After enjoying another delightful breakfast while admiring the fabulous view across the yacht basin we met our guide, Afzal and set off on an amazing adventure.
First we stopped to photograph the Pieter Both peak that has the shape of a head perched precariously on top of it. Legend has it that a Milkman took a short cut along the mountain path, felt tired and stopped to rest. He fell asleep and when he awoke saw and heard a group of fairies singing and dancing. They warned him not to tell anybody but he could not stop himself from spreading the story. The fairies found out that he’d broken his word so turned him to stone. His head swelled and is now at the top of the mountain!.
While we were taking photographs we saw dozens of Mauritian flying foxes soaring near the top of the peak.
Our guide then took us to a place where they build model sailing ships. The Earl found this fascinating and was tempted to buy one – but common sense won – where on earth would we put it. There were many souvenirs for tourists to buy including a carving of a Dodo – which made its extinct sound when you blew it – We resisted the temptation to get that too!
Our guide also took us to a cashmere outlet – cashmere products are big here in Mauritius. After the first one he wanted to take us to another but I said, “Please don’t take us to any more shops – we are getting rid of our worldly goods – not collecting more. We spend our money on experiences – not stuff!” He got the message and that was the end of the shopping spree!
We stopped a few times to see amazing views and then visited the Grand Bassin Temple on the banks of Ganga Talao, a crater lake in the district of Savanne. First we stopped to see some monkeys on the side of the road. I asked Afzal if they were a nuisance in Mauritius and he replied that they were not. They are tolerated at the temples as are cats.
Ganga Talao was discovered in 1887 by a Pundit He poured water from the Ganga River into the lake and declared that it would be sacred. Nobody is allowed to fish in this lake.
The temple was really beautiful and the lake stunning. The resident cats do not know the no fishing rule and tried their luck with their paws.
As we were driving along the road to our next destination Afzal pulled over to the side of the road, hopped out the car and picked some fruit from the trees growing on the verge.
Our next stop was Chamerel Waterfall and the Seven Coloured Earth
The sands of the seven colour earth were formed from the decomposition of volcanic rock into clay and then soil. The different shades of colour are believed to be a consequence of the molten volcanic rock cooling down at different external temperatures, but the causes of their consistent spontaneous separation are yet to be explained.
About thirty five years ago Earl fished in a marlin competition at Black River Beach and wanted to go and see what it was like now so that was our last port of call. The hotel at which he stayed is no longer there but he walked on the beach and we went to see the slave memorial garden which had some fascinating sculptures telling the story of the slaves.
We arrived back at Azure Beach Hotel at 3:45 and after a brief rest went to beach for a refreshing swim.
In the evening we met up with Joan and Garrick. Joan and I knew each other from Fish Hoek and we also attended Grahamstown Training College in the seventies! She has been teaching in China for 15 years but recently relocated to Mauritus. Thanks Joan and Garrick for an awesome evening – it was a great catch up!