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Scuba diving and snorkelling in Mauritius

It's no wonder that the spectacular island of Mauritius is an up and coming destination for both beginner and certified divers. That's because it's surrounded by 330 kilometres of coastline, encircled by a barrier reef and dotted with an array of drift dives, caverns and coral arches.

Boasting more than 430 marine and 200 coral species, you'll find over 20 wrecks from the 18th and 19th century acting as makeshift reefs in the inviting water.

There are ample PADI certified dive centres along the coast offering beginner courses and boat diving further offshore for the more experienced.

North coast

Off the north coast of Mauritius are the remote islets of Gunners Quoin and Flat Island, which are home to a handful of spectacular dive spots.

Enjoy the overgrown corals and tropical fish of Confetti Bay or explore sheer rock walls dropping hundreds of feet where you're sure to spot schools of barracuda, tuna, parrotfish and several shark species.

To the west of Gunners Quoin, you'll find a dive site identified by its namesake island full of turtles and a beautiful wall covered with soft corals.

If you're after a wreck to explore, the Djabeda won't disappoint. The Japanese fishing boat, spread along the sandy ocean floor, stretches for 44 metres and is inhabited by giant moray eels.

Across the wreck you'll find a breathtaking coral garden full of colourful fish, soft corals, sea slugs and majestic lion fish, with the occasional visit from barracuda, sting rays and dolphins.

West coast

The western coastal resort of Flic en Flac is a must visit for both divers and snorkellers alike. For the experienced diver, the Indian Ocean serves up the famous Cathedral, a large, underwater sun-lit cave with cracks and crevices covered with tropical fish and giant morays lurking in the darkness.

A short distance from the shore, snorkellers can enjoy a host of marine life amid the calm lagoon and shelving sands. Further north, off the coast of Grand Baie, Whale Rock offers divers the chance to observe hammerhead sharks and swordfish. And the blue lagoon of Pointe aux Piments provides snorkellers with opportunity to explore the reefs.

Shaped like a snake in the sand, Rempart Serpent also makes promises of hammerheads as well as dolphins. This intriguing rocky pocket covered in seaweed and corals extends over 100 metres and is home to brightly coloured tropical fish, scorpion fish and moray eels.

Finally St. Jacques, off the coast of Le Morne on the south-western tip of the island, offers one of the best drift dives in Mauritius. It gives divers the opportunity to observe white-tip reef sharks, turtles, eagle rays and anemone gardens.

One of the islands most striking wrecks can be found at Trou aux Biches on the northwest coast. Stella Maru, an old Japanese trawler, has been acting as an artificial reef since it sunk in 1987 and is surrounded by vibrant coral and schools of exotic fish.

South and east coast

The protected Blue Bay Marine Park offers an abundance of incredible coral and fish life and is suitable for all levels of both diving and snorkelling.

Moving up the coast, La Passe De Belle Mare – a popular drift dive – will have you floating with the current past black jacks, barracudas, tuna and eagle rays, as well as an array of corals and sponges.

Also, from the coastal town of Belle Mare you'll find Chateau, a stunning rock formation that resembles a castle. Dotted with tropical fish and coral life around its many corridors, you'll also find the dive site known as Boulders, offering an impressive arrangement of large rocks and bizarrely shaped reef.

Located some 20 metres below sea level, the 19th century HMS Sirius lies off the eastern coast of Mahebourg. Much of the wreck has been broken up over the years and you'll find exposed cannons on the seabed alongside an abundance of marine life.

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