Rodrigues is definitely an ideal location for a peaceful and relaxing vacation. The stunning natural landscapes, tropical flora and beautiful untouched beaches are a delight for the senses. However, if you enjoy a more active vacation, there are wonderful hiking opportunities as well as a variety of water sports to indulge in, including some of the most spectacular diving spots in the world.
Rodrigues offers a variety of landscapes despite its size. The topography fluctuates between precipitous volcanic inclines of basaltic rock and gentle rolling hills, however the highest peak is Mont Limon at just 395 metres high. The 78 km of coastline offers amazing sandy beaches with wild creeks as well as impressive cliffs and numerous coves. All of which affords fantastic hiking and trekking opportunities where visitors can discover the island while taking care not to disturb the environment. There are also organisations that offer guided treks which offer hikers the opportunity to give back to the environment by cleaning up discarded rubbish.
Eco-travellers will want to ensure they visit the François Leguat Giant Tortoise and Cave Reserve. While the native tortoise population was exploited by settlers, conservationists introduced species similar to those lost from Aldabra and Madagascar, amongst others. The 20-hectare nature reserve offers visitors the opportunity to discover what Rodrigues was like 300 years ago before colonisation. This ongoing conservation project is working hard to reintroduce endemic flora and fauna that have been lost for generations. While you stroll amongst giant tortoises, you will probably catch a glimpse of the rare Rodrigues fruit bat, and you can also take a guided tour of the impressive caves that are unique to this area of the island.
Nature enthusiasts will also want to visit the Rodrigues ‘Jardin des 5 Sens’ (Garden of 5 senses) the botanical garden which is located in the centre of the island. Guided tours are offered to point out the endemic fauna and flora that includes fruit trees and aromatic and medicinal plants and flowers.
Other attractions you will not want to miss out on include Ile Aux Cocos, in the south-eastern lagoon of Rodrigues which is a natural refuge for colonies of seabirds, therefore to ensure they are not disturbed, only partial access is granted via pirogue with authorised operators only. Another natural attraction on the must see list is Caverne Patate, a cave embedded under a coral plain due to the movement of tectonic plates. Guides will lead you to discover the 600 metres of stalactites and stalagmites formations that are unique in the Indian Ocean.
One beach that was once voted one of the 30 best preserved beaches in the world is Trou d’Argent in the east of the island. This tranquil beach, nestled in a secluded inlet can be accessed by walking along the coastline and is well worth the effort it takes to reach there. If you want to appreciate to the natural beauty of the island from a different perspective, try a zip lining on the South Coast. This zip line adventure will take you over 100 metres above the tropical landscape and you can travel up 400 metres across three lush valleys and take in the breathtaking views all the way down to the lagoon.
The coral reefs and lagoons of Rodrigues completely surround Rodrigues and are a magnificent draw for nature tourists, offering the opportunity to witness the rich and plentiful marine life that makes Rodrigues an ideal diving and snorkelling location. The reef is host to a unique species of coral, several endemic species of crustaceans and two native species of Damselfish. Rodrigues is also the only island in the Mascarene archipelago to contain substantial limestone deposits and caves. You should remember to choose a dive centre that will ensure you enjoy the reefs without causing any damage. If you want to enjoy the serenity of the ocean without getting wet you can also take a sail boat trip that can transport you to the magical inlets in the southern lagoon of the island where you could relax in the sun and enjoy a picnic.
Visitors will also want to ensure they fully immerse themselves in the Rodriguan culture. Traditional music and dancing can often be enjoyed at your hotel or at cultural events. Rodrigues also has an art scene; sculpture and photography exhibitions are held regularly and there is a gallery in the capital Port Mathurin where art enthusiasts can appreciate the work of local artists.
Above all, ensure that you enjoy the Rodriguan culture and environment respectfully and sustainably so as to leave its unspoilt beauty intact.