Ile Aux Cerfs has able to hold the imagination of every traveler heading to Mauritius. White sandy beaches, Turquoise water under the azure sky, lonely walk along the never-ending beach, arrival on the island by speedboat, barbecue, a visit to the GRSE waterfalls, sunbathing in the paradise are just some of the termed experience for which this paradise island is famous for.
How to Reach Ile Aux Cerfs? A tour package or just a visit?
Generally speaking, there are a lot of packages that exist for Ile Aux Cerfs tour. If you do not have anything on your mind in particular and you want to have your day well spent, I would suggest taking a wholesome package which covers Ile Aux Cerfs island, BBQ lunch & drinks, speedboat visit to the GRSE waterfalls as well.
There are different options as well which enables you to go to the island in a much cheaper way. For example, you can just pay 500 MUR and take a speedboat from Trou d’Eau Douce which drops you on the island. This option might sound cheaper but on the island, then you have to buy everything unless and until you have the lunch packed with you. The boat leaves the Trou d’Eau Douce jetty every half an hour.
Another option is going from a hotel. Most of the hotels on the eastern beaches of Mauritius offer a free ride to the Ile Aux Cerfs island. There are fixed timing such as dropping on the island at 9:30 and pick up at 14:00. You can also get packed lunch (Around 1000 MUR) from the hotel like a picnic. Just pick up your beach towel and you are on the island.
I had the same option with me when I stayed at the Tropical Attitude hotel (Read Tropical Attitude Hotel review) still I decided to take a tour because I wanted to enjoy BBQ food with free wine/ beer along with a tour to the GRSE waterfalls. If we look at the pricing then the entire tour cost me around 2500 MUR (I got a discount because my car driver knew the boat guy).
Ile Aux Cerfs & GRSE waterfalls Tour
The tour starts at around 9:00 AM. The tour guy offered to pick us up in the morning. The weather was not so good. There were only two people for the trip and both from Tropical Attitude. I was really excited about snorkeling. The boat guy was cool. He stopped the speedboat at a snorkeling spot. Due to the rough sea, I could not snorkel much and had to return to the boat shortly.
If you have not experienced the speedboat ride, try it when you book the tour. There are a lot of options for the Ile Aux Cerfs tour but I would suggest taking the speedboat. The ride would be one of the most memorable rides.
The speedboat leaves the shore and zooms into the bay. It jumps over the waves. Sometimes, I would feel that the speedboat was really in the air momentarily. The speedboat ride is a really memorable ride to take.
Gradually the boat enters the mangroves of Ilot Mangenie island. The speedboats are not allowed to go fast here because it might disturb the mangrove life. The mangroves look like mini Sundarbans, the largest mangroves in the world. Read here some interesting facts about Sundarbans. The waterways are crisscrossed. If you have already been to Andaman, the water path would remind you of it.
The waterways are crisscrossed. If you have already been to Andaman, the water path would remind you of it. After the mangroves are crossed, the boat stops at the Ile Aux Cerfs island. Once you land on the island, you will be given a brief about the island. As far as I could remember, here are some of the brief points.
Do’s and Don’ts on Ile Aux Cerfs Beach
- Try not to snorkel on the beaches on the other side of the island. Those beaches are indecisive and snorkeling experience might result in a fatal experience
- Another side of the beaches is also full of poisonous sea urchins. If stepped on them, it might result in even death.
- Tourists are also advised not to walk barefoot on the beach because of the sea urchins again which are found under the sand sometimes. Their thorns are really painful too.
- Once I was watching man vs wild episode. Bear Grylls was trying to show survival skills on one of the Philippian islands. He found a sea urchin and said that if the sea urchin gets stuck to the bare feet of the local people here, they beat their feet with wood until the thorns are crushed.
- It was also told that one cannot walk around the island because, at the South-Eastern end, there are mangroves.
- Also, there is only one toilet on the island. That’s near the jetty. If you want to get fresh, you should.
- There is also a golf course on the island but tourists are not allowed to venture into that.
If the boat dropped us, we were asked to meet the same boat guy at around 13:30 PM. Until that time, we were free to whatever we wanted to do. By the way, the island is open from 9:30 to 18:00 every day and then it closes.
On the Ile Aux Cerfs island:
After the brief, I thought of walking along the beach. There is a small interesting creek which divides the Ile Aux Cerfs with Ilot Mangenie island. You can literally wade across the creek during the low tide. During high tide, the water does not rise much but it can get as deep as 6 feet maximum at some points.
Anyway, I decided to explore the island first and went to the other side beach. Definitely, that was something beautiful. Though the weather was cloudy the water still had got some color. I was mostly waiting for the sun to peep out of the clouds so that I could see the true shades of greenish water.
Being a protected island, You feel close to Nature on the island. Just along the beach, there are a lot of trees. Birds chirp, waves break off on the beach and a very few people are seen walking on the beach. The longer you walk, the lonelier it gets.
I wanted to walk until the end of the beach. So I kept on walking. That was a true nature walk. After half an hour, I reached almost to the end of the island beyond which I think there was a private hotel property lined up with beach chairs. Sometimes the sun would show up and the color of the water would suddenly appear green. The game of hide and seek was really beautiful.
I also spent some time taking the pictures and wondering around. I really found of the interesting things on this beach. Some of the things that I saw was fish tails and fins lying on the ground. Sea urchins washed away on the beach along with the vivid colors of the sea.
While returning I saw a lot of people lying on the beach. This beach really makes a secluded beach. If you are coming onto Ile Aux Cerfs tour from your hotel, I advise you to take the beach towels with you. Under the sun and on the beach, just lay down the towel and relax.
As mentioned before, I also saw some more couples later from my hotel laying on the beach with a picnic basket. That reminded me of the movies. I also saw new couples enjoying on the beach. Anyway, after having my time, I returned to the jetty.
Barbecue lunch at Ilot Mangenie
The boat guy was waiting for us. At this point, more people joined us. We all sat in the same boat and headed towards the Ilot Mangenie island. Ilot Mangenie island is around 5 minutes from Ile Aux Cerfs Jetty. It goes through the same mangroves.
At the island, there is a barbecue facility. This barbecue was better than the catamaran cruise to Gabriel island. On the catamaran cruise, everything was being served in portions but here the barbecue was being served fully. For example, on the catamaran cruise, they were serving beer in a glass and here they gave a full bottle of beer and wine to enjoy.
Also, we did not feel like asking for the food again and again. The portion served by the people was more than sufficient. We just loved it. The hospitality of the staffs was also recommendable.
Visiting GRSE Waterfalls
After the lunch barbecue, we were asked to sit on the speedboat. Now the group size was bigger. Then we headed towards the GRSE waterfalls. GRSE stands for Great River South East. The speedboat passes through the Ile Aux Cerfs bay again but this time further.
The weather was windy and the wind was flowing against us. Due to the waves against us, most of us got drenched in the water. People sitting at the front were safer because of the height. The speedboat crosses the bay and enters into the sea again.
It leaves the sea and enters the gorges made by the river. Before entering into the river, you can see the murky color of the river and blue color of the sea mixing together. Ride through the gorges is amazing and as beautiful as it could get. The ride reminded me of the Amazon river valley. It was also a miniature version of the Gandikota canyons.
The speedboat gets as close as much possible to the waterfall. You can feel the water spray on your face. After some time, the boat returns to the Ile Aux Cerfs island again.
At Ile Aux Cerfs island again
This time we were left on the island for another one hour. The creek that I mentioned earlier due to the high tide had filled up. The water was sufficient to swim and enjoy. I enjoyed in the water a lot. Also, slept under the sun for some time.
Around four clock, our speedboat left the island. But the speedboat did not drop us at the Jetty at Trou d’Deau Douce but directly at the jetty of your hotel. Overall, Ile Aux Cerfs tour is a must do a tour in Mauritius.