There are around 100 islets scattered around the coast of Mauritius and Rodrigues each with their own specialities. Here are a selection of some of the best ones including Île aux Aigrettes, Hermitage Island, and the Grand Port islets.
Probably the most popular islet that surrounds Mauritius, Île aux Cerfs is an island paradise that amazes all visitors that travel there. With a Garden of Eden feel, this island is situated off the East coast of Mauritius and is home to one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. Play a round of golf on this charming 18-hole course designed by golfing legends and have a brilliant day out with family and friends.
Just a short boat trip from the East coast from Pointe Maurice, Île aux Cerfs is definitely worth a day trip to relax on the white sand beaches, or indulge in diving, kayaking, canoeing, sailing or even parasailing. At the heart of the island, java deer populate the area surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and mangroves. It also has charming restaurants where you can enjoy freshly caught fish and delicious sea urchins.
This islet, the largest in Grand Port Pay, is situated off the Southeast coast of Mauritius and lies approximately 1km from Mahébourg. Its name comes from a colony of Egrets, fishing birds with long legs, which populated the scene in the 1600s.
Today, this island works to conserve the ‘Mauritius Dry Coastal Forest’ which is the only remaining piece in the whole world, protected by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF). Île aux Aigrettes houses a nature reserve which was declared in 1965 and is home to endangered species of plants and animals including the coloured day gecko, the non-indigenous Aldabra giant tortoise, and ebony trees. This island can be visited via a tour organised by Villanovo.
Other islands near Ile aux Aigrettes
Grand Port Islands: In the past, these small islets formed a small volcanic island, but by the force of time and nature, the island was submerged. There are many islets around the Grand Port area including Passe Island, Flambants Island, Cats Island, Vacoas Island, Bird Rock, Marianne Island, Fouquet Island, the Isle of Signs and the Isle of Fools. The conflicts between the French and the British often took place around these islets for the conquest of the island.
Ile de la Passe: This rocky island is located on the Grand Port Bay on Mauritius Island. In the late 1810s, the island was the scene of a horrible and long battle between the British and French for the conquest of the island by the British. It was a defeat for the British, but the French could not survive the invasion of the island, finally yielded the property of the British in 1814.
Amber Island is situated off the East coast of Mauritius and is relatively large in size in comparison to some of the other islets that surround the island of Mauritius. This island is known for having, in 1662, the last definite sighting of the, now extinct, dodo and remains today, a beautiful natural reserve of birds and fish. With its varied vegetation, Amber Island is the perfect place to go hiking and absorb the nature. For 3km, a walking path has been created so that visitors can discover the island from the inside without harming the environment.
You can also go sea kayaking off the island which is popular with tourists as they admire the beauty of the waters that surround Amber Island. Surrounded by mangroves and rocks, it also sports preserved ruins hidden by vegetation, splendid vestiges of the mysterious French colonisation. Moreover, the novel, 'Paul and Virginie', was inspired by the tragic event of 1644 with the sinking of Saint Geran.
Ile aux Chats: a small island South of Rodrigues. She is known for her spots of snorkelling and scuba diving. Being surrounded by a coral reef, it offers an incredible setting for those who want to try scuba diving. It also has a nature reserve known for its colony of black Noddis birds.
Hermitage Island: Southwest of the island of Rodrigues. According to legends, it would shelter buried treasures and prove to be an exceptional destination for tourists because of its sumptuous heritage. Here you can explore and hike to admire breathtaking views.
This small island is located approximately 11km North of the island of Mauritius and can be reached by taking a short boat ride from Cap Malheureux or Grand Baie. Home to one of the most stunning beaches, this island is ideal for going swimming and snorkeling. You can even opt to take a Catamaran cruise to the island which Villanovo can help you to organise. Be sure to check out the Pigeon Rock area which hosts the world famous dive site: The Shark Pit, where you can see sharks swirling around beneath you because this area is rich in oxygen due to the waves crashing forcefully against the cliff face. This island also houses one of the two lighthouses that still work in Mauritius with a view of the Northern islands.
For the record, Flat Island was once the landing place of the 'Sultany' with more than 300 immigrants on board in 1854 who, because of a cholera epidemic on the ship, were forced to come to land.
Ile Ronde: uninhabited island located 22.5km from the North coast of Mauritius. It has been a nature reserve since 1957 and is famous around the world for the battle of Île Ronde, during which the British fought the French on October 22, 1794. This piece of land is home to rare reptiles such as skink, the day gecko, the boa and the burrowing boa of Mauritius, which is now an extinct species. It is also home to rare plants such as gargoulettes palm.
Ilot Gabriel: ideal for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts with its spot around Pigeon Rock House. The must, swim with sharks, an essential excursion in the turquoise waters!
Snake Island: contrary to what its name says, has no snakes. The last known species of snakes from the island quickly disappeared with the arrival of Europeans on the island. The island is very mountainous with many steep slopes.