Exploring Rodrigues

Near the end of our stay in Rodrigues, we rented a scooter for a couple of days and travelled pretty much every road in the island. It was a fun and easy way to get out and see the sights, including the Francois Leguat Giant Tortoise and Cave Reserve, the east coast beaches, and some excellent view points.

Trip highlights from September 19th and 20th follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps


We picked up some fresh produce at the Saturday market this morning. We were surprised to find apples were plentiful, but fruits such as lemons and pineapple were not. Here Jennifer is giving everything a bath in bleach mixed with water to kill any insects before we bring the food inside. After the bath comes a freshwater rinse and a spin-dry in the salad spinner. We haven’t done this since the South Pacific.

We rented a scooter from Rotourco for a couple of days to tour the island. We’d initially considered riding our bicycles, but the island is quite hilly and would have been challenging for bicycles. That explains why we saw so few around. We could have rented a car, but the scooter was economical at 650 rupees per day (about 18.50 USD), and an easy and fun way to travel.
Pointe La Gueule

The view from Pointe La Gueule east over Baie aux Huites. The coastal road had many good view points over the fringing reef.
Cascade Pistache

Cascade Pistache is just west of the village of La Ferme with a view north to to Pointe and Baie Pistache. Cascade is French for waterfall, but we didn’t see one.
Francois Leguat Reserve

Our goal for the day was to visit the Francois Leguat Giant Tortoise and Cave Reserve. We’d arrived shortly before the next tour and stopped for a quick snack on the veranda at their restaurant.
Giant tortoise

Giant tortoises once numbered in the hundreds of thousands on Rodrigues and in the late 1600s were so plentiful that you apparently could walk 100 steps across turtle shells without touching the ground. Crew of arriving sailing ships took the tortoises for their meat, oil and shells, and the Rodrigues variety of giant tortoise soon became extinct. The Francois Leguat Giant Tortoise and Cave Reserve has been breeding Giant Aldabra and Radiata tortoises from Madagascar and now has several hundred on site.

We were glad to have taken the tour. Our guide did a great job of explaining the reserve history and tortoise habitat and behavior.

The tortoises love to have their neck stroked and stand on tip-toe, craning their necks, as you pet them. Their skin is surprisingly soft.
Canyon Tiyel

The majority of the turtles live in Canyon Tiyel. This long canyon originally was a limestone cave whose roof collapsed thousands of year ago.
Grande Caverne

The tour included a visit to Grande Caverne, a 500m-long cave filled with stalagmites and stalactites. (That’s why Jennifer is carrying the hardhat you see in a few of the pictures.)

After the tour we visited the museum, which details the island’s history, geology and endemic flora and fauna.
Quatre Vents

We returned to Port Mathurin along the main road that crosses the mountainous spine of the island. Several good lookouts were along the way, including this one looking south from Quatre Vents to Ile Gombrani and Ile aux Chats
Port Mathurin

We followed the road we’d returned on yesterday to tour the eastern part of the island. This is the view to Port Mathurin from a short distance up the road. Steps lead down from the point, likely leading to town.
Wind turbines

Several sets of wind turbines are on the eastern side of the island. These are two-blade rotors produced by Vergnet Eolien, the only French manufacturer of wind turbines. According to the manufacturer, “a 2-blade rotor is lighter, easier to install and easier to tilt down for maintenance or for hurricane protection”.
Pointe Coton

Rodrigues is known for the beautiful beaches along its eastern shore. This is at Pointe Coton, near one of the nicer resorts on the island.
Anse Ally

Several more nice beaches are along Anse Ally.
Grenade Wind Farm

We saw the Grenade Wind Farm from sea as we approached Rodrigues. The turbine farthest away has been lowered and is lying on its blades for service.
Petit Gravier

Walking the beach out to the reef at Petit Gravier. The small island of Rodrigues with its fringing reef, reminded us of Bora Bora in French Polynesia.
Montagne Malgache

We stopped for a picnic lunch at Montagne Malgache with a sweeping view to the sea. The reef break of La Grande Passe is at the center of the photo, with Ile Hermitage to the right and Ile aux Chats ands Ile Plate beyond it in distance.

We followed an incredibly steep and rutted dirt track down from Montagne Malgache to Anse Mourouk. The scooter did surprisingly well, but we likely wouldn’t be able to get it back up the same road. We knew there was a paved road we could return on though, so weren’t too worried.
Ile Hermitage

We followed the paved, but rough, coastal road along the south shore. The scenery was fabulous. This is looking south to Ile Hermitage that we could see from our picnic spot earlier.
Anse Grande Var

Looking back south to Anse Grande Var as the road climbs up and away from the coast.
Pointe La Gueule

The view from Petit Gabriel looking north to Pointe La Gueule, where we’d stopped yesterday to take a photo. Tiny Ile aux Diamant is offshore.
Beer run

The last job for our scooter before we returned it was a beer run for a couple of flats of the local brew, Phoenix.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.


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2 comments on “Exploring Rodrigues
  1. ted dixon says:

    Hi James and Jennifer,
    We enjoy following your adventures. Rodriguez sounds like an interesting place, and a great break for you.

    Have a safe passage. We are looking forward to following the rest of the adventure.

    Ted and Jenny- Auckland

    • Thanks Ted and Jenny. Rodrigues was indeed a fun stop. We’re now in Reunion. We have done a bit of exploring here but we seem to be matching the culture on the island and taking things a bit slower. It’s a nice change.

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