Black River Gorges, the National Park

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Gorge de la rivière noire

The Black River Gorges are worth a visit for all hikers and nature lovers. The Black River Gorges are located in the largest national park in Mauritius, and is famous for its waterfalls, panoramas and hiking trails. The Gorges are in the highlands, making them a cooler place than the rest of the island.

Black River Gorges, what is it?

The Black River Gorges National Park is a natural park located in the mountainous south-western part of Mauritius not far from La Preneuse. The park covers an area of 6,754 hectares. With the help of guides, you will discover the natural heritage of Mauritius. This unique area is also home to one of the rarest forests in the world. It is home to about 311 species of indigenous and endemic plants and 9 species of birds, unique to Mauritius.

Hiking in the Black River Gorges National Park

This hike will take you into the heart of the native forest with many panoramic views. You will also come to a river where you can swim, but be careful, the water is cold!

We then start a walk along the river in the shade of the trees. It is quiet and the air is cool, even in the middle of summer. The walk is full of unexpected discoveries. Through the trees we can sometimes see the Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire, the highest peak in Mauritius at some 828 metres! But our greatest chance will be to admire a bat flight, an event that only occurs during the breeding season. We arrive on a rocky and clear part of the gorge from where we have a magnificent view on the valley and the sea in the distance. We stay there for a long time, the time to take in this grandiose spectacle but also to recharge our batteries.

The hike resumes and we soon reach its highest point. If you are there, you have been walking for at least two hours already and the return journey is via another path that joins the river below.

Hiking means having the right equipment in your backpack.

Below is the perfect hiker's kit:

comfortable backpack 
Walking shoes with ankle protection and good socks
Water (at least 1 litre)
Snacks (cereal bars - dried fruit)
A cap or hat
Sunglasses, sun cream and bug spray
Waterproof clothing
A change of clothes (t-shirt, socks)
A personal first aid kit (small bandages and usual medicines)
A mobile phone
Check the weather forecast
Optional: hiking stick and camera

The piton of the Petite Rivière Noire (Mount Piton)

Located in the Black River Gorges National Park, the Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire or Mount Piton is known as the highest mountain on the island. In the Rivière Noire chain, the Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire reaches an altitude of 828 metres. The summit of the magnificent mountain is accessible by a path starting 500 metres west of the viewpoint on the gorges. It is even possible to see the island's wildlife from this path. For hiking enthusiasts, the round trip is 8 km long and takes about 3 hours. Open 7 days a week, it is also a popular spot for picnics with family and friends.

History of the Black River Gorges National Park

The Black River Gorges National Park project was proclaimed on 15 June 1994 by the President of the Republic of Mauritius. The park is managed mainly for the conservation of endemic flora and fauna, public awareness, education, but also to provide a recreational area for local and foreign visitors.

There are different microclimates in the park. Hiking from the eastern part of the park to the west, you will pass through a humid rainforest to a drier lowland forest. Annual rainfall varies from 1000 millimetres in the drier areas to 4000 millimetres in the highlands. This rainfall also determines the type of vegetation in different regions. The average temperature varies between 21°C (plateau) and 27°C (plain) during the summer months, and between 17°C (plateau) and 21°C (plain) during the winter period.

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