First stop: the Valley of Ferney and its luscious indigenous forest. Walk through a 200-hectare natural reserve which strives to preserve Mauritius' endemic flora. The Ferney Valley is home to unique biodiversity including over 100 plant species and a wide variety of animals. Breathtaking landscapes unfold around each bend while you trek through the forest under the watchful eye of a guide.
Many conservation projects are under way in this forest, aiming to eliminate exotic plants to replace them with endemic species. As for the local fauna, two rare endemic birds – the Pink Pigeon and Echo Parakeet – have made the forest their home. The valley also hosts a nursery for indigenous plants. The latest ongoing project involves the rehabilitation of land tortoises to re-establish the herbivorous dynamics in the reserve.
Another stop blissfully combining green and blue experiences is Ile aux Aigrettes, an islet in the heart of a magnificent lagoon on the southeast coast. It stands as a testament of the efforts made over the years by the Mauritian Wildlife Fund for the preservation of Mauritius' endemic fauna and flora. The natural reserve – situated about 800m from the mainland’s coastline – thrives in thick vegetation, typical of Mauritius' coastal areas.
Visitors are accompanied by guides to better discover an ebony forest, which used to be home to the dodo, as well as a nursery of thousands young plants, the ruins of an ancient limekiln and a stunning view of the Mahebourg bay. More importantly, you are likely to come across members of the local fauna: the Mauritian gecko, the Pink Pigeon, the Telfair skink (still endangered today) and the giant Aldabra tortoise, which was introduced to replace Mauritius’ two endemic species of land tortoise, now officially extinct. If you are lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of the Mauritian Kestrel, saved from extinction and roaming free in the island’s forest.
Ile aux Aigrettes is also a particularly beautiful swimming and snorkeling spot, in a crystal clear lagoon with fine white sand surrounding the islet.