Indian Ocean Expert and kitesurfing fanatic Jim gives you his guide to enjoying this adrenaline-fuelling sport in Mauritius.
“Mauritius boasts some of the best kitesurfing conditions in the world” is something you’ll hear from a lot of people. Great – but what does that actually mean? Beginner and pro level kiters need very different conditions – when starting you’ll be grateful for huge expanses of shallow water where you can put your feet down on the sand, with a notable absence of waves trying their best to knock you off your feet during the first tentative rides on your board. Mauritius is blessed with a near constant protective barrier reef around the whole island, giving way to huge flat water lagoons that are literally perfect for learning to kitesurf, if you know where to go (as our kitesurf partners do), you’ll also enjoy the fact that there are very few people around to get in each other’s way – very useful when you’re not sure what direction you will be going in in 5 seconds time!
What makes Mauritius extremely special, though, is the fact that it can be all things to all kitesurfers. That protective coral reef, while at the same time protecting beginners from the waves of the Indian Ocean, also provides the perfect point on which Southern Ocean swells can come to life and break as the most perfect waves you will ever have the joy to ride.
Of course, all this talk of water is no good for kiting if there isn’t any wind. Mauritius is a seasonal destination for winds, with the trade winds blowing from May through to November. In the Mauritian “winter” you can expect constant breezes of around 20 knots most days. Incidentally, this is the perfect wind strength for both learning and improving your kitesurfing. Temperature-wise, things are a little cooler at this time of year, with the average being around 24 degrees, and the water a very agreeable 22 degrees – either requiring nothing more than a pair of shorts for the hardy, or, if you feel the cold, a thin wetsuit – our kitesurf partners in Mauritius will provide all of this for you.
Having kited for the past 12 years (and been in the travel industry for most of that), I’ve seen a lot of locations around the world, and I can honestly say that Mauritius is one of the most perfect spots for all levels of kitesurfer that I’ve ever traveled to.
Jim’s top 3 kite spots in Mauritius
1. Bel Ombre
A huge lagoon on the south coast of Mauritius, located a few minutes walk away from our hotel The Outrigger and about 10 minutes from the lovely Shanti Maurice Resort and Spa; this is the base for our kitesurf partners in Mauritius. Here you will find acres of quiet, flat water ranging from knee to chest deep and sand on the bottom (the kite school will give you wetsuit shoes in case you tread on anything pointy). One to one instruction means your progress is quick and unimpeded. Steady trade winds blow from the sea, making it very predictable – ideal for making your first rides on your board. Experts can kite out to sea over a gap in the reef to access some uncrowded, world-class waves. The kite school can give you pointers and also offer a rescue service should anything go awry.
2. Prince Maurice
A brand new spot and a location where our watersports partners are also now offering lessons, the kitesurfing at Constance Le Prince Maurice is again, a perfect location for learning to kite, with a huge, shallow flat water lagoon benefiting from the same trade winds that hit the entire east coast of the island. The fact that there are virtually no other kiters here makes this a great spot to learn as you don’t have to worry about traffic while you are concentrating on keeping your kite in the air! The other fantastic thing about this spot is it is within the hotel ground of the Constance Prince Maurice hotel, so you can learn to kite while still enjoying the luxury and exclusivity of the resort – ideal if you’re traveling with your family and you want them to see how well you’re doing (or how much sea water you have managed to drink!). If I had to learn to kitesurf all over again, this would be the place I would head to.
3. Le Morne
A spot that will always be on any serious kitesurfers bucket list, Le Morne is responsible for what is considered the premier wave to ride in the kitesurfing world. Looking out from your room at the St Regis resort, you will see the wave known as One Eye peel perfectly from left to right. Admittedly, because of the wind direction, close to shore the conditions can be gusty, making this not ideal for beginners, but experts will revel in the classic conditions. Because of its fame, there can often be several people out on the water when the conditions are firing, but that is the price to pay for a ticket to ride One Eye!