Watersports in Mauritius
When you think of Mauritius, it’s often the white, pristine beaches that spring to mind, and they are undeniably perfect. But this Indian Ocean Island is also a haven for water sports, and the warm, turquoise waters around its shores play host to a multitude of activities. Whatever level you are – a fully-fledged expert, a beginner needing a new adrenaline rush, or a family with older children looking for their next big adventure, Mauritius is perfect. Many of our resorts offer a fabulous range from the gentler kayaking and snorkeling, to the more active from Hobie Cat Sailing and kitesurfing; many with expert tuition and accredited schools. Certain waters around the island offer better opportunities for different sports – here are some ideas to help you narrow down your choice.
With the growing popularity of kitesurfing, Mauritius has fast gained a reputation as a world-class location for all levels of expertise. With over 300 days of wind a year, and an enviable variety of beaches, you’ll be able to find the perfect spot. Le Morne in the south west of the island is a well-known area of coast used by kitesurfers. The landscape here ensures consistent south-easterly winds in the winter and a strong local thermal wind in the summer, ensuring ideal conditions 11 months of the year (February being the exception). Expert kitesurfers can enjoy the “one-eye” reef (host to the Mauritian leg of the KSP World Championship Kite Surfing Tour in 2012), whilst there are also waist deep waters perfect for beginners. The Heritage Le Telfair Golf and Spa Resort kitesurfing School is open to riders of all levels from the age of eight and offers excellent wind and sea conditions. With its ideal location at Le Morne, the St Regis offers guests a unique kitesurfing experience. The kitesurfing center here provides private lessons and exclusive use of a boat to take you to the best and less frequented kitesurfing spots.
The east coast is less choppy than the south, yet still has continuous south-easterly winds. The long beach at Belle Mare with its calmer waters is a good choice for beginners. However, with wind speeds between force 4-6, Belle Mare still provides a good adrenaline rush. There are several kitesurfing schools and resorts offering facilities on the east coast of Mauritius. We recommend the One&Only Le Saint Geran with its extensive range of water sports and affiliation with the International Kiteboarding Centre and John Battleday Water-ski and Wakeboard Academy (JBWA). Beginners here can get a good grasp of the sport.
The warm and clear waters of Mauritius make snorkeling and Scuba diving very popular. Like most sports here, there are opportunities for all levels of experiences and with the variety of both reef and wreck diving, divers are spoiled for choice. In summers divers can easily catch sight of exotic fishes like parrot fish, groupers, wrasses, sweetlips, angelfish, sergeant majors, trumpet and clown fish, moray eels, crayfish and a variety of corals and sponges. Whilst diving is possible all year round in Mauritius, it tends to be more popular between the slightly warmer months in October to May, and the clearest water tends to be April/May and September/October when the sea is calmer. Mauritius has many good quality un-damaged reefs, and unlike other busier scuba diving locations such as the Maldives, there is usually only one dive boat at a time in an area, creating a more personal diving experience.
As far as diving locations go, the whole of the Mauritian coastline offers great diving, with dive sites easily accessible wherever you are staying. The underwater topography is varied across Mauritius, and it is the North West coastline that has a sandier and gentle shelving coral reef, and arguably some of the best reefs are here, with excellent opportunities to spot tropical fish. The east coast is different, and slightly more dramatic with stronger currents and rocky boulders that fish hide behind; here you will find it more oceanic, with more open water, making it possible to see Eagle rays, octopus, and other bigger fish.
There are several interesting features on the west coast, and here at the bay of Tamarin and around the Riviere Noire area, there are opportunities to see dolphins. A few kilometers up the coastline is Flic-en-Flac. Here the underwater “Cathedral” begins at 18m and then drops to 27m between two cliffs. This rock formation has extensive caverns and arches and is known for its high density of fish in the area such as stonefish, Lionfish and Moray Eels. For experienced divers, the wreck of Tug II, sunk in 1982, lies at a depth of 19m. This wreck is small, and also widely varied in marine life, and it is possible to see the uncommon scorpion fish. A Scott Dunn recommended Diving School is the Blues Diving Centre based at the Belle Mare Plage, and used by the Constance Le Prince Maurice and The Residence. The Centre offers experienced yet fun tuition, allowing even a complete beginner to enjoy diving in Mauritius. Along the same coastline lies the Anahita with its PADI dive center, catering for all levels.
All Beachcomber resorts such as the Dinarobin Hotel Golf and Spa, Paradis Hotel and Golf Club, Trou aux Biches Resort & Spa feature PADI Diving Centres offering diving expeditions at an additional cost, and can be trusted with supplying a qualified diving instructor.
Many of the lagoons around the island are an exceptional location to learn to sail, or for the more experienced, the chance to take out a dinghy or harness yourself into a Hobie Cat and enjoy the fresh breezes. Most resorts have first class water sports facilities, offering complimentary use of equipment, making it relatively easy to rent a boat for the morning or afternoon. Professional lessons with qualified instructors in warm waters are sure to give your children the sailing bug. There’s no better way to learn how to handle a dinghy than in fun, group lessons and it gives children a real sense of independence. Adults too can learn easily, and there are several resorts around the island offering both individual and group lessons.
With its location, on Blue Bay in the South East of the island, Shandrani Resort & Spa is the perfect spot for watersports. It has its own sailing club, which is a member of the Mauritius Yachting Association and is accredited by the International Sailing Association (ISA). The club organizes weekly lessons aimed at those trying sailing for the first time or those wanting to hone basic skills. Guests can progress from beginner level with an average of just one hour of sailing per day for five days. The resort also offers plenty of free sports including; water-skiing, windsurfing, sailing, glass bottom boat trips, snorkeling trips, kayaks and pedal boats. All the Beachcomber resorts provide excellent water sports facilities and families staying in one of these properties can take advantage of their weekly sailing lessons and the fabulous array of complimentary equipment. On the east coast, the Four Seasons has a beautifully protected lagoon in which learning to sail is a safe and fun activity. All non-motorized watersports equipment here is free of charge, and guests can also kayak, windsurf, water ski, snorkel and dive.