Black River Gorges

The Black River Gorges National Park, which is extended over 6,574 hectares, is the remaining area that is the largest of the native forests of Mauritius. It is located on the western part of the central plateau of the Island inside the Black River Gorges NP. This native forest was developed on lava flows, and that is the same reason why the soil in this area is deep and dark brown in colour, varying in depth. There are only very few bare rocks that are exposed.

The forest of the Black River Gorges NP is dense and packed with slow growing hard wood trees. They have interlocked canopy and apparent stratification with a layered composition of tall trees ranging from 14-16 metres tall to smaller trees, shrubs, vines and herbs. The Park has unique flora with an abundance of native plants. They have around 163 of the 311 endemic floras, recorded by the management, which mention of around 148 flowering plants, 49 ferns and allies and 25 lower plants. The climate over the area is characterised by a dry period that is ill-defined, from mid September to December. The annual rainfall is 2,600 mm with temperatures that vary from 23° in summer and 17° in winter.

The Black River Gorges NP is definitely of high ecological value. For most of the endangered birds and the rarest species of plants, this park is the primary habitat. The characteristic feature of Mauritius, which was once the untouched integrity of the rich and unique fauna and the flora, has been continuously eroded by the increase in human population, negative impact of cyclones and natural disasters and the invasive plant species which invade any open gaps in the forest.

The Black River Gorges National Park is the safest refuge for the 28 endemic bird species found in Mauritius. Of the 44 known species of land vertebrates, 21 of them are already extinct now. The park has been taking cost-effective steps in the conservation programmes and succeeded in protecting the bird species Mauritius Kestrel, pink pigeon and echo parakeet.