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Explore the tropical flora in and around Ile aux Cerfs and Ilot Mangénie | A Sun Resort - Mauritius

December 27 2017

The phenomenal island of Ile aux Cerfs is situated just off of the east coast of Mauritius. The “island’s island” (as it’s often referred to) is a quintessential tropical oasis totally surrounded by aquamarine waters and gloriously perfect white sandy beaches. Renowned the world over for its magnificent (albeit challenging) par 72, 18-hole championship golf course designed by the esteemed Bernhard Langer, this island and its surrounding areas has so much more to offer than a breathtakingly beautiful golf course. Unbeknownst to many, the deserted Ilot Mangénie, next to Ile aux Cerfs and Ile aux Cerfs itself, has an abundance of interesting flora and lush tropical scenery waiting to be discovered. Here are a few things you might not know about Ile aux Cerfs and its neighbouring island Ilot Mangénie:
 
Ilot Mangénie is very nearly a deserted island
 
Ilot Mangénie spans approximately 46 hectares and is situated across from the most visited tourist attraction in Mauritius, Ile aux Cerfs (about 500m away), and is just off the Trou d’Eau Douce village on the east coast of Mauritius. This charming island hideaway is managed and owned by Sun Resorts. Both Ile aux Cerfs and Ilot Mangénie are two breathtakingly beautiful islands in the heart of the biggest lagoon in Mauritius, Trou d’Eau Douce, and are both well worth a visit with their long beaches of white sand fringed by swaying palm trees—characteristics that attract tourists from around the world. 
 
While Ilot Mangénie is not entirely deserted, the infrastructure on the islet is minimal with the only actual infrastructure on the island being a small restaurant and bar that is currently being managed by the Touessrok Shangri-La Hotel. Reached by a private boat, this islet is typically enjoyed by guests of the Shangri-La and those enjoying a day trip through select tour operators. However, because of these activities, the big concern is the growing amount of on-site waste marring the absolutely gorgeous island. 
 
There are exciting plans for Ilot Mangénie
 
There are plans in the pipeline to turn Ile aux Cerfs’ neighbouring islet, Ilot Mangénie, into a wonderful nature destination, perfect for those seeking to escape from the world and immerse themselves in nature. The idea here is to turn this 46-hectare islet into a destination where visitors can enjoy a memorable, educational and authentic experience that centres on the importance of protecting nature. It is theorised that before colonisation, the islet was covered with an abundance of lush native vegetation, typical of coastal areas and islands. For the botanists among you, the vegetation probably would have been made up by the likes of Diospyros egrettarum, Polyscias maraisiana and Coptosperma borbonicum among others. 

The vegetation as it is now, however, can be described as “exotic degraded forest” and resembles that of a Casuarina equisetifolia (filao tree) plantation. The island has previously been managed and kept as a filao tree plantation and it remains the dominant species on the islet. In line with the Sun Group’s desire to nurture endemic plants as part of their sustainability and environmentally-conscious programmes, namely their SUNCARE programme, the Sun Group aims to restore Ilot Mangénie to its former natural glory with an intensive restoration project. 
 
Endemic species are the order of the day
 
Naturally, as part of their restoration project of Ilot Mangénie, the Sun Group plans to encourage the growth of endemic plants on the island and restore as many native plants to the island as possible. One hugely encouraging find was that a few native species still survive and have the potential to regenerate and colonise the island during Sun’s restoration management project. Some of these native species—specifically the grass species—tend to be found towards the centre of the islet while in the coastal margin in the west and south the mangrove forest comprises much of the vegetation. The phenomenal mangroves on the western coastline of the island are said to form the remnant barrier of the island. 
 
The dominant mangrove species on Ilot Mangénie is Rhizophora mucronata but there are other species in and amongst it. The restoration plan will help to protect the mangroves and control the growth of alien plants in between them. During the process, more mangrove species will be planted in open coastal zones to encourage the population. The salty march linked to the mangrove vegetation could become another huge feature and attraction of the island and it’s an important one, as it forms a good native vegetation barrier consisting mostly of the mangrove species Rhizophora mucronata among a few other various native plants. Restoring the incredible mangroves of the island will have an exciting ripple effect that will positively influence fish, crustaceans, as well as birds in the area which could impact conservation of local flora and fauna and support ecotourism. 
 
You can explore the exceptional mangroves nearby
 
As part of the nature experience in this area, it’s highly recommended to embrace the opportunity to explore the nearby mangroves. You can make use of the kayaks from the Pointe Maurice boathouse and paddle your way through the incredible mangrove forests, ensuring that you do so carefully. It’s vital to not break or damage these incredible trees  and their roots in any way, and it’s best to stay in your kayak at all times. By slowly (and carefully) making your way through the unusual sight, you have the opportunity to observe unique and colourful Mauritian birds flitting through the mangrove forests or feasting on the nectar of mangrove flowers. Guided kayaking tours with a marine biologist are also available through some of the Sun Resorts. 
 
You can enjoy eco-friendly accommodation on Ile aux Cerfs
 
While Ile aux Cerfs prides itself on the fact that it is not littered with hundreds of hotels rooms and is an exceptional and peaceful idyllic day trip destination, it now offers a few phenomenal eco-friendly bubble lodges. When you stay in one of these exclusive lodges you are afforded the opportunity to literally immerse yourself in the gorgeous surrounds of Ile aux Cerfs. Located under the trees and amongst the bushes, these “bubbles” are the perfect, private hideaway for those eager to be surrounded by nothing but the wonders of nature where you can marvel at the astounding night sky in Mauritius while having little (if any) impact on the planet. It’s the perfect retreat for nature fanatics.
 
If you are looking to spend a glorious holiday in a paradisiacal location surrounded by incredible natural scenery, then Mauritius is a superb choice and a stay at one of the unique Sun Resorts is an absolute must for those who would like to enjoy a greener holiday in a luxury setting. As part of the Sun Resorts ethos, each of the Sun Resorts strives to be as sustainable and green as possible, while providing incredible experiences for their guests. A stay at one of these resorts is sure to stay with you forever.

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