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“Superb location in Mahebourg Bay”

Ile aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve
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Mahebourg Guided Day Tour
Ranked #21 of 214 things to do in Mauritius
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Ile aux Aigrettes is a small (27 ha) island situated in the Mahebourg Bay, about 850 m off the south-east coast of Mauritius. Unlike the mainland which is of volcanic origin, Ile aux Aigrettes is made up of coralline limestone. It is home to the last remnants of dry coastal forest, once found around most of Mauritius. Like the mainland, Ile aux Aigrettes was affected by tree logging and land clearance, and the introduction of exotic animal and plant species almost destroyed the native fauna and flora. In 1965 the island was declared a nature reserve and our intense conservation efforts have resulted in the restoration of the forest and reintroduction of rare species that had long since disappeared from the island.
Reviewed August 10, 2012

Great way to see more of Mahebourg Bay as the scenery on this side of the island is stunning - turquoise water with big mountains in the background.

We actually stayed on the exact opposite side of the island so took a scooter day trip down to see Ile aux Aigrettes. It was raining on the day and we froze our butts off on said scooter for just over 2 hours to get there (every time a bus passed us we were actually glad for the hot stinky diesel fumes!!!) but man it was worth the drive (drive itself was super cool esp the coastline between Grand River South East and Mahebourg where there is no beach just black volcanic rocks rolling into sea and no tourists either).

Anyhow so getting to see more of Mahebourg Bay was great, and the water around Ile aux Aigrettes really is as pretty as the photos you find on the web, even on a miserable day like when we were there. I also fully support the initiative, trying to sustain a unique ecosystem and plant life in a protected and isolated environment.

the guided tour will only be interesting/exciting if you really are into plants. If thats the case then yes you will totally enjoy it. We saw pink pigeons on 2 occasions and 2 giant tortoises and lotsa lizards. Also getting to see the big male fruit bats up close is cool. the mozzies (mosquitoes) were definitely around too. Our guide was a young girl and we were her very first tour so she was super nervous but did a good job overall.

There's a little restaurant on that same road back towards Mahebourg, just past the big hotel opposite a car rental spot where we had super yummy lunch.

4  Thank Jeanine J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"big daddy"
in 22 reviews
"olive white eye"
in 18 reviews
"pink pigeon"
in 43 reviews
"flora and fauna"
in 23 reviews
"giant tortoises"
in 42 reviews
"guided tour"
in 18 reviews
"conservation work"
in 11 reviews
"fruit bats"
in 15 reviews
"coral island"
in 7 reviews
"endangered species"
in 6 reviews
"money goes"
in 4 reviews
"insect repellent"
in 10 reviews
"blue bay"
in 11 reviews
"a short boat ride"
in 8 reviews
"free roaming"
in 3 reviews
"a small gift shop"
in 6 reviews
"preskil hotel"
in 4 reviews

166 - 170 of 306 reviews

Reviewed June 27, 2012

My daughter is studying Biological Science at university, with a particular interest in plants, so this was our main reason for wanting to visit the island & we weren't disappointed.We travelled from the north west, near Port Louis, to catch the 10.30 boat across to the island, which we'd prebooked (you can't just turn up as numbers are restricted). We spent about 2 hours with our excellent guide, in a group of 5, walking around, admiring the views, & meeting some of the inhabitants (fruit bats, geckos, skinks, fody, olive white-eye) & having some of the trees & plants pointed out & explained to us. Unfortunately, we didn't see a pink pigeon. There are toilet facilities at the end of the tour & a small gift shop, which we felt could be improved upon as we would have bought some postcards to support the cause if there's been any. Otherwise, the items were quite expensive - books etc. We'd taken a picnic lunch which we ate after returning to the mainland about 1.00pm. Watch out for Big Daddy!

3  Thank mrsfuss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2011

This is an interesting, half day’s trip away from the beaches and water sports. It is great for nature and conservation enthusiasts and there are some fantastic views to boot. Not to mention the lovely boat trip across the blue, crystalline waters of Mahebourg Bay.

An entire, small, coralline island has been given over to the planting and nurturing of endemic flora and the breeding of endemic fauna close to extinction. It is a truly laudable effort on the part of the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation.

Although the endemic species have actually mostly been carefully introduced there and non-endemic species removed (it is an ongoing effort), the effect is that of a totally natural, wild and completely authentic looking forest and eco-system out there.

It is a good idea to combine a trip here with an afternoon of activities in Blue Bay. The boat to the island departs from close to Preskil Beach Resort, Point Jerome. They have trips departing from 9.30am to 2pm. I would advise that you take the first boat out, since it becomes rather hot and muggy on the island by mid-day. It is a good idea to book ahead and go on a guided tour. Lunch can be had at the lovely La Belle Kreole Restaurant, Mahebourg and then you could have a trip to the Marine Conservation Park with Totof Tours in Blue Bay in the afternoon.

Since the animals are all free on the island, the guides are best able to take you to spots where you are most likely to see them. Else you might miss some of the loveliest of them. I was enthralled by the Ornate Day Gecko – I have seen nothing like it. We were also able to see Telfair’s Skink, the rare Pink Pigeon, the Olive White Eye, the Mauritius Fody. I was particularly grateful about the pink pigeon, since we were not able to fit in a hike in the Black River Gorge, where they are present in the wild. We also saw a few Giant Aldabran tortoises. We were quite amused by a rather territorial and aggressive old chap.

There are really interesting plants on the island. Ebony is growing well due to conservation efforts and is now naturally propagating itself. I was totally fascinated by the two plants there displaying heterophylly – bois de boeuf and bois de rat. Such dissimilar leaves on the same plant! If not for the guide, I would never have taken one of those for a single plant. There are also two rare palms, in addition to other plants.

There is a viewing platform on the island, from which there are some wonderful views across the bay.

The trek across the island takes about an hour and a half. It cannot be called arduous or particularly challenging, but the paths are stony and uneven – the rock underfoot is coralline. It is therefore not for someone totally unfit. There are gentle climbs and sometimes you need to duck under overhanging branches. You could get scratches from thorns. So, do be sure to wear comfortable, cool, preferably long clothes. You need good footwear for those stony paths. Apply and carry insect repellent. Carry anti-histamines if you are allergic to insect bites. Although a lot of the trek is under shade, there are patches when you are glad to have a cap and sunglasses on. Do carry water, since no water or refreshments are sold on the island.

I am really glad I went on that trip. I enjoyed myself.

4  Thank GatherinNoMoss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2011

A small island where you can see rare animals/plants. Because we were the only english-taking people in the group we got a private tour. The english of the guide (although he did not always understand you) was good and he had a lot of knowledge about the animals/plants and the project they are working on on the island. You walk around for about an hour and its like walking in a forest. Some animals are in big cages for protection but most animals wonder around on the island. We got to see every animal, unfortunately that is not always the case he told us.
Afterwards you can buy something at the store or adopt an animal. Take water/food with you cause it is not available on he island.

1  Thank Kaat88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 23, 2011

This beautiful little island is actually a nature reserve where they are trying to reintroduce endangered endemic plants and nearly extinct native animals. You can only visit the island with a guided tour. A tour guide will take a small group for a walk around the island, showing you the plants and wildlife. Among the wildlife are the pink pigeons and giant tortoises.
In the past the island was a British military base, and during the walk you can see some leftovers of that.
By visiting the island, you support this wonderful project. So I can really recommend this to people that love nature.

Thank krollebol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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