Demystifying the Myth of the South East Coast
In popularly held opinion, the south east coast of Mauritius is the ostracised sibling. Holiday makers and tourists flock joyfully to the sun-washed beaches and warm lagoon waters of the north, west and south of the island but shun the east. This bias, however, proves to be totally unfounded and this article could equally well be entitled Demistifying the Mists of the South East Coast.
Due largely to bad press, the east coast of Mauritius is viewed as wet, cold and windy throughout most of the year and therefore not the most desirable location for a tropical island holiday. It is true, that the east coast does fall under a certain amount of rain each year, it has the occasional cold spell by island standards and rough winds do occasionally shake the darling buds of may, but these meteorological disturbances are not much more pronounced in the east than they are in any other part of the island and are limited to specific times of the year.
Summer stretches out luxuriously from November to April when temperatures all over the island loiter around the 30ºC mark on the thermometer. These months are also marked by intense humidity which is made bearable by constant sea breezes. If cyclones are going to affect the weather in Mauritius they do so during the summer, bringing strong winds and heavy rains between January and March. Winter in Mauritius, by world standards, is never too severe with average temperatures of 24ºC. The drop in humidity makes this a extremely pleasant time to visit and although there can be winds buffeting the east of the island, compared to a place like the Mediterranean they are negligible.
Various sporting activities are dictated by the seasons as well. Early mornings from December to March are the optimal time for diving and snorkelling as the waters are at their warmest and clearest. Slightly cooler temperatures and winds make June to August ideal times for sailing, kite-surfing and windsurfing and there are sailing competitions organised almost every year during this season. Although lounging on the east coast beaches may not be pleasant during the winter months, there are plenty of other activities such as surfing which make it an ideal location for a more active type of holiday and even in the midst of winter there will be the occasional still, summery day. In terms of a beach holiday then, the east coast is at its best from the second half of October through to May. Of course, there will be some rain during those months, especially if the weather is affected by cyclones, but these are pleasant summer showers which affect the entire island, not just the east coast. During the summer there is usually a slight wind, but in temperatures that can exceed 30ºC, the cooling breeze can be most welcome.
Not only does the east coast boast some of the longest beaches in Mauritius, but also the longest lagoon which stretches out for a luxurious twenty-two kilometres from the south-east at Pointe D’Esny up to Trou d’Eau Douce. The coastal road along this side of the island is perhaps one of the most spectacular being, on the whole, unfettered by walls or buildings and boasting breathtaking scenery of lush mountain vegetation on the one side and sparkling blue lagoon waters on the other.
The famous islet, Ile aux Cerfs is situated just off the east coast and easily reachable by boat. With its stunning sandbanks and world famous golf course, this is definitely worth a visit.
Written for Isla-Mauricia by Sarah Townshend.