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Black River Gorges National Park

Mauritius' biggest and best national park is a wild expanse of rolling hills and thick forest covering roughly 2% of the island's surface. It's difficult to overstate the importance of this park – it's the last stand for Mauritian forests and many native species. It's also the most spectacular corner of the island, so if you make only one day trip from the coast, make it here, perhaps combining it with Chamarel.

Once prime hunting grounds, the area became a protected reserve in 1994 after scientists identified over 300 species of flowering plant, nine endemic species of bird and a 4000-strong population of giant fruit bats. It remains an important habitat for three of the island's most endangered bird species: the Mauritius kestrel, the echo parakeet and the pink pigeon. Introduced wild boar, macaque monkeys and deer also wander through the vast swathes of old-growth ebony, and sightings are not uncommon.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Black River Gorges National Park.