The Black River Gorges National Park is the largest protected forest of Mauritius, providing over 50 km of trails.
There are four entry points to the park: the Black River entrance and Case Noyale entrance on the west coast, La Marie entrance in Plaine Wilhems and Chamouny entrance in the south.
Its main entrance being in Black River, this is where we chose to start our walk. From the main road, going towards Le Morne, at the turn off to the Riverview shopping center, follow the road that will lead you directly to it. There is a first gate at about 2 km from the turn off. Some people like to stop their car here to do some exercise, walk or jog, on the tar road, up to the parking lot. Walking from there to the parking zone will take you approximately half an hour. This gate closes at 6pm, so be sure to be back out through them before then (although I have a feeling they close it later in summer as we when we were there, many hikers seem to still be there past that time!).
The parking area is wide enough and even on days of affluence, we’ve always managed to find parking space. An information center is present, but was closed down at our last visit.
A picnic area with wooden tables can be found next to it. From there starts the dirt road and the real feeling of walking through a forest.
You can find many different trails routes in the Gorges, some of which starts in Black River: Mare aux Joncs waterfall (4 km), Parakeet (6 km) and Macchabee-Petrin (10km).
On our visit, as our son was with us, we only went up to the kiosk which is 1.5 km away.
The walk is quiet and peaceful, unless you meet up with a large group of hikers… It seemed that the forest had just been cleared out a bit at the time of our visit, as it was clean and you could see through the trees. Sometimes, it is more bushy and wild.
As there had been some rain a day or two preceding our walk, the rivers had enough water to create a nice background sound.
Going at a slow pace to accommodate our four year old and to appreciate the scents and feeling close to nature, we reached the kiosk in just over a half hour.
The kiosk is placed in an area of the river which is quite wide, which makes it possible to have a swim, especially when there has been some rain in upper lands.
The true beauty of the Gorges definitely lies within the deeper trails, but to have a relaxing stroll on a Sunday afternoon, this little walk is ample enough!