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“Ile aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve”

Ile aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve
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Mahebourg Guided Day Tour
Ranked #28 of 207 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 December 23, 2013

Ile aux Aigrettes, located just some hundred meters off the coast between Mahebourg and Blue Bay, is a natural reserve maintained by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. Should one go there? Is it worth a visit? Well that mainly depends on one’s personal interests and preferences.

For some people Ile aux Aigrettes may be not more than a small flat island with lots of trees and bushes. There’s no restaurant and there are no beaches and BBQs. If you are interested in those things you may prefer to stay away.

For others, like us, Ile aux Aigrettes is one small but important element of the whole conservation and restoration program that is aimed on saving the threatened endemic Mauritian species. If you are interested in such things, a visit at Ile aux Aigrettes allows you to learn more about the conservation work being done here and on the main island of Mauritius and (with a little bit of good luck) you will see birds and plants that you will not see around your hotel and that are rather hard to find in the small remains of the Mauritian forests. During our visits we saw, and photographed, the Mauritian Fody, the Pink Pigeon and even the rare small Olive White-Eye, the Telfair’s Skink and the Ornate Day Gecko. Besides those the island is home to some Aldabra Giant Tortoises, Fruit Bats and other little creatures. Further you can find various interesting plants and have a look the plant nursery.

The only way to visit the island is to join one of the guided tours. Tours can be booked at most hotels or touristic service providers. Of course it is also possible to make reservations directly at the reservation office or by phone. For information check out the official website www.ile-aux-aigrettes.com.

When we were there in 2011 and 2013, the price for the tour was 800 MUR per person (including the boat transfer between the little harbor at Pointe d’Esny and the island). If you see the 800 MUR not only as an entrance fee but as your support to the whole project, it seems a very fair price. However, additional donations can be made and you may even participate on their adoption program. The tour takes about 1 to 1.5 hours and the guides will tell you a lot about the islands Flora and Fauna and the conservation work being done. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. The more you ask the more they’ll tell you. It’s interesting. English and French are well understood. For other languages better ask in advance.

The tour typically ends at a small museum which is connected to a souvenir shop. In there you’ll find a small variety of souvenirs and a collection of interesting books. No one pushes you to buy something but you may find something that you like.

If you decide to go and visit Ile aux Aigrettes I would recommend you to make a reservation for a tour in the morning (9:30 am or earlier). That’s for two reasons. The birds are typically more active in the morning than they are later the day and besides this you might find the lower temperatures more comfortable. Bring some water, comfortable shoes and a good insect repellent with you and don’t forget to bring your camera. Keep your eyes open and stay with the guide. That’s how you get to see the most.

11  Thank Dirk-und-Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 13, 2013

So I wanted to visit this island with my friends. Since we had 6 students and 3 elderly we asked the IAA to make us a fair deal. Please note their price is 3 times more expensive for tourists. They categorically refused to give us a fair local price even having 14 people on board. Their shops also sells articles at least 5 times more expensive than normal claiming all this to be donations. Please note they have a hierarchy of members from its executive, president, vice-president,secretary, assistant secretary,treasurer, businessman, chief executive officers a long list of more than 25 people..For a small island no more than 2 football pitch this NGO with a high proportion of non native mauritian has taken control of mauritian property and affords to turn down people on the discrimination of their origin tells you all about their nature. I like animal welfare but some people are really money suckers sucking money from gullible tourists! It is more like they are feeding the animals to feed themselves.

1  Thank RajivSobhee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2013

This is an small island that is being preserved for many rare and almost extinct wildlife native to mauritius. We saw skinks, olive eyed bird and pink pigeon which are all very rare, as well as giant tortoises. Nice to see nature being protected and preserved.

2  Thank Haribo09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

Nature reserve on a coral island, lots of endemic birds also endemic skinks and large aldabra tortoises. Good explanation from the guide / nature ranger while we saw a lot of plants, trees and animals. Small gift shop where you can also virtually adopt an animal of the island ( 25 euro a year ). This is an important island since they try to breed the endangered birds and release them afterwards back into the wild on Mauritius.

4  Thank vega_stroker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2013

For anyone interested in wildlife this is a must! This small island is an ark for Mauritian wildlife and has some of the rarest species in the world being bred here to try to save them from extinction. We saw the Pink Pigeon, Olive White-eye, Mauritius fody, Ornate day - gekko and Telfair skink all in one visit - and took many photos! They also breed the native Fruit bats and Aldabra Giant tortoises, as well as having a native tree nursery.

We paid extra for an extended visit and it was well worth it, we not only saw all the rare species, but met and talked to Crystal who is charge of the White-eye programme and knows every one on the island individually by name!

A standard trip (1.5 hours) costs 800 rupees (£16)each but we stayed 2 and a half hours for £30 each and had a personal guide just for the 2 of us to find and show us all the key species. This money goes to the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation to support their excellent work on this and other reserves in Mauritius.Email them well in advance of your visit if you wish to book the extended tour as they have to have a guide and an expert available for you. Email is reservation@mauritian-wildlife.org

The terrain is flat with good footpaths and is a 10 minutes boat trip (included) from the kiosk on the mainland. There is a (basic) toilet block on the island but no other facilities - the island is for the wildlife!

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

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