The small and quiet village of Chamarel is located in the hills 9km east of La Gaulette. Chamarel is unique and it is Mauritius’ only mountain village. It is the place which inspired most Sega songs to be written. Quiet, pretty and tidy, Chamarel successfully merges with its surrounding vegetation. The countryside around Chamarel is beautiful; a spectacular mountain road climbs onto the Plaine Champagne in the Black River Gorges National Park, while another, almost as scenic, heads south to Baie du Cap.
Chamarel is today the name of the village here and its environs. It was named after Charles de Chazal de Chamarel, who owned an estate here in the late 18th century. It was here that Charles de Chazal entertained Matthew Flinders during his ‘on parole’ captivity on Mauritius during the Napoleonic Wars.
The spectacular waterfall and unusual ‘coloured earths’ of Chamarel are not actually in the village of Chamarel, but nearly 4km further south. The 100m waterfall (the highest in Mauritius) is halfway down an estate road and can be appreciated from several good vantage points. Further down is the area with seven differently coloured layers of earth. The colours themselves are believed to be the result of uneven cooling of molten rock.
Places to Eat
There are a few good eating options in and around Chamarel. Some of the Restaurants provide a marvelous view to the south west coast and the Indian Ocean.
Varangue sur Morne is a former hunting lodge and its stunning location offers great views over the national park towards the ocean and the superb, meaty menu is impressive with typical dishes such as braised wild boar or shrimp flambéed in Ile de France Rum.
For nature lovers is Lakaz Chamarel a must. This ‘exclusive lodge’ in the countryside around Chamarel is a wonderfully conceived collection of 11 houses offering a blissful gateway amid gorgeous forests and streams, with pool, spa and restaurant.
Excursion & Attraction
The Chamarel Waterfall and famous coloured earth are not the only attractions provide in this area. There are a lot more to see and to do like mountain bike and trekking tours in the Black River Gorges National Park, the Rhumerie de Chamarel – a unique place to discover the manufacturing of agricultural rums and the Chamarel Parc Aventure a 12 hectare of tropical forest discovery on footbridges.
Expedition Tour offers trekking tours, adventure trips and boat excursions to the nearby island “Ile aux Benitiers” to swim, snorkel and watch the dolphins including a barbeque lunch for half day or full day catamaran cruises along the west coast.
Getting There & Around
Taxis: are many and comfortable. Can be recognized by the white number plate and the taximeter.
Busses: There are infrequent buses from Quatre-Bornes to Chamarel. Frankly the bus excursion at La Gaulette is not recommended, you’ll save a lot of time doing it by taxi or hiring a car.
Car Hire: Modern cars to moderate prices available by Expedition Tour. An international driving licence is advised. Driving is on the left side of the road.