Black River Gorges National Park in Mauritius – the best park on the island. Overview and review

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Black River Gorges National Park – not only one of the main attractions of the island, but also the best national park for hiking and trekking in Mauritius. The total length of the hiking trails in the park is more than 60 km, and they pass through different landscapes. I will tell you in detail about my experience of traveling to the park, hiking to the waterfall and the highest peak of the island.

Black River Gorges National Park in Mauritius

View from the rooftop of Mauritius – the island’s highest mountain, located in Black River Gorges National Park

Black River Gorges National Park covers 6,574 hectares and is the largest piece of tropical forest in Mauritius that has almost escaped human intervention.

Black River Gorges is so large that there are four entrances into the national park. Near two of them are information centers: Black River Gorges Visitor’s Center and Petrin Information Centre. The vast majority of hiking trails starts at one of them and lead to another – unless, of course, they return to the point of departure. In the information centers you can buy maps and brochures, as well as hire a guide – in the latter case, it is better to call the center in advance.

National Black River Gorges Park - what to see in Mauritius

How to get to the Black River Georges National Park in Mauritius

The national park cannot be reached by public transport. These are the options you will have to get to the park on your own or with a tour:

  1. Get there on your own using a rented car – that’s exactly what I did. It is the most convenient and cheapest way. I rented a car through the Localrent website and arrived in the national park early in the morning, before the arrival of tourist minibuses, and spent the whole day there. What you need to rent a car on the island →
  2. Take a transfer to the national park – in Mauritius, a car rental service with a driver is well developed. You can take a car with a driver for 1 day and see something other than the national park, too. The driver will be waiting for you at the agreed place. Such transfers need to be booked a couple of days in advance on the Viator website →
  3. Full day guided hiking tour – one of the best options to see the most interesting things in the park. This tour is organized by Eco Explorers Mauritius, a well-known company in Mauritius. The program includes a 15 km hike through the park with a visit to hidden waterfalls and Alexandra Falls. Tour details page →
  4. Sightseeing with a visit to the national park – there are several tours around the island that will take you to the park. But you won’t have time to climb any of the peaks. You will see the postcard view of the park – the view of the gorge – and take a walk in the nearby forest. This is enough for many people, not everyone is a fan of trekking in the jungle like me. But on such an excursion you will visit several other attractions of Mauritius. For example, the Grand Basin, the rum factory and to the Chamarel Park (earths and waterfall). Such a tour costs around €100. Tour details and available dates can be found on the official website.
There is also a 3-hour guided walking tour of the Black River Gorges Park, but you have to get to the park on your own. A great option for those who don’t have enough experience in jungle trekking. You can find all tour details, prices and available dates on this page →

What to see in Black River Gorges National Park

As I already said, the total length of the tourist tracks laid in the Black River Gorges National Park is more than 60 km. There are routes that lead deep into the thickets, and there are routes that run along the slopes of the gorges.

The mail three places to see in Black River Georges:

  1. Black River Gorges Viewpoint (on the map) – this is where all the photos with a postcard view of the green gorge that you have already seen at the beginning of the article are from. All tours stop at the observation deck. There is a toilet, souvenirs, food. From the viewpoint there is a trail for a short hike.
Observation deck in the Black River Gorges Park in Mauritius

On the right is the barely visible roof of the Gorges Viewpoint observation deck. On the left is a huge waterfall, which can be seen from the observation deck.

  1. Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire or Bench 828 – the highest mountain in Mauritius. Great view of the west coast of the island. I will talk about my experience of climbing the mountain without a guide below. There are also photos of incredible views.
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

  1. Alexandra Falls (on the map). You can see the waterfall from the observation deck or go down to the rapids of the river.

This waterfall, as well as 500 feet (500 pieds) waterfall are included in the list of the 10 best waterfalls in Mauritius.

Trails in Black River Gorges Park

The tourist part of the Black River Gorges National Park can be roughly divided into three areas, each with its own routes:

Among the routes there are simple ones, suitable even for beginners (for example, Piton Savanne Trail), medium difficulty routes (Macchabée Forest Loop, Cascade des Galets Trail, allowing you to see the Alexandra Falls), as well as very difficult ones, accessible only to experienced hikers (Macchabée Trail or unofficial Gollum Trail, which branches off the Parakeet Trail and crosses a wild mountain river).

Hiking trails in Black River Gorges National Park on the island of Mauritius

Sign at the start of the trails showing distance and estimated hiking time

5 tips before visiting the park if you are going there to hike

  1. Bring enough water with you!
  2. Bring a mosquito repellent. There are a lot of mosquitoes; they will try to bite you as you walk, especially after it rains.
  3. Arrive early in the morning to avoid the heat.
  4. Take a power supply for your phone with you.
  5. Download the trail for offline in advance.
Black River Gorges National Park in Mauritius

Check the weather before planning a trip to the national park. There is no point in going there if the forecast is 90-100% rain. But if there is a 50-60% chance of rain according to the forecast, then it will be like in the photo: the rain will either pass nearby or it’s going to rain just a little bit.

If you are visiting Mauritius during the winter months, when it rains frequently in the area, bring a raincoat with you. Raincoats are sold at gas stations and in stores. Depending on the quality, they cost from 1 Euro.

Climbing on my own to the Bench 828 top – my reviews and photos

Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire or Bench 828 – the highest mountain in Mauritius. “Rooftop of Mauritius” – this is what the locals call the peak. You can climb here on your own or with a guide. I climbed on my own, after reading the reviews on the Internet. People say the climb is easy and even kids can do it.

The trail is very well marked. In the photo there is a stone indicating the beginning of the trail, and yellow marks on the trees indicating the track itself. Starting point.

In general, the trail is wide and clear, so you won’t get lost. Most of it is easy. Sometimes there are large stones or fallen trees (I walked after a strong cyclone; I think they are not on the trail at normal times).

The ascent to the Bench 828 top looked like an easy hike at first, but climbing to the very top without ropes is difficult. It is better not to go with children or children under the age of 7.

The view from the top is really wow and the climb is worth it.

If you love hiking, then don’t miss the following articles:

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My name is Tatiana, and I am glad to see you in my Mauritius travel guide.
For more than 12 years I have been traveling and creating travel guides to different countries. For the first time I got to Mauritius in 2018. I got inspired by the island so much that I decided to create this guide.
I personally visited all the places described on this site. Photos and texts are also taken and written by me. I update articles regularly to keep them up to date.
I hope you’ll forgive any errors or awkward phrasing, as I am not a native English speaker.