Located on the northeast of the island, Bras d'Eau National Park is one of the three national parks in Mauritius. When you drive through the forest of Bras d'Eau, you are likely to come upon a seemingly unending landscape of trees of varying types Exploring the forest trails The Bras d'Eau or Coq de Bois Loop is the only designated trail that explores the second growth forest and black basalt of Bras D'eau National Park. So be sure to make this a part of your journey. Along the way you can walk to Bras D'eau beach, where you'll encounter several small inland lakes and catch a glimpse of the endangered Mauritius Paradise-flycatcher, before launching your next trek along a completely new trail.
Flora and fauna, then and now
In 1901, colonialists replaced most of the original foliage with non-native, exotic species like eucalyptus, blackwood, teak and casuarinas. As a result, most of the indigenous Mauritian forest and wildlife were destroyed. As you travel through the forest, you'll come upon some small patches of the original Mauritian biodiversity as well as, remnants of critically endangered endemics that survived the deforestation that prompted the establishment of the National Park.
Lake Mare Sarcelle
The forest population of around 60 pairs of Paradise flycatchers are, most certainly, the stars of the Bras d'Eau forest. The species is endangered because of deforestation, but fortunately 432 acres of the Bras d'Eau forest was declared a nature reserve in April 2011, to further enforce protection measures of declaring Lake Mare Sarcelle as a nature reserve in 1993. This species of birds is not exactly shy, when it comes to interaction with humans. The birds are likely to begin singing once they become aware of your presence, then rapidly emerge from the forest and fly away into the distance.
As you walk through the forest, you are sure to come across a range of birds including: sparrows, mynas, fodys, canaries, extremely rare white-tailed tropic birds, white-eyes and common moorhens living in the surrounding wetlands.
Be sure to inquire about the two species of the giant Mauritian ebony trees that managed to survive the devastation of deforestation, the regional ferns and the very rare Oeoniella polystachys orchid.
Serene and less traveled
Like the other national parks, it is managed by the Mauritian National Parks and Conservation Service. The great thing is, you'll have a lot more freedom to roam and feel in touch with nature, as Bras d'Eau is far quieter and more rarely visited.