This is probably the most beautiful scenic drive in Mauritius, in the north of the island, a great tour itinerary that you can easily do on your own (download the map at the end of the post)
The North Coast tourist trail starts west of Grand Baie, at Trou aux Biches, and it finishes at Grand Gaube. I spent the all day, also because I stopped at the many attractions along the route
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I was staying in a resort in Trou aux Biches and I rented the car to have a bit of exploration time. I spent a day looking for some beautiful coves, isolated beaches and anything that would look spectacular (not a hard search in Mauritius to be honest).
Start from Trou aux Biches
From Trou aux Biches I drove direction Grand Baie, probably the major centre in the North of Mauritius.
I choose to go through secondary roads to stay as close as possible to the beach. The prize was the access to a small public beach with a view to the majestic bay of Grand Baie (or Grand Bay in English), see map below for more details.
Once in Grand Baie I was welcomed by the wide choice of shopping possibilities. Although I am not really a shopping addict I went for a visit to the local supermarket.
I wanted just to have an idea of the sold products. I was pleasantly surprised by the offer and by the cheap price.
French and Italian food was widely available as well as the local tea and sugar, sold at a fraction of the price you see in tourist shops
The red chapel – Notre Dame Aurilliatrice
Next stop was the Notre Dame Aurilliatrice Chapel.
It definitely stands out and you will not miss this red roof church. When I was there the inside was unfortunately closed.
The area around the Chapel is so beautiful, especially for the high colour contrast. Don’t be surprised to see so many people stopping here for some photos.
It is also a great place for a swim, with both the beaches on the east and west side having immaculate blue shallow water, perfect families with kids.
The Hindu temple on the water
I did not plan any stop, it was more of a drive and see, a completely unplanned experience.
I left the red chapel and I was driving direction the Grand Gaube Mauritius when I saw the public beach of Anse La Raie.
There were many colourful buses and completely unaware of the reason I had to stop and check what was happening.
As many times happen, I had a pleasant surprise. This beach hosts a famous small Hindu temple that lies on the water.
I waited till everybody left to have a few shots. Interesting place. Just a pity I did not have the opportunity to have a talk with the locals to better understand the meaning behind the place
It was time to leave for the last stop of the north trail to Grand Gaube.
Grand Gaube and the Hare Krishna procession
What to expect from Grand Gaube? Few exclusive hotels on a coastline made of small coves exclusively offered to the resort guests of which the LUX is probably the most known and popular of all.
The good news is that I got involved in a Hare Krishna procession, an awesome and unique event which definitely was a great inspiration for my photography.
After asking a few times for a permission to take photos, I realised that the people actually loved to be photographed. Great news for me.
It was great also to chat with a few locals and ultimately be invited to share the dinner with them. What an awesome day!
I suggest reading this ultimate guide to the best places to stay in Mauritius, organised by areas and time of the year. It will immensely help to book a hotel or resort without surprises (like rain and wind)
My tip here is to book well in advance. Hotels tend to be booked out well in advance, especially in December and January.
Travel and Photography Tips
- Visit both Grand Baie and Trou aux Biches on sunset time, both places offer many locations for sunset shooting
- La Cuvette Beach in Grand Baie is probably the best spot for a sunset photo as well as the Mont Choisy Beach in Trou Aux Biches
- The viewpoint in Pointe Aux Cannoniers is a great spot for a sunrise photo of the majestic bay of Grand Baie
- Although I was lucky to be in the middle of the Hare Krishna procession I later realised that it was well advertised through poster boards in the streets. Always worth opening the eyes for the local happening
- I booked the car from RentalCars.com, a car aggregator owned by Booking.com. I had a fantastic deal.
Map of the Mauritius North Coast trail
For the interactive Google map check here.