Mauritius forms part of the volcanic Mascarene Archipelago (other islands include Reunion and Rodrigues) and as such much of the underwater landscape consists of impressive rock formations like caves, vertical walls and overhangs. These features have been colonised by an impressive array of coral species which in turn attract abundant and diverse species of marine life.
The greatest concentration and variety of dive sites are found off the North West Coast of the island. However, the entire west coast is riddled with locations suitable for all levels of divers.
The best snorkelling sites in the north are arguably Trou aux Biches, Grand Baie and Turtle Bay.
Some dive locations in Mauritius to look out for include:
NORTH & NORTH WEST COAST
1. Arguably the best diving is to be found around the offshore islands of Coin de Mire and Flat Island. These islets are among a group of small islands just to the north of Mauritius. Both locations offer impressive drop-offs and a menagerie of fish. Coin de Mire is the closer of the two (4km from the 'mainland' – 1½ hours by boat) and better for snorkelling. Flat Island is known for its stronger currents, which are great for drift dives but can be a little treacherous for inexperienced snorkellers and divers. Diving and snorkelling excursions to both these locations can be arranged very easily through the dive centres at the hotels.
2. Trou aux Biches is on the northwest coast. The reef here is 250 to 300m from the shore, making it a great location for snorkelling. Many of the dive centres in the area use this expansive reef for their 'resort courses'. More importantly there are approximately 12 dive sites within easy reach of the hotels in this area.
3. Grand Baie (Bay) is another good location with some challenging dives and an excellent selection of relatively shallow sites (10m to 15m) for beginners.
2. The Cathedral (30m) is one of the best-known sites in Mauritius. It is situated further south and is a ‘must do’ for experienced divers. It is a huge cave, which as the name suggests; is a little like being in an underwater cathedral. Marine life includes crayfish, kingfish, squirrelfish, and lionfish.
3. Manioc (47m) is a deep dive on a rock face for experienced divers. Fish sightings include emperor angelfish, white-tipped reef sharks, and shoals of game fish.
4. Rempart L’Herbe (42 to 50m) is a pinnacle with steep sides also known as Shark Place. This is a deep dive for experienced divers. One is almost guaranteed to see sharks, rays, and barracuda. Wahoo, tuna, large rays, and hammerheads are also common.
5. Cannon (22m) is a popular dive on a 19th Century shipwreck.
6. Pointe Koenig (20 to 25m) is also popular but less
SOUTH WEST COAST
Most of the good dive sites in this area are out beyond the reef; therefore expect a 30+ min boat trip.
Sites worth diving include Anthony, Needle Hall and Jim’s Place, all of which are shallow dives of 14 to 18 m.
The deeper dives are Michel’s Place (38m) and an impressive drop-off called The Cliff (24m). Watch out for Gertrude, a 2m moray eel. Apparently she’s tame but I wouldn’t chance my arm (literally) with an eel that size!
One of the popular and certainly the most beautiful sites is an area
known as the Japanese Gardens. This is a coral garden
with an amazing diversity of corals and fish life.