Belle Mare Beach is located in the east of the island of Mauritius in the Flacq region. It is a very long beach with white sand and black volcanic rocks that offers a beautiful landscape that contrasts with the different shades of blue of the ocean. There are lots of little tidal lagoons where it's not uncommon to find beautiful starfish of every size and shape. The coral reef is a few hundred meters from the shore and you can go snorkel in some of the small boats. There are shady areas full of Casuarina trees which are typical in Mauritius. There are no bars or restaurants, just a few truck peddlers who sell spicy but good Creole food. The beach has several luxurious hotels with umbrellas and chairs but they don't prevent you from always finding a spot!
Ile aux Cerfs is located on the eastern side of the island and it’s a kind of semi-wild island that emerges from the sea and swamp. You can get there via a 15-minute motorboat ride from any of the piers in the area. We hopped on a glass-bottom boat and they took us directly to Ile aux Cerfs and we arrived nice and early when the island was almost empty. They welcomed us with a fruit juice and explained some of the local attractions, all available for a small fee, of course. The price of the tour included beach chairs and lunch at an Indian restaurant and since it was the last day of our trip, we decided to just take it easy, sunbathe, and wait for lunch. More and more catamarans began showing up and beach vendors came by hawking their goods.
One thing that made Ile aux Cerfs different was that there’s a hotel so you have lots of amenities like bathrooms, showers, etc. at your disposal. Luckily, the infrastructure is only on the west side of the island the eastern part is still totally wild. The east side is also more open and strong breezes come in off the Indian ocean. The beaches all have a tropical look like something off of a postcard. There are thousands of little beaches and coves scattered around the island so you’ll have no problem finding a spot away from the crowds. Oh, but don’t wander around the entire island…there’s a huge golf course in the middle and you’ll spend an hour there trying to find your way out!
This islet, which is almost touching Ile aux Cerfs, is an enigma. It is easy to reach: just cross a sandbar that at low tide and you're on this little coral island. Here is where we run into the two main mysteries: first, the sand is filled with little holes and molehills, from crabs perhaps? Second, the island is uninhabited but the interior is patrolled my armed men with dogs. I almost felt like James Bond! Enigmas aside, this little island is the easternmost point in Mauritius and its beaches offer amazing views of the endless blue Indian Ocean. The winds also tend to be heavy on Ilot Mangenie so its popular with surfers and kitesurfers. If you're visiting Ile aux Cerfs, I'd suggest making a stop at Ilot Mangenie.
This church is close to where we live which means, of course, that you never find time to visit it. That's what happened to us, we only used it as the milestone to not get lost and get home when returning from trips. So, one day, we decided to visit. The European influence is huge as you can see, at least on the outside, in the use of stone and the design of the facade. Inside is another thing. The ceiling beams are very Mauritian, as we have seen in other temples, with many stained glass windows. I was also struck by the relative simplicity in terms of the number of images of saints, it was not overloaded. The prayers were dedicated to a parishioner at the back of the church, who was in a fully religious trance, rocking forward and backwards. It's their way of understanding religion, inherited from their Mozambican ancestors. The church is surrounded by a park and the flowers are in stark contrast with the cold gray stone of the church making it much warmer.