La Gaulette is a chilled little village set beside the sea with a backdrop of forested hills and hunting grounds. It’s not a nice area to swim or sunbath as it’s marshy, muddy and rocky, however it offers much more affordable accommodation than Le Morne which is just a few kilometres away and one of the most picturesque spots on the island. We took a stroll around the village and found a perfect little eatery nearby that offered fried rice, noodles or roti at very cheap prices. Plus there was a large supermarket that we could actually walk around (unlike in Blue Bay where we had to stand at the door and ask the owner for items) and they even sold baked beans!!! The tree near our apartment was absolutely full of yellow birds living in little baskets hanging from the branches. We managed to witness one bird making a new nest and it was incredible how it used its beak to thread the fibre.
The following day we caught a bus to Le Morne area and set off on a dirt road to the base of Le Morne Brabant, a 556m tall peak shooting straight up from the coast. It’s one of the most famous images of Mauritius and there’s a trail that leads to a viewpoint close to the top. Some say you need a guide for the trail but others suggested it was fine so we gave it a go on our own. The first section was a very easy-to-follow dirt track but it soon narrowed into a steep trail with warnings about continuing up the dangerous route. It was quite a challenging hike actually, we had to scramble up a sort of rocky chimney section that had slick-rocks and very few hand or foot-holds.
As I looked down I instantly got a flashback of the terrifying Via Ferrata we did in Kosovo, I think that damn hike has given me ptsd and really knocked my confidence as this trail was just like the ones I plowed up on a daily basis in Scotland and Wales. In reality it was nothing like the Via Ferrata but there were definitely some very airy sections and awkward lunges that made me uncomfortable. We saw a family doing the hike with 12 year old kids who seemed to be managing ok but the mum was taking a pretty reckless route down for her kids to follow. It took us an hour and a half to reach the cross at the top and somehow after passing lots of people on the hike we had it all to ourselves.
We had an incredible view of the island encircled by turquoise water until it reached the outer reef and dropped into the deep blue ocean. If you fly over the sea here it looks like there’s an underwater waterfall as the sea drops down a deep gully, although I don’t know if it’s just an optical illusion. The lagoon below us was a popular spot for kite-boarders and we watched them gliding across the aqua blue water. I was a little nervous about going back down as it’s usually trickier but I actually found it easier and it was over before I knew it.
Afterwards we took a leisurely stroll along the windswept beach where all of the kite-boarders were zooming past us and jumping meters into the air. We were able to follow the beach all the way around to the calm side. There were a few fancy resorts behind the beaches so we weren’t quite sure if we were trespassing but there weren’t any signs saying we couldn’t or fences to stop us. We decided to pitch up our beach towels on a lovely white sand beach outside the Marriott hotel. The guests sun-beds were at the back of the beach so the rest of it was empty with just a couple of other non-guests. It was paradise! The beaches in Europe will be absolutely covered in umbrellas and sun-beds right now yet we had one of the best beaches in the world almost to ourselves. It did get a little busier later on but by busy I mean maximum 10 people on the entire beach.
The water was crystal clear and somehow warmer than in Blue Bay so we went for a little snorkel. It’s always nice to snorkel in good visibility but there wasn’t much to see except for a few fish in the sea grass. Behind the beach was the dramatic Le Morne Brabant peak which we’d just climbed and it looked fabulous. I waded out into the water to get the best photo of it with palm trees at its base, white sand and the twinkling sea. After a few hours of being beached-whales we realised that it was getting late. The last buses are usually around 5pm and sunset is at 5:45pm so we were very grateful when we stuck our thumb out and a local pulled over for us. In fact we ended up getting a few rides from locals and tourists on our visits to Le Morne which was really nice as we didn’t have a rental car.
We spent some time walking the entire coastline of the Le Morne peninsular, picking our favourite beaches with the best view of Le Morne Brabant. It was pure paradise and we could easily have an entire 300m stretch of beach all to ourselves, and best of all there were no screaming kids, wahoo!! I can safely put Le Morne on our list of favourite beaches around the world.
We ended up spending a week in La Gaulette as we loved the easy access to Le Morne, the cheap food options and the nice accommodation. While it didn’t have a nice beach it did have a rocky coastline which was ideal to watch the sunset from. We were treated to some absolutely fabulous ones with incredible reflections in the glassy water. The best colours happened about 30 to 45 minutes after the sun had set so we usually didn’t head out until a little later to see the vibrant colours striped across the horizon like a fancy cocktail.
Le Morne Brabant peak was visible down the coast and some days big fluffy pink clouds would rise above it like candy floss floating in the sky. Some days we’d just watch the sunset from our balcony but the best ones were enjoyed by the swaying palm trees on the coast.
We had big plans of travelling up the west coast of Mauritius and staying in the north so our first stop was Flic and Flac, which was much busier than we were used to. There were over a dozen food trucks along the coast-road selling coconuts, fried noodles, roti and burgers. The beach was lovely but not as manicured or pristine as Le Morne. It had a local vibe and was backed with trees where the locals had big family picnics in the shade.
One day we caught a bus to Quatre Bornes where we visited a very colourful Hindu temple. There’s many around the island however I liked the location of this one, set beneath a pointy mountain. As we arrived a man invited us inside and we watched a few people praying. I don’t know the name in the Hindu religion but I guess the man was the equivalent of a priest. He cracked open a coconut and emptied the liquid into a cup which was placed on a tray with some fruit and a candle. He offered it to a statue of a god and then held the flame towards the locals who waved the hot air around their heads. I really like Hindu temples, they’re absolutely bursting with colour and feature hundreds of individually painted gods positioned on towers and walls.
Sadly our big plans of heading north didn’t go ahead as Craig ended up catching covid and soon after so did I. We ended up resting in Flic and Flac until we’d both recovered but it meant we didn’t get to see as much of Mauritius as we’d hoped to, but I like to think we saw the best of it as Le Morne really was a stunning spot. We had a lovely time relaxing which is quite rare for us and we got such a good vibe from the place – the people were so friendly. Anyone we walked past on the street gave us a nod, smile or Bonjour. The mix of culture was really fun too with some ladies in Indian saris and men with dreadlocks. It was like a Caribbean version of India with a French twist. Anyway, for now it’s time for us to say goodbye as we’ve decided this is the year of AFRICA…we’ve been putting off this huge continent for many years and our first stop is South Africa.