Bel Ombre is a relaxed and appealing little resort set on the beautiful and unspoilt southern coast of Mauritius. It has a gorgeous beach, an endless stretch of pale sand with turquoise waters, with a rugged, mountainous backdrop. Although it has a lagoon, created by the coral reef, it also has sections of open water that have made it a popular kite-surfing destination. There isn’t much in Bel Ombre except a handful of hotels and villas and spectacular scenery, making it the ideal spot for a truly relaxing holiday. If you want to make some day trips, you could hike through the stunning Black River Gorges National Park or visit the giant tortoises and crocodiles in the La Vanille Nature Park.
Set on the wild and unspoilt southern coast of Mauritius, Bel Ombre is a sleepy resort with just a handful of hotels. Quiet and laid-back, it’s the perfect place to kick back and relax. The beach is a stunning swathe of white sand that dips into intense blue waters, which are ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving. There are some stretches of open water, which makes it a mecca for kite-surfing, and you’ll find several local schools that operate courses and excursions. There’s an outstanding golf course, and other local activities include dolphin-watching tours. You could rent bikes, head inland to go hiking in the magnificent Black River Gorges National Park, or visit the Le Morne Brabant mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are few restaurants and cafés in Bel Ombre, and most of them are found in the hotels. However, you’ll still find plenty of options to suit all budgets. The cuisine in Mauritius has been influenced by cultures from across three continents – Asia, Africa and Europe – and is wonderfully varied. You can tuck into some spicy curries, including the famous octopus curries, or go for some of the island’s excellent seafood, which is incredibly fresh. Other top dishes that you’ll find on many menus include rougaille, a spicy Creole stew with meat or seafood in a spicy tomato sauce, or the French-influenced daude, a succulent chicken stew.
Bel Ombre is an ideal destination for a relaxing family holiday in the sun. The beautiful, 4-mile-long beach is perfect for kids, with lots of sand to play in, and a shallow, warm lagoon where they can paddle or swim. The dolphin-watching excursions are always a hit with children of all ages. Older kids will enjoy the snorkelling and might even fancy a go at scuba diving or kite-surfing: you’ll find lots of local schools which offer courses and rent out equipment. Most of the hotels are well geared towards kids, with a special programme of events and child-friendly activities on offer. Kids will also enjoy a visit to the La Vanille Nature Park, where they can pet the giant tortoises and watch the crocodiles being fed.
Action & Adventure
Bel Ombre, like much of Mauritius, is a fantastic destination for snorkelling and scuba diving, thanks to the coral reefs that encircle much of the island. There are lots of local tour operators that run courses and organise excursions to the best diving sites. The resort is also home to an award-winning golf course, which is suitable for players with all handicaps. The area is fantastic for cycling, and if you want to do some hiking, you could head to the magnificent Black River Gorges National Park which has more than 35 miles of walking paths through forested hills and waterfalls.
Holidays in Bel Ombre revolve around the gorgeous beach, which stretches for about 4 miles from St Martin in the west to the Rivière des Galets in the east. Most of the hotels have beach clubs, with sun loungers, parasols and options for renting out paddle boards or kayaks. There is also a public beach, popular with locals, which has picnic areas. The coral reef that almost entirely circles Mauritius creates a calm lagoon that is ideal for swimming and snorkelling, with lots of multi-coloured aquatic life to marvel at. You’ll also find local suppliers that run scuba diving courses and excursions, as well as kite-surfing schools.
People come to Bel Ombre to soak up the relaxed pace of life and laid-back beach town vibe. There are no big bars or clubs (the nearest town with anything approaching a serious nightlife is Flic en Flac, about an hour’s drive away) but the hotels offer a choice of bars where you can while away a balmy night with a cocktail or two. Many of the hotels have a programme of special events, which might include live music or even perhaps some traditional séga dancing on the beach. If you make a day trip to Port Louis, you’ll find a wider range of bars to choose from.
If you just want to get away from it all with your partner, then Bel Ombre is an idyllic location for a romantic holiday. The endless white beach, with its shimmering turquoise lagoon, is backed by green hills and sugar plantations – a little corner of paradise! You could simply relax at one of the beach clubs, watching the sea and working on your tan, then perhaps snorkel around the coral reef or even take a diving trip. If you’re active types, try kite-surfing or head inland to the stunning Black River Gorges National Park, which has several miles of fantastic hiking routes. There are lots of wonderful restaurants where you can enjoy a romantic dinner, followed, perhaps, by a cocktail or two.
You can take in some of the most important cultural sights on Mauritius with an easy day trip from Bel Ombre. Heading east, you could visit Vieux Grand Port, where the first Dutch sailors landed in 1598, becoming the first human inhabitants of the island. It later became the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company, before the Dutch abandoned the island and the French took over. The harbour town of Mahébourg is one of the oldest on Mauritius and boasts some charming colonial buildings. To the west of Bel Ombre is the Le Morne Brabant mountain, a beautiful peninsula which was once a refuge for runaway slaves, and has now been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.