Hiking The Black River Gorges National Park
The MOST popular hiking trail in Mauritius.
Thursday 11 August 2016 03:06 GMT
Near Port Louis in Mauitius, the Black River Gorges National Park in the southwest corner of this island country is the perfect place to explore the casuarina-forested inland plateaus. There are some 60 km of marked trails for visitors, panoramic view points at Alexandra Falls and the Gorges View Point, trials to the highest peak on the island, parking facilities, picnic areas, toilet facilities and two visitors centres.
The Black River Gorges National park covers an area of 67.54 km² including humid upland forest, drier lowland forest and marshy heathland. The park protects most of the island's remaining rainforest although much of this has been degraded by introduced plants such as Chinese guava and privet and animals such as rusa deer and wild pigs. Watch out for the macaque monkeys and the red-whiskered bulbul bird.
The National Park is easily accessible from Vacoas or Curepipe via La Marie and Mare aux Vacoas. A visitor information centre has been set up at Le Pétrin to welcome and direct visitors and also to provide picnic facilities. A boardwalk leads to the typical dwarf forest of the region and a fenced conservation management area (from which invasive non-native plants have been removed) protects a sample of the remaining heathland. From there, various hiking tracks are offered and visitors can choose to walk to Maccabée forest (7km return) or down through the Gorges to Black River (15km) from the road across Plaine Champagne towards Chamarel where there is easy access to viewpoints at Alexandra Falls, over Bel Ombre and over the spectacular Black River Gorges. There are also a number of longer walking trails including one to the island's highest point, Black River Peak ( 828m). Road access into the Black River Gorges from the coast road has been upgraded and offers a Visitor Centre as well as a camping area.
The Park also contains four field stations that are used by staff of the National Parks, the NGO Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, and University students to carry out research work, monitoring and management of threatened bird species. The field stations are compound used for the release of captive bred birds.
Make sure to ascent Le Morne for fabulous ocean views.
The island of Mauritius is located 700 miles east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.