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Geography of Mauritius: All about

géographie de l'Île Maurice

Geography of Mauritius: A paradise of 2,040km2 

First of all, it is important to know that Mauritius is a republic which includes other islands such as Rodrigues, Agaléga and St-Brandon. Mauritius is also one of the three Mascarene Islands, along with Reunion Island and Rodrigues.  Along the coast of Mauritius there are 49 uninhabited islands and islets, many of which are used as nature reserves for endangered species. 

Mauritius is a volcanic island and is relatively young in geological terms compared to other islands. Several sources indicate that Mauritius was created about 8 million years ago after intense volcanic activity in this part of the world. On the map, Mauritius is east of the African continent, west of Australia and south of Asia. In this part of the world there are also other tourist islands such as the Seychelles and the Maldives. But also Diego Garcia, a military base that belonged to the Republic of Mauritius a long time ago. 

It should be noted that all the other islands mentioned above rose from the water as a result of large volcanic eruptions in the Indian Ocean basin. As for Mauritius, it is formed by three massive volcanoes.

The island's volcanoes

Today in 2019, the country no longer has an active volcano, but there are several craters on the island, including Trou aux Cerfs, Bassin Blanc, Grand Bassin and Forbach Hill. They bear witness to the origin of this beautiful country. Mauritius is also a relatively low-lying country. The highest peak of the island is 810 metres above sea level: the Piton de la petite Rivière Noire, in the south-western part of the island. However, relief maps show that Mauritius has a high central plateau of about 500 metres and a plain to the north. 

The Island's mountain ranges

The Port Louis and Moka mountain range is the longest, followed by Grand Port, Savanne and Black River. Most of the mountains in Mauritius have distinct characteristics. For example, the very famous Pieter Both mountain is topped by a rock, while the Pouce mountain is shaped like a thumb.

In Mauritius, mountains are named according to their shape. For example, the Lion Mountain in the Grand Port mountain range is shaped like a sitting lion, the Three Mamelles has three prominent ridges and the White Mountain was named after the grey-white colour of the rock on its side.  There are also isolated peaks such as the Corps de Garde and the Tourelle de Tamarin.

As mentioned above, the country is surrounded by a mountain range which gives the island the appearance of a large bowl from above. On the coast, the terrain rises up to 670 metres in height. 

Islands around Mauritius

The submarine shelf surrounding Mauritius is home to a large number of islets with varying geological structures. These islands play a crucial role in guiding the waves and currents along the coast of Mauritius and consequently affect the morphology of the island's coastline. 

The basaltic islets lie close to the main island, Mauritius, with very shallow water between them. The most important are Ile d'Ambre, Ilot Gabriel and Ile aux Cerfs.

Watercourses

Most of the rivers in Mauritius are small in terms of length and the volume of water they carry. Many streams originate in the very rainy highland areas and flow to the sea. They discharge large quantities of water only during heavy rains and occasional tropical cyclones.

The Great Black River

The Grande Rivière Noire runs upstream and has banks solidly anchored in volcanic rock. The Grande Rivière Noire is the largest river on the island, and meanders through this rocky volcanic material. The spectacular views from its high ridges are renowned.

La Grande Rivière Sud-Est

The Grande Rivière Sud-Est (GRSE) is the longest river on the island. It also has the largest local water catchment area. Flowing from the Butte Chaumont, its bed is fed by several streams. The main artery of the GRSE straddles several lava flows between the Pavé Citron bridge and the sea. Its mouth is a beautiful funnel-shaped estuary, which ends near the village of GRSE.

Rodrigues Island

The autonomous region of Rodrigues is located 560 kilometres east of Mauritius. Rodrigues is a volcanic island rising from a ridge along the Mascarene Plateau. The island is hilly with a central spine culminating at the highest peak, Mount Limon, at 398 metres. The island also has a coral reef and extensive limestone deposits.

Agaléga

The Agalega region is one of the outer islands of Mauritius. It is located 1,000 kilometres north of Mauritius. Its northern island is 12.5 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide, while its southern island is 7 kilometres long and 4.5 kilometres wide. The total area of the two islands is 26 square kilometres.

Saint-Brandon

Saint-Brandon, also known as Cargados Carajos Shoals, is located 430 kilometres northeast of Mauritius. The archipelago consists of five groups of islands with numerous shoals and islets.

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