While we staying at the Shandrani, we visited a number of locations around Mauritius including this Wildlife Reserve near Pointe d’Ensy and Blue Bay. This included the beautiful Ile aux Aigrettes.
What is Ile aux Aigrettes?
This is a nature reserve managed by the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation; this organisation also offers tours to the island to see the endemic wildlife and learn more about the story of Mauritius. The island has been rejuvenated after wildlife and plants were cleared due to industrialisation and military activity.
What does the tour of Ile aux Aigrette include?
There are a few endemic birds on the island, including the Pink pigeon, Fody, and the Olive White Eye.
The tour of the island takes you through a trail to hopefully spot these, as well as learning about the history of Mauritius from colonisation by the Dutchman to the extinction of the Saddleback Turtle and the famous Dodo.
We were taken to the island by boat from Pointe Jerome after booking a tour by the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation for 800 MAR per adult. A bargain for a boat trip to the island, and a two hour tour with an expert guide.
We opted for the Eco Tour, which we booked directly with the Wildlife Foundation. There are other tours available for Ile aux Aigrettes, so do check them out on the site.
In addition, your hotel might be able to arrange a tour too; the Shandrani did offer one, but it was only available on a Saturday.
The tour takes you through the replanted trees, which were cleared for a number of reasons, including to harvest Ebony; the beautiful dark wood that is at the heart of the Ebony tree.
The tour is an eye opener, showing how delicate the world is, and how significantly the actions of humans can impact the delicate ecosystems that we invade.
The Wildlife Foundation is spending time and resource trying to restore the damage that generations of humans have caused.
Keep your eyes peeled – there is some stunning wildlife on the island if you look for it.
There is just enough of a balance on the tour between education, activity and conservation. The guide taught well about the plants, and the birds on the island, and engaged excellently with the kids.
There were opportunities to smell, touch, and feel the different fauna that was planted on the island. he guide made sure it was sufficiently hands on to capture the attention of kids and adults alike.
The kids on the tour in particular, seemed to love keeping their eyes out for the different birds, plants, and even the tortoises as we made our way through the nature reserve on the island.
What did we think of the Isle aux Aigrette tour? 4/5
This is a brilliantly educational tour. Perhaps we were lucky with our guide, Rose, who was excellent. Even though it was a walk (!), the kids were sufficiently interested in the history of Mauritius and the lessons we can learn from the Dodo and tortoise extinctions to stay interested.
The island is also one of the few places to see tortoises in the wild. As the island is wild, don’t be surprised if you don’t see all the wildlife you expect.
We did, but the pigeons and the white eyes are particularly elusive 😂.
The tour is well worth the half day it takes, and the educational message is vital. The cost of the tour also goes right back into maintaining the island and its wildlife.
We also have an excellent family travel section, which is well worth exploring for more ideas and inspiration.
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Thanks as always for visiting us, and we really hope to see you again on the site soo. Happy travels!