… and tasting tea.
Colored earth may not seem that exciting but it fascinated me. Between a million and three million years ago volcanic activity drove minerals to the surface, specifically iron and aluminum. The two minerals repel each other so they form defined stripes on the earth. The Iron oxidizes in hues running from red to brown while aluminum oxidizes in hues from blue to violet. It was only a short hike from where the car parked to where we could see the colors and also sit in a café for a few minutes.
Seven Colors is located in a park called Charmarel, which also has a tall waterfall.
The Black River Gorges National Park provides some easy trails for walking, just what I needed, and some more waterfalls.
On a second trip south, we visited Le Vanille Nature Park. It started as a crocodile farm and is still locally known as “The Crocodile Farm.” That is where you find it in the index of my Mauritius guidebook. An Australian imported Nile crocs to farm for their meat and hides for shoes and purses. I didn’t think I would like that so much, but it expanded into a tortoise conservation project in cooperation with Bristol University in the UK. Sailors hunted tortoises for their oil and drove them from several islands around Mauritius. With the tortoises gone the whole ecology of the islands changed because the tortoises ate plants and carried their seeds around the island. Without the tortoises the whole flora of the islands changed. The project breeds two types of tortoises, giant Aldabra, and the radiated tortoise. We could look through glass into the tortoise nursery (because of reflections pictures were hard) and see hundreds of tortoises in different stages of growth. Each has a number painted on its shell. When they are old enough, they are taken to the islands and reintroduced into the wild. The idea is that they will help restore the natural vegetation. Some of the giant Aldabra remain to roam an enclosure where we can also roam.
The park has an art exhibit of sculptures of some of the animals resident in the park (and a dodo bird, which is extinct) made of scrap metal by artist Dhiraj Badory.
Our final visit in the south was to the Bois Cheri Tea museum and plantation. The highlight is a tea tasting on a wide verandah overlooking, either tea plants and a lake, or the other way out over the ocean. The plantation is also home to some of the deer that were introduced to Mauritius a century or so ago.
This is my last post from Mauritius. I will probably have three posts left in this series about the 2023 Grand World Voyage. Thanks to the City Clinic in Mauritius for understand what it takes to help me heal, including allowing me to experience a good part of Mauritius.
The next post will be my trip home. The one after that will be lessons learned from being put off a ship for medical reasons in a strange country. I hope it can help other people planning for a world cruise. The final post will be my reflections on the overall experience. There is a lot to unpack here.