Why you should visit the seven-colored sands of Chamarel

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The Chamarel Seven Colored Earth in Mauritius is regularly ranked as one of the world’s most amazing natural wonders. All Mauritius travel guides include the Chamarel sands in list of the attractions that you must visit during your holiday on the island. But is it worth going to the other end of the island for them? I share this in my review and tell you what else you must see in the GeoPark.

The Seven Colored Sands of Chamarel in Mauritius

What are the Sands of Chamarel?

The seven-colored sands of Mauritius are several sand dunes in the southwest of the island, located near the village of Chamarel, which gave them their name. In fact, they are not sand, but particles of basalt rock, which erupted from the bowels of the earth as a result of volcanic activity and later oxidized. They acquired different colors due to iron oxides (shades of the “warm” spectrum) and aluminum (“cold” shades), combined in different proportions.

Seven colored sands of Chamarel in Mauritius - review

Sands of different colors do not mix and therefore form bizarre patterns on the surface of the dunes, reminiscent of iridescent stains on an oil film. Even if the different layers are mixed together by wind or rain, they are later separated by color. Sand collected in a separate vessel has the same property. This makes glass vials of Chamarel sand a popular souvenir, and not just in this village where the dunes are located. You can buy them in souvenir shops almost all over Mauritius.

Should I go to the sands of Chamarel? Reviews by tourists and my review

The Seven Colored Lands of Chamarel is one of the most popular attractions in Mauritius, but at the same time one of the most controversial. Some tourists sing the praises of the landscape, comparing it to a surface of an alien planet, while others do not find anything special in it.

One of the reasons Chamarel Sands can be such a disappointment to visitors is false advertising. All photos in the tour booklets are processed in a graphic editor to make the difference in color more noticeable. It is a fact. See for yourself: this is what a typical photo of the sands from advertising brochures looks like.

Chamarel is one of the main attractions of Mauritius

The photo is not mine, but this is what the sands look like in tourist brochures

As a result, instead of the expected rainbow dunes, people find gray sand that barely differs in shade. Although the sands of Chamarel are a unique natural phenomenon, you should not count on a truly fantastic sight.

In addition, many make the mistake of coming to look at the sands at noon. The best time to visit the sands is before 11 am or after 4 pm. It is very important at what angle the sunlight falls on the sands. At noon, the color is barely distinguishable, and at the right time, the shades of sand are perfectly visible. Here’s a good example for you.

I arrived in the sands after 4 o’clock in the afternoon. On one side of the observation platform near the sands, the sun was shining on me, and the shades were almost invisible. But on the other side of the observation deck, all 7 shades were perfectly visible. My photos, without photoshop, show what it looked like:

Also, some tourists find the entrance fee too high. The purchased ticket at the same time gives you the opportunity to look at the giant turtles and the Chamarel waterfall, but despite this, not everyone finds its price justified.

In my opinion, the sands of Chamarel are definitely worth seeing. In addition, there are other attractions in the Chamarel Seven Colored Earth Geo Park, where the sands are located. Here are 5 more interesting places that you can see in the Geopark.

What to See in the Geopark Chamarel Seven Colored Earth

1. The highest waterfall in Mauritius

The village of Chamarel, next to which the Chamarel sands are located, is located in the south-west of Mauritius in the districts of Rivière Noire and Sawan, not far from the National Park Black River Gorges. In the immediate vicinity of the seven-colored sands, there is another attraction – the highest waterfall in Mauritius. Its official name is Charles Antoine Falls, as it is derived from the name of the French officer who owned the land, but most locals and vacationers know it as the Chamarel Falls.

Chamarel waterfall - the highest in Mauritius

Chamarel waterfall – the highest in Mauritius

Chamarel waterfall is very picturesque. Two or three streams of water (depending on the season) fall from a height of about a hundred meters into a rocky “bowl”. You can go down to it, although it is not an easy task. Usually people admire the waterfall from the observation deck in the seven-colored sands tourist area.

2. Giant turtles

Is it really worth it to go to the seven-colored sands of Chamarel in Mauritius

I arrived at the sands of Chamarel after the rain, and the giant tortoises were covered in the mud as if they were not tortoises, but pigs

Another amazing spectacle that can be observed here, literally on the spot, are the giant land tortoises. Their corral is located on the other side of the walkways. Some visitors are more impressed by them than by the colorful sands.

Of course, giant tortoises are better to watch in La Vanille park, but if you don’t have time to go there, then be sure to look into the turtle enclosure in Chamarel. It is located on the right side of the sands.

3. Rum distillery

Nearby are the grounds of the rum factory (La Rhumerie de Chamarel). This rum is considered to be one of the best on the island. Which rum factories are worth visiting in Mauritius →

Visitors can take a walk through the well-groomed park that stretches around the factory buildings (which, by the way, are not without architectural value), or for a small fee, look at the production of rum “from the inside”.

The range of alcoholic products of the plant includes different types of rum and rum-based liqueurs. Everything is very high quality, because it is made directly from sugar cane, and not from the waste from sugar cane processing. Drinks are flavored with natural oils and essences, and any one you like can be bought in a shop at the factory.

4. Ebony forest reserve

In the reserve “Ebony forest” you can see 140 rare species of flora and fauna, which are to be found only in Mauritius.

There are two main walking routes. One of them is a classic tour with a length of just over a kilometer and a duration of about half an hour, during which tourists admire an ebony tree from specially laid bridges, while the second is designed for trekking enthusiasts and takes 3-4 hours. More about it in this article →

5. House of Illusions

Another unusual place worth visiting is located directly opposite the entrance to the territory of the seven-colored lands of Chamarel. We are talking about the Curious Corner of Chamarel, which is also known as the House of Illusions. Its building houses 36 interactive exhibits, including a labyrinth, puzzle rooms, optical illusions and many other curiosities.

Excursions to the seven-colored sands of Chamarel

Tours are a great way to see the Chamarel sands and falls, as the tour usually includes other sights in addition to the Seven Colored Lands themselves.

The content of the tour depends on the tour operator (if you decide to go as part of an organized tour) or on yourself (if you decide to hire a local guide). Here are some of the most interesting options for excursions:

  • Tour of the southwest of Mauritius – one of the best tours in the southwest of the island with visits to the most iconic places and rum tasting.
  • Private tour of the southwest of the island – the southwest of the island by car with a driver-guide. This tour has a very high rating and many positive reviews. And the price is even cheaper than a group tour. I advise you to take this option.
  • 7 colored sands of Chamarel + swimming with dolphins – for those who want to kill two birds with one stone: swim with dolphins and see the sands with a waterfall.

How to get to Chamarel Park on your own by car. Full day itinerary

If you rent a car on the island, then just get a route in the navigator to this point on the map.

Where to rent a car on the island and what are the features of the local traffic, I’ve talked about in a separate article. In short, the traffic on the island is very simple, and the cars from reliable local rentals are all collected on the Localrent website.

If you decide to go to see Chamarel on your own, you can buy tickets in advance on the GetYourGuide website →

There is a 90% chance that you will drive through the Flic-n-Flac beach. Make a stop here – from here a panoramic view of the coast opens.

What else to see on the way, if you plan a trip for the whole day:

  • Nat. Rivière Noir Park (point on the map is the main lookout) – it is easy to spend the whole day in this national park, but tourists usually stop at the observation deck. The park has waterfalls and the highest peak of the island – Bench 828. The ascent and descent will take about 2 hours. This is an easy trek, but it is better not to go after the rain and at noon. More about climbing in this article. I managed to climb to the top and see Chamarel in 1 day.
  • Rochester Falls (point on the map) is an unusual waterfall.
  • Cape Gris-Gris (point on the map) – on this cape there is an observation deck that looks towards the ocean. Mauritius from this side is not protected by a reef, and you can feel the full power of the ocean. Awesome place.
  • Monument to Matthew Flinders (point on the map) – wow-view especially at sunset.

All roads are free.

How to get to the sands of Chamarel by bus

There are two ways to get to Chamarel by bus:

  • via Baie du Cap with one change. Bus number 120 goes from Port Louis to Bay du Cap, bus number 5A from Bay du Cap to Chamarel.
  • via Choisy with two transfers. First you take bus number 162 from Victoria Square in Port Louis to Forest Side, after which you change to number 133 to Choisy, and there you take the already mentioned 5A.

Here is a detailed article about public transport in Mauritius. There I talk about bus trips, where to look for routes and how to pay for the fare.