In the video below we make our way back to Le Morne from the North of Mauritius via the East coast - exploring all the beaches and getting lost along the way!
First stop is the well known Cap Malheureux Bay which has stunning views of the dramatic headland of Coin de Mire. Cap Malheureux means 'Cape of Misfortune' and was so named for the number of ships that foundered on its rocks. This is where the British invasion force finally defeated the French in 1810 and took over the island. You might have seen pictures of the red-roofed Notre Dame Auxiliatrice before as its a popular day trip for resort tourists in the north. It's worth a quick peek inside for its intricate woodwork and a holy-water basin fashioned out of a giant clam shell.
We continue on our quest to visit Mauritius beaches and next on the list is Anse La Raie! Situated just south-east of Cap Malheureux, this area enjoys the same stunning views of the north Indian Ocean as the neighbouring beaches, but in stark contrast, you will find little but peace and quiet. I couldn't resist the temptation to send the drone up for a quick photo of the bay =). The water is clean and clear - offering great opportunities for both snorkelling and perhaps a bit of kite surfing! The lagoon here is shallow and should be good for freestyle, beginners but I understand that the wind in this area is not as steady as on the South West side of the island.
If you continue with the main coastal road leading to Grand Gaube from the west look for a small sign indicating that Butte á l’Herbe to your left just as you enter Grand Gaube.
Butte á l’Herbe beach is another one of those forgotten beaches of Mauritius, having been saved from signposting from the main road for a long time. The area is actually an island, connected to the mainland by a couple of small bridges and driving across can feel somewhat precarious. The small beaches are of various quality but there is a quiet piece of pine forest in the centre of the island to enjoy the serenity of the surroundings. As what we have seen all over Mauritius the facilities here are decent - with public restrooms and a maintained beach area with benches and huts.
We managed to get lost among some sugar cane fields but somehow emerged near the small village of Poudre d'Or where there is a small monument paying homage to the famous (but fictional) story of the two friends and lovers Paul & Virginie. The late French novelist Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre penned, what is arguably his most renowned work, a story set in Mauritius under French rule which describes a Utopian island where people live in equality and harmony. Sadly the beach is a disappointment and you will have to look hard to find any sand here at all, and the waters seem to be rather muddy and brown - nevertheless, it's a good spot for lunch under one of the many trees.
Next stop was Poste Lafayette beach which is another popular kite spot. The beach itself is protected by the coral reef and provides for both a sandy beach and a sandy seafloor. During the winter months, it can be decidedly chilly - as we found out - but with the flat water and fresh breeze, it can be a fun spot for kite surfing. However, I was starting to be appreciative of the kite-surf conditions at Le Morne compared to the rest of the island and if you're coming to Mauritius JUST to kite-surf then you won't find much better than basing yourself in the South.
We made a quick stop to walk the jetty at Bois des Amorettes and learned that this was the spot where Sarah Outen landed in 2009 after rowing for 124 days across the Indian Ocean from Australia. She was the first woman and the youngest person to row solo across the Indian Ocean at the time!
North of Vieux Grand Port we stopped to see the Frederick Hendrick Museum and the ruins of a fort the Dutch built in the late 16th century. Vieux Grand Port is considered 'the cradle of Mauritian history' and the place where the first human inhabitants of the island landed in 1598. The fort was the headquarters of the local branch of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) until 1710 when the Dutch abandoned the island and the site was then taken over by the French.