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Black River Gorges National Park - View of the waterfalls in the gorges

Discover the Black River Gorges National Park, trekking or driving

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The Black River Gorges National Park is a beautiful mountainous region in the southern part of Mauritius and most probably the best area for some trekking in the island.

However, don’t panic straight away, if you are not into walking there is also a fabulous drive through the park that is well worth the extra mile of your trip

Located on the hills of the Champagne plain, the Black River Gorges National Park covers 6576 hectares of mountain and forest, and is home to over 150 varieties of plants and 9 birds species.

Once in the park there are so many spots offering stunning views of the interior and the West Coast that you will be open mouth the all time

There are two information point, the Black River Gorges Visitors Centre, at the west side of the park, about 8km from the Trois Bras Junction (see map below for more info) and the Petrin Information Centre, on the east side of the park and just 2 km from the Grand Bassin.

I visited the second centre and there was not really too much available, just a scale model of the park. I could find, though, more information on the Mauritius Government run website.

Black River Gorges National Park - Rain forest everywhere

Black River Gorges National Park – Rain forest everywhere

The park is so well organised that probably you do not really need a map for a quick walk.

In saying that, it’s always better to know where you are and how long it will take for your hike. Unfortunately there are no maps at the information center. You have two possibilities:

  • download this map and print it on paper
  • download an app called MapMe on your mobile. It’s a free app where you can download maps and therefore no need of data connectivity (see more info on The Best Travelling Photography Apps). I used this app extensively in Mauritius and I was really surprised by the accuracy of the walking tracks, really invaluable

Black River Gorges National Park – the trekking

There are few trails in the park, up to 14Km. You can even have a walk from the west side to the east side, from one visitor centre to the other (you can organise a taxi to pick you up).

If you are after just 1 hike I suggest the Macchabee trail, a 10km walk that takes around 4 hours, including the stops to enjoy the beautiful view.

Black River Gorges National Park - Never ending view to the west coast

Black River Gorges National Park – Never ending view to the west coast

It is part of the main trail, easy to follow (plenty of signals). It’s an easy walk and running shoes work good, no real need of special trekking shoes, something you may need if you decide to spend 2 or more days adventuring in the deep corners of this park.

If looking for excitement, there is an alternative route to the Macchabee trail on the way back.

It’s in the rain forest, usually wet and slippery, and the trekking shoes are most definitely a must here. I would not suggest it unless you are fit. In few points you may need to use the trees to climb the impossible slippery path.

The beauty of this alternate route is that you will walk over a waterfall with a big 100 metres drop, really magnificent (see the map for more details)

Black River Gorges National Park - The alternative trail over the waterfall

Black River Gorges National Park – The alternative trail over the waterfall

Check the closing time of the park, you don’t want to be locked in (it changes based on the season)

Black River Gorges National Park – the drive

You can organise this drive after a visit at the Grand Bassin and the view of the scale model of the park at the Petrin Information Center (see map below for more information)

Once you take the Place Champagne Road you see your first stop on the right side, the Alexandra Falls.

Once parked the car you can reach the falls with a few hundred meters walk. It’s well worth the stop, especially if you visit Mauritius in January/February when there is more rain, and therefore more water

Black River Gorges National Park - Alexandra Falls

Black River Gorges National Park – Alexandra Falls

Next stop is a viewpoint to the unique gorges of the Black River National Park, on the right side of the road. You will then reach Chamarel, a town famous for its food and restaurants, the perfect place to have lunch.

On the descent to Grande Case Noyale (on the west coast) take it easy. Lots of switch backs followed by one of the best viewpoint of Mauritius.

Now, here is the big tip, if you like sweets, the shop stall at the viewpoint offers a local speciality difficult to find in any shop, caramelised coconut in small pieces. They don’t look great but they taste just fantastic!!

Black River Gorges National Park - Viewpoint on the road to the west coast

Black River Gorges National Park – Viewpoint on the road to the west coast

Accommodation in the area

One thing you can easily find in Mauritius is an organised resort. I found that Hotels Combined offered the best packages.

The Black River Gorges National Park is actually an easy day, or half day, trip from either Le Morne or Flic en Flac Beach. You can also opt to stay in Chamarel, a small village in the park, famous in all of Mauritius for the amazing restaurants.

In Le Morne your best option is to stay in an organised resort, better service and prices too on a few days package. If you made it to Mauritius you should not miss the possibility to stay at the LUX* Le Morne, recognised as one of the best resorts in the world

LUX* Le Morne magnificent swimming pool

LUX* Le Morne magnificent swimming pool with a unique view

Flic en Flac Beach is less pretentious, a nice village with some great food option straight at the beach and good bars to have a drink and spend the night.

The beach itself is a long one with a nice shady area created by the tall pines. Overall a great location to spend few days, or even a week.

The Aanari Hotel & Spa is a well known option, much more affordable however still great quality.

Aanari Hotel swimming pool area

Aanari Hotel swimming pool area

If you are after an hotel in the park then the Chamarel village is the place to be. And it’s not only for the beauty of the area but also for the amazing restaurants you can find.

Accommodation wise you can experience the typical Mauritius rural architecture booking at either the Tipti Lakaz or the La Vieille Cheminee. They are quite similar in both quality and service.

The rural interior of Tipti Lakaz

The rural interior of Tipti Lakaz

When in Chamarel, even if passing at lunch time, you should stop at the Restaurant Le Chamarel for some exquisite food, in an amazing location, overlooking Le Morne. They usually run also a distillery tour, interesting as well.

Black River Gorges map

More info about Mauritius


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Stefano Ferro
Photographer
Stefano is a cycling, movie and life style photographer with a big love for landscape & travel photography. When in Melbourne, his hometown, you will see him cycling around at sunset or sunrise looking for the best spot for a photo of this beautiful city. It is quite amazing how much photography gear he can pack on his bike :o

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    • SAF
    • March 4, 2017
    Reply

    Hello! Thank you for this wonderful info! I’m planning to drive there from Flic en Flac next week and would really appreciate some extra help in planning. The drive through the park that you have mentioned – is this easy to combine with the 7 coloured earths, chamarel waterfall and the “curious corner” place?
    How do I find the most scenic drive and hikes please? Are they named/have a trail name?
    Many thanks

    • Reply

      Hi Saf,
      you can definitely combine the lot, you just need to have an early start of the day. It also depends if you want to add some walking into the day, in that case you would need to plan it more carefully.

      You can start your drive from the 7 coloured earths and drive to point A on the map in the post. From there you can decide to have a hike inside the park. The trekking can take from 2-3 hours to 6hours, based on your like.

      Once back in the car you can drive towards Flic en Flac through the road on the map. The full drive from there takes around 1.5hours to 2 hours based on the number of stops. Once arrived to the coast road things get less interesting.

      Other interesting drive are listed at the end of the post and include the scenic south route, the north route and I would definitely plan a visit to the Port Louis Market.

      I hope I was able to help.

      Enjoy your amazing trip!!

    • Joe
    • March 2, 2016
    Reply

    Incredible views and a fun trek by the sound of it! Thanks for sharing this and your other posts on Mauritius – especially like having the map to see the routes you took.

      • Stef
      • March 8, 2016
      Reply

      No worries Joe, Mauritius is a fantastic country to visit. As I always suggest, don’t stop at the beach the all day. They are so beautiful and tempting however there are so many other activities to do around the island.
      Cheers and have a great trip!!

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Stefano Ferro
Photographer
Stefano is a cycling, movie and life style photographer with a big love for landscape & travel photography. When in Melbourne, his hometown, you will see him cycling around at sunset or sunrise looking for the best spot for a photo of this beautiful city. It is quite amazing how much photography gear he can pack on his bike :o