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Last updated on May 1, 2021
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.
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.
You will enter the water from your boat, directly on the reef.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Coral reef bordering a small uninhabited island
Shallow lagoon and reef drop off with turtles and colorful fish
Free shore access
Shallow lagoon with reef fish and stingrays
Free shore access
Small rocky pool with a diversity of fish
Shallow lagoon with coral and fish