Bel Ombre visitors, listen up. If you’re looking for a reason to peel yourself off your sunlounger — bored kids perhaps, or need to hit your daily step count — let me present a guide.
The region, found on the south west corner of Mauritius, is largely undeveloped save for a few luxury hotels, namely Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort and Heritage Awali Golf and Spa Resort, both owned by the Rogers Hospitality Group.
This spring, local companies led by Rogers united to relaunch Bel Ombre as a eco-tourist destination, with the aim of highlighting its natural beauty, green credentials and sustainable activities. Its slogan? “Lamer. Later. Lavi” - or “Sea. Land. Life”.
The region has epic scenery and golden beaches by the beach bucketload, but there’s perhaps even more to offer in terms of activities. Here’s the lowdown:
Bel Ombre Nature Reserve
Time needed: half a day
Along with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, this reserve is trying to revive the area’s natural plants and trees, while also conserving indigenous, endangered varieties, like black ebony trees. The best way to see it is by trekking into the leafy interior with a friendly and knowledgeable ranger on a Bel Ombre Wilderness Tour. As you wind your way through paths bordered with thick greenery, you’ll hear how the island evolved through decades of colonialism and agricultural practices.
Pack your swimmers for a quick dunk in Frederica waterfall and round things off with a picnic full of local fare, set in a glade by a babbling stream.
Le Chamarel Panoramic Restaurant
Time needed: two hours
Leisurely lunches on holiday are practically law, along with plenty of views to drink in between courses. Bel Ombre’s top lunch spot, La Chamarel Panoramic Restaurant, sits above the treetops with a backdrop that looks like a living postcard. The horizon stretches 180 degrees from Le Morne Brabant peninsula on the left to the hulk of Tamarin mountain on the right, with blue-green ocean sandwiched in between.
The menu is local Creole style, starring plenty of palm hearts (a regional specialty). Once fed and watered, take the selfie of the trip at the viewpoint jutting out from the restaurant’s decking.
Chamarel 7 Coloured Earth Geopark
Time needed: one to two hours
An astonishing natural phenomenon awaits at this 8.5-hectare park. The area’s distinctive geology and 600 years of history means that the soil comes up in surprising hues with colourful particles contrasting against blue skies and the vivid green forestry that stretches out in every direction.
Take in the otherworldly scene - with a pit-stop to say hello to the resident Aldabra tortoises - before hitting the gift shop for a souvenir packet of locally produced Chamarel Coffee.
World of Seashells
Time needed: one hour
Less of a world, more of a large hut, but there are more seashells displayed here than you could stumble across in a lifetime. In fact, the facility is host to the largest collection of seashells in Africa: 8,000 of them.
From cartoonish conches to varieties so beautiful you see why they were once used as currency, the museum is packed with exhibitions and interactive displays giving you a window into a world you (probably) never knew existed.
Eat and drink at Le Telfair and Awali
Time needed: all evening
The sunsets are something else from this south western point of Mauritius. Sip sundowners at Le Telfair’s Gin’Ja bar for the best views, but for dinner, walk along the beach to sister property Awali for its Le Boma BBQ experience, feasting on grill-fresh bites under the stars.
Both properties offer 100 per cent carbonneutral stays and focus on eco-friendly practices where possible. Push the boat out with dinner at Le Heritage Le Château de Bel Ombre, also part of Rogers Group, where fine-dining is the order of the day, every day.
Where to stay
Stays at the Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort start from £182pn for a deluxe suite (room-only). Rates at the all-inclusive Heritage Awali Golf and Spa resort begin from £265pn for a deluxe suite.
How to get there
Air Mauritius operates three weekly 11.5 hour routes from London with returns from £567.