The prominent Mark Twain eternalized Mauritius after quoting a Mauritanian: “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius.” It’s arguably the most beautiful place on Earth, the land of the turquoise lagoon, where you’d be hard pressed to find a spot that doesn’t look perfect. Scuba
A little about Mauritius
This island nation is located about 2000 km (1200 mi) east off the southern coast of Africa, and 900 km (540 mi) from Madagascar and nearby the Islands of Seychelles. It’s comprised of the two main islands Mauritius and Rodrigues, and the outer islands Agaléga and St. Brandon (and two disputed territories, and is also considered part of the Mascarene Islands – also known as the Mascarenhas Archipelago – together with Réunion Island. Because of its location in the Indian Ocean, its climate is tropical in the coastal regions that make it perfect for scuba diving the whole year round.
A barrier reef surrounds encircles almost the entire island, creating a shallow lagoon that is an excellent choice for beginner divers, but experienced divers have nothing to fret about because there are spots that require different skill levels.
The inner parts of the islands are covered in rainforests and waterfalls, and they were the only known living location of the Dodo, unfortunately made extinct after the islands’ habitation. Today, the interiors of the islands are a big draw for naturalists because of the national parks and the many endemic species they protect.
Alongside beautiful nature, Mauritius is a well-known and popular tourist destination, with the main islands hosting plenty of events for divers and non-divers alike. They are cultural and entertainment hubs that offer many opportunities for every traveler to relax and have fun, and is a prime location for traveling the entire year round. Its culture is interesting and unique and add an extra layer to Mauritius’ charm, because its population is multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multicultural, and multilingual, making this destination a treat, because every encounter with a local or a visitor tends to be unique.
Guide to Scuba Diving Mauritius
A fantastic destination for scuba diving and snorkeling, Mauritius has it all. The warm waters are filled with all kinds of distinct flora and fauna with varying shapes and sizes, and the bottom of the sea is filled with crevasses, reefs, caverns, and corals. Its underwater topography is a sight to behold, and that’s the case on every side of the island.
Scuba diving Mauritius is a popular attraction, and that’s why there are 23 dive centers registered with the Mauritius Scuba Diving Association. Many of them are based in hotels, but there are also independent operators all over the island. Diving is well regulated and of a good standard in Mauritius, and takes place the entire year, but the best times for Scuba diving Mauritius are from October to December, and from March to April. Visibility is almost always great, and can be as high as 40m, making the island’s popular dive sites easy to spot and navigate in.
The more popular sites tend to be in the North and West part of the island, but that’s not to say that the other parts are not worth checking out. Exploring the sites is a treat, and really interesting, because there are different things to see, including ship wrecks, like at Troux aux Biches.
What to expect while diving in Mauritius
The beautiful turquoise waters of Mauritius hosts some wonderful marine life. There are over 430 different underwater creatures alongside over 200 different types of coral. These are found in the reefs, as they provide the perfect breeding grounds for proliferation of marine animals. Special steps are being taken to protect the marine life, because delicate balance is required to allow the underwater creatures to thrive in.
In the waters there all kinds of fish, eels, and sharks. Because there too many of them to list here are some examples:
- Giant Moray-eel
- Spotfin porcupinefish
- Yellow-edged lyretail
- Crown squirrelfish
- Indian Lionfish
- Moorish Idol
- Blacktip Grouper
- Checkerboard Wrasse
- Giant Trevally
- Bluestripe Snapper
Dive sites in Mauritius
Scuba diving Mauritius offers plenty of chances for different types of underwater experiences. Dive locations are scattered all around the island. There is no one single best place – all of them are amazing. It’s important to note that not all sites are suitable for beginners, as some of them might be difficult to navigate in without more experience. In no particular order or ranking, here are some fantastic places to dive in Mauritius.
Flic en Flac
St. Jacques – One of the most popular sites to dive in, St. Jacques is an excellent drift dive. The dive starts in shallower parts of the lagoon at about 5m (15 feet) depth, and divers go with the current that carries them over the reef pass, past the coral walls and rock pinnacles, all while keeping an eye out for the local grey reef sharks. Besides the fantastic underwater view of the topography, plenty of marine life is abound and easy to view. Creatures such as Eagle Rays, stingrays, white tip reef sharks, and plenty of other pelagic species are plentiful in the waters, and the visibility is high, so spotting will not be an issue. Divers finish the dive outside the wall of the reef at a depth of about 30m (100 feet).
Hoi Siong No 6 – at the bottom of the ocean, this intentionally sunk fishing vessel has been given a new lease of life as an artificial coral. At a depth of 29m (95 feet) the Hoi Siong wreck has transformed from a seafaring vessel to a marine life sanctuary that draws all kinds of sea creatures and divers alike. After intentionally sinking in 2003 this fishing boat has attracted fauna like tuna, lionfish, and butterfly fish, while the barracuda is a regular resident of the wreck. One of the more interesting and unique dive locations, Hoi Siong is a treat to dive around and in, and is one of those perfect locations for keen-eyed photographer.
The Cathedral – a stunningly beautiful diving location, the Cathedral is known for its wonderful topography. It features grand caverns, caves, and arches, and is a beloved dive site that hosts all kinds of flora and fauna. The dive itself starts at about 18m (60 feet) and finishes at about 30m (100 feet) on the neat, sandy floor. It’s the beautiful walls that are the main attraction here, and they harbor different kinds of fish, such as groupers, wrasse, and angelfish, and also keep an eye out for crustaceans that hide in crevasses and under ledges in the corals. The name of this dive site comes from the fact the light filters through the many cracks and crevices making this place truly feel like a giant, wonderful cathedral.
Sirius Wreck – a unique dive site to visit, this is not an intentionally sunk ship but rather sunk on the battle Maeburg in 1810. The HMS Sirius was a British navy vessel, and today it lies 25m (80 feet) bellow the sea. The dive starts from a depth of 18m (59 feet) and finishes at 25m. It’s recommended to dive here from November through May, because the average temperature stays around 28°C (82°F) making the dive an enjoyable experience. What’s unique about this dive is that the HMS Sirius is of great archaeological interest because its wooden parts are preserved from the silt the wreck is located in, and also the cannons are lying exposed. The parts that aren’t covered in silt are teeming with life of all kinds, like barracudas, stingrays, puffer fish, and even sometimes eagle rays. Be careful when diving here, because the visibility isn’t great from the silt, but otherwise the Sirius Wreck is a must-see.
L’Aquarium – a thoroughly relaxing dive, the Aquarium is located in a deep canyon down a very narrow gorge at a depth of about 20m (65 feet). The diving conditions are generally good the entire year even though the high season is from November to mid-January, and the water temperature ranges from 22C to 28°C (71°F to 82°F). There may not be plenty of jaw-dropping sights on this spot, is generally considered very relaxing and calming, there are sightings of a wide variety of marine life such as clown fish, electric rays, small moray eels, spiny lobsters, ballistas, butterfly fish, and plenty of seashells, all of which can be easily spotted because the visibility is predominantly high.
Djabeda Wreck – located off the village Cap Malheureux, the Djabeba Wreck is considered an advanced dive spot that sits a depth of 25 to 35m (82 to 115 feet). The Djabeda was Japanese fishing boat that sunk in 1998, it’s a spot that’s teeming with life. Diving on this spot is available throughout the entire year, but the best months are from October to March, and the water temperature ranges from 24°C (75°F) to 28°C (82°F). There are all kinds of marine life to see here, such as moray eels, trigger fish, stone fish, lion fish, and they’re easy to spot because the visibility stays around 15m (49 feet). The wreck’s been only slightly damaged throughout the years, and the anchor creates an interesting site for marine life, and because of the state of the sunken vessel, it creates for a special and unique dive spot with an authentic feel.
Coral Garden – located on the coast of Grand Baie village, the Coral Garden is a magnificent site to dive in that consists of large rock structures that form giant steps, hosting hard and soft corals. It’s the unique coral formations like the gourgonian fan coral that make this dive spot a fantastic site for divers to experience, and it has an average depth of 16m (52 feet), and the visibility is excellent throughout the entire year that can range from 20 to 40m (65 to 130 feet). The main attractions for Coral Garden are its two big ‘Titan Trigger’ fish that very friendly, and a giant moray eel, alongside a plethora of marine life such as spotted eagle ray, southern stingray, nurse sharks, and green murrays.
Silver Star Wreck – a more advanced dive site, the Silver Star Wreck sites at a depth from 22m (72 feet) to a maximum of 39m (127 feet). The best time for diving from mid-October to mid-May, because that’s when the water reaches ideal diving temperatures of around 27°C (80°F) making the dive a thoroughly enjoyable one. This wreck isn’t as easily reached as most other ones, and it takes a 15 minute boat ride from Grand Baie. What’s unique about this spot is that the sunken ship itself stands on its sternum, allowing different kinds of fauna and marine life to thrive on different locations of the vessel. It’s possible to see bannerfish that hover around the hull, as well as some batfish, barracudas, and trevallies, and make sure to keep an eye out for the camouflaged and elusive frogfish. All of these can be generally easily spotted because the visibility tends to be high.
Water Lily and Emily Wrecks – an interesting and unique dive spot even for a wreck, this is a site that consists of two old water barges lying at an angle to each other on the sandy bottom of the ocean at a depth of 25m (85 feet), and because of their adjacency they can be reached in one dive, however it’s not recommended for beginners, because the Water Lily and Emily Wreck as considered an advanced dive spot. Diving is possible over the course of the entire year, and the water temperature levels somewhat fluctuate, but they generally stay from 20 – 28°C (62 to 82°F). All kinds of marine life are present around the wrecks and they are easy to spot because the visibility ranges from 20-30m (35-100 feet).
Related: Mauritius’ is also listed in as one of the locations in the Best Scuba Diving in the world!
Dive Shops in Mauritius
There are plenty of dive shops in Mauritius and the best way to discover them is through the Mauritius Scuba Diving Association (MSDA). The reputable dive shops are affiliated with the MSDA and must abide a set of statutes and rules that allow good diving business practices that include diver safety and environmental care. There are plenty of dive shops to choose from, and scuba diving Mauritius is considered a reputable part of the tourism industry.
Prodive Limited is one of the more popular dive shops that offer both PADI and Naui instruction at three locations that include Trou aux Biches and Grand Baie. They do daily diving excursions to many different dive sites, and they offer accommodation packages at the Casuarina Hotel.
Orca Dive Clubs is a popular dive shop on the North side of the island that offers PADI and SSI training, and daily boat drives from the Merville Beach Resort.
Emperator Diving Center offers PADI instructions daily boat diving tours, and operates at three locations, and they do boat trips to some of the northern islands.
Atlantis Diving Center operates in the northern area that offers PADI training and diving in Trou aux Biches.
Sun Divers LTD. is the first PADI diving center and has been in business for over 20 years. They are located in the southern area and have two diving boats that have tours for over 30 dive spots.
Getting to Mauritius
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airpot (MRU) is located in the South-eastern part of the island and receives daily flights from Africa, Asia, and Europe.
It’s easy to rent a car in Mauritius and is a popular choice, and because the island’s small size, taxis operate everywhere and easily reach any destination. Also, there is an available bus service.
Mauritius is a fantastic destination for everyone, diver and non-diver alike. It has an appeal like few other places in the world, and is a place that will be a prime destination for years to come. Its amazing resorts, tourist avenues, and water sport spots make Mauritius a destination that will stick with a traveler for a long time after visiting. It’s one of those must-see places of the world that is popular for a reason and one you won’t soon forget.