|At the lake|
Mauritius is much more than Port Louis and Grand Bay; with national parks, high peaks, waterfalls and beaches to see we shared a hire car with our good friends Jackie and Gary of Inspiration Lady and set out for a couple of days exploring the southern part of the island.
Our first day began with low clouds and rain as we drove up into the mountains. First stop was a sacred Hindu lake and temple seen through low clouds. Once a year there is a festival which attracts thousands of devotees – today it was just us, four tourists from Nepal, a few monkeys and the caretakers. The four lane road leading to it, parking for 200 coaches and hundreds of cars were all empty.
|guardian of the road|
|waterfall through clouds|
|and without clouds|
It was onwards from Shiva to the Alexander Falls. By now the rain was falling and the view of the falls obscured by cloud. Patience paid off when the clouds briefly drifted away to reveal the view. Carrying on from Alexander falls the road descended and the weather cleared and the next waterfall on our route was easier to see. We took a comfort break at the Charmarel rum distillery. A pretty place in a gorgeous setting, but having visited several rum distilleries in the Caribbean we opted to keep going to sights and experiences new.
|Charmarel rum distillery|
By lunchtime we'd reached the south western tip of Mauritius and an ancient volcanic plug named Le Morne. The cliffs are said to be unscaleable, but, in the early 19th century escaped slaves were hiding at the top. Ignorant of the fact that slavery had been abolished, they panicked when they saw a troop of soldiers approaching and in despair threw themselves off the rock rather than be forced to be returned slavery. Today there is a sculpture park at the base of the rock to commemorate the plight of slaves. Hence the name 'the mournful ones'.
|Le Morne and the sculpture park|
We took our picnic lunch on a blustery beach underneath La Morne and after gratefully returned to the warmth of the car for the continuing tour.
Black River Gorges national park is in the south and west corner and the entrance we chose is up the road from the Black River marina. We parked near the visitor centre and picked a track which would take us up to a look out and return in about an hour and a half. Inside the forest it was green and cool as we walked down the track to the river where we got our feet wet crossing. And then it was climb, climb, climb up the track to the lookout for views across a gorge and out to sea. On the descent my walking boots had a breakdown – the sole parted from the upper and I finished the walk with the sole held on with the lace.
|at the look out|
This was the end of our adventure for day one. David drove us back to Grand Bay arriving soon after the sun had set.