Hiking in Mauritius: five trails with stunning viewpoints

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Hiking in Mauritius is hot, sticky and exhausting, but with some of the finest viewpoints in the world, thoroughly worthwhile too.

Hiking in Mauritius is like exploring Jurassic World, albeit without Chris Pratt and a ferocious dinosaur in tow. The scenery boasts sapphire-blue waters and powder-white beaches encircling jagged jungle-clad peaks that surge from sugar cane fields below. It is the spectacular crests with unimpeded viewpoints of the island in all its glory that provide the finest hiking in Mauritius. We take a look at five of the best trails.

1. Macchabée Trail

Distance: 10km (6.2mi)
Duration: 2-3 hours
Difficulty level: Easy
Highest point: 652m (2,139ft)

hiking in mauritius Macchabee Trail
Atlas & Boots The picturesque Macchabée Viewpoint

Black River Gorges is the largest and finest national park in Mauritius. It covers approximately 2% of the island’s surface and is intrinsic to the country’s ecosystems. The Macchabée Trail provides a quick and easy hike through this wild region of pitching hills and thick forest. The trail runs from Le Pétrin Information Centre to the Black River Visitors Centre via the picturesque Macchabée Viewpoint – the perfect place for a picnic.

2. Le Pouce

Distance: 4.3km (2.6mi)
Duration: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Easy to medium
Highest point: 812m (2,664ft)

hiking in mauritius le pouce
Atlas & Boots The Moka Range seen from Le Pouce

At 812m (2,664ft), Le Pouce – or The Thumb, so named because of its thumb-shaped peak – is the third highest mountain in Mauritius. It is located near the island’s capital city, Port Louis, and offers striking views of the Moka Range including the country’s second highest peak, Pieter Both, with its uniquely shaped rock formation at the summit which resembles a human head.

Read our article on hiking Le Pouce for more information and a route map.

3. Lion Mountain

Distance: 8.4km (5.2mi)
Duration: 3-4 hours
Difficulty level: Medium (some exposed scrambling)
Highest point: 490m (1,607ft)

hiking in mauritius-Lion-Mountain
Dreamstime The sphinx-like profile of Lion Mountain dominates the southeast of the island

The unmistakable sphinx-like profile of Lion Mountain dominates the southeast of the island. The hike is a challenging slog along the lion’s ‘back’ to finish on the ‘head’. There are a few dicey scrambles over some rocky sections before reaching the plateau along the lion’s head. There, hikers are rewarded with fantastic vistas across the interior of the island as well as coastal views towards the south and east.

4. Le Morne Brabant

Distance: 7km (4.3mi)
Duration: 3-4 hours
Difficulty level: Medium (some exposed scrambling)
Highest point: 490m (1,607ft)

hiking in Mauritius le morne
Atlas & Boots The hulking Le Morne Brabant seen from the water

At 556m (1,825ft), Le Morne Brabant shouldn’t be daunting for the average hiker, but what it lacks in height, it adds in sheer bulk. The mountain looms above the peninsula next to an ‘underwater waterfall’ that can be seen from the sky (an optical illusion caused by runoff of sand and silt). Some exposed sections of scrambling make for an exhilarating ascent.

Read our article on hiking Le Morne Brabant for more information and a route map.

5. Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire

Distance: 7km (4.3mi)
Duration: 3-4 hours
Difficulty level: Medium
Highest point: 828m (2,717ft)

hiking in mauritius piton
Dreamstime Le Morne Brabant seen from the highest mountain on the island

The highest mountain on the island has the best views of the southwestern peninsular, particularly of the hulking Le Morne Brabant and its surrounding waters. A well-maintained and clearly signposted path serves the mountain although if there has been rain (and there often is in Mauritius) the path can become very muddy. The mostly shaded trail starts near the Black River Gorges viewpoint and parking area, and has regular clearings. The final climb before the summit is short but intense.

Hiking in Mauritius: The Essentials

What: Hiking in Mauritius: five trails with stunning viewpoints.

Where: We stayed at three different hotels in Mauritius as well as with a friend in the capital of Port Louis. We recommend the below hotels as they all provide something different in unique areas of the island. Port Louis is worth visiting on a day trip (if only to visit the “exhilarating” Postal Museum), but probably not worth staying in – it’s not the Mauritius you came all this way to see!

When: The best time to visit Mauritius is Oct-Apr when temperatures are hot, albeit humid and rainy. Do note that cyclones are possible in Jan-Feb. The island’s winter runs from May-Sep. Temperatures are still warm, but prevailing winds tend to blow over the island from the east and south-east.

How: Use the map above to help you plan your days out hiking in Mauritius. We hired a car from a local in Port Louis called David (+230 59 5125 65) at a cost of 800 MUR / $25 USD per day. Be sure to ask for air conditioning! Alternatively use Rental Cars to find the best local deals.

Transfers to all the above hiking trails can be organised via your hotel or through a local driver. We recommend Stelio (+230 52 5084 97).

Additionally, there are buses that serve most of the island which are relatively easy to use, particularly in the capital of Port Louis. Use the Mauritius Buses website to plan a journey.

Practise good sense while hiking in Mauritius: go early in the morning to avoid the stronger sun, hike with a partner, wear lots of sunscreen, avoid hiking on rainy days as the trails can get very slippery, and take plenty of water (min. 1.5 litre per person).

Several international airlines fly to Mauritius. Book via skyscanner.net for the best prices.

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G Adventures offer a range of hiking and trekking tours with over 650 small group adventures to choose from. You can download their brochures here.

Lonely Planet Mauritius, Reunion & Seychelles is a comprehensive guide to Mauritius, ideal for those who want to both explore the top sights and take the road less travelled.

Lead image: Dreamstime

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