Travel Guide Mauritius: Kestrel Valley
Covering an area of more than 200 ha, Kestrel Valley is one of the most important protected areas for plant and animal species in Mauritius. Learn more in the following blog.
Kestrel Valley, formerly known as Domaine du Chasseur, is a beautiful nature reserve spread over an area of around 200 ha just off the bay of Anse Jonchée in the Southeast of Mauritius.
While exploring the area’s hiking trails on foot or mountain bike, visitors can enjoy beautiful views of green sugarcane fields, the rocky mountains in the surroundings and the turquoise water of the Indian Ocean. Another fascinating feature of this stunning region is doubtlessly its diverse indigenous vegetation and rich animal life: monkeys, boars, geese, hares, deer as well as numerous bird species – including the endangered Mauritius Kestrel – are at home in the green depths of Kestrel Valley.
In the Grand Port district in the eastern part of Mauritius
approx. 200 ha or 0.2 km²
Mauritius kestrel, Mauritius fruit bat as well as some introduced mammals such as tenreks, mongooses and Javan rusa, and many different bird species, including six endemic species
Best travel time
May to December
Kestrel Valley fascinates with a great landscape including a huge diversity of native plant species and is also the only home of the Mauritius kestrel worldwide
Visiting Kestrel Valley
Location, geography and climate
The reserve is located in the Bambou Mountains of Mauritius, in the district of Grand Port. Most of the landscape is dominated by mountains but there are also some open grasslands. A highlight of the area are the breathtaking forests that cover the mountains. These are partly more than 400 years old and belong to the few last native forests of the island.
Climatically, Mauritius enjoys a mild tropical sea climate throughout the year. The best months for travelling are between May and December, as during this time mild, dry temperatures with many hours of sunshine prevail.
Flora and fauna
Mauritius, due to its volcanic origin and its remote location, has limited possibilities to colonise animals – the island’s biodiversity is still fascinating. A highlight is the Mauritius kestrel. Worldwide, this bird can only be spotted in the region of the Kestrel Valley. Mauritius is also the last home for the Mauritius fruit bat. With a wingspan of 0,7 m, the fruit bat is one of the biggest in the world, but often falls victim to hunters and poachers. Furthermore, some medium-sized to small mammals can be observed. These include tenreks, mongooses and Javan rusa which are not indigenous.
Kestrel Valley is a rewarding destination, especially for bird lovers. As the reserve does not directly border the sea, seabirds can only be observed to a limited extent. Nevertheless, bird enthusiasts may observe lots of indigenous species such as pink pigeons, white-eyes, Mauritius fody, Mauritius cuckooshrike, echo parakeet and the Mauritius bulbul are real highlights.
The diversity of plants is incredible considering the size of Mauritius. More than 700 endemic plant species including 60 different orchid species can be discovered. However, less than 2% of indigenous ecosystems remain on the island, making the reserve essential for the conservation of biodiversity. Some plants that have been declared extinct, such as two species of screw trees, have been discovered in the forests of Kestrel Valley. In general, the area serves as a rehabilitation site for native plant species, especially forests.
Kestrel Valley is one of the most important protected areas on Mauritius and fascinates with its unique landscape. Nowhere else on the island visitors can discover wild forest areas of a comparable size. The protected area is also home to the rare Mauritius kestrel and the Mauritius fruit bat. Furthermore, the diversity of plants is breathtaking. Visitors can explore the untouched nature and fascinating landscapes of the region through activities such as hiking or mountain bike tours.
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