You cannot miss Lion mountain when you are in the south east of Mauritius.
From Mahebourg, it is the mountain that is right across the bay, the only witness left of the ‘Bataille of Vieux Grand Port’ that took place some 200 years ago.
As we were well on time for our meeting for the climb we made a few stops on the way at the dutch first landing and to take some pictures of the mountain that we would soon conquer!
There are different routes one may take to climb up Lion mountain and various combinations of those.
The route we took lead us from one of the ‘arms’ of the mountain to its ‘head’ up to the ‘end of the world’ and then back down along its ‘back’ and towards ‘Bois des amourettes’.
We met with our guide, Mr Patrick Anodin, in front of the Frederik Hendrik museum in Old Grand Port.
Prior to meeting him, we had left a couple of cars at ‘Bois des amourettes’ where the hike would end to make the way back to the parking a little easier.
From the museum, we walked on the coastal road for a little while, the sea at our right until we reached the Grand Port police station.
We then turned into the adjacent road and started walking towards the mountain.
In a few minutes, we had already left the buildings and were in nature with sugar cane fields all around.
Very quickly, even though we were not that far up yet, the view of the Mahebourg bay behind us was already quite nice.
We followed the trail a little longer on the side of the mountain surrounded by high grass…
…until we reached the 102 steps stairs, going up on the ‘hind leg’ of the “Lion”.
The idea of going up that many steps actually more daunting than the actual climb, which wasn’t very difficult.
At the top of the stairs, we stopped for a couple of minutes to have a look at the surrounding islands: Ile aux Aigrettes, Ile de la Passe, Ilot Vacoas and Ile aux Fouquets, where the lighthouse is situated.
The view was already worth it!
Then we went on for a more ‘technical’ part of the climb. Those ‘technical’ bits are quite fun but the ones that I don’t really fancy that much. I don’t really have vertigo, but still don’t quite like to be on the edge of a whole lot of empty space.
This is a part of the climb with really stunning views, but unfortunately, due to the ‘technicality’ (is that even a word!) of it, I had to put away the camera so that I could have both of my hands free to grab onto the rocks.
This is the boulder that we crossed seen from the other side.
The climb is actually not that bad as you always have some kind of rock to hold on to. I wouldn’t recommend it though with children or if you are subject to vertigo. I also think that should the day be windy or if it had previously rained, these parts would be more difficult.
Getting hold of my camera again, I had to take in the view!
Once we were on the other side, we were in a forest of Jamrosa trees (Syzygium jambos).
I would sure love to be crossing that part when they hold some fruits as they are very nice and juicy. But apparently the monkeys eat them all even before they are fully ripe, so no point in trying to get there at the right time really.
The climb on that portion is still very steep, but the tree roots make some kind of natural staircase so it is quite easy to move up.
The vegetation is thick and quite beautiful. There are a lot of ferns all around.
We met a fallen tree on our way up and had to squeeze in between the rocks and its roots. I wonder what could have made it fall, it seemed to be quite a large one.
From time to time we still had a glimpse of the turquoise water in between the leaves.
I spotted two old buildings on the coast but I’m not sure what they are. They look like the “meurtrière” that we had seen close to ‘Pointe du Diable’ a little up the coast.
The walk is of course also interspersed with a whole lot of volcanic rocks, from which the mountain emerged. This big one seemed harmless enough, but did give me kind of a hard time as it was a little slippery.
We then reached a little plateau where we stopped to wait for all of the group members to catch up.
From there we followed a small path to the “bout du monde” (end of the world), which is a little stretch in the mountain where the view is the most magnificent.
We had a view of the whole bay, south east lagoon and the surrounding islands of course.
We could also see Mahebourg, l’ile du ‘Mouchoir Rouge’, Pointe d’Esny and Blue Bay.
The lagoon in front of us, where we can see our hike’s finishing point at the ‘Bois des Amourettes’ jetty.
Further down we could see our first tricky part of the climb, which seemed so pretty easy from here!
Definitely a very nice reward after about two hours walk so far.
Looking on the other side of the mountain, we could see the continuing range of mountains with lots of promising future walks and hikes.
Back to the plateau, we then carried on for a flat part of the walk, this time in an endemic forest of ‘Bois de Natte’.
The walk on that part was casual and very comfortable.
Behind us, from time to time, we had a glimpse of the ’bout du monde’ we had just left.
A second ‘technical’ portion was awaiting us a little further along.
As the first one though, as long as you are careful as to what you hold on to and where you put your feet, it is quickly over.
There is just one tricky part, in my opinion where you have to sort of step over empty space. They put some wire in place to help prevent accidents I guess, but it didn’t seem that efficient to me should something happen. It is just a good effort!
The path led us to another plateau where we actually reached the turning point of our hike.
From there, we could see the other part of the mountain range and the ‘Domaine du Chasseur’ valley, who played a prevalent role is saving our Mauritian kestrel, as well as the lagoon which has been the predominant view of our hike. (No complains here! I could do with that view every day!)
The downhill path is still quite steep but way smoother than our way up. The whole way down, there are branches that you can use to hold on too. So even if a bit slippery, the way down is quite easy.
The vegetation is less dense from time to time and seemed more diverse than on our way up. Even if a little less impressive, the walk down still offered some nice natural features.
Our guide showed us the ‘Tourtelle leaf’, that can be put on a bruise as a cataplasm to help the healing.
We met some ‘Framboise marron‘ that I made sure to stay far from this time.
Out of the forest, we saw this habitation where a guardian stays. His role is apparently to keep the monkeys from eating the sugar cane.
We then went on walking down in the midst of the sugar cane plantations. A change in scenery, but still very nice nonetheless.
The end of our walk getting closer and closer.
Looking back at Lion mountain, which didn’t quite look like usual from that angle, we could see most of our route from the ‘end of the world’ up to our current location.
After the sugar cane, we crossed a banana plantation. A little more slippery, and I did find myself on my bum at some point, but apart from that, it was all good.
And then we were back to civilization and found our cars at the pebble beach of ‘Bois des amourettes’.
Our guide had predicted 4 hours of hike, and we took exactly… 4 hours nearly to the minute! Here is our path on Google Maps.
I enjoyed that hike tremendously and recommend it to any hikers out there who would like to try it out.
Location: Vieux Grand Port
Length of walk: 4h at a moderate pace
Height: 480 m
Difficulty: Moderate with a couple of more difficult technical parts, not recommended for children or people subject to vertigo.