Ile Plate (also called Flat Island) and Ilot Gabriel (Gabriel Island) are two small islands located about 10 km north of Mauritius shores. Edged by white sand and linked by a turquoise lagoon, they offer picture-perfect preserved landscapes. To go there, you need to book a day boat trip. Numerous local operators sell excursions to the islands, generally departing from Grand Baie. The lagoon connecting the islands is a gorgeous snorkel spot (you might see rays, turtles and multiple tropical fish) but because of strong currents, it should be explored by fit swimmers only.

Titan triggerfish at Gabriel and Flat Islands
Titan triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens) is pretty common in the lagoon extending between Gabriel and Flat Islands

How to get to Flat Island & Gabriel Island snorkeling area?

Ile Plate and Ilot Gabriel are located about 10 kilometers off Mauritius north shore. If you want to visit them, you can book a catamaran day excursion starting from Grand Baie (from €40pp., a barbecue meal, and beverages included). Catamarans and bigger boats cast anchor next to Ilot Gabriel. Some trips also include a visit of Ile Plate: you’ll take an inflatable dinghy from Ilot Gabriel to there. The “3 islands tours” include the visit of these two islands + Coin de Mire on the way (which is also a good spot for snorkeling). When booking, make sure which stops are included in your trip. From Grand Baie, the boats take 90 minutes to get to Ilot Gabriel. The sea conditions vary and it’s not always smooth sailing: those prone to seasickness or those who simply prefer to arrive earlier can take the express boat.

Entering the water at Flat Island & Gabriel Island

You will start from one of the two small sandy beaches located on each island. Beware of strong currents existing in the area, and strictly follow your guide’s rules before entering the water.

Moorish Idol and butterflyfish
Moorish Idols and vagabond butterflyfish are amongst the most colorful fish you can spot in the lagoon.

Snorkeling tips and advice to explore Flat Island & Gabriel Island

Two areas are fit for snorkeling. They are located on each side of the lagoon, close to Ile Plate on its West side and Ilot Gabriel on its Eastside. The main current crosses the lagoon in a North-South direction, sometimes strongly, especially in its central part. If you leave from Ile Plate you will probably be advised to walk northwards before sliding down the current back to your starting point. Starting from Ilot Gabriel, it is possible to snorkel against the current from the beach to reef, but only if it is not too strong. Strictly follow your guide’s instructions: he will adjust them depending on the day’s sea conditions. Whatever island you start from, never try to swim from one island to the other.

Stingray at Gabriel and Flat Islands
In the deepest areas of the lagoon, it is not uncommon to encounter a bluespotted stingray hiding in the sand.

In both areas, the seabed is better preserved than around the main island of Mauritius. The shallowest areas are covered with sand or rocks. Triggerfish (lagoon triggerfish, titan triggerfish) and Moorish idols can easily be seen there. Swimming northwards, as you get closer to the reef, nice clumps of Acropora (more or less healthy) come into sight. Whitetail dascyllus take shelter under their branches and you may even spot an emperor angelfish, one of the most beautiful fish that can be seen on Mauritian reefs. The lagoon also shelters several species of butterflyfish, wrasses, and cornetfish. If lucky you might spot a sea turtle or a common stingray.

View on Gabriel Island, Mauritius
An aerial view of Gabriel Island beach and the lagoon.

Accommodation and catering near Flat Island & Gabriel Island

Almost all-day excursions to Ile Plate and Ilot Gabriel include a lunch (generally a barbecue made on the beach served with rice and salad). Make sure yours include one when booking.

 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Maximum depth12ft/4m
  • Water entranceFrom sandy areas
  • Potential DangersCurrents
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium to high
  • Access costsTour price
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

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.