Islets of Mauritius
Return to: Coastal Zones / Fauna
The main land of Mauritius is surrounded by a number of islets, some of which are close to the coast and others far away, difficult of access. A few are now nature reserves with endemic wildlife, Round Island is a prime example. Other islands bear coconut plantations such as Ile Aux Benitiers, yet others are regularly visited by mauritians and tourists because of the beautiful beaches there, Ile Aux Cerfs is a case in point.
A couple of islands, such as L'ile D'Ambre and L'Ile Aux Aigrettes, are currently the objects of rehabilitation programmes. The Biodiversity and Environment Institute (B.E.I) has received funds from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to restore and rehabilitate part of the original flora that existed on L' Ile D'Ambre. The Mauritius Wild Life Appeal Fund has had an ongoing programme on Ile Aux Aigrettes for several years to save from extinction its endemic flora.
List Of Islands off the coast of Mauritius
Ile Aux Aigrettes / Ilot Aigrettes / Ile D'Ambre / Ile De La Batterie / Ile Aux Benitiers / Pte Bernache / Ile Camisard
Ile Aux Cerfs / Ile Aux Chats / Ile Des Deux Cocos / Ile De L'Est / Ilot Flamants / Ile Forency / Ile Aux Fous
Ile Aux Fouquets / Ilot Fourneau / Ilot Gabriel / Ilot Levrettes / Ilot Lievres / Ile Malno / Matapan Island
Ile Marianne / Ilot Maunick / Ilot Du Mort / Mouchoir Rouge / Ile Aux Oiseaux / Ile De la Passe
Le Coin de Mire (Gunner's Quoin) / L'ile Plate / Rocher Des Oiseaux / Round Island / Serpent Island
Ile Aux Singes / Ile Vacoas / Ilot Vacoas
Ile Aux Aigrettes
A small island barely a kilometre off Pointe D'Esny near Mahebourgh and 24.7 hectares in area, it is now a nature reserve. Efforts are being undertaken by Government and the Mauritius Wildlife Appeal Fund to save the endemic flora and fauna there. About 40 different species of endemic plants characteristic of the flora that once existed on the coastal mainland can be found on this island.
Amongst the rare indigenous trees found there is an endemic ebony (Diospyros egrettarum, Ebenaceae) known as "Bois Fer", other rare specimens are the "Bois D'Eponge" also known as "Bois boeuf" (Gastonia mauritiana, Araliaceae), "Bois de Chandelle" (Dracaena concinna, Liliaceae), "Bois de rat" (Tarenna borbonica, Rubiaceae)
About 40 Kestrels and Pink Pigeons have taken residence on the island. It is hoped that once rodents are eliminated from the island it will be possible to reintroduce the Telfair Lizard, Gunther's Gecko and the Boa snake from Round Island.
A visitor centre is to open on the island and nature trails marked with guides for visitors. During World War Two, the island was used as a military base by the British who installed two artillery pieces there, one of which can still be seen.
A nursery of rare plants has been set up to propagate endemic plants in view of re creating the type of forest that prevailed on the coast prior to the arrival of man. The elimination of rats from the island has allowed the natural regeneration of several endemic plants like Ebony and Bois de Rat.
Pointe Bernache or also known as Ilot Bernache is part of Ile D'Ambre. This very small island, less than 2 acres in size, is a stone's throw off the main body of Ile D'Ambre. It is in a highly degraded state and the flora that survives consists of a few casuarina trees and some species of grass and shrubs. There are one or two beautiful stretches of sandy beaches and it is often visited by tourists for the day. The rest of the island's beaches are made up of rocks and boulders.
A beach on Ilot Bernache
Found north of Cap Malheureux, close to L'ile Plate, this island of area 42.2 hectares still abounds with some species of endemic flora. For example, "Le Baume de L'ile Plate" (Psiadia arguta, Asteraceae) or the "Latanier" (Latania loddigesii, Arecaceae) and Vacoas (Pandanus vandermeerschii, Pandanaceae). It is to be noted that tourists regularly visit the island for day trips.
Ile De La Passe
Found at the entrance of Mahebourgh harbour, an old light house can still be seen on it.
Press Article on ile de la Passe
Inventaire à l'île de la Passe (16 février 2003)
L'ile de La Passe se refait une beauté (2 septembre 2001)
(1) Man and Biosphere Advisory Committee, Our Environment Mauritius 1975
(2) Ameenah Gurib-Fakim & Joseph Gueho, Plantes Medicinales De Maurice, Tome 1, Editions de L'Ocean Indien, Universite De Maurice, Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute, 1995
(3) L'ile aux Aigrettes en passe d'etre convertie en parc, L'Express 17th August 1997
Date on the web: 22nd of March 1999
Last Update: 24th of February 2003