The island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean is home to a whole host of intriguing and beautiful natural features. There are a number of idyllic islands and mountainous lakes, as well as the curious Chamarel Park, famed for its multi coloured landscape that is formed from different coloured clays. Of all the natural curiosities in Mauritius, however, one in particular is of certain interest – the glorious Trou Aux Cerfs found in the Central Plateau.
This imposing dormant volcano stands nearly 2,000ft above the surrounding landscape and is covered in a rich layer of lush flora. It welcomes thousands of tourists every year; each looking to enjoy the breath-taking views and the scenic, peaceful walks it provides.
In the beggining
A volcano occurs when an opening in the Earth’s crust allows magma to rise to the surface. This magma is essentially liquid rock that has been super-heated at great depths below the surface, and when a volcano erupts it releases magma, and all the associated gas, larva and rock that comes along with it.
The little island of Mauritius was formed around 10 million years ago when a series of volcanoes erupted, giving rise to the familiar mountains, gorges and valleys that we see today. The mountain ranges of Port Louis and nearby Moka (as well as a handful of other ranges dotted around) are believed to be the remains of the very same large volcano that initially created the island.
Trou Aux Cerfs (Murr’s Volcano)
Trou Aux Cerfs is located about half a mile west of the city of Curepipe, and it is a familiar sight for the locals who live there. The astonishing natural formation is a fantastic example of what’s known as a ‘cone and crater’ volcano, which essentially means that it has a large concave valley at the peak of the volcano. Trou Aux Cerfs stands 1,985ft high, and 350 metres wide, and the ‘bowl’ valley at the top measures roughly 80 metres deep – it really is a sight to behold.
Today, Trou Aux Cerfs has many visitors each year, and the volcano itself is covered in trees and plants; there’s even a lake at the very centre of the bowl. This favourite spot for joggers and walkers now features facilities for guests, as well a number of benches for rest and reflection. From the edge of the crater you get full 360-degree views of the island of Mauritius, including a full view of Curepipe and the coastal plains that stretch right out into the distance.
This site is an absolute must when visiting Mauritius, and the views really do speak for themselves. Also, although there is still a humid climate most of the year, being up at Trou Aux Cerfs is much cooler than other parts of Mauritius, and therefore an ideal place to visit should you want temporary respite from the heat of the coast.
Back on the flat
When visiting Trou Aux Cerfs, it’s also well worth visiting the nearby city of Curepipe. Known as ‘The City of Lights’, this humble place originated in the middle of the 20th century when trains were introduced between Port Louis and the highlands.
In fact, Curepipe gets its curious name on account of the soldiers and travellers whose train would stop in this region and - in an attempt to stem the malaria epidemic of 1867 - would clean their smoking pipes there. The name is a translation of the French phrase curer sa pipe, which literally translates as ‘cleaning the pipe’.
A visit to Curepipe before or after exploring Trou Aux Cerfs is worth it for the fantastic Curepipe Botanical Gardens and assorted museums, as well as the excellent range of shopping and dining options.
The Trou Aux Cerfs is a wonderful spot to discover, and the tranquillity and cooler climate makes for a welcome and refreshing break. You’ll be amazed by the astonishing views at the peak, as well as of the intriguing bowl crater at its centre. Combining amazing landscapes with idyllic landscapes and a unique history, Mauritius really is a fantastic place to explore, so why not book a trip today?