Mauritius photo of Lion mountain view from bay of Mahebourg

Lion mountain view from bay of Mahebourg

Photography by Photographer Saleem A Sam
36 views  /  Date taken : Fri, Dec 24 2021
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Beautiful observation point over Mahébourg. The Montagne du Lion was used as a lookout in 1810 during the battle of the Vieux-Grand-Port. Its name probably comes from the shape of its peaks which remind us, with a lot of imagination, of a lion at rest. It is possible to climb it, but there are a few difficulties that you should know about before you start. The departure and the arrival are made in the sugar canes. The ascent includes a regular but sustained ascent to the rocky spurs which will certainly trigger cold sweats to the people prone to vertigo, especially the crossing of a very narrow passage protected by a net. We enjoy wide panoramas from the summit, mainly on a huge forest of ravenales (traveler's trees) in the Fernay Plateau to the north. As often in Mauritius, not a single lace to rest the legs. It is possible to take another path for the descent, recommended because less dangerous even if some passages on the basalt can also cool the ardors. Seen from the south, the mountain is flanked by a hill covered with colored woods. A narrow path leads to this small peak but one can regret the lack of panoramas because of the bushy vegetation.

The hike starts at the Vieux Grand Port police station. It is easy to park near the store 20 m from there on the main road of the village. Walk along the police station, past the huts and straight ahead to a tin shack on the right. Aim at a large badamier tree and the arched back of the lion in front of you. Soon you will notice a concrete bridge and two red arrows painted on the wall. Go straight and then right as the arrows indicate. The grassy, stony track climbs gently through the sugar canes. At the top, turn left and then take the old trail that has been transformed into a path that goes to the right. The path becomes flatter, we meet a staircase on the left which allows to cross very easily the first rocky obstacles. Begin the ascent along the ridge that will end at the summit. The ascent is hard on a path mainly made of rocks, stones and old basalt flows, some parts of which are very steep. We pass a rocky spur before making a short descent towards a pass and to set out again in rise. Higher, it is the roots which replace the stones in a shaded undergrowth. We reach a rocky plateau from which leaves a path on the right which offers a very beautiful point of view on sea, fields of cane and mountains. We walk on the back of the lion in a pleasant forest shaded by the jamrosas and the numerous clumps of ravenales. Leave the path which goes back to the left; it is the one of the return if we make this loop. When the head of the lion appears the hike borders on climbing on big rocks piled up on the ridge. This will be the real pitfall of the ascent which can worry and remains dangerous, caution is required. A particularly tricky spot near the void is fortunately protected by a fence stretched between the rocks. Be careful a little higher, another passage just as dangerous is not protected at all. We reach, after this rather sporting episode, the top of the head entirely covered with wood of colors and almost flat. We reach then the summit clearing for magnificent views on the surroundings. We go back in opposite direction by taking the path of the beginning and by finding the crossing seen while going up. To take to the right and to descend strongly under the jamrosas then in the shade of the ravenales. The slope is steep but not dangerous until you reach a crossroads. Straight on, the path allows to reach the hill near the Lion by crossing a beautiful forest of colored woods but ends at the top without offering an opening towards landscapes that we guess magnificent on the side of Mahébourg. Everyone decides whether or not to make this round trip. Then take the official itinerary again and dive towards Vieux Grand Port. The slope is very steep but the roots and stones are well positioned. A very tricky gully passage can be bypassed on the right by looking for the paint spots. It is immediately followed by a second passage along the roots of a tree. One finds oneself on a new path-pitcher or lava with certain slopes at 60%. The last obstacle is located near a huge mango tree and it is finished of the steep descent. Coconut trees announce the nearby trails in the canes for an easy and instinctive descent. The tracks are replaced by the tar at the approach of the first huts then we find the police station and the parking lot after more than 2 hours of walking.

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