritius, set up to protect the exceptional coral gardens home to about 70 coral species and 32 fish species. Some corals are as old as 800 years.
The best way to experience Blue Bay is from a glass bottom boat and then hop into the water to explore. We would recommend trying to make it to Blue Bay during the week as it can become crowded on the weekends.
Pointe aux Piments
Pointe aux Piments, on the north-west shore is a protected coral reef well-known as the place to see sea turtles. Not far south of the Grand Baie area, Point aux Piments is a cracking snorkelling destination accessible from the beach. This side of the island is largely protected from the wind and the water is generally as smooth as glass. The reef is quite shallow and therefor great for beginners and a bit further out it drops off 10m or so where Hawksbill turtles are often seen here.
Flic en Flac
Flic en Flac covers a vast stretch of the island’s western coast. The area boasts crystal clear water and abundant aquatic life making it a great snorkelling destination. Snorkelling can be done in the calm lagoon and the beach is also great for sunbathing and long walks. Do beware of sharp shells and sea urchins by investing in a pair of swimming shoes.
Trou aux Biches
Considered one of the finest sunbathing and snorkelling spots in Mauritius, Trou aux Biches stretches for over a kilometre of impossibly pretty coastline with shallow, calm waters at its edge. It is popular with snorkellers as the reef is accessible from the beach and other activities such as water skiing, parasailing, kayaking and big game fishing are available. Off Trou aux Biches, a well-regarded ship-wreck, the 45m-long Stella Maru is also worth a visit.
Ile aux Cerfs
Named after the stags (cerfs) which once roamed here, Ile aux Cerfs is a sand bar of soft white sand edged by the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Every water sport imaginable is available here and the snorkelling is great. The coral reef is full of marine life, but we would recommend you visit during the week, as the weekend draw huge crowds.
Tamarin is a quaint island village about 5 kilometres from Flic en Flac, considered one of the most beautiful coral reefs of Mauritius. Tamarin is an underwater paradise that the Mauritian Marine Conservation Society (MMCS) is working on making into a marine national park. The bay is simply breath-taking, but you will need a boat to get out to the reefs. The reefs are a lot deeper here and pods of dolphins are no uncommonly seen.
The Best Season for Snorkeling
Situated above the tropic of Capricorn, Mauritius enjoys a tropical climate with year round sunny days and mild winters. The water temperature drops from an average of 28°c in summer to 21°c in winter, meaning you can snorkel the coral reefs of Mauritius throughout the year.
In summer, however, the warm water attracts an abundance of migrating fish and October to December and March to April are considered the best time to visit. During July and August the island experiences the strongest southeast trade winds and the seas are too choppy for diving on the east coast. The west and north coasts are better protected but visibility varies a lot.
See some of our hand-selected hotels and resorts in Mauritius.
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