Safaris In Mauritius - Get Mesmerised By The Breathtaking Wildlife
If you thought that elaborate wildlife safari with big cats was an activity reserved for the national parks of Mainland Africa, and all you could find on the tropical island of Mauritius were Macaques and pigeons, then you couldn't be more wrong. Mauritius' tourism industry has progressed exponentially over the years to the point where foreign nationals visiting the island can engage in almost any experience they want, no matter how 'wild' it is. So if the adventurous lives of the Animal Planet and National Geographic reporters get your adrenaline pumping, your next vacation in Mauritius can bring you a step closer to experiencing their lives.
A safari in Mauritius is an activity that is enjoyed by people of every age. Witnessing the majestic predators of the jungle such as lions, tigers in their natural habitat without any cages hindering your view is a breathtaking experience that few people ever encounter. Add to that the opportunity to interact with the big cats, take them on a walk, touch and feel them and you've got yourself an adventure of a lifetime. Few places in the world offer these activities, hence ensure that your trip to Mauritius involves these safaris.
Read on to get in-depth information about the Mauritius safaris:
1. Casela World of Adventures
Casela World of Adventures is undoubtedly the benchmark for wildlife safaris in Mauritius. Spanning an enormous 250 hectares of land, this amusement park was established in 1979 and is one of the most visited tourist attractions on the island. Nestled among the sugarcane fields of Mauritius' West coast, the Rempart mountain serves as a scenic background for this park. An exhaustive range of activities is offered by this park for all age groups to enjoy such as African safaris, ziplining, go-karting, quad biking and Segway rides.
Casela Park is renowned across the world for the unique opportunities it offers visitors to interact with the animals. When it comes to animals, the park boasts of an impressive collection of lions, tigers, cheetahs, caracals, servals, hyenas, camels, giraffes, rhinos, horses, tortoises and deer for visitors to interact with. The wildlife activities offered in the park can be grouped into three categories:
This is where you can pay your respects to the emperor of the jungle, up close! Be it apex predators such as lions, tigers, cheetahs or native African cats such as the Caracals and Servals; all animals have been trained well to denounce their inherent hunting instincts and amicably interact with humans. Take a break from your usual commonplace dog walks and take a stroll with a glorious lion. You can also engage in petting the animals (their cubs too if you're lucky!) inside their enclosures while experiencing their innate beauty and good manners. If all this is a tad too adventurous for you, the trusty old jeep drive-thru is always there for you.
These might not come across as thrilling as the big cat interactions but are extraordinarily delightful and enrich nonetheless. You can ride around the lush green vegetation of the park astride a stunning pony or a magnificent camel. Kids are elated by riding the jolly animals through the forest while seeing magnificent animals such as the eland, kudu, zebra and ostrich roam around them.
Animal Feeding and other activities
Ever wondered what goes on in the life of a zookeeper? Well, Casela offers its young visitors the opportunity to become a zookeeper for a day. This activity, a favourite amongst families with kids visiting the park, gives kids between the age of 6 and 14 a chance to assist the zookeepers in their daily routines. They will experience the preparation of food, upkeep of enclosures and surveillance of animals such as tortoises, monkeys, goats and flamingos. They can also feed young calves, fawns, goats and sheep with feeding bottles and clean them up. The importance of conserving biodiversity is too stressed to the children making the activity an enlightening one.
Other activities on offer include feeding giraffes, tortoises, lorikeets, petting rhinos and fishing tilapia in the ponds.
Location: Cascavelle, Mauritius Contact: +230 401 6500 (Monday to Sunday, including public holiday 8:30am to 5:00pm) Timings: All days - 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. (Timings of individual activities may vary, refer website)
2. Crocodile and Giant Tortoises Park and Nature Reserve
This one is for all the reptile lovers out there. The Crocodile and Giant Tortoises Park, housed inside the La Vanille Nature Park in Southern Mauritius, is home to an impressive array of crocodiles and tortoises nestled in the beautiful rainforest valley, replete with freshwater springs teeming with fish and prawns.
Take a delightful stroll through the lush greenery with banana trees, palm trees and bamboo shoots flanking the trail, serving as the ideal shady resting spots for the reptiles. More than 1000 endangered giant Aldabra Tortoises roam these forests which you can pet, and play with. You also have the freedom to feed the baby tortoises and snap pictures with them to preserve these moments for eternity. The sight of the slow-moving animals would overjoy children with their retractable heads and limbs, and hard bony shells.
Apart from the tortoises, thousands of Nile crocodiles are available for the visitors to witness safely. The impressive reptiles are kept safe from hunters and poachers, and the visitors are acquainted early on with the conservation efforts that are underway. Tourists are also smitten by the Butterfly and Insect Park, which houses a rare collection of more than 23000 species of multi-hued butterflies and insects.
After paying visits to the crocodiles and tortoises, you can head over to the mini zoo of Mauritian fauna which boasts of several indigenous Mauritian mammals and reptiles such as the skinks, Phelsuma, turtles, bats, deer, mongooses, monkeys, pigs, goats, fat-tailed sheep and donkeys.
Finally, after the conclusion of your explorations of the enchanting forests and parks, you can refuel at the Hungry Crocodile Restaurant which serves amongst many other things, well crocodiles!
Location: La Vanille Nature Park, Mauritius Contact: +230 626 2503 Timings: All Days - 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (Refer website for timings of activities)
3. Salazie Lodge Deer Safari
While the mention of Mauritius' name conjures images of sparkling beaches and underwater snorkelling expeditions, Mauritius' inland region houses several lesser-known treasures. One of these is the Salazie Lodge in the La Nicolière region of Mauritius. The hiking trail in this vicinity is secluded, tranquil and replete with verdant green vegetation. Exotic palm, eucalyptus, and pine trees around the path and lend it a serene and blissful aura.
These forests are home to a large number of deer, wild bats and pigs which you can spot while climbing the trail in unique customised Land Rovers. Keen observers will be able to spot the plethora of species in the woods, feeding on leaves or resting peacefully under tall, dark trees. Guides will accompany you on your safari in the 4X4 vehicles and will familiarise you with the animals, their history, their habitat and their conservation. Continuing further along the trail, you'll reach the ultimate vantage point from where you can witness the jaw-dropping Northern and Eastern coasts of the island in all their glory.
The four-hour trip will conclude with meals to quench the appetite you built while exploring the trail and forests. This trip may not get your pulses racing but will surely give you the chance to experience the elusive peace and placidity that the world now lacks. Head on this trail to reconnect with nature and rejuvenate your senses.
Location: La Nicolière, Mauritius Contact: +230 269 1000 Timings: 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM (Book 48 hours in advance to check availability)
Safety and Precautions
1. Pay close attention to the instructor's messages and follow them to ensure your safety. 2. Bring proper gear to ensure that you do not experience any trouble while hiking/exploring. This includes hiking shoes, sun cream, mosquito repellant, hat/cap, raincoat, umbrella, water and spare clothes. 3. Do not tease or tempt animals. Respect them, and they'll respect you. 4. Take special care of children. Ensure that they do not wander off alone or remain with animals unattended. 5. Keep the parks and trails clean and pollution free. All visitors are responsible for the conservation of biodiversity.
So there you go. Make sure you make the most of your vacations in Mauritius and explore the island. There's much more to Mauritius than just its hallowed beaches. These unique opportunities to interact with the fauna will undoubtedly be the highlight of your trip, and we hope that you return with sweet, everlasting memories.