Updated: May 22
If you're planning a visit to Mauritius, one destination that should be on your list is Black River Gorges National Park. This park is the largest and best national park in Mauritius, covering roughly 2% of the island's surface. In this comprehensive guide, we'll provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your visit to this amazing destination.
image: Chamarel Waterfall
The Importance of Black River Gorges National Park
Black River Gorges National Park is a wild expanse of rolling hills and thick forest, and it's difficult to overstate its importance. It's the last stand for Mauritian forests and many native species, making it a crucial habitat for the island's flora and fauna. It's also the most spectacular corner of the island, so if you make only one day trip from the coast, make it here, perhaps combining it with Chamarel.
History and Biodiversity of the Park
Once prime hunting grounds, the area became a protected reserve in 1994 after scientists identified over 300 species of flowering plant, nine endemic species of bird and a 4000-strong population of giant fruit bats. It remains an important habitat for three of the island's most endangered bird species: the Mauritius kestrel, the echo parakeet, and the pink pigeon. Introduced wild boar, macaque monkeys, and deer also wander through the vast swathes of old-growth ebony, and sightings are not uncommon.
Getting to Black River Gorges National Park
There are several ways to get to the national park, including by car, bus, or taxi. If you choose to drive, be prepared for narrow and winding roads that require careful navigation. Public transportation is also available, with regular buses running from the capital city of Port Louis to the national park.
Activities in Black River Gorges National Park
Black River Gorges National Park offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Some of the most popular activities include hiking, bird watching, and photography. The park has over 50 km of trails that wind through lush forests and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
image: Mauritius kestrel
Wildlife in Black River Gorges National Park
One of the main attractions of Black River Gorges National Park is its unique and diverse wildlife. The park is home to over 300 species of flowering plants, including many endemic species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It is also home to several species of birds, including the Mauritius kestrel and pink pigeon, both of which were on the brink of extinction but have been successfully reintroduced to the park.
In addition to birds, the park is also home to several species of monkeys, including the macaque and the long-tailed macaque. Other animals that can be found in the park include wild boar, deer, and bats.
image: Mauritius Deer
Nature Trails in Black River Gorges National Park
For those who want to explore the park on foot, there are several nature trails to choose from. Some of the most popular trails include the Black River Peak Trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, and the Macchabee Trail, which winds through lush forests and is home to several species of birds.
Visiting Tips for Black River Gorges National Park
To make the most of your visit to Black River Gorges National Park, be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are limited food and beverage options within the park. It is also a good idea to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring sunscreen and insect repellent, as the park can get hot and humid, and there are plenty of bugs around.
Black River Gorges National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the natural beauty and diversity of wildlife and nature.
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