Diving in Mauritius
Mauritius voted “Best Indian Ocean diving destination” for 2015
With an ideal temperature all year long, waters harbouring treasures for everlasting memories, lagoons stretching out to the coral reefs, passes, outer reefs, drop-offs or shipwrecks, Mauritius has multiple diving opportunities for both beginners and experienced divers. Internationally recognised courses (CMAS and PADI certifications being the most renowned ones worldwide) are also offered by diving centres.
Sensitive to safety issues and environmental concerns, the national association places great emphasis on these two elements. After having remained relatively unexplored for quite some time, it is now agreed that the Mauritian marine underworld is worth the trip, as testified by the prominent place that most hotels around the island give to diving activities. There are countless good reasons for which you should come and dive in Mauritius, one of the most notable ones being the proximity of the sites, which can be reached within 20-minute boat rides, or even the possibility of having your first diving experience in a swimming pool and a lagoon with bountiful stocks of fish and shimmering corals. Here in Mauritius, diving sites are everything but congested. For the sake of environmental protection, boats are not anchored and with just a few diving groups on the different sites, you’ll be in for an amazing discovery of this fascinating world. Each region boasts of its very own characteristics and assets. In the following pages we take you through a discovery of some of these regions.
The best diving spots in Mauritius
The best diving spots of Zone A
The North offers a rich and interesting array of diving experiences from 13 metres onwards, with colourful Madrepores, a teeming fauna, and purposely sunk ships to create artificial reefs and stimulate marine life… This part of the island offers excellent diving conditions all year long.
Diving to the left of Gunner’s Quoin Islet, in the north of Mauritius, will bring you close to magnificent underwater elevations ascending to the surface and a splendid wall covered with gorgonians and an abundant reef life. All around, large parrotfish will provide beautiful escort during each dive, but occasional encounters with large predators, in particular the dogtooth tuna, have also been recorded. This difficult dive in strong current conditions ends at Confetti Bay, with multi-coloured corals, anemones and clownfish.
This site for experienced divers will take you through varying depths. Whale Rocks offers an exceptional diversity of reef life within the 20m zone. As you leave around the stocks of parrotfish, wrasses and clownfish, you come across the large groupers, giant leopard morays or other globefish that normally dwell at these greater depths. Also, it is sometimes possible in summertime to come across large species such as marlins or sharks.
On this white sandy seabed, the light radiates on small patches of reefs scattered here and there. The site has been named after the numerous moray species that may be found on a
succession of reefs. This rich fauna is home to some rare or endemic fish species. A highly recommended site for photographers or for refresher dives.
The perfect dive for underwater photographers in search of shallow waters with a good source of light. Made up of sand and coral, the seabed harbours a dense and diverse fauna: small moray eels, torpedo rays, angels, lionfish or balistes…
The best diving sites of Zone B
An exquisite dive, with emperor angelfish, anthias, large groupers and a thriving shoal of reef fish moving about an immense forest of green tubastrea corals rooted in large blocks of rock. Perchance, you may encounter big fish, beautiful rays, schools of barracudas and large tunas on the side of the drop-off.
Here, the landscape is made up of corals encircling enormous granite boulders. This constitutes an ideal environment that provides hiding spots for the titan triggerfish that will bid you
welcome as soon as you get into the water, alongside the wrasses, parrotfish, clownfish, schools of snappers, nudibranchs of all sizes and colours, squirrelfish, and superb gorgonians. Out of sheer curiosity, the Javanese moray eels, which can grow up to two metres, will be drawn to you in search of a gentle stroke.
The upper platform of this drop-off falls away from one plateau to the other, with large rocks and schools of fusiliers frolicking alongside other species of reef fish. Large groups of platax, barracudas and big eye trevallies may be seen there very often, besides the occasional visit of a shark in search of its food amidst the corals.
Green corals reign supreme and shroud the three summits of this site. An impressive anchor, studded with corals, rests on the central elevation, just above a small cave with laces of gorgonians. During the dive, it is not uncommon to come across stonefish, scorpion fish, globefish or even lobsters.
Shipwrecks in the North-West
Sunk in 1981 and 1982 respectively, these two barges today shelter an abundant fauna which will delight divers. The wrecks rest on a broad sandy bottom, where the light is particularly beautiful. Surgeonfish, red crabs, shells, yellow-mouthed morays and schools of spangled emperor can all be found on this site.
The Stella Maru is a former Japanese fishing boat that was deliberately sunk in 1987 to create an artificial reef. Situated just opposite Trou-aux-Biches, the trawler rests on a sandy bottom and accommodates a school of blue triggerfish. Alongside these, two friendly Javanese morays, stonefish, scorpion fish, octopuses, nudibranchs, shells and quite a rich marine fauna have also found refuge amidst the wreck. A diving site to be explored time and again.
The best diving sites of Zone C
Accessible to divers of all levels between 9 and 20 metres, this site is situated on a coral reef interspersed by sandbanks. Due to the very rich tropical fauna of this place, you will dive amidst schools of carandines and mullets… Awaiting you in between the reefs: groupers, morays and lionfish. A fantastic dive for beginners.
Sunk in February 2003 in order to create an artificial reef, this ‘new’ wreck already accommodates a multitude of fish. Predators like trevallies and tunas can indeed be seen chasing thousands of small fish near the wreck of the Hoi Siong.
LA GORGONE (14-35m)
A giant gorgonian exceeding 3 metres in diameter and located on a 20-metre wall constitutes the major attraction of this site, where divers can often be seen in the company of blue trevallies.
Baie du Cap – South
A breathtaking dive in one of the most beautiful passes of Mauritius, where eagle rays, sharks, schools of trevallies and tunas can often be seen. However, this site is mostly famous for the (very rare) giant lobsters that dwell there.
The shark dive par excellence! Just as St Jacques, the White Tip is located on the south coast of Mauritius, which has the advantage of being still preserved. That is why the site teems with life: white tip sharks, barracudas, trevallies, groupers, lionfish, morays…
Beachcomber Diving Centre - Zone C
The best diving sites of Zone D
This dive takes you along a drop-off that successively takes on the appearance of a canyon, of an amphitheatre with its chimney, and eventually that of a long tunnel with its profusion of lobsters. The scenery is breathtaking: the vaults are adorned by pink gorgonians and corals, and parrotfish, surgeonfish and unicorn fish can often be seen near the tall stone walls. Large predators such as wahoos, tunas, or barracudas are also frequently spotted there. A spectacular diving experience.
A rich and colourful fauna, with huge rocks lined with corals, sponges and other soft corals spread out on the seabed. In the centre, a deep cave has been colonized by a group of lobsters. As you go deeper, a long and rather wide tunnel opens up in front of you. By all means, an entertaining dive!
ROCHE ZOZO (18-40m and more)
An alignment of rocky peaks, canyons, tunnels and caves… covered with pink corals and gorgonians. The dive site itself warrants more significance than the fauna that may be found there, such as tortoises or small sharks. A beautiful trip during which safety should nonetheless remain the by-word, due to the strong current there. One may indeed be rapidly spellbound by the beauty of the site, and it is, therefore, important to keep an eye on one’s depth gauge.
THE SIRIUS (18-22m)
Diving on the site of this vessel with a glorious past is a real pleasure. The main part of the wreck rests 18 metres down on the sea floor. 19 cannons intertwined with each other, an oak frame, rivets and cannonballs provide a one-of-a-kind scenery. At times, this underwater landscape brings you some 196 years back into the past, with reminiscences of the smell of gunpowder all around and visions of flames coming out of these steaming cannons. Further north, the vessel’s stern lies some 24m deep down. While ascending along the shoal, a great diversity of corals may be observed with a decompression stop at 3 metres. The only downside to this site is sometimes the reduced visibility due to the location of the site at the mouth of a river.