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Located at the northern tip of Mauritius, the village of Cap Malheureux is known for its iconic church and its view of the Coin de Mire. If this area is home to beautiful beaches, they are not really suitable for snorkeling from the shore. Instead, treat yourself to the services of a guide, who will take you by boat to a coral reef off the coast. If the coral is in quite bad condition there, the reef is still inhabited by a wide variety of colorful fish.

Scissortail sergeants at Cap Malheureux
Scissortail sergeants, generally seen gathering around snorkelers, are abundant at this location.

How to go snorkeling Cap Malheureux’s reef?

Cap Malheureux is a village located at the northern tip of Mauritius. It is particularly known for its small red-roofed church, built by the sea, one of the most iconic landscapes on the island.

Snorkeling from the shore is not really recommended in Cap Malheureux. We recommend instead that you reach by boat the offshore reef, about 1 mile from the coast. You will find several guides or fishermen to take you for an hour or two on the reef for a few hundred rupees.

Cap Malheureux reef snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Cap Malheureux

You will enter the water from your boat, directly on the reef.

Cap Malheureux snorkeling exploration tips

The reef is located near the barrier reef, inside the lagoon. This area is generally well sheltered, with no waves nor currents. The depth, from 3 to 6ft/1 to 2m above the corals, does not exceed 25ft/4m in the deepest areas.

Corals at Cap Malheureux
The coral reef is quite unhealthy, with many corals bleached or broken.

Most of Mauritius’ coral reefs are severely degraded, and that of Cap Malheureux is no exception. Few areas are intact, and you will mostly swim above damaged seabeds, where live corals and bleached or broken corals are mixed.

The most common corals on the reef are leafy coral, porous massive coral, mushroom coral, and several species of soft corals.

Blacksided hawkfish at Cap Malheureux
A black-sided hawkfish posted on a coral.

Although the seabed is quite disappointing, it is home to many fish, such as butterflyfish, parrotfish, and a wide variety of damselfish. Two species of cleaner wrasse, the bluestreak cleaner wrasse and the bicolor cleaner wrasse, can also be spotted ridding other fish of their parasites.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

You will find around Cap Malheureux several restaurants, food trucks and accommodation. The popular seaside resort of Grand Baie is a 10-minute taxi ride from Cap Malheureux.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Maximum depth12ft/4m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsPrice of the snorkeling tour

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.