Introducing Black River Gorges National Park
Mauritius' sole national park is a wild expanse of rolling hills and thick forest covering roughly 2% of the island's surface. Once the island's prime hunting grounds, the area became a protected preserve in 1994 after scientists identified over 300 species of flowering plants, nine endemic species of bird and a population of giant fruit bats that numbered more than 4000. Wild boar, macaque monkeys and curious deer also wander through the vast swaths of old-growth ebony, and sightings are not uncommon.
Hiking and mountain biking are the two best ways to explore the national park and a tourism infrastructure has gradually developed over the years. The main Black River Gorges Visitors Centre is at the park's western entrance, about 7.5km southeast of Black River's Trois Bras Junction. The alternative is the Pétrin Information Centre at the eastern entrance to the park. Staff at both can offer advice on the different trails, brief you about the area's wildlife through captioned displays, and hand out fairly sketchy maps.