Close to Pointe d’Esny with its beautiful beach there is an island called Ile aux Aigrettes that is worth your visit. This rather small piece of land which is only 27 hectares is one of Mauritius national parks.
Together with the popularity of the island among tourists who considered it as a honeymoon destination and just really a luxury vacation destination, Mauritius island faced the problem of necessity to develop its infrastructure. As a result, the biggest part of flora and fauna was destroyed.
But today the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation started many projects devoted to the conservation of endemic species.
Here is the comprehensive guide to nature reserve Ile aux Aigrettes, keep reading to get more details about best tours to join, what to see and do and other useful tips for first timers.
Ile aux Aigrettes General Information
During the times of the Second World War this island was used by British forces as a military base. Many varieties of vegetation have either been completely destroyed or are on the verge of extinction.
Ile aux Aigrettes is located 850 m away to the south-east from Mahebourg bay. It’s interesting to note that this small islet is made from limestone while Mauritius has a rocky formation. Nowadays, this island is open to the public, but you can visit it on behalf of an eco tour.
- Entrance fee for foreigners: 900 Rupees.
- Opening time: 9.30 – 16.30.
- Tour duration: 1.30 – 2 hrs.
- Make sure you have some local Mauritian cash with you to buy gifts and small souvenirs in the shop (all money will be spent for reserve conservation projects).
- Boat departure: Mon – Sat (9.00, 9.30, 10.00, 10,30, 13.30, 14.00, 14.30), Sun (only morning hours)
- On the map
How to Visit the Island
There are several ways to visit Ile aux Aigrettes island: by joining an eco tour or walking around the island by boat. Eco tours start from Point Jerome, enjoy your boat ride to the island, being accompanied by the guide.
This tour will not be boring, as you’ll learn a lot about unique Mauritius nature, and will be able to observe animals and birds that live only in this place and nowhere else in the world. Eco tours to nature reserve Ile aux Aigrettes are organized by Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, contact them for booking.
This place is a great option for those looking to explore the unusual hiking trails in Mauritius.
There are more than 60 species of different plants growing on the island.
If you would like to concentrate on something, you can book a private tour. Usually this option is chosen by people interested in bird watching or professional photography.
Things to do in Ile aux Aigrettes
Meet giant tortoises while walking around the island. You’ll be surprised to hear that one of the goals of these huge marine creatures is to help spread the seeds of different plants around the island. Small tortoises live there in hatchlings until they are 3 years old. After that, they are moved to the sanctuary where they live in protected areas. It’s a great chance to prevent the extinction of these creatures.
Pink pigeons are Mauritius endemics that live in tranquility on the island. Can you imagine that about 30 years ago, only 9 of those birds left, today there are about 500 birds, but still they are considered endangered.
Have you ever heard about such weaver birds as Mauritius fody. If you would like to see how they create nests that hang from the branches, make sure to check the mating season for these colorful birds.
If you’re attentive enough, you can see small Ornate Day Geckos. These fast, small and nimble creatures prefer to stay on the rocks. If you would like to find them, check for red dots on their backs.
Round Island Skink is another endemic fauna representative living in Ile aux Aigrettes. These lizards now are considered as vulnerable, they have cylindrical body shape and are ready to leave their tail in case of danger.
Besides walking around the island you can also visit a small museum devoted to extinct Mauritius species, among them the famous Dodo bird.