When I say it’s worth the hike, I mean it! Nestled beautifully on the far south-western coast of Mauritius near the rustic and verdant Chamarel village, Piton du Canot is a gorgeous peak of 540 meters blessed with absolutely surreal views of the southern part of Mauritius. Though not a popular hiking trail yet you will be surprised by the wild nature reserve consisting of endemic flora and fauna. You might capture some rare glimpses of endemic birds like Paille en queue, flying fox (bats) and perhaps the kestrels, and pink pigeon along with some endemic plants.
We started the unexpected hiking plan in the morning, took a lift from a friend and as I recall my last outdoor adventure was somehow the same rainy and chilly morning. We got dropped at the Trianon Shopping Park and waited for our ‘ guide friend’.
We were ready to set for the trip, but Mother Nature was not on our side as it kept on raining all the way long. Despite it was predicted that it would be bright sunny, but this is how the weather is when you live in a tropical island-unpredictable! Yet, we stayed positive.
As we drove to the southern part of Mauritius, the landscape changed drastically. This is the wildest, lush green and serene part of the island dotted with small, rustic restaurants and eco-lodges. Along the way, we saw the Rhumerie de Chamarel where high quality of Mauritian rum is made.
After an hour drive, we reached the car park near the Chamarel Forestry Office. We took all the basic stuff like bottles of water, jackets, plasters just in case, wipes, mosquito repellent, cameras and our mobile phones. Fortunately, it stopped raining at the right time, but we were aware that the paths might be challenging as it would be slippery and muddy.
So we started walking on a long path leading to the fenced area of the Chamarel forestry station, where there were a wooden sign and the first pavilion at the entrance. Instead of following the long path, we headed the westward side towards the wooden fence. We came across the second pavilion viewpoint, where we enjoyed the bewitching view of Ile aux Benitiers and the beautiful pale blue sea horizon.
We kept on walking further where we got the chance to see the beautiful lodges of Lakaz Chamarel surrounded by tropical and bright bougainvillea flowers and some endemic plants. Right from this point the real trek of Piton du Canot started. We kept on climbing the flat to eventually rough terrain. Needless to say that we were occasionally greeted by the gorgeous butterflies and buzzing insects, along with the amazing seascape.
As I hike along the rugged terrain I realized how much I needed to be in the midst of the wild nature for some fresh air and serene views of the landscape. I admit for underestimating this hiking trail for being easy, but it was slightly challenging since the path was slippery, but also the fact that I lacked months of workout which made me sometimes gasped for breath.
On the other hand, my sister and the guide friend made their way so easily. At one point I was forcing myself, but then I had to make occasional pauses with a fun-loving companion. Fortunately, I had her to give me company to take some pictures, and by doing so we were rather appreciating the stupendous views and serene environment. As we climbed the mountain, the chill breeze swept over our sweaty skin to give us a really pleasant and relaxing feeling.
After a little pause we scrambled up the steep summit of the Piton du Canot Mountain and honestly, it was worth the effort. We were rewarded with incredible views of the sea horizon, majestic Le Morne Mountain, isolated Ile aux Benitiers, and Tourelle du Tamarin.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT PITON DU CANOT:
Length: 2.6 km round trip
Duration: 45 minutes-1 hour to climb the summit
Summit: Around 540 meters
- On your way, you will find frayed metal ropes to make climbing easy
- The summit is quite steep, so be careful
- Take the same route to descend the mountain
- There are some expensive restaurants in the region, so you can rather try the ‘One love Snack’ which is pretty easy to spot.