Surf in Mauritius - The best spots
October 25 2017
October 25 2017
Mauritius’ famous subtropical climate, flawless beaches and translucent waters put it on par with some of the best island destinations the world over. There’s no doubt that it lends itself to holidaymakers that are looking to spend their days soaking up the sun from the comfort of their beach loungers. But what most jet-setters don’t realise is how much the island offers for thrill seekers and active travellers.
Pristine lagoons are wonderful for snorkelling (which is an absolute must in Mauritius), stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and swimming, but beyond the reef lies a surfer’s dream location—especially in the mild winter months (which run from May to September when there are typically sizable southwestern swells). Long overshadowed by the surfing fame of Reunion, (which is located approximately 200 kilometres to the south-west), Mauritius is steadily gaining popularity with surfers from near and far who are looking for safer surfing havens not infested with bull or great white sharks (in fact, sharks in Mauritius are very rarely seen and when they are, they are generally the smaller, reef sharks). Interested in going surfing in Mauritius? These are the top spots to visit, in pursuit of the perfect wave:
Rivière des Galets and Ilôt Sancho
Generally, the best places to go surfing in Mauritius are on the south and west coasts. The south coast itself offers some incredible gems for the avid surfer, but Rivière des Galets could be deemed the crown jewel. Surrounded by incredible stretches of tropical scenery, sheer cliffs and untouched coastlines, it’s an exceptional spot for advanced surfers seeking some phenomenal waves that tend to be consistent, thanks to a partially exposed coral reef which forms a classic left-hand reef break. The rugged pebble beach here stands out as being unusual on an island where the famed beaches are those with powdered white sandy shores. This makes for not only an incredible surf spot—due to the water pulling harder off the rocks than it can off the sand—but an amazing change in scenery.
The small island of Ilôt Sancho nearby is another surprisingly popular spot for surfing in Mauritius, considering you can only access it by foot and during low tide—although, for most surfers, the hope is that this trek will keep the crowd at bay. Its phenomenal (and reliable) surf conditions allow surfers to enjoy both left and right-handed reef breaks. This spot is incredibly popular when conditions are prime with those in the know, and over the years local surf competitions have often taken place here.
Internationally recognised as one of the world’s best places to go kitesurfing, Le Morne is equally phenomenal (and famous) for those wanting to hit the waves harness-free. Situated in the southwest of the island, surfers are afforded the opportunity of surfing in Mauritius with a spectacular and unique view of one of the island’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites—Le Morne Brabant mountain. The great news about this gorgeous spot on the Mauritian coastline is that it’s not reserved exclusively for experts: The Le Morne lagoon makes for an excellent place for beginners to learn the art of surfing on the tamer swells, while experts can look forward to the challenge of ‘Manawa’ or the famed ‘One Eye’.
One Eye is best tackled during high tide (more specifically on the pushing tide as the water just starts to fill up on the bank). This difficult spot is famous for the exposed reef break but, searchers beware, the waves are made up of fast and steep, left-hand peaks which break a lot heavier than expected and the currents can be strong. Manawa is just across the channel and offers a smaller, slightly more manageable wave for most with this reef break handling anything from one metre to eight metre walls. It has also won itself recognition amongst the pro surfers of the world, thanks to offshore southeasterly winds that create consistently solid waves.
The easiest way to reach either of these spots is by speedboat and it’s a good idea to employ the services of the emergency speedboats before you go into the water, especially if you are interested in testing your mettle with One Eye. The old surfer’s adage ‘when in doubt, don’t go out’ couldn't be truer than when surfing some of the most challenging spots on the island. Something for the general surfer to remember when surfing these two breaks is that they are kitesurfer havens and the line-up will be crowded when the wind is up.
Close to Flic-en-Flac on the western side of the island, you’ll find one of the most famous spots to go surfing in Mauritius—Tamarin Bay. Once a surf spot exclusively known to die-hard wave chasers and savvy locals (in the 1960s), Tamarin Bay was put on the proverbial map by a film made in 1974 called Forgotten Island of Santosha and images from that film published by Surfer Magazine. It didn’t take long for surfers across the world to set out on a surfing mission to Mauritius in search of Tamarin Bay’s ‘perfect wave’ depicted in the film—a lengthy left-handed reef break—with sizeable three metre swells being handled with ease.
In fact, this was true to such an extent, that surfers nicknamed Mauritius the “Forgotten Island of Santosha” itself. At one point, the bay apparently became so popular that some locals, especially white Mauritians called the “White Shorts” were concerned they would miss out and visitors would monopolize the surf. Happily, this seems to be something of the past, and as long as locals are shown due respect and you are prepared to wait for your turn patiently too—as is true for every other surf spot in the world famous or not—you won’t have any trouble.
While the movie might have captured Tamarin Bay at its absolute best, the reality is that the surf tends to be slightly inconsistent, depending on the currents and wind patterns present, but when the conditions are optimal, it’s undoubtedly one of the best spots to go surfing in Mauritius. It’s great to surf between eight and nine in the morning while conditions are most favourable and the area uncrowded.
When the right conditions do present themselves, it’s possible to surf huge, powerful waves that tend to barrel from the take-off zone. The most reliable waves here occur from October onwards, and you generally have the chance to surf during all tides. As with most reef breaks, it’s important to be very cautious if you are surfing here during low tide. While the big waves are certainly best left to the professionals, there are areas in Tamarin Bay that are appropriate for beginners.
If you are looking for an excellent place to stay during your trip to Mauritius, that’s just a stone’s throw from Tamarin Bay and Le Morne, then look no further than Sugar Beach. Our exquisite plantation-style luxury hotel serves as the ideal place to rest and relax after a long, albeit satisfying, day chasing perfect waves. And what’s more, we have a huge variety of complimentary activities for days when the swell is just not up to scratch, from stand up paddle boarding to windsurfing, snorkelling and more. Get in touch with us to plan your next surfing adventure in Mauritius.