Ile aux Cerfs is, along with the Pamplemousses Garden and the Terre de Sept Couleurs Geoparc, the most visited place in Mauritius. Once upon a time, this must have been a paradise... a long time ago... before the tourists arrived in droves and ruined this beautiful piece of land. Under the filaos, snack bars, tents and trinket stalls now occupy the space. And on the lagoon, a never-ending ballet of boats of all kinds - fishing boats, catamarans, pedal boats, dinghies, buoys pulled by speedboats - crosses the lagoon. At the height of the season, it's crowded, and the merchants take advantage of it. Fortunately, the tourist cohort remains limited and is mainly concentrated around the landing stage. If you walk a little along the coastline or take the time to cross the island by its small shady paths, you will still find beautiful quiet beaches, bordered by a translucent sea. Yes, if you manage to get there early or ignore the crowds of tourists, Ile aux Cerfs is really worth the trip with its beautiful creeks protected by filaos, its secret coves nestling in the mangrove swamps, its dust of islets encircling it like a jewel case. The boat tour takes us through wilder areas, where it is not uncommon to see local fishermen setting their nets for a seine. The magic of colours and a lush, indented coastline Even the most touristy section is splendid: this sandy lagoon is rounded like a drop and forms a semblance of a white pearl on the jade of the lagoon. An almost mythical place, with a toponym full of anecdotes... It is said that in the early 1900s, during the hunting season, deer, which were numerous on the private territories of the nearby shoreline, sometimes ventured ashore to cross the inlet to the island and escape the stalkers. At that time, a scene reported by the press of yesteryear, the fishermen, who were hardly invited to the great battles orchestrated by the Franco-Mauritians, caught the deer during their final swim across the river. This providential game meat came to brighten the daily life. To the angry hunters, the fishermen argued that at sea, the animals belonged to no one! Even today, branches still adorn the living rooms of some fishermen's houses, a reminder of a distant time... Of course, the deer have fled in front of the crowds of tourists, but it is said that some evenings, at low tide, they come back to spend the night on the island... Pretty popular legend.
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