Being a volcanic island on the Indian Ocean, it comes as no surprise that Mauritius is home to a significant number of caves scattered across its entire perimeter. While some caves are entirely inaccessible –even locals don’t enter it, leave alone tourists – there are some caves on the island that are accessible up to a certain point, and have, over the years gone on to become essential tourist attractions that draw huge crowds all year long. One such cave is the Cavern Patate, located in Rodrigues, a tiny island situated off the mainland of Mauritius, right in the middle of the Indian ocean.
The Cave with an Intriguing Name
Rodrigues is home to quite a few caves and caverns which were used in ancient times by pirates to hoard their treasures, and while any such treasures are all gone today, the caves still exist, and they are one of the most intriguing places you can think of exploring. The most famous such cave in Rodrigues is the Caverne Patate. Literally translating to 'Sweet Potato Cave (and no one can tell why this place got such a charming name), this cave system was discovered by farmers long back and is now famous as the longest limestone cave not just in Rodrigues, but in the entirety of Mauritius as well.
The cave had been in existence for a very long amount of time, but it was only mapped as recently as 1995, putting the total tally of the length of passages inside the cave to well over 1100 metres, with the depth of the save going as far as 20 metres in some places. It was formed as a result of the standard tectonic movement and now stands as one of the most visited caves not just in Rodrigues, but across the entire country as well.
The Walk Inside
Mostly slippery and requiring some tricky manoeuvring in some places, the cave is incredibly fascinating, and the rows of stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave are a sight for sore eyes. There is no artificial light inside the cave, so you will be given torches before entering the cave, and you will be accompanied by a guide for the entirety of your trip to the caves and back out. Of course, tourists are allowed to go inside the cave on their own, without taking the help of a guide, but a guided tour is recommended if you're interested in knowing more about the cave and the various formations inside it (which apparently include a very curious formation that accurately resembles the shape of a dodo!)
The Caverne Patate is directly connected to the ocean, so certain parts of the cave are inaccessible as they have water in them. Nevertheless, the parts that are accessible are awe-inspiring, and if you're interested in visiting places that are as old as time itself, a visit to the Caverne Patate is a must for you.
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How to Reach Caverne Patate
Getting to the Caverne Palate, especially when travelling under the guidance of an expert is extremely easy. Said guide would lead you to the southern entrance of the cave where you will have to descend below the sea level via a stone staircase which was carved out of a natural cleft in the island many years ago.