Snorkelling in Mauritius - Plunge Into The Coral Reefs
It feels good to be alive in the ocean's mouth and see the world reveal itself. All you need to do is look at eyes that swim closer to you. Snorkelling is a great water sport to explore the underwater world. You will gaze down in awe at the beautiful rainbow coloured fish swimming in and out of the extensive coral reefs. The cool and refreshing water calms you down as you dive next to a school of purple parrot fish. You can look at them for a while before they shoot off at an arm's length into a ray of blue. Imagine an eel watching your moves with its small beady eyes. Imagine a ray gliding along the bottom of the floor like a silent shadow. And then, imagine a sea urchin moving with its prickly body. Snorkelling is all about adventures in the less seen underwater world. And what if you snorkel in the water of an island surrounded by coral reefs? Mauritius, Africa's one of the best tourist destinations, is also the best destination for snorkelling. To the east and south-west of the island, the lagoon, with a surface area of 300 square km, is at its most extensive. Besides, Mauritius also has around 430 different species of underwater creatures. The quality of the seabed and corals varies sharply.
Here is a list of 10 best sites for Snorkelling in Mauritius:
1. Blue Bay Marine Park
Known for its clean, soft white sandy beaches and clear coastline, Blue Bay Marine Park is one of the best spots for snorkelling in Mauritius. It is a protected marine park and is just off the south-east corner of Mauritius. Ranging between 5 and 6 metres depth, the Blue Bay Marine Park is ideal for beginners as well. The clear waters in this park make for great visibility. You don't need to take a motor boat to get into these waters. You can directly wade in from the Blue Bay Beach. Avid snorkelers find this place magical. One can spot a plethora of exciting and vibrant fish. Wrasse, clownfish, angelfish, parrot fish, and a variety of flora can be spotted in these waters. The flora is made up of coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses and algae.
Approximate cost: MUR 430
2. Flic en Flac
Flic en Flac beach covers an extended part of western Mauritian coast. The beach boasts of incredibly clear waters and amazing aquatic life. The powder white sands stretch along the blue water, making the beach a phenomenal place to watch a dramatic Mauritian sunset from. With typically calm waters, the lagoon of Flic en Flac is suitable for beginners and is also considered safe for snorkelling. The lagoon has gently shelving sands and is home to an array of beautiful fish like white spotted boxfish, Moorish idols, and blue barred parrot fish to name a few. As the lagoon has an enormous population of Sea Urchins as well as shells on the ocean floor, it is advised that you go to the nearby supermarket or a local market and buy a pair of swimming shoes. That would put you on a safe side and take care of your life. Also, there are fantastic opportunities to spot dolphins here, but occasionally. So keep an eye out for those dolphins. If you are lucky, you will get to swim face-to-face along with dolphins.
Approximate cost: MUR 3,500
3. Pereybere Beach, Grand Baie
Pereybere is an excellent location for those looking to go for snorkelling in Mauritius. Located in the north of Mauritius, the lagoon at Pereybere has exquisite crystal clear waters, making it ideal for snorkelling. It is phenomenal to spend a day at this beach and enjoy the views of blue turquoise waters. The beach at Pereybere is trendy as it has various things to offer. From food stalls along the beach to affordable restaurants and an array of water sports, you can do much more here apart from just snorkelling. Snorkel in these waters to discover the variety of flora and fauna in these waters.
Approximate cost: MUR 4,137
4. Pointe aux Piments
Pointe aux Piments is a long beach on the northwest coast of Mauritius. It has an offshore protected reef, making it a perfect destination for snorkelers. The beach is exceptionally narrow at places, but it has more extensive sections that are great for sunbathing and lazy picnics. You can plunge in and out of the water throughout the day. Pointe aux Piments is also renowned as one of the best places in the area to spot sea turtles. One can find Parrot Fish, Trumpets, Sweet-Lips Fish, Groupers, Napoleons; clownfish and moray eels while snorkelling in Pointe aux Piments.
Approximate cost: MUR 2974
5. Mahebourg Bay
Mahebourg Bay is 1.3 km off the island and offers a heavenly place to go snorkelling in Mauritius. A small patch of reef is found here, which is accessible by boat. You can go on a tour from Mahebourg itself, but make sure that you are going with an authorised tour company accompanied by a local guide. Mahebourg Bay is considered to be a 'best-kept secret' amongst snorkelling sites in Mauritius. The bay also boasts of a phenomenally preserved coral which attracts schools of exotic fish. The unusual marine life includes colourful clown fish, needlefish, damselfish, and barracudas. With predominantly tubular corals, the waters also host patches of stag horns and fire corals in between.
Approximate cost: MUR 850
6. Trou Aux Biches
One of the most beautiful places to do snorkelling in Mauritius, Trou aux Biches is also perfect for an outing with friends or family. It is located in the North-West of Mauritius and is one of the best beaches due to its ideal weather for swimming and snorkelling as well. The beach is 2 km long and is perfect for sunbathing as well. The Mauritian sunset view from this beach has been mesmerising visitors for centuries. This stunning spot is known for its casuarinas trees which line the beach instead of tropical palm trees. There is a lagoon which is shallow and usually very calm. A reef is close to the seashore, making it an ideal snorkelling destination for beginners too. Swim out of the reef through the shallow waters to enjoy a fantastic view of the underwater life in these waters. Sometimes, the wind picks up and blows strong. It might be harder to swim back than it is on the way into the waters.
Approximate cost: MUR 14,388
7. Ile aux Cerfs
Just off the coast of Mauritius, Ile aux Cerfs is a must-visit islet in the Indian Ocean. The beach offers good waters to roll in, and every water sport is possible here. The island is excellent for snorkelling. The island has a turquoise lagoon and is surrounded by white sandbars. Sandbars make it easy for swimming and snorkelling. The place also has wonderful underwater filled with colourful fish and coral. Starfish, sea bream, blue striped snappers and parrot fish are some of the many species found in these waters. Groupers often tend to hide in the grass beds near the reef, so make sure you don't miss to see them.
Approximate cost: MUR 5219
8. Tamarin Bay
A beautiful village located five kilometres from Flic en Flac, Tamarin boasts of a natural aquarium. The Natural Aquarium is one of the most beautiful seascapes of Mauritius. Apart from snorkelling, you can jet-ski, paddle boats, and swim along with dolphins here. Tamarin Beach is famous for the large population of dolphins that made Tamarin their natural habitat. Snorkelling to see Spinner Dolphins is a fascinating experience here.
Approximate cost: MUR 8,001
9. Coin de Mire
Situated near the wreck site of Djabeda, Coin de Mire provides a gorgeous view for Coin de Mire. The ocean floor covered with pinkish coral reefs, seabeds and rocks is an enchantment for the snorkelers. The site is one of the popular ones for underwater photography for the vibrant marine life. It is better to stay in the shallower part to avoid drifting away due to strong water currents. Eagle rays, tunas, and turtles can be observed in Coin de Mire. The site has a depth of 80 feet, or 25 metres and is ideal for experienced snorkelers. Also known as Gunner's Quoin, the snorkelling conditions are suitable throughout the year. The coral reef is home to a diversity of species like Damsel Fish, surgeonfish, butterfly fish, juvenile sailfin tangs, and tiny pipefish as well. Also, with some luck, you may see some dolphins during the snorkelling.
Approximate cost: MUR 10,400 (for a private snorkelling trip)
10. Benitiers Island
Benitiers Island is a little off the west coast of Mauritius. It can be seen from Le Morne Mountain, along with the Le Morne beach. Many trips to this island depart from Le Morne Beach, which is 4 km long. Benitiers Island is famous for an enormous number of Dolphins. You will embark yourself on an unforgettable day on Benitiers Island and witness the playful dolphins in their natural habitat. When you snorkel in the waters, you will discover breathtaking biodiversity of this western lagoon.
Approximate cost: MUR 6047
What is the Best Time for Snorkelling in Mauritius?
Though you can take to the water all through the year in Mauritius, the weather conditions vary extensively. Mauritius has a real tropical climate. The water temperature is on average in summer (28° Celsius) and 21°C in the winter season. The water temperature is ideal for snorkelling throughout the year. Summer months are considered to be the best time for snorkelling in the Mauritian waters. Also, it is better to snorkel before the start of water sports. Until 10 AM is the best time to snorkel, as you get to see schools of fish, which would otherwise move away due to the sound of the boat.
From Flic en Flac to Ile Aux Cerfs and Trou Aux Biches, there are plenty of sites for having a fantastic snorkelling experience in Mauritius. While beginners enjoy seabed that can be accessed from the beach, experienced snorkelers might opt to take a boat and visit some of the most spectacular areas.
If you want to see Turtles, November to March is an ideal time for that. For watching Dolphins play in the water, go for snorkelling between June to October. To watch sharks, November to April are ideal months.
Best Snorkelling Centres in Mauritius
1. Sunset Diving Centre Location: Sunset Boulevard, Royal Road, Grand Bay Phone: (230) 59 41 7072
2. Maritim Diving Centre Location: Turtle Bay, Balaclava, Mauritius Phone: (230) 204 1020, (230) 204 1000
3. Ocean Spirit Dive Centre Location: coastal Road, Pereybere, Grand Baie Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
4. Sun divers Limited Location: Wolmar, Flic en Flac Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 AM
5. Blue Water Diving Centre Location: lot 101, Mon Choisy, Trou aux Biches Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Tips and Precautions to Snorkel Safely
Never snorkel on your own.
Take the help of locals to know about boat activities and depth of lagoons.
Do not snorkel in the middle of a lagoon, as it would become difficult for speedboat's skipper to see you.
Lift your head out of the water from time to time, to see where you are.
Never swim against the strong water current.
Do not go into the sea where you see warning boards. Mauritius Beach Authority has erected them.
Carry an underwater camera for clicking amazing videos and pictures.
If you are afraid of Sea Urchins, wear swimming shoes to avoid any danger.
Are you ready? To put on your snorkelling mask and flippers. Lie down in the sea and gently move on. As simple as that!