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While Mauritius is mostly globally renowned for its jaw-dropping beaches, the island is home to a vast variety of other geographical phenomena that you will not find anywhere else across the world. One such extremely curious natural phenomenon is the Seven-Coloured Earth or the Terres de 7 Couleurs.
Located in Chamarel, the Terres de 7 Couleurs, or the Seven-Coloured Earth is famous all over the globe for being an incredibly unique geological formation. A fenced area with multicoloured dunes in seven different colours of violet, green, brown, red, yellow, purple and blue, the Seven-Coloured Earth is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in Mauritius. This popular tourist hub is often the only reason why travellers make a pit stop at Chamarel in the first place. The perfectly blended dunes look like something straight out of a painting, and the contrasts on the different layers of the sand give off a surreal 3D vibe that makes it look like someone has picked up an arranged every mound separately by hand to create the perfect light-and-shadow effect. However, the entire formation is entirely natural and does have a scientific explanation behind it.
The soil here is basically of volcanic origin, with the tropical weather conditions having washed out all water-soluble elements, leaving behind only compounds of aluminium and iron which are not capable of mixing. So even if you take portions of two different-coloured earth and try to mix them, they will not mix under any circumstances and will settle down into different layers eventually. Of course, you cannot test this out at the actual site, but the souvenir shop lets you buy test tubes and small samples of the multi-coloured sand, where you can try it out.
The best time to visit the Terres de 7 Couleurs is during sunrise, as the fiery reds and oranges from the rising sun paint the entire landscape a vibrant shade of crimson, which makes the distinctly coloured dunes stand out even more, to the point where you will have difficulty believing that the formation in front of you is actually real and tangible, and not something straight out of a painting. One of the island's main tourist attractions ever since the 1900s, the Seven Coloured Earth of Chamarel is protected on all sides by wooden fences, so you can only watch them from a distance, from various observation outposts a little distance away from the fence, that have been built specifically for this purpose.
Aside from the seven-coloured earth, birdwatching is also a favourite activity here. There are quite a few beautiful birds that have made this area their homes, and if the idea of birdwatching interests you, then you can visit the place armed with a pair of binoculars and a good camera. Adjacent to the Terres de 7 Couleurs is a children's park, which is home to some giant tortoises that are docile, and even walks up to you with their necks outstretched for a tickle or a pat!
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