Bras d’eau

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The scattered vestiges of the French colony, its ponds and nature trail recount the story of a bygone era. Today, under the management of the Forestry Department, Bras d’Eau greets visitors to a tour of refreshing smells, scents, plants and landscape located in the North East of the island.

Bras d’Eau got its name from the outline of the mass of water protruding in the land in the shape of an arm between Pointe Radeau and Belcourt. The region was once covered by dense forests consisting of black ebony, Eucalyptus, Bois d’Olive, Bois j de Ronde and other indigenous species of which many are still found scattered over the area. ..

ln 1840 the land around Bras d’Eau was owned by Mr Clement Ulcoq, until it formed part of a domain and in 1867 a sugar factory was set up there. Later in 1901, the Government acquired the land and created the Bras d’Eau forest. Exotic species of economic importance like ‘Eucalyptus tereticornis’, ‘Araucaria cunninghamii’, ‘Tectona grandis’ (Teak) and ‘Albizia Labbek’ (Bois Noir) were planted in the forest.

A litchi and a mango orchard, was created and still exists today. It extends over an area of seven hectares, consisting of 280 litchi and 2,800 mango trees. Today the mango orchard çan produce up to 100,000 mangoes when harvest is not aflected by pests and thieves.

The Bras d’Eau forest is also the natural habitat for an isolated species, çalled Mauritius Paradise Fly Catcher more commonly known as the ‘Coq des bois’.

Some years back this endemic bird was considered as a critically endan- gered species but fortunately today some 40 pairs roam around the forest. It indeed, is also a nature) habitat for migratory birds coming from the northern hemisphere to escape the rigours of winter. The Mare Sarcelle in thee vicinity of the nature trail is usually their meeting place.
To protect these species along with the special variety of trees which characterise Bras d’Eau forest, the reserve was put under the Wildlife National Park Act 1993 and the management given to the Conservator of Forests.

The forestry zone of Bras d’Eau spreads over 432.73 hectares of land and its vegetation is mainly Coastal type, rich in lowland plant species putting together some 13 species of which Eucalyptus, Tecoma, Teck, Mahogany, Filao and Bois Noir are the most popular.

One of the main features along the 3,6 km of nature trail between Bras d’Eau and Poste Lafayette, is the three ponds named Bassin Camaron, Bassin, Coq de Bois and Bassin Mahogany.

An ancient railway track sends one wondering about the time when Bras d’Eau was a railway station.

What was formerly a sugar factory was later converted into a granary where goods and stuff used to be stored and provided the neighbouring regions with food. The sugar factory was 183m long by 17m large, a measurement which was quite exceptional at that time.

In the vicinity of the nature track was also an ancient aloe fibre factory. Aloe fibre was brought from the neigh¬bouring regions, processed and bags were made out of them.

Another vestige of the French colonial period is a well built during the French era. A particularity of the well is its rectangular aspect from the outside, which loudly contrasts with its circular form from the inside.

Thirty-seven feet deep, the well was later preserved and restored as a testimony of the French development of the island.

With the aim to sensitise people on preserving natural habitats and plants, and bringing awareness of people to the wealth of endemic and indigenous plants of Mauritius, a forest nursery has been set up for the sale of indigenous and ornamental plants. Today some 125,000 plants are available for Mauritians.

LOVE LETTER: GRAND BAIE

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Isn’t it almost a cliché to talk about the wonders of holidaying in the town-village of Grand-Baie? The perfect place to define exotism. Time seems to freeze as you walk the streets. Merchants faces looking enthusiastic at the approach of white people. Mauritians are tanned people after all. Vibrant colors varying from shelf to shelf.

Few years ago who would have thought that this fishing village with the island’s most awesome beaches would become one of the Indian Ocean’s most prized holiday destination. Probably no one. Talk about your holiday to Mauritius and forget to mention Grand Baie and everybody becomes mad. Sugar cane fields at its periphery are slowly disappearing at the expense of huge malls like the Grand Baie La Croissette or Super U Coeur de Ville. Cinemas, luxury Shops, haute cuisine. You will not miss anything even if you’d wanted to.

And yet to go to Mauritius, to miss out Grand Baie is without doubt to deprive yourself of a vital organ of your holidays in Mauritius.

Grand Baie is mythical. Occupies a place of choice in the heart of travel lovers. Grand Baie is free. Free from the fast pace of the city and free from the boredom of the country side.

Grand Baie is romantic. The best place to be for your honeymoon. An energy which only strengthen the love between lovers they say. Reason to try.

Sassy little items carefully displayed on shelves in the “Bazar” only wake up the want to buy. Dodos, Shells, Jewelry or crafts.  Beware the wallet. Please take Mrs outside or she will ruin you. Fine language and some self-educated psychology on the menu. It seems they will never let you go without having persuaded you from buying something.

What is so special about this town will everybody say? Everything. From Sea to Sky everything is special about Grand Baie. If you are enough lucky, you may find your mammalian dolphin cousins expressing their joys inside the bay. Sandy Beaches, picturesque paysages, 5 star hotels, everything inside Grand Baie is minutely located.

Unabashedly talking about why we all love this town. Sea, Sun, calmness. You will make a lot of friends. Visit Grand Baie and show us someone who will hesitate to bring you home to taste the local delicacies.

No matter where you are holidaying in Mauritius, it is a must you visit Grand Baie, if only for some time to spend at the beach.