Eco-Lite: Casela Nature Park, Mauritius

Mauritius is a destination that appeals to all kinds of travelers with its beautiful beaches and family friendly atmosphere.  The Casela Nature Park is a great option for families and others who want a quick look at some local and exotic birds.  There are no Echo Parakeets here.

OVERVIEW

Out of sight down Rivière Noire road, lies 14 hectares of lush green which is now home to a big variety of fauna and flora. Some 1,500 birds, a selection of wildcats, zebras, giant tortoises, long-tailed monkeys, among other species, can be watched on site.   There are also plenty of activities  like canyoning or hiking Via Ferrata, double and triple ziplines and the adventurous cable bridges.   It kind of reminded me of Busch Gardens in Florida, same kind of appeal to families in particular.

HOW DO YOU GET THERE?

Casela Nature Park is easily reached from the main road between Curepipe and Flic en Flac.    There is a small shopping centre on the intersection of the A3 and Flic en Flac road and the park is signposted.

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HOW MUCH IS IT?

Basic admission is fine if you just want to see the birds.  There are additional charges for other activities.

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HOW LONG SHOULD YOU SPEND THERE AND WHAT SHOULD YOU SEE?

We arrived pretty late in the afternoon and had just under an hour to scurry around and see the birds.  This turned out to be enough time for what we wanted.  We only saw the birds, didn’t have time to see or do anything else.

VALUE TO CONSERVATION

No affiliation with any conservation projects.

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY ON POINTS

Flic en Flac is the closest town although no where is really far on Mauritius.  The Hilton in Flic en Flac has rooms starting at 40,000 Honors points.

PHOTOS

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The highlights for me was seeing the wild birds such as this Madagascar (not Mauritian)  Fody flying around the grounds.

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Getting Around Mauritius – Rental Car VS Bus

Regrettably, we didn’t have a lot of time to spend in Mauritius.  We aren’t the beach holiday type (nor would we travel all the way from Australia to Mauritius simply for a beach) so we had to have a well organized plan to decided on what kind of transport we needed.  The main purpose of the trip was to see the Echo Parakeets in Black River Gorges National Park.  The hotel we stayed at (on points of course) was the nearest points option to BRGNP, the Mauritius Hilton at Flic en Flac.  I also wanted to squeeze in a quick visit to the Casela Bird Park and the 7 Coloured Sands at Chamarel.

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RENTAL CARS

With such a short amount of time, only a rental car would do.  The one thing I found frustrating is that the majors – Hertz, Avis, etc only seemed to have manual transmissions at a reasonable cost.  I can only drive an automatic, especially if I will be driving through towns.  The best option was going through a rental car consolidator which had more options with smaller car hire companies that offered automatics at reasonable prices.  I checked 3 options – Expedia, Holiday Autos & DriveAway.  All prices for these examples are in Australian dollars but if you do a quote, it will default to your own currency.

Expedia

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Holiday Autos

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DriveAway

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Holiday Autos had the best price back then just as they do now so I booked with them for First since it was the better deal for a better car.  The rate includes excess up to 15,000 MUR which is around $450 USD or $500 AUD and this amount was covered by my travel insurance policy.  Always check before booking a rental car what the insurance covers and what the excess is!

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Here’s the actual car.  As usual, I did a full inspection and made sure the employee knew I was doing it.  It did take a while for them to fetch the car from their depot in town and we had to sit there and wait.  I had given my flight number and they have a display on flight times in the office which is shared by all car hire companies so they could have been more proactive in getting the car there on time to meet the flight.  I returned it a bit early and once again did the inspection, got the final receipt and had no issues while returning it so First was a good choice for me!

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LOCAL BUSES

Traveling by local buses can be fun, is usually the cheapest option and a good way to meet the locals.  Mauritius does have a large bus network and if you have plenty of time to spare and not so much money, this could be a good option for you.