Rodrigues Island is without a doubt one of the most unknown places on Earth. It is located about 500km northeast of Mauritius and basically functions as an independent country to Mauritius. The island itself is pretty small but it is also a very beautiful and a fun place to be. While it is a major pain both getting a plane ticket out there and then having it leave remotely on time as mine was nine plus hours late, it is worth coming out for a day or two. Besides, the night sky here is so clear that you can almost see every star in the galaxy I swear.
As I said, I was supposed to get in around noon and I got in around 9:30pm. It was very frustrating and I didn’t have a place to stay. When I finally arrived I trusted the taxi driver to take me to a good place in Anse aux Anglais which is about 1.5km north of the capital Port Mathurin.
My first stop after getting settled into the delightful Ti Pavillion Herbergement was Bambou Resto for some pizza. It was actually really good and I was joined by two local guys for some Phoenix beers. They had never seen an American before so I was kind of a celebrity. That’s the 100th time I swear this trip that’s happened where people say I’m the first they’ve ever seen. It’s pretty cool I guess but man we have to travel more people!
I woke up very early, at 5:30am to get a head start on the day because I had a lot to do in a very short time as my flight was at 2pm back to Mauritius. I had breakfast on the waterfront watching the fisherman walk out to their boats at low tide to get ready to find the days catch. I love doing that and it is nearly the same on every developing island.
Afterwards, I got on my motorbike and started cruising around the gorgeous green and hilly island. My two main objectives were to get to the famous beach, Trou d’Argent, which required a 30 minute drive on the bike each way plus one hour hiking through the lava rocks each way so that was 3 hours plus time spent at the beach. The only way the beach is accessible is by foot or by boat. My second objective was to get a souvenir passport stamp at the immigration office in Port Mathurin.
First, I somehow found the way to where I was supposed to park to start the walk to the beach from the crappy map from the tourism office. I then made two rookie mistakes that were pretty dumb. First, I didn’t bring water with me and by 8am it’s already 100 degrees and humid as hell. Second, I left the motorbike parked in the sun and the seat is black pleather. So when I got back it burned the hell out of my ass even through the bathing suit.
Anyway after a gorgeous hike through a series of beaches, none of which were marked, I made it to Trou d’Argent which as you can see (above) didn’t disappoint. Luckily for me, as I arrived sweating profusely and thirsty as can be-there was a family from La Reunion there and they offered me water. Honestly, they may have saved a disaster because it was really hot and I don’t know if I would’ve made it back without passing out.
I am grateful to them and had a wonderful 45 minutes in the water cooling off before heading back where I spent more time looking at the other amazing beaches which were just as gorgeous as Trou d’Argent. They are well worth more time than the guidebooks tell you to give them.
After the beach I headed back into town to try to get a stamp. After searching the whole damn police station for the immigration guy I finally found him and sat him down. He wouldn’t give me a stamp as he said he didn’t have any. Bullshit I thought-I knew he did. After about 15 minutes of prodding he finally asked to see my passport.
I am used to it by now when I show my passport to a new person and he fingers through it and gets confused. My passport is literally an inch thick and is almost completely full yet again. He asked the normal question I get; what do I do-am I a spy? A gun runner? Etc??? I understand why they ask that kind of stuff but I say I am a tourist and I like to get stamps from where I go.
I explained how Rodrigues is self governed and virtually independent from Mauritius and I think I struck a chord of pride with him as he finally reached into his drawer and pulled out a stamp. He snickered and said where do you want it? I showed him the sweet spot to stamp and I was off like a thief in the night and very happy!
So that was basically my way too short a time in Rodrigues but I did manage to see most of the island and everything that I did want to see for sure. I also made it to the Saturday market on the harbor in Port Mathurin, where although I didn’t buy anything, they did have some nice things and clothes. Unfortunately no good tee shirts! But the island was just very chill and the type of place it’s nice to be for a day or two.
Now I am back in Mauritius proper for a few days chilling in the sun at the Le Meridien Hotel, as if I didn’t get enough today but what the hell? It’s been a long trip and I kept Mauritius and the Seychelles for last on purpose after a long trudge through Central, Eastern and Southern Africa.