Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, located approximately 2,000 km from the southeast coast of Africa. The main island and its various outlying islands encompass a total land area of 2,040 km2. Mauritius is known for its spectacular landscapes and is a popular tourist and tropical vacation destination. Due to its relatively isolated location, Mauritius has a low diversity of wildlife but contains several endemic species of flora and fauna. While human activities, such as the destruction of habitat and the introduction of non-native species, have threatened many of Mauritius' indigenous species, the government of Mauritius is working to protect them. The three national parks in Mauritius are highlighted below.
3. Black River Gorges National Park
Black River Gorges National Park is located in the south-western part of Mauritius and covers an area of 67.54 km2. Established on June 15, 1994, the park has hilly terrain that features three primary types of vegetation cover: humid upland forest, marshy heathland, and drier lowland forest. Several endemic animal and bird species inhabit the park, such as the Mauritian flying fox, Mauritius kestrel, Mauritius parakeet, and Mauritius fody. Introduced plants, like Chinese guava, and animals, such as wild pigs and rusa deer, pose a significant threat to the park’s native species. Visitors to Black River Gorges National Park can enjoy picnic areas, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
2. Bras d'Eau National Park
Established on October 25, 2011, Bras d'Eau National Park is located in northeast Mauritius and occupies an area of approximately 497.2 hectares. While most of the native Mauritian forests in the area had been cleared and replaced with timber or other commercial plantations, some pockets of indigenous habitats did survive. The park contains two species of Mauritian ebony trees, critically rare fern species, and many threatened endemic birds. Therefore, the national park serves to protect and preserve these remaining indigenous plants and animals. Bras d'Eau National Park is much quieter than Black River Gorges National Park and is rarely visited. However, the park has great potential to develop into a popular tourist destination, as it features a large body of water called Mare Sarcelle, with a wetland habitat that attracts many birds, as well as historic 200-year-old ruins that include remnants of a lime kiln and sugar mill.
1. Islets National Park
Islets National Park is a national park located in northeast Mauritius that consists of eight small islands and their surrounding waters. Île d'Ambre is the largest of the eight islets, and its coast is dotted with mangrove trees and rocks. Pine trees and tecoma palm are also common on the islet, as well as several species of birds and butterflies. Islet National Park is a popular weekend destination for Mauritians, and also attracts foreign tourists. In particular, kayaking around the islets and hiking on Île d'Ambre are popular among tourists. Additionally, historical ruins, volcanic craters, freshwater caves, lagoons, and birdlife make Islets National Park an interesting place to explore.