La vallée des couleurs

by Catherine

Wake up before dawn and weave your way up, up, up to Chamarel for plenty of adrenaline-producing activities. But first, visit the undulations of multicoloured sands at La Vallée des couleurs, a spot which shows off the geological formations of Mauritius.

You can blame the slow decomposition of volcanic lava (or basalt) for this natural phenomenon formed over the past 600 million years. Simply put, the water-soluble elements of the lava have washed away, leaving iron (red-brown) and aluminium (blue-violet), which colour the dunes in stripes. The temperature and rate of cooling of the lava also created different compositions of minerals, hence the remaining colour varieties. You can buy tourist-size tubes of the earths. If you shake yours to mix the contents, in due course, they will return to their original layers. Go see the coloured earth early so you get the full effect.

But Chamarel has more to offer than La Vallée des couleurs. Increase your heart rate with zip lining and quad biking or cross the gorge on the Nepalese hanging bridge. Or you can take the Dream Trip to a viewpoint of the south. Cool down near the waterfalls. Enjoy the rock garden, identify the endemic trees.

But don’t forget to take an easy drive through Chamarel, and even stop at one of its local restaurants, for instance, Le Palais de Barbizon. Be aware that these little restaurants fluctuate in quality, so ask a few questions before sitting down—but well worth the Mauritian experience.

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