Top 10 peaks of Mauritius for trekking and hiking

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Due to the volcanic origin of Mauritius, the island has no shortage of mountain peaks. I have selected 10 mountain peaks of Mauritius suitable for hiking, and I will tell you which peaks you cannot climb without a guide and which ones you can climb on your own. How to climb Le Morne mountain in Mauritius? Climbing Le Pouce – is it difficult and can it be done without preparation?

Top 10 mountains of Mauritius for trekking and hiking

The highest mountain of Mauritius is conquered!

The site has a detailed article on trekking and hiking in Mauritius, but above all, it looks at eco-trails in national parks and the most famous hiking route in Mauritius – Tamarind Falls or “Seven cascades”. Trekking in the mountains has its own peculiarities, which I will write about below.

In order to get to almost all the places mentioned in this article you have to have your own transportation. During my trip to Mauritius, I rented a car through the Localrent website and moved around the island without any problems.

With or without a guide?

  • If you are an experienced hiker and hiking enthusiast, you will not need a guide on most trails. Still on some hiking trails in Mauritius, you cannot do without a guide.
  • If you have little experience, or you are not sure of your abilities, it is better to take a guide. With a guide it’s both safer and more fun.

There are different ways to find a competent guide:

  1. There are travel agencies that organize trips to the eco trails and peaks of Mauritius – for example, Yanature or Eco Explorers Mauritius.
  2. Nature reserves often have their own guides, and you usually have to book your visit in advance through the official website.
  3. Hotels are often in touch with local guides, especially if they are located near popular hiking trails.
  4. On the Viator website there are many options for guided hikes to the mountain peaks of Mauritius. The corresponding options can be found either by the name of the natural object through which the route passes, or by keywords – Mauritius Trekking, Mauritius Hiking, or in the categories Hiking & Camping, Eco Tours and Climbing. Such tours usually include a transfer to the start of the route, a guide and water provisions.

Special features of mountain trekking in Mauritius

If you are going to climb a mountain peak, perhaps the most important thing is to properly assess the complexity of the route and calculate your strength in advance. If you have to turn back halfway through because of obstacles that are insurmountable for you – it’s not that bad. It’s much worse if you overcome the climb with your last strength, and you still have to get back somehow!

In the descriptions of the mountains of Mauritius, I have tried to reflect what each of the routes is like and what difficulties you will face on them. But there are a few general points that I want to talk about separately.

  1. The difficulty of climbing a mountain does not directly depend on its height or the length of the route. So, one of the easiest routes leads to the viewpoint on top of Mount Le Pouce which is the third highest in Mauritius, while the most difficult route on the list (to Mount Pieter Both) is also the shortest one (2 km in both directions).
  2. Usually, the most difficult part of the trail is the last one, where you have to climb the rocks with your hands, with the help of aids embedded in the slope (for example, chains). It is dangerous, and sometimes completely impossible, to pass it without a guide and special training.
  3. When climbing a mountain, it is not at all necessary to reach the very top. If you feel that you have miscalculated your strength, it is better to turn back. On the trail you will enjoy a fascinating walk in the fresh air, exploring Mauritius’ nature – and a breathtaking view of the island from a bird’s eye view.
  4. Whether a mountain climbing guide is needed depends on the particular mountain. As a rule, it is preferable to go with a guide for mountains with medium climbing difficulty and mandatory for mountains with a high difficulty. Even if you are experienced and confident in your abilities, a guide can know the critical nuances of the climb, especially considering that the trails are often not clearly marked. It’s impossible to know in advance which rocks to step on or not to step on, and whether you are headed to the top or into a dead end.
  5. Mountain climbing is very weather dependent. Even a light rain can turn rocks into a death trap. Therefore, be sure to follow the weather forecast, and if there is a threat of precipitation, postpone or cancel your plans. Health is more valuable!
  6. Due to the fact that you need to ascend in clear weather, another problem arises. Unlike during walks in national parks, there is usually nowhere to hide from the sun for most of the climb, and the heat adds to the difficulty of the route. Try to start your climb very early in the morning in order to be back by noon, and bring hats, sunscreen and water.
  7. Another important precaution is not to climb alone. A friendly hand will help you overcome treacherous parts of the route and will serve as an additional guarantee of safety.
  8. The main question is how to navigate? There are maps on the Internet with a route already laid out, but it is not certain that they will help if you go astray during your walk. To avoid unpleasant situations, it is best to use a specialized GPS device – for example, Garmin GPS. If you don’t have that option, you can use apps on your smartphone that pull data from Openstreetmap maps.
If you decide to rely on your smartphone for navigation, remember to charge it before you go out or take a power bank with you. Using maps drains the battery quickly.

1. Peak Riviere Noire (Bench 828) – the roof of Mauritius

The route on fitsy | on Explore Mauritius

Peak Riviere Noire (Black River Peak, full name – Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire or “Peak of the Little Black River”) with a height of 828 m is the highest mountain in Mauritius. On this peak there is a famous bench painted in the national colors of the island. Hence the second name of the peak – Bench 828.

Climbing to the peak of the Rivière Noire in Mauritius

Me in front of the famous bench Bench 828 on the highest mountain in Mauritius

As mentioned in the main National Parks of Mauritius article, it is located in the “Black River Gorges” national park. This is the best national park on the island of Mauritius for trekking. You can read more about it in a separate article.

The route does not start from the foot of the mountain, but from the Black Gorges Viewpoint, which can be reached by rental car, taxi or with a guided tour. You will then have a relatively easy walk through the tropical forest (2.5 km one way) until you reach the last part of the trail that leads to the mountain peak.

The route to the Riviere Noire would be one of the easiest in Mauritius, if it weren’t for the almost completely clear track in the last few tens of meters. There are no rocky ledges, only mud, and the climber must use a rope hanging from the top.

Unlike the mountains of Le Pouce or Le Morne, here really beautiful views open only from the top, while the rest of the route is covered with tropical vegetation.

Even though you don’t have to worry about sunstroke while climbing the Riviere Noire peak, there are other issues:

  • The trail can be slippery with mud for most of its length, especially after rain. That’s why you have to hold on to the trees even on small climbs and descents.
  • Mosquitoes swarm here, especially during the wet season. This significantly complicates the route, which could be easy and pleasant. So be sure to bring a mosquito repellent with you.

2. Le Morne Brabant Mountain

The route on fitsy | on Explore Mauritius

Le Morne Brabant Mountain, on the peninsula of the same name in the southwestern of Mauritius, is one of the most popular peaks for climbing. It is located next to Le Morne beach and offers a stunning view of the beach and the surrounding area from above.

Just like the Corps de Garde, its history is closely linked to the slave system. Runaway slaves hid in caves on its summit, and, according to legend, when slavery was abolished in the 19th century and soldiers came in uniforms to the mountain to inform the fugitives of their liberation, many thought they were captured and preferred to throw themselves off a steep slope. This was one of the reasons why Mount Le Morne in Mauritius was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Climbing Le Morne Mountain usually doesn’t mean climbing to its summit but climbing to a steel cross placed on a small stone platform, from where you can see the southern tip of Mauritius and the famous “Underwater Waterfalls”. The tourism status of Le Morne Mountain has long been under question. Now climbing is allowed, but officially you can go without a guide only during the first part of the trail – from the gate, open from 07:00 to 16:00, to the first observation deck. This part of the trail is about 2.5 km long, well maintained and fairly easy. Even people who are not in shape can get through it without any problems.

The second part of the route, from the lookout point to the cross, is available only with a guide. A guide can be booked in advance. There are several companies that organize climbs on Le Morne Brabant:

Voucher hiking tour on the Le Morne Brabant Mountain

After paying for the tour, I received an e-mail containing a voucher from Viator for climbing Le Morne Brabant Mountain

There used to be ropes mounted here that you could hold on to while climbing or descending, but they fell into disrepair over time. It is still possible to climb without them, albeit with difficulty. The difficulty of this section of the route is upper medium. Walking here after rain is extremely dangerous – very slippery!!

I do not recommend this route to people with a fear of heights. Many people turn back at the very beginning of the second part of the climb because of their fear of heights.

My review of climbing this mountain is this: the most dangerous hike of my life. It had rained the night before, but the guide said it was possible to climb, although there would be some slippery. I had to use all possible points of support both on the ascent and on the descent. The descent was particularly “interesting”.

If you plan to climb the entire route, you can do so without a guide, but only if you are an experienced hiker. There is a risk that you will have to pay a fine of 500 Rupees, but it is cheaper than climbing with a guided tour (1500 Rupees or more) or hiring a local guide (~1000 Rupees).

The total length of the route to Le Morne Mountain in Mauritius is 6.4 km there and back, the estimated time for ascent and descent is 3.5 – 4 hours.

3. Le Pouce Mountain – easy hike overlooking Port Louis

The route on fitsy | on Explore Mauritius

Mountain Le Pouce in Mauritius (Le Pouce translates as “Big thumb”) – the third highest, 812 m, and one of the most popular among tourists. There are two reasons for this.

  1. It is located very close to Port Louis the capital city of Mauritius, and can be easily reached even on foot, not to mention using the public transport.
  2. It is suitable for people of all skill levels.

The path to its summit is generally quite easy and passes through trees and bushes, occasionally emerging into open areas with stunning views of the Moka District and the nearby mountains.

You can also climb Le Pouce with a guide who will tell you many interesting things about the history of the mountain and Port Louis, the capital of the island. A detailed description of the hike is provided on this page →

Trekking in Mauritius

Me as I climb Mount Le Pouce overlooking Port Louis

There are two routes leading to Le Pouce, northern and southern:

  • The northern one is much longer, 6.2 km in one direction, because it starts directly from Port Louis. It is more wild and uneven – there are more gentle areas than in the south and there are more rocks. It is more suitable for experienced hikers.
  • The southern route starts in the village of Saint Pierre and runs less than 5 km in both directions.
  • The last part of the trail is the same for both routes. This is a climb to a rocky peak that sticks out – “the nail”. It requires experience and skill. You will have to climb up the rocks, pulling yourself up on your hands, until you come out on the narrow rock section at the top.
Fun fact – Charles Darwin climbed Le Pouce on May 2, 1836 during his round-the-world trip and even left a note about it in his travel journal!

4. Pieter Both – mountain with a balancing stone

The route on fitsy | on Explore Mauritius

Although Peter Both Mountain is the second highest mountain in Mauritius, 820 m high, it is considered by many to be the symbol of the island. The reason for that is its unique shape. From a distance, the stone appears to balance perilously on a thin downward facing point. It is hard to believe that the stone is stable enough to be climbed even by experienced rock climbers. According to legend, this is the petrified head of a milkman who once saw fairies dancing and singing on the mountain. They made him swear not to tell anyone about them, but the milkman broke the oath, and the angry fairies turned him to stone.

Pieter Both Mountain with a balancing stone in Mauritius

The mountain can be seen from Port Louis and from the route that leads from the north of the island to the south

The ascent to Pieter Both is by far the most difficult on the list, even though many people climb although many climb only part of the way, ending the route on the “shoulder” of the mountain rather than its “head”. To climb the mountain, you will have to overcome 820 m of ascent on a route that is only 1 km long. If you’re in good shape, you can come up to the “shoulder” on your own but even in this case it is better to take ropes with you in order to safely overcome some parts of the trail. You cannot climb to the very top without special equipment, and you definitely need the help of a guide. Both guides and equipment are provided by several organizations in Mauritius. But even if you turn to them, it is worth remembering that for people without previous experience in conquering mountain peaks, “the milkman’s passing” is too difficult.

You can get to the beginning of the route on Pieter Both from the village of La Laura in the central part of the island. There are almost no markings, although in some places you can see white and yellow spots of paint and metal rings driven into the stone. In some places, you have to go through stone ditches filled with water, and bypasses through the surrounding boulders don’t always exist. But when you reach the top of the mountain, all the difficulties will be compensated tenfold. You will see some of the most beautiful landscapes in Mauritius, and you don’t even have to climb to the very top for that.

5. Signal Mountain and nearby peaks

The route on fitsy | on Explore Mauritius

Climbing Signal Mountain is the easiest on the list, for many reasons. Mount Signal, 323 m high, is located on the outskirts of the capital of Mauritius, Port Louis, and a gentle asphalt road about 3 km long leads to its summit. You can easily reach it from the side of the Labourdonnais street.

Signal Mountain in Mauritius

All the way up the mountain – an asphalt road. The only problem is parking. It is clearly not big enough for everyone, because the locals use the rise for exercising.

The road to Signal Mountain is equally attractive to local health enthusiasts and tourists – from its top there is a beautiful view of Port Louis, the capital of the island.

View of Port Louis from Signal Mountain

It is best to climb Signal Mountain during sunrise or sunset. It is at these moments that you can see the most beautiful view of the island. But don’t forget your mosquito repellent – there are a lot of mosquitoes during sunset.

If you want more than a well-trodden path, you can make the route more difficult. Right next to Signal Mountain is the peak of Quoin Bluff and several other plateaus – Spear Grass Peak, Goat Rock and Snail Rock. The last three form one route of 6.5 km in length in one direction, the difficulty of which gradually increases from easy to medium. If you can’t get through all of them, you can stop at the Spear Grass Peak.

Climbing on Signal Mountain from Port Louis

Neighboring peaks of Signal Mountain in a row

The road to Quinn Bluff is only slightly more difficult than the road to Signal Mountain. The main difference is that the road to the top is not paved and you can get lost in the grass, and there is a pile of rocks at the top, not a TV and radio tower. Both climbs are great for family outings.

6. Trois Mamelles Mountain

The route on fitsy | on Explore Mauritius

Mountain Trois Mamelles, is located in the western Mauritius and is named so because of three peaks that rise into the sky in pointed domes. But the central peak is not always taken into account – it is not as attractive for tourists as the western and eastern peaks, and climbing it is quite difficult. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see the name ”Deux Mamelles”, and the routes for eastern and western peaks are described separately.

The guided tours visit all three peaks of the Trois Mamelles, giving a total route length of 8 km and upper medium difficulty. If you plan to climb the mountain on your own, it is better to limit yourself to the western and eastern peaks, which are relatively easy to climb – the difficulty is lower medium.

It is better to start from the eastern peak, to which the trail is well marked and only 2.2 km long in both directions. Then you can climb to the western peak, the road is much closer, but very overgrown with bushes. Problems can arise on this part of the route, not because it is difficult to climb, but because there is no clearly defined path. Maps that can be found on the Internet do not always reflect reality. Due to the fact that it is very easy to get lost on the western peak, it is very important to go back along the same path.

Climbing Trois Mamelles Mountain, especially if you choose not to risk climbing the central peak, differs from climbing other mountains in Mauritius in that it is mostly overgrown with lush vegetation. On the one hand, it makes navigation difficult, and in some places, you have to make your way straight through the bushes, and on the other hand, it is not so hot, and there is always something to grab onto. At the central peak, because there is much less vegetation, there are metal rings driven into the rock that will help you climb.

7. Mountain Corps de Garde

The route on fitsy | on Explore Mauritius

The name Corps de Garde translates as “guardhouse” and reflects both its appearance and its complicated history. In the 17th century, during the colonial occupation, runaway slaves hid here and raided nearby villages, resorting to looting, arson and murder in search of food. To deal with the threat, a military-police camp was set up on the mountain. And Corps de Garde Mountain itself, resembles a guard who fell asleep on duty, according to popular belief.

Corps de Garde is 720 m high. It is located in the central part of the island, closer to its western coast, and can be reached from the nearby village of Rose Hill. It is quite difficult to climb. The total length of the route is 4.5 km, including the return trip, and has several characteristics:

  1. The first part of the trail is one of the most difficult and it is very steep, so you can get stuck at the very beginning. To overcome this, you need to be in good physical shape.
  2. Reaching the highest point of the mountain is halfway through the route. Usually, after climbing it, people walk along the ridge of the mountain to the southern peak of the mountain, from where the best views open up. Part of the path to the southern platform is made difficult by the fact that the path on it is almost unmarked and, in some places, goes along the edge of the cliff.
  3. Going back, you should avoid the temptation to go along a different path. You’ll see an alternate path that leads to the TV tower, and it looks gentler – but it’s actually more dangerous than the one you firstly climbed.

The Corps de Garde climb is considered medium difficult and will take you around three hours.

8. Lion Mountain

The route on fitsy | on Explore Mauritius

Another popular mountain among hikers in Mauritius is Lion Mountain. It is located in the southeast of the island, not far from Mahebourg and Blue Bay. The route starts at the Grand Port police station, which is easy to reach by bus from Mahebourg or other places on the east coast of Mauritius. It has an interesting feature – it forms a giant ring that stretches along the top of the mountain, splits into two segments (to the top and to the eastern observation tower) and then returns to the same police station, but on the other side.

 

Lion Mountain in Mauritius

View of the mountain from the Preskil hotel’s beach

In theory, you can go through the entire loop, starting from any of its ends, but in reality, it is better to use the path to the left of the station (West Trail) and to return to it after visiting the observation platform and the summit. The eastern part of the ring is very overgrown and it’s easy to get lost in it.

The complexity of the route along Lion Mountain, if we are talking about the required physical preparation, is medium, approaching upper medium on the section near the top. But it has a serious aggravating feature – the lack of clear signs. The trail often splits or disappears completely, especially in places where you have to climb boulders. You have a few options: either carefully follow the fitsi.com map, the openstreetmap-based app, keep a general direction to the ridge and hope you end up where you want to go, or book a guided tour.

Generally speaking, climbing is relatively safe on Lion Mountain thanks to the trees, whose trunks and roots you can grab onto even when climbing rocks. However, it will require flexibility and stamina, especially in areas where you need to squeeze between rocks. The length of the route is 5 km, not including the approach to the mountain through a field of reeds. Its major advantage over other mountain routes in Mauritius is that you will have the opportunity to admire a variety of landscapes, both rocky and wooded.

9. Tourelle du Tamarin

The route on fitsy | on Explore Mauritius

Tourelle du Tamarin – is a 548 m high mountain on the west coast of Mauritius, at the foot of which is the village of Tamarin. The mountain is now privately owned, so ideally you should ask permission from the owner to climb it. However, the metal fence that surrounds it is partially torn and people freely cross it, albeit at their own peril and risk.

Tourelle du Tamarin Mountain in Mauritius

Tourelle du Tamarin Mountain can be seen from any corner of Tamarin village

Climb on Tourelle du Tamarin is medium difficult. The last part of the route, to the very top, is the most difficult. You will have to climb an open rocky area, open to all winds. Ropes hang from the top to make the task easier.

When climbing the Tourelle du Tamarin, it is important not to get lost. Even if you see well-trodden paths, they usually lead to fences and locked gates, so you won’t be able to get through them. It is best to stick to the routes indicated on the above sites and to return the same way. The length of the trail to Tourelle du Tamarin is 3.6 km in both directions.

10. Crater of the Trou aux Cerfs volcano

The route on Explore Mauritius | on wikiloc

Like Mount Signal in Port Louis, Trou aux Cerfs is located near a city and is popular not only with tourists, but also with locals who come here to relax or do sports. Trou aux Cerfs – a dormant volcano, 605 m above sea level, located one kilometer from the city of Curepipe. Around its 350 m diameter crater, there is a running track, as well as arranged rest pavilions, and the crater itself is densely overgrown with bushes and forests, including conifers. At the bottom of the crater, at a depth of about 100 m, lies a small lake, perfectly visible from above.

There used to be a well-trodden path, in fact there were several of them, leading to the bottom of the crater, but now there is almost nothing left of them. However, you can risk going down to the lake. Most likely, you will have to make your way through the bushes, but according to some daredevils, such a descent is quite possible.