Mauritius then and now

Location: Mauritius
Date: October 1992, December 2013, December 2015
Duration: A lifetime
Viewed: 1473 times
Comments: 2
Another great trip on a beautiful island, Mauritius this time. This story started years ago, back in October 1992. Way before the digital camera era. The photos, shot on 35 millimeter film, had remained engraved for many years in my memory, until another trip back there in 2013, which brought quite a few surprises and made me feel the need to go back to these shots. They were digitized shortly after that second trip, 20 years later, hence the look and feel of the images.

Apart from the general obvious beauty and peacefulness of the island a few things had struck me at the time of the 1992 trip.

First, the roads. The most vivid memory I had and still have about Mauritius was how nicely the roads were bordered with bougainvillea trees of various colors, on the two sides of the road. It was a continuous feast, extending as far as the eye can see, especially on the road that lead from Quatre Bornes to Flic-en-Flac, where the majority of the late afternoons and nights were spent in a quiet and peaceful house.

The other aspect was about the road conditions. It took quite a while to move from a place to another. Many potholes, fixed on a case by case basis, made the pavement quite bumpy. Driving a mini-Moke at the time, a car with a sporty suspension, which made sure to keep your butt constantly informed about any irregularity the wheels would encounter on the surface of the road, driving slowly was no an option. It was a must. This had the benefit of never missing a viewpoint. 20 years later this turned out to be quite valuable.

In 2013 I was looking forward to those roads. Not so much the bumpy aspect of them but their beauty. 20 years had brought a lot of changes to the island and in the process, roads got wider. Except for the smaller roads, the bougainvillea trees had mostly disappeared from the roads' shoulders. The one connecting Quatre Bornes to Flic-en-Flac had become wide, smooth, and comfortable but was also lacking its original colorful bougainvillea trees. That is likely why I didn't have the reflex to snap another photo of that road in 2013. I actually suddenly doubted I had seen that road that beautifully decorated in the first place, thinking my memory was embellishing this distant reality. The scanning of these images when I got back home, lead me to post these images these many years after the facts.

It's quite possible that some pictures' locations are misnamed. In total doubt, sometimes they are simply missing.

I realize that I most often only snap images of the wild life and landscapes, and not so much of the street life. Flic-en-Flac had changed dramatically, way bigger, was denser, more hotels and restaurants, but I sadely have no photo to compare it to.
If my memory is correct there used to be only two restaurants. A small creole shack, which took me a while to find again, but it's still there and is still excellent.
There was also a Chinese restaurant, excellent too. Still there in 2013 too, but was closed for the holiday.


Flying over Bel Ombre on the south shore, right before landing in Mahebourg 1992 
 Except for a few houses, the area is quite undisturbed
Flying over Bel Ombre on the south shore, right before landing in Mahebourg 1992
Except for a few houses, the area is quite undisturbed
The same area in Google Earth. A screen grab from 2013 
 The Tamassa Hotel & Heritage Resort has changed the landscape dramatically
The same area in Google Earth. A screen grab from 2013
The Tamassa Hotel & Heritage Resort has changed the landscape dramatically
Further away along the same shoreline near Bel Ombre in 1992
Further away along the same shoreline near Bel Ombre in 1992
The formerly lonely road is now bordered my the Hotel Sofitel So Mauritius Bel Ombre
The formerly lonely road is now bordered my the Hotel Sofitel So Mauritius Bel Ombre
Britannia Sugar Factory
Britannia Sugar Factory


Flic-en-Flac
Road connecting Quatre
Bornes to Flic
en
Flac in 1992
Road connecting Quatre-Bornes to Flic-en-Flac in 1992
The usual sugar cane field controlled fire in the distance 
 bougainvillea trees bordering the road 
 the rough pavement 
 the stacks of basalt boulders in the sugar cane fields 
 and the unforgettable smell of the burnt sugar cane
The usual sugar cane field controlled fire in the distance
bougainvillea trees bordering the road
the rough pavement
the stacks of basalt boulders in the sugar cane fields
and the unforgettable smell of the burnt sugar cane
In 2015 the road is now wide, smooth and comfortable 
 The bougainvillea trees are gone but some young flamboyant trees replace them. I have to come back in 20 years to enjoy that. That will likely be quite beautiful then
In 2015 the road is now wide, smooth and comfortable
The bougainvillea trees are gone but some young flamboyant trees replace them. I have to come back in 20 years to enjoy that. That will likely be quite beautiful then

The sugar cane fields are gone, no more controlled fire. The stacks of basalt boulder are also gone. In 2013 I only spotted a few remaining ones on the other side of the island on the way down to l'Ile aux Cerfs.
This was such a surprise to me, that I did not think about making a photo from what used to be such an amazing vantage point.
Further down the road behind me, the formerly quiet and desert intersection now boasts a shopping mall with American style fast food restaurants. A Kodak moment I chose to ignore. There were many more other nice spots to focus on instead.

So fortunate to spent those days at my friend's local house in Flic-en-Flac, it was even more fortunate to come back in that same house 20 years later, avoiding entirely the hotel experience and fully enjoying the local lifestyle.

The little house in Flic en Flac in 1992
The little house in Flic en Flac in 1992
The same house in 2013 with its grown up mango trees 
 providing us all with plenty of daily fresh mango fruits, perfectly ripe around Christmas
The same house in 2013 with its grown up mango trees
providing us all with plenty of daily fresh mango fruits, perfectly ripe around Christmas
In front of Casela Bird Park near Flic
en
Flac 
 1992
In front of Casela Bird Park near Flic-en-Flac
1992


The South Shore
Maconde 
 1992
Maconde
1992
Maconde and the South Shore in general, except for a few spots, haven't changed much over the years ... yet 
 2013
Maconde and the South Shore in general, except for a few spots, haven't changed much over the years ... yet
2013
Rivière du Cap 
 1992
Rivière du Cap
1992
Maconde 
 1992
Maconde
1992
View from Maconde 
 1992
View from Maconde
1992
View from Maconde 
 2013
View from Maconde
2013
View from Maconde 
 1992
View from Maconde
1992
Most likely going up the hills, on the road connecting Maconde to Chamarel
Most likely going up the hills, on the road connecting Maconde to Chamarel
Down from Chamarel in the afternoon 
 1992
Down from Chamarel in the afternoon
1992
Same spot in 2013 
 Rivière Noire in the distance has clearly more spread out
Same spot in 2013
Rivière Noire in the distance has clearly more spread out
L'Île aux Bénitiers 
 with the afternoon sun's reflection into the lagoon
L'Île aux Bénitiers
with the afternoon sun's reflection into the lagoon
Controlled fire in the sugar cane fields 
 Being hand harvested, the fields are first set on fire to burn the dry leaves without harming the stalks and roots
Controlled fire in the sugar cane fields
Being hand harvested, the fields are first set on fire to burn the dry leaves without harming the stalks and roots


Chamarel
Near the Tamarin Salt Fields
Near the Tamarin Salt Fields
Banian tree near the Tamarin Salt Fields 
 When I went back there in 2013 the tree was missing 
 1992
Banian tree near the Tamarin Salt Fields
When I went back there in 2013 the tree was missing
1992
Another large Banian tree, further away, near l'Escalier on the South Shore 
 For the map geeks this is at (Lat 
20.4881, Lon 57.615) 
 2013
Another large Banian tree, further away, near l'Escalier on the South Shore
For the map geeks this is at (Lat -20.4881, Lon 57.615)
2013
Tamarin Salt Fields
Tamarin Salt Fields
Case Noyale 
 1992
Case Noyale
1992
Case Noyale 
 2013
Case Noyale
2013
With the morning light, the lagoon around l'Île aux Bénitiers and its colors offer quite a different experience
With the morning light, the lagoon around l'Île aux Bénitiers and its colors offer quite a different experience
Île aux Bénitiers 
 La Gaulette 
 Le Morne in the distance on the left 
 1992
Île aux Bénitiers
La Gaulette
Le Morne in the distance on the left
1992
Some changes, mainly around the land lots, all ready to have new houses built there 
 2013
Some changes, mainly around the land lots, all ready to have new houses built there
2013
Case Noyale 
 1992
Case Noyale
1992
Case Noyale 
 2013
Case Noyale
2013
Seven Coloured Earth in Chamarel 
 1992
Seven Coloured Earth in Chamarel
1992
There was no infrastructure whatsoever at the time 
 There were also very few visitors 
 1992
There was no infrastructure whatsoever at the time
There were also very few visitors
1992
2013
2013
The footsteps on the ground show how visitors could walk freely anywhere they liked 
 1992
The footsteps on the ground show how visitors could walk freely anywhere they liked
1992
Thanks to the wood fences 
 the area now keeps its pristine look without any footsteps from the visitors 
 2013
Thanks to the wood fences
the area now keeps its pristine look without any footsteps from the visitors
2013
1992
1992
The park is now organized with an entrance fee to better control the many visitors and protect the land from human degradation 
 2013
The park is now organized with an entrance fee to better control the many visitors and protect the land from human degradation
2013
The Chamarel waterfall was barely visible in 1992 
 One had to peep through the tree branches to try to see it
The Chamarel waterfall was barely visible in 1992
One had to peep through the tree branches to try to see it
1992
1992
The vantage point is now all cleaned up for an easy access 
 2013
The vantage point is now all cleaned up for an easy access
2013
2013
2013
Black River Gorges Viewpoint
Black River Gorges Viewpoint
The access to Alexandra Falls was also quite wild 
 1992
The access to Alexandra Falls was also quite wild
1992
Approaching the Mare aux Vacoas
Approaching the Mare aux Vacoas
Mare aux Vacoas
Mare aux Vacoas
Trou aux Cerfs volcano in Curepipe
Trou aux Cerfs volcano in Curepipe
Port
Louis 
 1992
Port-Louis
1992
Port
Louis 
 1992
Port-Louis
1992
Grand Baie
Grand Baie
In 2015 with a big shopping mall on the shoreline, relatively nicely integrated with the surroundings
In 2015 with a big shopping mall on the shoreline, relatively nicely integrated with the surroundings
Dramatic change here, with large rocks thrown onto the shoreline to expand the road and sidewalk 
 2015
Dramatic change here, with large rocks thrown onto the shoreline to expand the road and sidewalk
2015


Ile aux Cerfs
The island has remained roughly the same, except for the many Christmas season tourists. It was definitely more quiet in october 1992.
The giant tortoises were not there anymore in 2013. We found some at Chamarel. Did they simply get moved there?
The giant tortoises were not there anymore in 2013. We found some at Chamarel. Did they simply get moved there?


Jardin de Pamplemousse
Giant Lilies
Giant Lilies
Désespoir du singe
Désespoir du singe


Time to leave
Airport of Mahebourg 
 1992
Airport of Mahebourg
1992
Mahebourg 
 1992
Mahebourg
1992
Mahebourg from a Google Earth grab 
 2013
Mahebourg from a Google Earth grab
2013
Île aux Aigrettes
Île aux Aigrettes

(2) COMMENTS
On November 7, 2016 - 10:13 (GMT) from medusa:

Voila voila. moi j'y vais pour chercher une baguette de pain et j'y reste 1h... ;-) superbes photos et intéressant avant / apres...

On December 10, 2015 - 06:48 (GMT) from Eick:

Top Level! :P J'adore! Hate d'y etre encore avec toi/vous! :P
(tu t'es trompe de job! ;))

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