Some views are value travelling for, and the one from my terrace at Otentic Mountain, a brand new eco-retreat overlooking Mauritius’ sleepy south-east coast, is amongst them. By day, white-tailed tropicbirds soar over the forest cover, macaque monkeys screech from the guava bushes (which additionally shelter shy wild boar) and, within the distance, the occasional yacht drifts throughout the limpid turquoise sea. As night time falls, tawny Mauritian fruit bats swoop to feast within the bushes and the mountainside buzzes with a frog refrain.
Mauritius is greatest recognized for luxurious lodges on palm-fringed seashores however I’m right here to see its wilder facet, with Otentic Mountain as my base. On the foot of Bambou Mountain, about two miles from the ocean, it’s the second enterprise from Franco-Mauritian Julien Gufflet, who opened eco-camp Otentic River within the south-east in 2013. Otentic means “genuine” in Creole and each intention to supply a style of the “actual Mauritius”.

Excellent pitch … one of many camp’s safari-style tents
Constructed onto sustainable wooden platforms and camouflaged among the many bushes, the retreat’s 4 solar-lit, safari-style tents sleep 5 to eight on beds produced from recycled wood pallets, plus there’s a chalet for 2. The terraced permaculture gardens are alive with birds (round 100 Mauritius kestrel pairs dwell in these mountains) and with out cell reception or wifi, digital detox comes naturally and the sound of a mountain stream lulls you to sleep. Yoga and meditation are supplied on a deck wrapped round a large mango tree.

Otentic Mountain meditation deck
Aiming to encourage visitors to exit and spend their vacationer rupees, the restaurant (100% vegetarian, with a lot of the produce grown on-site) opens solely within the evenings. So lunch would possibly imply a wander up the highway to Stéphane’s for Mauritian curries and rotis (about £9) at Laferm Coco, or a mountain bike journey alongside the coast to La Case du Pecheur, the place chef Cindy serves domestically farmed large shrimps, lobster and crab, on wood tables beside the mangrove (menu du jour, £22).
I slip into the quiet rhythm of camp life: morning hikes within the mountains – a steep scramble to the best rock The Praying Virgin, at 630 metres, is rewarded with 360-degree views – afternoons idling within the pure pool and gardens. At sundown, visitors mingle over a tamarind rum arrangé across the firepit, earlier than lantern-lit eating on slow-cooked Mauritian specialities – jackfruit curry, breadfruit gratin. Head chef Christelle was promoting hen by the roadside earlier than Julien introduced her on board to share her grandma’s conventional caris, rougailles (curries) and chatinis (chutneys).

Mountain view, a brief distance from the camp. {Photograph}: Alamy
Every day shuttles make the 20-minute journey to Otentic River, within the village of Deux Frères, from the place there’s a free morning boat to fairly Île aux Cerfs or watery eco-adventures, maybe kayaking to Ilot Mangénie’s abandoned seashores or a visit by motorised pirogue to tiny sandbar Îlot Flamants (Flemish Island).
Designed in the same vein, Otentic River has 12-eco tents on the hillside overlooking Mauritius’ longest river, Grand Rivière Sud Est. Cosy and communal, it has a rainwater pool, with eco-activities together with a kayak to a fairly waterfall in a craggy forested gorge the place at twilight, oyster catchers perch on basalt boulders, monkey households seek for Badamier (Indian Almond) nuts among the many mangrove and fishermen, haul baskets of crab into wood pirogues.

Mauritius pink pigeon {Photograph}: Alamy
One afternoon, I take the native bus from Otentic Mountain to Mahébourg – the unique port capital on the unspoiled south-east coast – with crumbling creole homes and views over Lion Mountain from its waterfront promenade. The coast highway reveals centuries of historical past: from the place the primary Europeans (Dutch) landed to the positioning of the Battle of Grand Port, the place in 1810, the British fought the French for sovereignty of the island (and finally gained). Tiny forested Ile aux Aigrettes, on the mouth of Grand Port Bay, is considered the final resting place of the dodo, and on excursions you’ll spot Aldabra tortoises, the Telfair’s skink and pink pigeons saved from extinction.
On my final morning hike within the Bambou mountains, my information, Manu, factors out a 500-year-old ebony tree. “I feel this one noticed the dodo,” he smiles. The dodo could also be lifeless however, for the primary time in a century, endemic pink pigeons and echo parakeets are breeding right here once more within the wild. As we sit cross-legged on a basalt boulder, absorbing the surroundings, the birds stay elusive, however I really feel as near wild Mauritius because it will get.
• The journey was offered by the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, tourism-mauritius.mu. Flights had been offered by Air Mauritius (from £612 return), which flies from Heathrow direct. Tents at Otentic Ecotent Expertise price from £100 an evening B&B, for a three-night keep, and sleep two adults and three kids, or 4 adults. One of the best season to go to is October to April
Extra eco-stay choices in Mauritius

Black River Gorges nationwide park. {Photograph}: Juergen Ritterbach/Getty Photos
Chazal Ecotourism
This privately owned property within the south-west, with ziplining, river trekking and a palm-fringed pure pool, has three army-style tents with actual beds, scorching showers and terraces overlooking the Rivière des Galets – and there are plans so as to add extra. Homecooked Creole meals is served on an open-sided wood deck close by and sundowners on a mountaintop amongst Java deer and wild boar. • Tents from £140 B&B (as much as 4 folks); meals from £12.50, chazalecotourismmauritius.com
La Vieille Cheminee
This farm within the Chamarel highlands has 5 Creole-style self-catering chalets in tropical gardens, with recent produce from the property (and Mauritian meals and picnic baskets to order), plus a pool and rustic bar with mountain views. It’s one of many few locations to supply horse driving and has guided hikes by way of the plantations. • Double chalet from £82; breakfast/dinner £5/£11pp, lavieillecheminee.com
L’Exil
A pure swimming pool under fairly Leon waterfall and treks within the foothills of the Black River Gorges nationwide park are highlights on the island’s latest campsite, with 9 lodges in a non-public forest, overlooking the surf-sculpted south coast. • Double lodge £143 half-board, lexillodges.com