Mauritius East Coast Kite Spot Guide
By Bernard Cayeux
When kitesurfers think of Mauritius as a kitesurfing destination, their attention is usually focused on Le Morne, which has gained worldwide recognition as a hot wave riding spot thanks largely to the KSP World Pro Kite Surfing Tour. However, what few kiters realise is that there are also great spots (mainly for lagoon riding) along the East coast of Mauritius as well.
Since the winds come from the East coast of Mauritius, there are no accelerating factors on this side of the Island. This results in less “kiteable” days throughout the year along the East coast when compared to Le Morne or the North. However, during winter (from June to November), the East coast definitely deserves your attention… for its beauty, colours, flat water conditions, and especially for its huge lagoons often with no one in the ocean, other than a few fishermen. No crowds, no buzz. Epic!
The main spots along the East coast of Mauritius are…
A beautiful setting with relatively flat water and on shore wind. Riding along the beach is fun, and most kitesurfers spend days along the bright-white beach, much to the dismay of the holiday makers and swimmers…
Not recommended without properly organised security, but worth mentioning, it is possible to ride 20 kilometres downwind to Trou d’Eau Douce and Ile aux Cerfs, all within the lagoon.
Trou d’Eau Douce
Trou d’Eau Douce is known for its Ile-aux-Cerfs resort, which makes a great kitesurfing spot when conditions are perfect (wind direction SSE).
However the whole beachfront of Trou d’Eau Douce is ‘kiteable’ throughout winter (June to November). The lagoon is extra wide, most of it shallow and flat (riders must be careful at low tides). Launching is fine almost anywhere along the beach, especially nearer to the reefs (the East side), where there is plenty of space.
Trou d’Eau Douce also has a gem… bearing the great name of ‘Joyride’. It’s too far from the beach to be accessible from there though. Kitesurfers need to use the shuttle boats to Ile-aux-Cerfs, then walk to its east-facing beach or to its neighbour ‘Ilot Mangenie’ and launch from there. This still leaves a long upwind ride to reach Joyride, comprising of several square kilometres of shallow and very flat water along the barrier reef. It is of course ideal for jumps and speed rides, often with strong, stable and potent winds in winter.
Palmar is another great spot on the East coast of Mauritius which is not well-known, and overshadowed by Le Morne, from which it differs drastically. Palmar is a stretch of relatively narrow lagoon, not very deep, offering several square kilometres of flat water with a generally stable wind. This spot is ideal for jumping sessions.
Its 45-degree onshore wind also makes it safe and attractive to beginners, and there’s a kitesurfing school based in Palmar from April to November, the winter period in the southern hemisphere. Palmar is probably not suitable outside this period.
Poste Lafayette is great for many reasons:
•It’s good for beginners as there is plenty of beach space for launching.
•Owing to the curved shape of the shore, the launching spot is already 20 to 30 metres away from the shore.
•The wind being generally onshore, this spot is safe and does not require boat rescues.
•Relatively shallow a few metres from the shore, although it is not advisable to stand there without shoes.
•No currents or particular hazards.
It is good for intermediate riders as it is far from crowded (just a few kiters on weekends), and for those who are not yet good at staying upwind, as they can safely land at any point on the beach to walk upwind again.
Good for advanced riders, since there are two flat water zones that are good for jumping and some wave spots to carefully explore by following the locals.
Excellent regular wind conditions, especially in winter.
The island of Mauritius can be compared to a gifted child: small in size, but lots happening under the hood. Its population illustrates this; 1.3 million inhabitants on just 720 sq miles… with an apparent booming economy and a relatively active presence on the international political and economical scene.
This nation’s contrasts and contradictions can’t be missed though. The streets are busy with a mix of old choking buses and brand new top-of-the-range luxury cars. Rich businessmen and industrialists next to the very poor. Fair road network, terrible internet connection. The list goes on…
For the kitesurfer or the average visitor, these contrasts are what make this place so enjoyable, special and “sentimentally” tying. Many tourists come back year after year.
Owing to these specificities, it is possible to spend “comfortably simple” vacations in Mauritius. There are daily flights to and from Dubai, the regional hub, and also from Paris and London.
There are also several flights a week from some of Europe’s main cities such as Frankfurt, Rome and Moscow, and from South Africa, India, Malaysia and Australia. Flights can be very expensive in high season, (October to April), and more reasonably fared the rest of the year.
On the spot, almost anything is possible with a bit of organisation, lots of patience and a pinch of forgiveness. Cars can be rented from International brands or from unofficial car rental companies. Accommodation can be expensive for no apparent reason, or of high quality in terms of value for money. It all depends on the period you are travelling in and with whom you book.
The windy season is from June to November, which is great because it corresponds with the low season, except during school holidays. The climate is relatively dry in austral winter, but it is windy and humid enough to make the climate not very tropical. The sea remains relatively warm throughout the year.
To get the most out of Mauritius, it is better to avoid the pre-organised tour packages, stay at a guest house, small hotel or rented villa, and hire a car or a local driver/guide. Buy your fish from the fishermen and your food from the local grocery shop. It is best to kitesurf for 2 to 3 hours in the morning while conditions are at their best, and then to go inland in the afternoons, visit villages, take walks and make sand castles with the kids.
There are, of course, plenty of hotels along the East coast of Mauritius, and three of them have officially declared themselves as “kitesurf-friendly.” These are: The Tropical Attitude hotel (3-star plus) and the Bougainville hotel, both located in Trou d’Eau Douce, offering free shuttles to Ile-aux-Cerfs, which will get you closer to Joyride, and the Emeraude Beach Attitude hotel, located in Palmar.
There is also excellent alternative accommodation such as guest houses, and beach villas that are ideal for groups and families, some of which have beaches suitable for launching.
The website www.bookmauritius-villas.com proposes several great beach villas in Pointe d’Esny, Belle Mare, Poste Lafayette and nearby Roches Noires.
Source: inMotion Kitesurfing