Even though Rodrigues has now gained its autonomous status and even though this website is usually dedicated to Mauritius, I still feel that Rodrigues island is really a part of Mauritius, so I will share with you the holidays we had in Rodrigues a couple of months ago.
This was not my first visit to Rodrigues. I had been there many times in many different circumstances and every single time I have had the greatest time. I love the island’s authenticity as much as its landscapes and huge lagoons of crystal clear water.
This holiday was no different, although a bit windy as it was winter, we still enjoyed a relaxing family time and the children enjoyed a whole lot of new experiences that they still talk about today.
Of course, this post, however long, will never be able to do justice to five whole days in this beautiful island but I’ll try to share as much as I can!
Our flight to Rodrigues was in late afternoon and we arrived at the hotel ‘Les Cocotiers’ early in the evening. We got acquainted with our rooms and organized our clothes and things. We didn’t do much that evening and had an early night so that we could be full of energy for the following day.
Upon waking up, a beautiful day was waiting for us outside.
‘Les Cocotiers’ hotel is in Anse aux Anglais, close to Port Mathurin the capital city of Rodrigues. Our stay was very comfortable there and the staff always friendly and helpful. [We did miss having some Rodrigues’ chilli at meal times though, especially as the island is very well known for its wonderful little chillies.]
There is a little beach in front of the hotel, but not quite with the finest white sand and the sea isn’t the greatest for a dip either.
If you’d like to spend some time on the beach it’s better to head to the other beaches of the island as there are some wonderful ones around the island.
However, you can still have a nice walk from the hotel towards Grand Baie. I went for a stroll one afternoon and it was really peaceful and nice. Taking the time to look around you also get a glimpse of Rodrigues’ day to day life, which is one of the aspects I love most while discovering new places.
On our first day, we had planned a visit to the Anse Quitor reserve.
Before going to the reserve, as we had some time before the start of the guided visit, we made a quick stop to the coral quarry near Caverne Patate. The quarry is no longer in operation but we could still see the dents in the landscape where the workers used to cut the coral blocks and there are still some lying around.
As we arrived, two young men quickly ran from their houses to the quarry to expose their craft made of coral blocks. All the children were very happy to get their own sculpted figure.
It was very, very windy there but the scenery was still very worth it.
Then we moved on to the Anse Quitor reserve. While we were waiting for the tour to start, we had a look at the little museum to see the bones and information on display.
Then we followed the guide to put on helmets to prepare for the tour.
The first stop was close to some little tortoise where he told us about the history of the Anse Quitor valley where hundred of thousands tortoises could be found in the 17th century and were extinct by the 18th century. They were re-introduced into Rodrigues some years ago and they are now about 1500 in the valley today.
Then we walked by enclosures where we saw some of them under small trees.
We then walked to the beautiful valley where most of the tortoises are. You can walk amongst them throughout the valley and they like to be stroked under their necks. Children climbed on their back and gave them some food.
Here is a view from the valley from the top, on our way to the caves. The white roof by the sea is where we started our visit.
We then proceeded to the caves and followed the guide while he was telling us all about the use of the caves early in the century by the inhabitants when they protected their herds during cyclones. The cave tour is nicely laid out. Unfortunately, as it is very dark inside, I wasn’t able to take too many photographs.
Here is the entrance of the cave as we were going in.
Some stalactites and stalacmites, while we were enjoying the guide’s witty comments.
On our way out of the caves after the visit.
The next day, we had planned a trip for “l’ile aux chats” in the south of the island.
We met on the beach with a local fisherman who would bring us to the island. He was a very interesting lad, telling us about his life here and how he built up his little ‘touristic enterprise’ while fishing, growing his crops and taking care of his cattle.
On our way to the island, he had put a fishing line in the water and my nephew held on to it for his catch of the day! Nothing bit for a while which made my nephew a little bit impatient with those very un-cooperative fish! However, his determination to catch one did pay off as he finally caught a very nice ‘Carangue’. He was very proud of his catch and a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get to eat it!
L’ile aux chats is a truly beautiful little island.
We set up our stuff in a little area protected from the wind and while our guide prepared the barbecue for our lunch, we went for a little stroll around the island.
We followed a path that lead us straight to the other side of the island.
We saw some cotton shrubs there which apparently only grow on this island but doesn’t grow well on the main land.
We then followed the sea shore to get back to our picnic area. I would advise to wear shoes if you go round the island as the rocks are sharp for some of the way and can be very tricky to manage bare foot.
Lunch was very nice! Our guide had prepared fish, sausages and chicken with a salad made from green papayas. Quite unusual. I had never tasted those before. I did find it a bit weird but the others enjoyed it tremendously.
On our way back from the island, we stopped on the island of l’Hermitage. We were able to climb to the top where there was a magnificent view all around.
We didn’t plan much on our third day and had more of a relaxing morning around the hotel. We then followed our instincts and drove around as we saw fit… We first stopped in Graviers where we had a nice (but windy! again!!) picnic under the trees.
After the picnic, I decided to walk a little bit to be able to appreciate the landscape in a different way. Walking along the road and meeting the people, who are always really nice and polite, is really a part that I find most interesting.
Here is a typical little house of Rodrigues island.
Some cattle relaxing by the road, tied to …nothing at the end of the rope!
View of the coast with the Mourouk hotel in the background.
The others caught up with me, after relaxing on the beach, on their way back, as I had followed the only road from the beach and I hopped back inside the car. We drove along and made various stops before going back to the hotel.
Anse Ally beach
La Roche Bon Dieu on the road to Pointe Cotton
The next morning, we woke up very early to walk to make the most of the tide. The difference between high and low tide is huge in Rodrigues, meaning that you can walk on a very wide area, at low tide, that would be otherwise covered by the sea.
We went to Grand-Baie with the children to see if we could find some marine life to investigate in the small water pools. Unfortunately, that was not a wise choice as the sand there is muddy and we didn’t get to see much marine life. We still did see a couple of ‘sans-bras’ and some ‘machoirans’.
After the walk on ‘les secs’, we went back to the capital city of Port-Mathurin as it was the market day. ‘Ti piments’, various chutneys, musical instruments, dried octopus and various handicraft got our attention for most of the morning.
We also decided to swap our usual daily picnics for a nice lunch at the restaurant ‘chez Ram’, where we all had very tasty meals. The currys were so delicious that we even took the name of the curry powder used in the restaurant, that the owner buys in Mauritius, to be able to find it when we get back!
In the afternoon we relaxed by the pool at the hotel. The children found a coconut lying in the garden and brought it back to us to open. Like Robinson, my husband fought the coconut with his pocket knife for quite a while. He did win in the end and we got to drink coconut water and eat dried coconut which was quite nice!
Already, it was time to go and say good-bye to this beautiful and very lovable island. We will keep and cherish these memories for a long time and will definitely be back soon!
Here is a quick overview of some of the places we’ve been above in a cool video:
Have you ever been to Rodrigues island? Would you like to go/to go back? Have you been on a little island like Rodrigues? Share with us in the comments below.