THE COLORED SANDS OF MAURITIUS – PARK CHAMAREL
The colored sands of Mauritius or Park Chamarel is one of the main attractions of the island. It’s also the most visited, one of the oldest and most controversial places on the island. There are a bunch of negative reviews on the internet that I don’t agree with. Below you’ll learn all about this park and get a ton of tips and tips and tips on how to enjoy visiting this coolest site.
Table of Contents:
- A brief history of the emergence of Chamarel Park
- Why the sands are colored and don’t mix: the scientific explanation
- The colored sands of Mauritius: price, opening hours, what to see
- Park Chamarel: how to get there, guided tours of the park
- Tips for visiting the colored sands: when it’s best and when it’s not
Map of all the sights of the island at the link. It will help you map out your perfect trip to Mauritius.
Park Chamarel: a brief history
I won’t retype the wikipedia in detail, you know how to read. I’ll summarize the main points, so that you have a complete picture of the place.
- In 1879, at a meeting of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences of Mauritius, the existence of colored sands was first mentioned. At that time, no one gave special importance to this place.
- Only in 1960, the place was officially designated as Chamarel Park. Which since then has been under the protection of the state. And the reason for the creation of the park is very simple:
- 1960 is considered the beginning of tourism in Mauritius. It was the year when the first tourists from Europe came here. The first hotel and so on appeared.
- And since the tourists needed entertainment and the island did not yet have it. So for them opened Chamarel Park and the oldest botanical garden Pamplemus, where grow the world’s largest water lilies. Which is still in operation today.
Interesting to know:
Officially, Chamarel Park was called the seven-color sands until not long ago. Because there are shades of seven colors in this rock. But literally since 2021, it has been called the colored sands of Mauritius. Since in the middle of the same 2021, a new extreme recreation park was opened very close to it, where there are also exactly the same colored sands. The new park posits that they have 23 colored sands. In fact, this is pure marketing, the rock there and there is exactly the same. But tourists went to the new park, there are 23-colored sands, but in Chamarel Park there are only 7-colored sands.
- About the new park extreme recreation, what is extreme I advise to read in the article on the link. Here is a photo for your refreshment
- Finally, about the name Chamarel.
- Park Chamarel named after the nearest village to the park.
- But the village Chamarel was already named after the son of a Frenchman, who was a member of the Supreme Council of Mauritius. The son’s name was Chazelle de Chamarelle.
Why the sands are colored and don’t mix: the scientific explanation
Guides in the park tell us that scientists still don’t understand the phenomenon. Rain, wind, seismic movements of the soil over thousands and millions of years have never stirred the colors together into a homogeneous mass. And even more: if you stir that soil yourself, in less than a year it will stratify itself into colors.
In fact, the guides are a little tricky to give this place more mystery and uniqueness. Scientists have known for a long time, and now you will know:
- Mauritius is located in a rather active part of the earth. Over millions of years, this island has been heavily exposed:
- Continental tectonic plate drifts
- Volcanic eruptions. The island itself is actually volcanic in origin.
- We all know that magma, the core of the earth, is rock with a huge metal content. Very roughly speaking, liquid metal.
- Over hundreds of thousands of years, solidified lava rock has weathered and turned into burnt clay. This, in turn, as a result of natural forces of nature, scattered over the island.
- And in this place there remained rocks where the content of iron and aluminum oxides exceeds the normal level by 10,000 times.
Interesting to know:
Iron oxide colors the sands in shades from brown to red. And aluminum oxide colors from blue to purple. Only one question remains: why don’t they mix?
That’s where physics and the structure of the atom and the nucleus came in. But scientists call it a fact that the particles of iron and aluminum have a natural repulsive effect on each other. Here I’ll take their word for it
Chamarel Park entrance and ticket office
General tourist information about Chamarel Park
- Park entrance coordinates: -20.439052, 57.389893
- Coordinates of the colored sands: -20.439927, 57.373345
- The distance between the entrance and the sands is about 3 kilometers along a very beautiful road. Entrance tickets are purchased at the entrance (photo above). Everyone moves around the park either by cab or by rental car. You can not take a lot of public transportation, but it is below.
- Chamarel Park’s official website: https://www.chamarel7colouredearth.com/
Good to know:
There is no need to buy tickets in advance to visit this park, as it is sometimes written in forums. It is cheaper and there are no lines.
- The ticket price for 1 person for a tourist: 325 rupees (a little less than 7 euros).
- Don’t be surprised for locals the prices are much lower. This is the case everywhere in Mauritius. For tourists the entrance is always 2-3 times more expensive. Specifically on the colored sands Chamarel entrance for locals is 125 rupees.
So, what is included in the ticket in the park Chamarel:
- The 100-meter Chamarel Falls and two observation decks on it.
- The waterfall is space, just for the sake of it you can come.
- Directly visiting the colored sands themselves.
- A café overlooking the colored sands of Mauritius is available. I recommend getting an ice latte and just enjoying the view. Or you can order a glass of fresh sugar cane juice. It’s made right in front of you.
- There is a pen with Seychelles turtles. There are only 5-10 of them and you can’t touch them. They are more like an added bonus and the purpose of the visit to Chamarel is definitely not.
- If you want to get closer to the turtles, you have to go to the park La Vanile.
- For an additional fee you can visit here:
- an amusement park, something like an advanced playground and a rope park. Kids will love it.
- Ebony Forest is more of a “health trail” or jungle eco-trail.
Good to know:
For Chamarel Falls and the colored sands of Mauritius, budget about an hour of time
The colored sands of Mauritius: how to get there or a guided tour
By car or cab you will have no problem. Just punch in the coordinates and off you go. From the popular Trou o Bish beach in the north of the island, it’s 45 minutes on a good road.
But everything changes if you plan to take the bus.
Here’s the thing. I talk about it often and a lot in the pages of this guide. Although the bus network is well developed in Mauritius, but all the main routes go through Port Louis. You can get to almost any attraction on the island by bus, but with a lot of transfers and 4 times longer. But it’s cheap.
The route from Port Louis to Park Chamarel looks like this:
- 123 bus to Flick en Flac beach.
- Then take the 5 bus to Maconde
- And then take the 5A bus to the Chamarelle Park entrance.
- All buses run on average once every 20 minutes. Legend, cost, and exact stops are in the photo below.
- Please note: the travel time excluding waits is 133 minutes. The total drive from Port Louis is almost 3 hours, and if you live up north, add another bus to Port Louis. Total is 4 hours one way or 8 hours round trip.
Good to know:
Naturally, a normal person in his or her sober mind would hardly agree to take the buses this way, only if the budget is completely cracking at the seams. Those tourists who can’t afford to rent a car, for example, have no license, take a cab. A cab for the whole day in this part of the island can cost 150-200 euros.
But here’s a tip: Mauritius has excursion programs where you can see several cool sights in one day. This is cooler than a cab, because you will have a guide, sometimes even food and alco. And it’s not more expensive than a cab. And the conditions are the same, they pick you up and bring you to the hotel. On the bus in one day you will not see half of it.
Two of the coolest excursions in the south of Mauritius with a personal guide
. Mega cool excursion to Tru o Surf volcano, holy lake Grand Bassen where a bunch of monkeys live and colored sands of Mauritius. They also feed you .
- This is way cooler than a cab.
. There is no food, but you will visit all the main attractions of Port Louis, Pamplemus Park and the colored sands of Mauritius. Straight up not an itinerary, but a dream.
Interesting to know:
Although Port Louis is the capital of the island, it is often overlooked by tourists. They think there is nothing to see here. Yes, it does not make sense to go here for two days with overnight stay, but for 2-3 hours of sights enough. What’s just worth the central market. An excellent overview of the capital of Port Louis you read in this article.
The colored sands of Chamarel: when to visit
Here it is important to understand. There are many reviews on the Internet, where people are disappointed with the colored sands, they are not as bright as on the Internet. And they believe that they came at a bad time, the color of the sands is so dull.
- First of all: the bright pictures on the Internet are all photoshopped. Colored sand is actually dull and colors are not as bright as many expect.
- Below are two photos of me personally, which I took from the same place 5 seconds apart. One picture I processed in photoshop and the other one without any filters at all. Guess which one is which.
- Secondly: there is a stereotype that you have to come here early in the morning or at sunset, while the sun is not high. Speaking the language of photographers, when the light is soft. They say then the brightness of the sand is much better than in the daytime.
- I am not an expert in this matter, but I was already in the park Chamarel 6 or 7 times. And I will say that there is no difference when you come. The color of the sands is exactly the same at any time of day. So it’s all nonsense
The important thing to know is:
The only time the shades of the sands are almost indistinguishable is in the rain. The wet ground hides all the colors in the blink of an eye. That’s why I don’t recommend going here in rainy weather. And everything else will not interfere with your vacation in any way.
- The most famous rum in Mauritius is Chamarel Rum. And what else to bring as a gift from this fabulous island, read the link.
In conclusion: the colored sands of Mauritius or Chamarel Park, no matter what anyone says, is one of the main attractions of the island. And I do not advise to miss this cool place, one waterfall will make you wildly excited, and a cup of coffee with a view of colored sands will only consolidate the received emotions.
Bright colors in Chamarel Park!
IMPORTANT: Below are useful links without which you cannot organize your own travels in Mauritius (add to bookmarks):
The Seven Colored Lands: The Colored Sands of Chamarel
To see with your own eyes a piece of an alien surreal landscape is also possible on earth. Go to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius and visit the village of Chamarel. It is there, in the southwestern part of the island, is the most iconic attraction of Mauritius, which can be included in the list of unusual places in the world – the Land of Seven Flowers (Terres des Sept Couleurs, Seven Colored Earths).
The small village of Chamarel has probably the greatest concentration of attractions in Mauritius: near Chamarel you will find a real tropical forest with endemic species, a picturesque 100-meter waterfall, a rum distillery where the best rum in Mauritius is made, and in the village itself there is a popular tourist chapel of the XIX century.
However, the main attraction in Chamarel, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, is the seven-coloured sand dunes or Seven-Coloured Land of Chamarel.
The dunes of Chamarel are formed by seven colors of sand: red, brown, purple, green, blue, purple and yellow. The grains of different colors are not mixed up with each other, but clearly divided into different colored layers, forming bizarre patterns.
The phenomenon of the seven-color Chamarel lands
Scientists have concluded that the colored sand was formed by the decomposition of volcanic basalts. Mauritius is rich in volcanic rocks. Their gradual cooling at different temperatures has colored the land of Chamarel in rainbow colors. For example, the red shades of sand were obtained due to the presence of iron oxide in the lands, and the blue-green shades appeared due to the presence of aluminum oxide.
But the most important secret of the multicolored sands of Chamarel is their ability not to mix with each other and always separate into colored layers, and it still remains undiscovered.
The phenomenon of the “land of seven colors” is that, despite the effects of heat, winds and rain, the bizarre colored patterns on the sands of Chamarel are not destroyed.
Moreover, the multicolored layers of sand are very clear and they do not mix with each other, despite all the aggressive influences of the environment.
Land of Seven Colors Nature Park
The unusual seven-color dunes were discovered relatively recently, in the 1960s. The top layer of soil washed away by the rains, resulting in a unique creation of nature.
Now the dunes of colored sand are the main attraction not only in Chamarel, but also in the whole of Mauritius.
The multicolored land is under protection and a nature park was created on the site of the dunes. The territory of the park “Land of Seven Colors” belongs to the company Bel Ombre Sugar Estate, the entrance to the park is paid.
The park has special paths for visitors. Walking here is allowed only on them.
For a convenient view of the dunes, built a special viewing platform, where you can perfectly examine the seven-colored land and take great pictures.
The seven-colored land itself is fenced: to break the boundaries of the fence, let alone walk in the sand and collect the colored sand as a souvenir tourists are strictly prohibited.
Sunrise is the best time to visit the Seven-Colored Land Chamarel. At dawn, the scenery here changes literally every minute, thanks to the play of light and shadow in the rays of the rising sun.
The most unlucky time to see the colorful sands of Chamarel is on cloudy days, because it is the rays of the sun that create the play of light on the surface of the dunes, making the natural colors most vivid.
The list of souvenirs of Mauritius is headed by flasks of colored sand of the dunes of Chamarel. A flask with such sand is a truly unique souvenir of the island, because sand with such amazing properties does not exist anywhere else in the world.
Filled with seven-colored sand flasks are sold in souvenir shops in Mauritius, but the most enjoyable to buy a similar souvenir is in the village of Chamarel, directly in the homeland of the multicolor dunes.
It is noteworthy that in the souvenir flasks and the sand of different colors is never mixed . Even if you shake the flask well, then as soon as the sand in it will settle down again, it will certainly divide into seven layers, where each layer of sand will be a different color.
How to get there
Chamarel is a small settlement located in the southwestern part of Mauritius. The nearest major town, Chemin-Grenier, is located 25 km from Chamarel. At the exit of Chemin-Grenier you should take the B9 and then take the B104 which leads directly to Chamarel.
You can also visit the Land of the Seven Colors park as part of an organized tour. Since the Seven-Color Land of Chamarel is one of the main attractions of Mauritius, a visit to this place is a must on tours offered by travel companies.