Updated on the 18th of February 2016
Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of seeing live creatures being enclosed in a limited space. I do my best to (try to) stay objective while writing about those but my point of view might still pop up from time to time! So, apologies in advance.
Casela, is one of the two animal parks of the island, the other one being La Vanille. It is the oldest park and has kept on growing throughout the years.
In 2015, the park was completely redesigned and up-scaled making the visit even more attractive and exciting.
As a child I remember numerous visits to Casela Park where we would wander around the different paths, see the birds and sometimes even eat at the restaurant. At the time that about pretty much summed up what was available during the visit.
Nowadays, with all the different extensions with Yemen, the many different attractions and new animals to see, the activities are fun and diverse.
You will find Casela quite easily on the road from the Cascavelle shopping center to Black River. The turn off is on your left when you go towards Black River. It is very well indicated and you turn into a beautiful little road with palm trees on both sides.
You will be welcomed by a parrot and monkey mounted on their pedestal.
Extended parking is been provided. However, on a busy day, they can still get filled up quite easily!
At the ticket gates, you might need to summon a little patience as we’ve often been confronted to a long queue, especially during the holiday seasons.
The entrance fee will give you access to the following:
Even though I don’t particularly enjoy seeing the birds and other animals in their cages, the park itself is just wonderful.
The lush vegetation and rocky pathways are refreshing and most enjoyable.
As you walk along the pathways, you will sometimes be accompanied by some of the birds wandering around: peacocks, swans, ducks, …
You will also see a wide variety of colorful birds…
…as well as other animals such as monkeys, tortoises, kangaroos and many others.
I remember coming to Casela for my wedding’s photographs. The ponds and archways offer some really beautiful background for some amazing memories.
Since the park redesign, there is now also a walk-through aviary.
Close to the restaurant, you can follow a little path for a short ‘promenade’.
This will lead you up the hill next to the viewpoint where you have a magnificent view of the western region of the island.
That same path also leads to a very nice endemic garden.
Although, at the time of our visit, it was a little wild and disorderly.
The Avalanche Mine
There are two ‘Avalanche’ circuits available: one for adults and one for children.
We have yet to try these out.
If you plan to do one of those though make sure to come equipped with closed shoes as otherwise you will not be granted access for security reasons.
Access to the restaurant & food court
The restaurant is found on the higher grounds of the Park.
I really like Casela’s restaurant. They have an affordable menu with nice varied food containing European, Chinese and Creole meals, as well as sandwiches and snacks for a quicker bite.
The view of the west coast from the restaurant is also amazing and we never get tired of it.
The park now also has a few snack outlets as well as a little food bar next to the entrance where sandwiches and beverages can be ordered.
The petting farm is one of the favorite places in the park for children. They get to see farm animals up close.
They can touch them and feed them too. Milk and seeds can be bought for a small fee at the adjoining shop.
There is a wide variety of baby animals there: rabbits, poultry, fawns and more.
The farm is organized like a nice little village, where each animal has its own little cozy house.
Safari bus tour – big cat viewing / giraffe viewing
There are a few stops to the safari tour.
You may take the first ‘tour bus’ next to the entrance building if you wish and it will bring you to the second stop next to the petting farm. There is not much to see on that stretch of road so we usually skip that one as our visit of the park often brings us to the petting farm anyway.
From the second stop, again you may wait for the bus, or you also have the alternative to walk along a short path up to the third stop. We have done both. Sometimes, when we are tired or with small kids, we take the bus, otherwise we decide to walk.
The third stop is where the big cats are. You will view them from platforms overlooking their enclosures.
You may even interact with baby lions sometimes.
Once you finish your tour of the wild cats, you will queue up to take the tour bus up to the giraffe platform. This time no other alternatives so the wait is sometimes a little long, be patient.
The fourth and final stop is the giraffe viewing platform.
Nearing the platform, the first very impressive thing is a huge, magnificent tree next to the giraffe’s enclosure. I reckon it has been there for a long, long time!
As we climbed on the platform we then saw the giraffes, strolling around in their gracious pace.
Sometimes even coming quite close to us, probably looking for food.
This is a very recently added activity and we have yet to discover this one.
The photo safari will bring you on a 1 hour tour in the reserve sitting comfortably in an open mini-bus. There are no age or height/weight restrictions to go on that safari so you can bring the little ones too.
During that time you will be able to see zebras, ostriches & antelopes, among other animals while you drive through nature.
Another favorite of children is of course the playground.
I kind of miss the old playground with its very unique metal structures shaped as planes, cars, horses and many other wonderful things, as well as the old locomotive.
The playground is now much more classic in nature.
They still do offer some very nice features, like climbing rope structures and a mini zip line, that are very appealing to the kids too though.
4-D Cinema viewing
We often end our visit with a stop at the 4D cinema.
The shows are short ones: 10 to 20 minutes and are quite amusing. Kids absolutely love it, of course.
Mauritius interactive 3D Map & Souvenir shop
At the end of our visit (or while waiting for our movie to start), the kids usually love to stop by the huge map of Mauritius.
Various attractions of the island are shown and light up at the press of a button.
The souvenir shop ends the visit as you have to go through it to reach the exit.
Inside you are sure to find a souvenir if you wish to have one as they have items to suit all prices and tastes.
To make the full visit of the park, with a meal included and a little time at the playground, I think you need to count a minimum of 2 to 3 hours if you don’t want to feel rushed.
For an extra fee, you may also book one of the following activities:
To gain access to the Tilapia pond, you need to have purchased this activity at the entrance gates. A guide will provide you with all the necessary equipment on site.
You gain access to the pond every half an hour, which is the length of the fishing session. The fish caught are released back into the pond.
Next to the petting farm, pony rides are organized throughout the day.
Tickets can be bought at the small souvenir shop and the rides start under a big tree a little further away.
Segways are these funny looking two wheeled vehicles that you stand on holding a handlebar. It is electric and environment friendly and you can choose to go through the reserve on one of these vehicles, accompanied by a guide.
You will have a feel of the vegetation of the west of the island as well as see some of the animals of the reserve in their natural environment.
It is a 1 hour activity, including explanations from the guide and initiation to the segway, leaving you with about a 45 mins tour in the reserve.
To be able to do this activity though you need to weigh between 40 and 100 kgs.
I haven’t tried this activity yet and must say that it does look like a lot of fun!
Walk with the lions
Not only lions, but also tigers and cheetahs can be seen and/or interacted with.
There seem to be different types of interactions with them, which I probably will never experience because I cannot quite wrap my head around having these magnificent animals enclosed. This article about sums up my feelings in a very elegant way.
Here is the info I have from the billboards though: You can book for a 30 minutes viewing or drive through where you will only be able to see them from a car, or I think, a platform. You will hopefully see them eat, play and climb on trees.
There is also a 15 minutss interaction with the lions and a 1 hr walk with the lions, where you will also be able to touch them and get your pictures taken with them.
There are security measures that are applied around this activity, therefore participants need to be at least 15 years old and measure no less than 1m50.
For these activities, it is best to book in advance, prior to visiting the park.
Ziplining is a fun and hands’ on way to experience the natural environment of the reserve.
The full day option, from about 9h30 am to 3 pm, include a hike, swimming through a canyon, various ziplines and other features like a nepalese bridge. Also included is a lunch with a beautiful and tasty barbecue with a mini-zipline ending in the pond which is a lot of fun. Obviously, I would recommend summer days for that one, as landing in the cold river water in winter might be a little less comfortable!
There are also two 1 hour ziplining activities called ‘The 400’ and ‘The bridge’. The 400 consists of 4 double ziplines, with one of them being the longest in the Indian Ocean I believe. The bridge consists of a single zipline, a double zipline and a Nepalese bridge.
The 1 hour activities are available as from 6 years old, while the full day one is as from 8 years old.
Quad & Buggy Biking
This is another fun way to experience the reserve which I quite enjoyed. At the time I did it, a couple of years ago, only quads were available, no buggies… so not sure what the difference is between them.
You can either book for a 1 hour or a 2 hour outing. There is an initiation on a small circuit to get used to driving them, so even if you are not familiar with driving those, they are quite easy to learn to handle.
Drivers have to be 16 or older and passengers need to be at least 1m35 for Quads and 1m20 for Buggy.
I haven’t tried any canyoning at Casela yet, but I would guess that for this outing you would need to be quite physically fit.
Two circuits are offered: The Papayes circuit (half day) and the swim & picnic circuit (full day). They are available as from 14 yrs old if accompanied by a responsible adult.
These activities look fun and choc pack full of adrenaline and excitement!
Again, I would recommend the summer months for these activities as it involves lots of swimming in the ice cold river and abseiling in waterfalls.
Here too, there is a full day and a half day activity. I haven’t tried those yet.
The full day activity will lead you to the top of the peak of ‘Mamzel’ Zabeth’, where you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the west coast in the morning.
The lunch stop will allow you to swim in the pond and try the water ziplines. In the afternoon, there is an aerial discovery of ‘Trou Pigeon’ on cable bridges.
The half day activity will also lead you to the peak of ‘Mamzel’ Zabeth’, via a hiking circuit through gorges and cliffs. Some impressive, yet very achievable, aerial passages to foresee during this walk. This activity also includes the crossing of bridges and cable bridges.
The minimum age for these activities is 12 years old, accompanied by a responsible adult.
Address: Royal road, Cascavelle
Tel: 452 2828, 5727 6076
From May to September: 9am to 5pm
The park is closed for Christmas and New Year’s day.
There are different price packages offering various activities. For a more detailed version, please refer directly to Casela’s price page (valid up to Nov 2017).
Adults – Resident: Rs 395 & Non resident: 775
Children from 3 to 12 – Resident: Rs 210 & Non resident: Rs 500
Seniors as from 65 – Residents: Rs 295 & Non resident: Rs 775
(includes: Walk through aviary, avalanche mine, safari photo, giraffe/big cat viewing, camel viewing, kid’s playground & petting farm, 3D interactive map)
Petting farm: Access included in entrance ticket, pay for food to feed animals at the souvenir shop next to the farm Rs 100 – from 9:30am to 4:30pm
Tilapia fishing (30 mins): Rs 150 – from 9:30am to 10:30am and from11:30am to 4:30pm
Pony rides (from 4 to 12, less than 40kg & 1m20): 10 mins for Rs 60 – from 9:30am to 12pm and from 1pm to 4:30pm
4D cinema (every 25 mins): Rs 150
For more information about packages, family yearly pass or daily activities, please go directly to Casela’s website.