Cap Malheureux is a fishing village that holds massive importance in the history of Mauritius, as well as boasting of some of the best views on the northern side of the island, making it a tourist hotspot. The name Cap Malheureux translates to 'Cape of Misfortune', due to the overwhelming number of shipwrecks that happened off the coast of Cap Malheureux.
History of Cap Malheureux
The name Cap Malheureux was given by the French, who ruled over the island from the 1700s to the 1800s. The history of colonial rule in Mauritius is a long and dreary one because the island was a much-coveted land by a lot of different civilizations, the British being the strongest of them. During the French reign, the British launched a massive attack on them at the Cap Malheureux, finally defeating them and taking over the island, following which they ruled over Mauritius till it gained its independence in 1968. Today, a lot of colonial-era buildings still stand in the village, which are the main points of attraction for tourists visiting Cap Malheureux.
Notre Dame Auxiliatrice Chapel
The main attraction of Cap Malheureux is the Notre Dame Auxiliatrice Chapel, which is an ancient church built as a commemorative landmark to the shipwrecks that happened off the northern coast. The Notre Dame Auxiliatrice Chapel is a famous church that is frequented not just by tourists but by locals as well, with the focal point of the chapel being its bright red roof that stands out against the backdrop of the sea. This has also given the chapel the more colloquial name of ‘Red Roof Chapel’, which is what the locals generally use to mention the place.
The Notre Dame Auxiliatrice Chapel has an architecture that is very different from standard churches, especially in terms of its eye-catching facade and its bright colour scheme. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Notre Dame Auxiliatrice Chapel also boasts of a pretty little beach right behind its main building, which is often frequented by honeymooning couples and their photographers.
Notre Dame beach
The beach behind the Notre Dame Auxiliatrice Chapel, known as the Notre Dame beach, is as exceedingly frequented as the church in front of it. The beach is one of the prettiest beaches on this side of the island, with the sand being as white and fine as any of the finest beaches in Mauritius, and the water a glittering turquoise blue.
Activities and Restaurants on the beach
Water sport activities such as kiteboarding and windsurfing are very popular here, with wind speeds being exceptionally high during the summer months. Surfing and wave-boarding is also popular at the Notre Dame beach, with the diversity of the waves making it a great place for surfers with varying skill levels, starting from amateurs to professionals. The rock pools along the beach are a welcoming attraction, especially for kids, who will love the colourful diversity of marine life in the shallow pools. There are plenty of eateries in and around the beach, making it a popular picnic spot for tourists as well as locals.
Pointe aux Roches Beach
Known as the Pointe aux Roches Beach, this beach is a lot wider and longer than the Notre Dame beach, and due to its lack of popularity, it mostly remains deserted, save for the lone tourist or two who get to know about the beach from the locals and come to check it out. Unlike the Notre Dame beach, the sea floor at the Pointe aux Roches Beach is soft and entirely clear of rocks, but the currents here are a bit stronger, so while it is a great place for a swim, advising some caution is necessary.
How to reach
Bus services run between the towns of Port Louis and Cap Malheureux at intervals of 30 minutes, so you can avail of them if you’re staying in and around Port Louis. If you’re driving down on your own from Grand Gaube, you need to take the B14 and take a right at the Intermart Express on to B13, shortly after which you’ll be your destination. If you’re driving in from Pereybere or Grand Baie, all you have to do is drive straight down the B13 till you reach Cap Malheureux.
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