For nature lovers, it’s hard to beat the tiny coral island of Ile aux Aigrettes, situated off the southeast coast of Mauritius, about a 10 minute boat ride from the town of Mahebourg. Ile aux Aigrettes has been designated as a Mauritian national conservation site since 1965, and is currently maintained by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.
Once on the verge of extinction, many of the unique flora and fauna are not only remarkably preserved, but are flourishing, on the island. The oil spill in mid 2020, caused some of the animals on the island to be relocated, however, most have currently been brought back. Species such as the Mauritian Fody, Pink Pigeon, giant Aldabra Tortoise, and the Ornate Day Gecko call Ile aux Aigrettes their home. Many of these animals are not found in a natural environment in Mauritius, outside of Ile aux Aigrettes. In addition, the island is home to original trees and vegetation that, before the arrival of man, covered Mauritius and its surrounding islands. In this sense, a visit to Ile aux Aigrettes is like a step back in time!
Giant Aldabra Tortoise on Ile aux Aigrettes
The best way to experience Ile aux Aigrettes is through a guided walking tour, hosted by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. These tours typically last 1.5 to two hours and suitable walking shoes are recommended. While it’s not permitted to swim at Ile aux Aigrettes itself, the town of Blue Bay, known for its spectacular, you guessed it – blue, beach is perfect for swimming. For this reason, many tours combine Ile aux Aigrettes with a stop at Blue Bay as well.
Blue Bay Beach