Set on the edge of the Black River National Park, Chamarel is a charming mountain village named after a French army officer who set up a plantation to farm coffee and spices. With sweeping views over Le Morne Peninsula to the Indian Ocean, and a decent range of activities and natural attractions to explore, the area is a popular place to stay on a multi-hop tour of the island.
The village is known for its thriving foodie scene with more than a dozen restaurants catering to a discerning palate, many of which have appealing outdoor terraces with panoramic views down to the coast. Day trippers flock here at lunchtime for excellent set menus of French and authentic Mauritian cuisine. Chamarel is home to the island’s best rum distillery, one of the few around the world that grows its own sugarcane on the estate. The distillery operates guided tours to show the rum making process, and the estate has a restaurant serving lunch and afternoon teas.
Chamarel’s Seven Coloured Earths beauty spot is firmly on the island’s regular tourist circuit. As the name suggests the attraction is a collection of sand mounds that are in a variety of colours, a natural phenomenon caused by irregular cooling of molten rock. Easily combined with this sight is the nearby viewpoint of the Chamarel Waterfall, a spectacular single drop which plummets from a height of around 95m. Also in the area is the Ebony Forest, a conservation project which aims to recreate the native woodland. This can be explored along 7km of hiking routes, along paths and raised walkways, which is a popular spot for birdwatching. There are a number of more active excursions available in the Chamarel area including ziplining, mountain biking and horse riding.