A guide to scuba diving in Mauritius
With pristine beaches of soft white sand that stretch out into the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean, an abundance of marine life and fabulous tropical climate, it’s no surprise that Mauritius is a favourite holiday destination for scuba divers from all over the world.
Safety & expertise
Diving in Mauritius is extremely well regulated, with a requirement for all instructors to be trained to a high, internationally-recognised standard and to be capable of giving lessons to beginners and experts alike. This means that whatever the destination you choose and however much experience you have, you can be sure of a first-class diving experience.
When is the best time for scuba diving?
Although it is possible to dive in Mauritius all year round, the water is warmer during the summer months of November to March – particularly on the West coast of the island – which attracts a far greater diversity of fish and other marine life.
Amazing diving sites featuring undersea cliffs, caves and shipwrecks can be found all over the island but the conditions, types of coral and marine life you can expect to see vary enormously from one site to another, so it’s important to plan ahead to ensure you get the most out of your trip.
Newcomers to scuba diving will be impressed not just with the facilities and quality of teaching in Mauritius but also with the number of sites that offer a gentle yet thrilling introduction to the sport.
One of the most popular sites for beginners is known as ‘The Tube’. Located just beyond the barrier reef at the popular resort of Trou aux Biches on the north west of the island, the site is a ten-minute boat journey from the mainland.
With a starting depth of just five metres and maximum of eleven, this long, shallow dive offers excellent visibility and a wide variety of fish and coral, along with the occasional ray.
If you’re searching for a more advanced dive in the same location, look no further than Coral Garden, also known as the Pereybere Aquarium. As with ‘The Tube’, Coral Garden is a ten-minute boat ride from the mainland, making it easily accessible.
As you would expect from the name, the Garden features a huge amount of coral, all of which is inhabited by almost every type of sea life imaginable. Expect to see large shoals of breams, snappers and lion fish, along with crabs, lobsters and anemones. Dolphins and turtles also make regular appearances.
As with many popular scuba-diving destinations around the world, Mauritius has a number of artificial reefs that have been created by deliberately sinking ships. The Stella Maru, a Japanese trawler, was sunk in 1987 and is now teeming with life, both inside and out.
Located just off Trou aux Biches and around 22 metres deep, the Stella Maru sits in particularly clear waters, making it an excellent place to take photographs or shoot videos of your experiences. As with most wrecks, the site is best suited to intermediate or advanced divers.
Rempart Serpent, Flic en Flac
If you head south along the west coast of Mauritius you reach the resort of Flic en Flac, home to some of the best beaches on the island as well as a number of stunning dives. These include Rempart Serpent, which translates as ‘Snake Reef’, a long, rocky pocket which, when viewed from above, resembles a snake slowly moving across the ocean floor.
Suitable for divers of all levels, the Serpent is home to the usual variety of brightly coloured tropical fish but also a number of more unusual varieties, such as scorpion fish and stonefish, which are rarely seen elsewhere on the island. Reef and hammerhead sharks are also seen from time to time.
And last but not least, Flic en Flac is also the location of perhaps the most famous diving site in all of Mauritius – the Cathedral. A ten-minute boat journey from the shore takes you to an underwater cliff 18 metres deep which drops down sharply to reveal the entrance to an impressive underwater cave.
Once inside, light filters through cracks in the ceiling, creating the impression of being inside a giant spire and giving the site its name. You can expect to see angelfish and clownfish, along with gropers, wrasse and sweetlip. Several divers have found themselves accompanied by dolphins while inside the cathedral. The site is best suited to intermediate divers.
If you are particularly interested in the diving sites off the west coast near Flic en Flac, then what better place to stay than La Pirogue Hotel or the Sugar Beach Resort, next to each other in Flic en Flac? To top it off, they have their own diving club. Check out our review on La Pirogue and The Sugar Beach.
The Indian Ocean is full of delights and, with sustainable eco-tourism close to the top of the local agenda, you can scuba dive in Mauritius safe in the knowledge that the environment will not be damaged as a result of your activities and that the reefs and marine life will be around for generations to come. And for others to beenfit too!