7 colors of the earth at Chamarel in Mauritius

posted in: Africa, Mauritius, Nature | 66

Can you guess what could be my “one thing” to see in Mauritius? If your answer is “Beaches”, then you would actually be wrong. It was the 7-colored earth at Chamarel. I had come across Chamarel during my initial research on Mauritius and that would actually, date back to over 10 years. I was quite fascinated with the pictures that I had seen and the descriptions that I had read or heard from people. 7 distinct colors of earth in one single place was indeed a rare, natural phenomenon – one that I had heard of only in Mauritius. Beaches in Mauritius was an obvious thing to do but visiting Chamarel was something that I was determined to do. Here goes my account of my first and only visit to Chamarel to see the 7 colors of the earth.

7 colored sand dunes of Chamarel

About Chamarel

Contrary to my belief that the Nature park with the 7 colored earth was called Chamarel, it is actually a village in Mauritius. As I understood from the locals, it is one of the many villages of Riviera Noire District of Mauritius and was named after its French owner – Charles Antoine de Chazal de Chamarel, who owned the entire village. The village is quite self-sufficient and relies on agriculture for its means. You will find many coffee and sugarcane plantations along the way.

Sights of Chamarel from the Varangue Sur Morne

Chamarel has more than just the seven-colored earth as attractions. Chamarel is also, known for a nature park, a waterfall, an ancient church and a fun entertainment center called Curious corner. The village also, has a few hotels and resorts for many travelers come here for adventure sports like mountain biking, zip lines and ropeways. Essentially, it is one key tourist area in Mauritius that offers you something beyond its beaches.

A pit stop at Varangue Sur Morne

Inside Varangue Sur Mornem Chamarel
Inside Varangue Sur Morne, Chamarel

We set off for Chamarel from Grand Baie in North Mauritius. The drive to the place was quite smooth but long as Chamarel is located in a hilly region down South Mauritius. As your landscape changes from the beaches to hilly terrains, you will also, witness a distinct drop in the temperature. The warm sea breeze is left behind as the cool, misty mountain air takes over.

Sagoo with Coconut Ice cream - a Mauritian dessert at Varangue Sur Morne, Chamarel
Sagoo with Coconut Ice cream – a Mauritian dessert at Varangue Sur Morne, Chamarel

We got some of the best views of this area at our pit stop at a restaurant called Varangue Sur Morne. This is quite a popular place with many celebs like Robert de Niro and Sonia Gandhi having visited here. The place serves lovely Mauritian food and among the many dishes that they had served, I particularly relished the Palm heart salad and the unusual dessert Sagoo.

View of the Black River Gorge from Varangue Sur Morne, Chamarel
View of the Black River Gorge from Varangue Sur Morne, Chamarel

Check out this gorgeous view of the Black River Gorges of Chamarel that I captured from the restaurant. I understand that you can even opt for a nature trail through this restaurant which get you up close and personal with some of these endemic plants of  Mauritius. However, for us, time was short and after a scrumptious meal, we continued to the main attraction of Chamarel – the Seven Colored Earth.

Seven Colored Earth of Chamarel

7 colored earth at Chamarel, Mauritius

Though I was forewarned. I could not help getting a tad bit disappointed that the entire natural wonder was a small area contained within a fence. However, note my adjective – “TAD” for more than the disappointment was a wondrous feeling. The entire setting in front of me was a nature’s artwork of colors and textures that were perfectly blended and yet contrasting. I wondered how the entire stretch had such distinct layers – it was as if someone had perfectly arranged each mound of color to create a 3D effect. However, there is an explanation for the same.

Science behind the Seven Colored Earth of Chamarel

7 Colored Earth at Chamarel, Mauritius

Essentially the sand here is volcanic sand that over time has decomposed. Primarily they are Iron and Aluminium compounds that repel each other and hence, do not mix together. Thus, even when they are mixed and put together, they separate out to form these distinct layers. You can even try this with the little test-tube curios that are sold at the souvenir shop of Chamarel.

The view of the 7 colored earth from one of the observation points in Chamarel
The view of the 7 colored earth from one of the observation points in Chamarel

The sand is essentially devoid of nutrients that allow plant growth and hence, this entire stretch is barren. There are two view points where you can observe and admire the mesmerizing effect of nature’s artwork. See if you can spot the 7 colors of the earth – violet, purple, red, blue, brown, yellow and green in any of my pictures.

One of the winged inhabitants of Chamarel
One of the winged inhabitants of Chamarel

Besides the main attraction of the seven colored earth, you can also, try some bird-watching. There are some really pretty birds who seem to be regular inhabitants of this place. Also, don’t miss saying Hi to the giant tortoise who live in the park.

The Giant Tortoises at Chamarel
The Giant Tortoises at Chamarel

The Curious Corner of Chamarel

At the Curious Corner of Chamarel
At the Curious Corner of Chamarel                                                                                                      Pic Courtesy: Nisha Jha

Exiting the park, we headed straight for a fun time at the Curious corner of Chamarel. This place essentially uses the light and shadow play to create illusions and funny situations. It is like a maze of puzzles and riddles that need to be solved as you proceed from one room to another. From lopsided rooms to bottomless elevators and topsy-turvy rooms – we had quite a few memorable, light-hearted moments at this park and I would definitely recommend it for kids.  Did you notice how I turned into a kid? 😉

Other attractions of Chamarel

Owing to the paucity of time, there were a few attractions that I could not visit in Chamarel. However, given another chance, I would not miss the following –

  • Chamarel waterfall – for the scenic waterfalls that drop down 100 m or more.
  • Rhumerie de Chamarel – for its rum collection and rum tasting experience

The one thing that I can assure you is that even if I were to have seen the waterfall and the Rhumerie at Chamarel, my number one attraction here would always be the Seven Colored earth. I cannot get over the miracle of nature and even now when I see my own photographs, I feel so amazed and awed by it. The seven colored earth of Chamarel in Mauritius is really one of its kind and definitely one of the must-visit places in Mauritius. I wonder if you agree.

Chamarel

Getting here:

  • Chamarel is located in South Mauritius – specifically, Plaine Champagne Road. From Grand Baie, this place is a one and half hour drive while from Bel Ombres, it is just 30 mins
  • The best way to get here is to hire a taxi or a car. The roads to Chamarel are quite well done and the incline is not very steep.
  • Buses to Chamarel can be found using this website.

Travel Tips:

  • The entrance fees for the seven colored earth is 200 Mauritian Rupees for an adult. For a local, it is 125 Mauritian Rupees.
  • The park opens at 8:30 am and they say that sunrise is the best time to view the seven colored earth. The park closes by 17:00 hours.
  • You are not allowed to walk or touch the seven colored sand. You can only walk around the fence and observe it.
  • The place has clean restrooms, a small cafe, and souvenir shop.
  • Here is the official website of the Curious corner of Chamarel. You can use this site to book your tickets for this attraction. The price per adult is 300 Mauritian Rupees. You can get a discount of 10% if you book online.
  • The Curious corner also closes by 17:30 hours
  • A trip to Chamarel can be combined to include all these attractions as they are all in close proximity.
  • If you are traveling from North Mauritius, keep aside at least a day for this area owing to the driving distance.
  • A light shawl is recommended as the area is a little cooler than the rest of Mauritius.

 

 

 

 

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66 Responses

  1. Still awestruck, amazing work of nature, never heard of this before. I think many people visiting Mauritius miss this.

    • A lot of people do and it is a little off the usual track. So lot of them miss it to save time. 🙂 But I do think it is worth a visit once.

  2. I found the earth to be really beautiful. Large or small the wonders of the earth are always and enjoyment for me. You had such a great day to go along with the 7 colors that you still have to think of this as an awesome adventure.

  3. Thank you for introducing such a wonderful place. I’ve never heard of the 7 colored earth in Mauritius but now it is also the main thing I’d like to see when I go there. Mother nature is truly amazing sometimes.

  4. 2travellingsisters

    The seven colors landscape looks so surreal, its really hard to believe that something like this exists and make us wonder how beautiful our planet is! Beautiful captures Ami 🙂

  5. It’s beautoful and you are one of the very lucky travellers who have visited this place. And thank you for sharing its photographs, and we are lucky to read your stories about Chamarel.

    • Thank you Blair. I was lucky indeed to be able to see something that I had just read about. 🙂

  6. Beautiful pics and post 🙂

  7. Loved reading about this beautiful place. Thanks for sharing. Awesome photographs 🙂

  8. travelerettenyc

    That 7 colored earth is amazing looking and it was interesting to read about the science behind it. I would love to go to Mauritius some day. When I was younger, I had a friend from there and she let me practice my French with her. It certainly seems magical in your photos.

  9. Wow that 7 coloured earth looks so stunning, it has a mesmerising effect looking at it. It looks like a great day adventure visiting the place.

  10. Now that ‘seven coloured earth of Chamarel’ can be a nature’s wonderful sight for humanity – it looks mystically wonderful. I will also love to visit at least once in my lifetime. BTW wondering which are those seven colours (are they of 7 present in rainbow formation?). Thanks. You have shared about it in detail.

    • Thanks Sherab. It is not the Vibgyor colors but the shades that I have shared in the post. It is beautiful nonetheless.

  11. Superbly amazing post with mind blowing pics.
    The reason behind the seven colors is really very interesting.

  12. I have been dying to go to Mauritius since my old friend in college had a roommate who was from there and showed us the amazing beaches. I definitely wanted to go because of the beaches alone but had no idea that Chamarel existed! How beautiful! The photos you captured make me want to reconsider our next planned trips and hop on a plane to Mauritius!

  13. Yogi Saraswat

    Mauritius is not a big country but the Seven color earth scenes make it very popular . Very amazing pictures Ami. Great post

  14. I had never heard of the 7 colored earth but I would be so glad to see that for real! I would also love to see the giant tortoises, they are really cute 🙂

  15. The 7 colored earth is just spectacular! It looks out of the world, like almost photoshopped and that’s just awesome! THe greenery is ethereal!

  16. The 7 colors earth is so beautiful, shame it is so small. It reminds me a bit of the colored mountain in Peru, near Cusco. I can imagine how amazing this must have been if it was at a larger scale. But hey, at least you had fun and experienced something new 🙂

  17. It’s so great to read about something else other than the beaches of Mauritius. This is something I didn’t know about but would definitely visit including the Curious Corner – that sounds like a lot of fun!

    • Curious corner is a fun place alright. For me of course, the Chamarel earth was the highlight. Hope you get to go there soon.

  18. There are so many things in this post that I wasn’t even of about Mauritius! Thanks for this informative post Ami.. would love to explore the place like you did! 🙂

  19. This looks like such a fun spot to visit and the photos are gorgeous. I actually couldn’t stop staring at the photo of the person in the little chair. What is going on?!?!?! Hahahah, I love photo illusions like that 🙂

    • He he…that little person is me Candy…. 🙂 I am sure you will love this place …its full of illusions.

  20. I have only ever heard about the 5star resorts, the stunning blue waters and the beach in Mauritius. It is not and refreshing to see something else writting about the place. The sun dunes in Chamarel is my favourite

  21. Wow! That’s so beautiful! I’ve never even heard of this place! I’ve seen photos of the colored mountain in Peru, but never of this. The Curious Corner sounds like a fun, quirky stop too!

  22. Chamarel comes across as a charming place. Apart from the natural beauty, I am specially fascinated by the Curious corner. I love illusions.

    • Since you love illusions, you will enjoy solving the various mysteries at Curious corner. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  23. Ong iwhere love it and this Varangue sur Morne is amazing!

  24. Wow! This is so amazing! I’ve never even heard of this, but now it’s somewhere I’d love to visit. It looks so surreal almost.

  25. This looks so like the painted desert in Arizona. The views are absolutely gorgeous. They would definitely appeal to me more than the beach

    • It is definitely worth a visit for this place is quite unique. I hope to get to Arizona too. Thanks for stopping by.

  26. Wow I cant say I had ever heard of this place until reading your blog. Its great to know that there is more to the island than just the beaches. Can you hire your own vehicle there?

    • Yes Thuymi, you can hire a vehicle here. Your hotel or resort can help you get one . Thanks for stopping by.

  27. Chamarel looks like a cool place. I’d be disappointed too that the 7 colored area is so small.

    • It is small but beautiful and definitely worth a visit once. I would still recommend one visit. Thanks for stopping by.

  28. I love hearing about unique attractions like ths. I’ve never been to Mauritius but your posts make me want to!

    • Thank you Abigail. Glad you feel encouraged about visiting Mauritius. It is a very pretty place .

  29. Wow those colors are so vibrant. Thanks for introducing this. I knew about the famous beaches of this little island, but this park is a real hidden gem. And the giant tortoises would be such a treat to see as well. This in definitely on my list when I visit Mauritius.

  30. The wonders of earth never cease to amaze me. I have seen soil of different colors, but never so many colors at one single place. And I also liked that curious corner of Chamarel. I will make sure to visit here when I go to Mauritious

  31. The colours of this place are just unbelievable! I love your photos as well, particularly the second last one which tricks us and is so creative! I would love to visit it one day 🙂

  32. omg! I never heard about this wonderful place. The images explains how much real and great will be the place.

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