Famed for its brilliant coastlines of peach-tinged sand and crystalline water, Mauritius is an island idyll par excellence. And with such a strong focus on beach-lazing and other relaxing pursuits, most globetrotters do not realise that the island is perfect for an active vacation. Holidaymakers generally gravitate towards the shimmering turquoise lagoon on the northern and eastern coasts, leaving the island’s wind-swept seascapes and deeper waters to those with a surfboard in tow.
best surfing spots are tucked behind the craggy Morne Brabant along the quieter
southwestern shores. Visible from much of the island, the iconic, 556m-high Morne
Brabant is a stunning rock formation that tumbles into the sea, forming a
beautiful peninsula that is shaped like a hammerhead shark. According to
popular legend, a group of escaped slaves made their last stand at the top of
the sky-scraping mound, choosing to jump from the cliffs rather than being
recaptured by approaching soldiers. And thus the crag earned its name – “le morne”
meaning “the mournful one” in French.
the shadows of Le Morne is Mauritius’ ultimate surfing spot, One Eye – so named
because when a surfer finds the sweet spot in which to catch the perfect wave they
will see a small hole, or “eye”, in Le Morne’s jagged rock face. The pros at Club Mistral, a worldwide surfing
organization based on the nearby Indian Resort,
can point you in the direction of One Eye during a one-hour private lesson (2,800
Mauritian rupees). For beginners, it is best to test your luck on the west side
of the peninsula, at what has become known as the Kite Lagoon, due to the
increasing popularity of kite-surfers. In fact, if you are looking to strap a
harness on, there are two recommended operators in the area that can get you
kitted: Son of Kite and the International
Kiteboarding Organization-affiliated Yoaneye Kite
While most of the top-notch wave-catching goes down
around Le Morne, the laidback surf town vibe lives just slightly further up the
coast on the west-facing sands of Tamarin Beach in Black River. Locals love to
wax nostalgic about Tamarin Beach, and in many ways this sandy cove still feels
like a throwback to earlier times – especially since the centrally located (and
favourite hangout) Tamarin
Hotel looks as though it has not been renovated since the 1970s.
Tamarin Bay used to offer some of the best surfing on
the planet, but changing climates and wind patterns have resulted in it
becoming less popular spot for expert surfers. However the area – unmarred by
high-walled resort compounds – remains a great place for newbies to get their
sea legs. The best time to surf is between 8 am and 9 am, when weather is clear
and the kiosks have yet to open their shutters. Swing by the Tamarin Hotel’s
front desk to sign up for surfing lessons (600 Mauritian rupees per hour).
Where to stay
an island cluttered with beachside resorts and all-inclusive hotels, it may
come as a pleasant surprise to do-it-yourself surf buffs that decent digs can
be found, seemingly miles away from the buffet brunches and acres of sand
punctuated with the repeating beach chair-umbrella-beach chair combination.
in the village of La Gaulette, halfway between Le Morne and Tamarin, tour
operator Ropsen proffers a vast array of
high-quality apartment options. Insist on a sea view and you will be treated to
some of the most spectacular vistas on the island.
a spot of Mauritian hospitality at Les Lataniers Bleus, a charming chambres d'hôte (bed and breakfast) up the road from
Tamarin. The darling rooms are spread across three houses situated on an
ample, beachside orchard. Every comfort has been considered; there is even a
power socket hidden in a tree trunk so you can look up tide tables while
sitting in the sand.
How to get there
Air Mauritius is the island’s national
carrier, offering flights to a variety of international destinations including
London, Perth, Paris and Mumbai. Several other airlines including British Airways, Emirates, South African
Airways and Air Austral also
operate direct flights.
The article 'Mauritius’ ultimate surfing spots' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.