Life is so much better when it is painted in vivid and bright colours, don’t you agree? There are places on this planet where you don’t need to put on pink glasses to be amazed or rendered speechless. There are many locations so colourful that they make you think that they are simply not real. One such place I discovered in Mauritius. Chamarel is just a small village, but what makes this little place so often visited by tourists, is the Seven Colored Earth. The colourful dunes of Chamarel are the main attraction of Mauritius and must to be seen while on the island. The whole magnificent view was created a long time ago by volcanic rocks. It is not entirely known what caused all of this to happen, but it has something to do with the lava ash and the weight of the iron in the soil. Seven Colored Earth is quite an astonishing view. The colours: yellow, red, brown, violet, purple, green and blue never erode, despite tropical downpours and the strong solar intensity in this region. I guess people always will be intrigued by the rolling dunes of multi-coloured lunar-like landscape and ask how something so colourful could have been created.
Before going to Mauritius, I was amazed by the photos of this place and wanted to see it badly. Seeing it for the first time I was disappointed. It was late afternoon and the sun had already gone down. The amazing place I had googled before my trip looked really drab. Faded colours did not resemble the internet images. So my first thought was “omg they’ve photoshopped the photos of this place!”. But now, I have reconsidered my words. It was also late afternoon the second time, but the sun was still in the sky. It was the right time to see all the beautiful hues. The colours depend on the time of the day. They say that the sunrise is the best time to see the Seven Colored Earth but I did not have that chance.
The coloured dunes are protected by a wooden fence preventing guests with bad manners from walking on them, but there are a few observation points placed along the way. The area isn’t large; it feels very small compared to the images you find on the internet. Perspective makes magic! In fact, it is just a small hill; but not an ordinary one. Yes, it is colourful; yes it consists of 7 layers, but what is the most amazing is that the hill creates an illusion. At first, you see shadows that make different colours on the ground. This place is wavy after all. It might seem that the game of shadows is obvious. However, it is enough to look at the fenced area a bit longer, to notice that the colours are real and the shadows are the illusion. Quite magical!
It is said that if you mix the layers of coloured earth together, the colours will eventually settle into separate layers due to their weights. Well, it is hard for me, to believe that. Natives say it might be only a marketing trick, as not many people will bother to come back and check if that’s true. How would they check that anyway? There is a souvenir shop that sells small test tubes filled with the coloured earth but I have my doubts about the genuineness of this powder. Tourism is governed by its own rules and most people know how things work.
The coloured sand is not the only thing Chamarel offering. You can find a beautiful waterfall here, Chamarel Falls. The waterfall is impressive, with a 90m drop into a pool below. You are a little distance away from the waterfall, but it is still very pretty and unique on its own.
Colours, especially the warm ones, evoke feelings of happiness, optimism and energy. Since the blue waters of the Indian Ocean, the greenery of Black River Gorges National Park and the 7 layers of colourful sand can cheer one up, then there is no really a reason not to go to Mauritius!