Heritage Nature Reserve has recently launched a new walk, inviting you to discover the Bel Ombre biosphere – an area of the Black River Gorges National Park where animal and plant species native to Mauritius are protected. Jean-Claude Sevathian, a botanist who has been involved with the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation for nearly twenty years, leads your exploration of this little piece of paradise on Earth.
A journey of discovery, rich in surprises
A stream guards the entrance to the reserve, evoking a scene from the famous novel Paul et Virginie. Visitors are immediately transported back in time – this is the island as the Portuguese found it when they arrived in the 16th century: a lush and vivid forest, inhabited only by the “real” Mauritians – species native to Mauritius or the Mascarenes. The majestic ebony, the Eugenia bojeri (“bois clou”), the Chassalia coriacea (“bois corail”), the Labourdonnaisia calophylloides (“bois de natte”), the Mauritius fody, with its bright red plumage, and the Mauritian Flying Fox are some of the indigenous species that can be admired within the sanctuary of Bel Ombre.
As you walk, you may see a Pink Pigeon or Echo Parakeet – both recently saved from extinction. Birds are often fairly easy to spot around the feeders that have been set up throughout the reserve, in such a way as to be inaccessible to predators. However, the birds don’t always have it so easy! The site’s conservation team closely monitors seasonal forest events including foliation (the annual regrowth of leaves), flowering, and fruiting, so that the feeders can be closed as soon as the birds have access to sufficient natural food sources.
This enjoyable and easy-going ramble brings to light interesting anecdotes on subjects as diverse as communication between trees, the enigmatic tambalacoque or ‘dodo tree’ (a few specimens can be found in the Bel Ombre biosphere) and monogamy in Echo Parakeets. Unusual, and potentially amusing, topics, but they offer an insight into the richness and beauty of a natural world whose mysteries we have not yet completely unravelled.
The purpose of the biosphere
In 1970, UNESCO launched its ‘Man and Biosphere’ Programme, with the aim of improving the long-term relationship between Man and his environment. At Bel Ombre, a team of experts from different organisations – the Rogers Group, the National Parks and Conservation Service, the Forestry Service and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation – have worked hard to add Bel Ombre to UNESCO’s worldwide register of biospheres. “In the long term, we hope to expand the biosphere to include the entire Black River Gorges National Park”, says our guide, Jean-Claude Sevathian.
It is a laudable though highly ambitious project, involving the removal of alien species (such as the highly invasive ‘Chinese’ Cattley guava), saving endangered species from extinction, and educating the public on the importance of conserving primary forests, now only 2% of Mauritius’ forested land.
This walk is Heritage Nature Reserve’s tribute to the efforts of local experts. You are invited to discover a unique landscape that, like many of the species that make their homes within it, is on the verge of extinction in Mauritius.
From the 3rd to the 5th of May 2019, Heritage Resorts invites you to the first edition of the region’s largest Wellness Festival. During the event, international wellbeing experts will take you on an inspiring journey of exploration in a gorgeous setting. So get your yoga pants on, open your chakras, and prepare to reconnect with your senses, deep within the island’s wild southern region.
Step 1: Move your body!
Mauritius Wellness Festival by Heritage Resorts - 2019 - YouTube
Physical activity is intrinsically linked to wellbeing. But rather than running a marathon, why not combine exercise, mindfulness and the great outdoors? A dream team of wellbeing gurus – including Hanna Barrett, one of London’s best-known bloggers and yogis; Austrian practitioner Jeannette Fuchs; and some of Mauritius’ best teachers – will introduce you to various types of yoga, Tai Chi, and the ultra-trendy practice of Qi Gong. Alternatively, join our trail running experts to discover the southern region’s natural wonders. They will guide you through areas including Chamarel, Le Morne, the Bel Ombre Biosphere Reserve, the Black River Gorges National Park and more.
Step 2: Have fun!
Have you ever tried doing yoga blindfolded, on a Stand-Up Paddle, or against a background of sega music? These are just some of the playful alternatives to the classic vinyasas. Mauritian artists including Sarasvati Mallac, Norbert Planel, David Lagesse and Kim Siew will offer painting and music classes while Neo Jharee will introduce you to acroyoga, a practice which combines the wisdom of yoga, the muscle of acrobatics and the benevolence of healing practices. Whether you end up suspended in mid-air, floating on the calm waters of the lagoon or handling a paintbrush, wellness has never been this much fun.
Step 3: Flourish and feel fulfilled!
The Mauritius Wellness Festival by Heritage Resorts will offer a wide range of conferences and workshops on personal development. Sessions on SoulMapping, HeartMath, Life Balance, the Science of Sensations and other topics will be led by Dr. Sandra Stallaert, Almarie Venter, Audrey Bracey Deegan and other coaching greats. If you are looking for relaxation and healing, join a sound and vibration meditation session, practice your breathing with Dominique Lonchant, or give crystal healing a try.
Step 4: Treat yourself!
The science is clear: a healthy diet is essential to your physical and mental health. Reconnect with the land and learn about organic farming with Aurore Rouzzi’s, learn about the dangers of sugar with nutritionist Sandra de Foucault, and experience the benefits of “gastRawnomy” the Marie-Sophie Lelouch way. Since 2012, this naturopath and French chef has become a prominent figure in the world of raw and vegetable nutrition, thanks in particular to her website L’Instant Cru and the delicious dishes she concocts for Parisian restaurant L’Alcazar.
Heritage Resorts is known for its extensive programme of events held in exceptional settings. In recent months, the group’s existing calendar of sporting and culinary events has been enriched by remarkable arts and cultural experiences. Here is a glimpse of 2019’s must-attend events!
In with the new at Heritage Resorts…
Since taking up her role as Heritage Resort’s Leisure and Events Manager, Clothilde Lefébure has woven themes such as art and culture into the estate’s existing portfolio of events. “With its rich history, high-quality infrastructure and the beauty of its natural setting, Heritage Bel Ombre is perfect for arts and cultural events,” she explains. In 2018, Heritage Le Château notably hosted a jazz dinner with the Akpé Motion group and an opera dinner in collaboration with the François Mitterand Conservatory of Music.
Since last October, as part of the “SpArt Experience” concept, Heritage Awali’s spa has also been transformed into a temporary gallery space. The Heritage team looked to Charlotte d’Hotman, founder of the Imaaya art gallery, to select the Mauritian artists whose work now adorns the spa’s interior and exterior walls. “It’s an immersive experience,” highlights Clothilde. Spas are spaces in which where you are invited to take your time, and are therefore ideal settings in which to admire works of art.
So far, spArt experience at Heritage Awali has exhibited Dévid, Mila Gupta, Lalit Gupta, Khalid Nazroo, Nalini Treebhoobun, Gada and Elizabeth de Marcy Chelin. Their work is available for sale on site, with non-residents able to visit the gallery by appointment. Alongside this, the spa offers chromotherapy – a treatment method that uses coloured lights to keep the body running smoothly – and has introduced an art-themed signature massage.
… but the classics endure!
As it does every year, Heritage Bel Ombre will offer sports, festive and culinary adventures galore to those who embrace life with gusto. On the 8th of March, celebrated French chef David Toutain – who was recently awarded a second Michelin star – will be in residence at Heritage Le Château for a gourmet dinner. The following day, head to Heritage C Beach Club for another installment of its legendary Pure Beach Parties!
As always, any number of sporting and wellbeing events are in the works this year. From the 3rd to the 5th of May, Heritage Bel Ombre will host the first edition of the Mauritius Wellness Festival by Heritage Resorts. While its main hub will be located at Heritage C Beach Club, many of its activities will take place in the wild South’s most legendary and authentic places. The festival’s programme includes dance, sound and art workshops, lectures by local and international wellness experts, and meditation sessions.
On your marks, get set… go! The Heritage Trail will take place on the 11th of August this year, with courses suitable for participants at every level of fitness. These include a 3km-long family walk, a 10km discovery of the Heritage Bel Ombre valleys, a 21km challenge run and an epic 55km trail! Finally, the end of the year will mark the long-awaited return of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Golf Club – a unique international golf tournament tri-sanctioned by the Sunshine, European and Asian Tours.
Whether you’re interested in sports, fine dining or arts and culture, Heritage Bel Ombre is the place to be this year!
The wunderkind of French cuisine, who trained with some of the world’s greatest chefs and has since won a Michelin star and 4 toques in the Gault & Millau guide, is back at Heritage Le Château for the second year running. Discover a delicious new summer menu that is all finesse and freshness.
Heritage Le Château - Where time stands still! - YouTube
David Toutain has created twelve unique new dishes to be enjoyed in the exceptional setting of Heritage Le Château. The beautiful 19th century dwelling that houses the restaurant takes diners back to another time. Its chic, luxurious décor, with its hardwoods, stained glass and velvet, (re)creates the atmosphere of an opulent and luxurious family home. Chefs have no choice but to reflect the context in their cuisine. David Toutain has therefore sought to create a menu that does justice to the setting and invites the diner on a journey.
For David Toutain, this collaboration with Heritage Le Château is a way to step out of his comfort zone. The chef sees it as an opportunity to reassess his methods and try something new. Despite his having been exposed to the joys of travel relatively late, exploring has become second nature to him; and the discovery of new cultures and approaches has considerably influenced his cooking. The menu he has designed for the Château is intended as a genuine Mauritian fine dining experience that integrates local products and is underscored by his personal creative touch. It consists of an earthy, plant-rich cuisine in which local produce is placed in the limelight while remaining true to its origins.
For his second residency at the Château, the chef has gone to even greater creative lengths now that he has his bearings. It’s obvious that he knows the island, is discovering more and more local ingredients, and has forged relationships with the Château’s team. This new menu is the result of a genuine partnership between David Toutain and the Château’s resident chefs. It features fresh, limitlessly imaginative dishes, as demonstrated by incredible flavour combinations such as cucumber and oyster or local ourite* and green papaya. The island’s typical spices and condiments (curry leaf, saffron, kaffir lime) complement gorgeous local fare such as blacktip grouper or pig raised free-range in the Domaine d’Heritage Bel Ombre.
This gourmet journey is completed by the Château’s exceptional wine cellar, which allows guests to choose from a selection of fine vintages from around the world to accompany their meal.
The restaurant is open for dinner only. Please call 601 55 29 for reservations.
Sustainable development is one of Heritage Resorts‘ biggest concerns. A number of strategies have been put into place to ensure that the estate is developed sustainably and in an eco-friendly way, from its rolling hills to the depths of its sea floor. What unites these projects is a passionate desire to protect the Wild South’s natural heritage for generations to come. Discover the key initiatives being rolled out in each of the estate’s constituent parts: its nature reserve, its hotels and along its coastline.
A nature reserve rich in biodiversity
Heritage Nature Reserve consists of 1,300 hectares of grassland, rivers and waterfalls overlooking Bel Ombre and its lagoon. This natural sanctuary is home to an extraordinarily rich ecosystem of endemic plant and animal species. We are deeply committed to their conservation and partner with a wide range of Mauritian NGOs, such as the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Reef Conservation and SOS Heritage, in order to protect them.
Guests are invited to discover Bel Ombre’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, located in the Black River Gorges National Park, on foot or aboard a 4×4. Biosphere reserves seek to establish sustainable interactions between humans and ecosystems, in order to reconcile their sometimes divergent needs. During these nature walks, you’ll discover beautiful endemic tree species including bois de natte, bois tambour and black ebony. You’ll also admire rare endemic bird species such as the echo parakeet, pink pigeon and olive white-eye. These enjoyable, family-friendly hikes raise public awareness of conservation issues in an interactive, accessible way.
Alexandre Piat, a dynamic Sustainable Development Executive, has recently joined the Heritage Resorts team. His role is to develop and implement eco-friendly projects, strategies and products at Heritage Bel Ombre; and to apply the recommendations of the Green Key accreditation, which the group has held since 2017. “Green Key is an environmental certification for the hospitality business that evolves constantly”, explains Alexandre. “It’s not a one-off certification; you have to improve every year in order to keep it.”
Certain eco-friendly projects, such as the use of refillable glass water bottles and recycling through the Plankton social enterprise, have been in place for some time, yet continue to bear fruit. Other initiatives have more recently been implemented. For instance, Heritage Le Telfair and Heritage Awali have now installed flow reducers on faucets to reduce water wastage; use biodegradable detergents and dishwashing products; retrofitted LED bulbs; and preheated hot water using solar energy. In addition, the air conditioning in rooms now turns off when the doors to the veranda are open, and rooms are equipped with a card lock system that cuts the room’s electricity supply when guests leave. Endemic species are also added to the hotel gardens whenever flower beds need replanting. And the hotels’ shops will soon stock eco-friendly sun creams to help protect Bel Ombre’s coral reefs.
Finally, Heritage Resorts now offers guests an opportunity to sample fresh ingredients that are responsibly reared or grown only a few kilometres away from their hotel rooms. Among Bel Ombre’s signature foodstuffs are game, taro, breadfruit, cassava and heart of palm. A 100% organic vegetable garden is also being planned!
A resurgence of marine life
The Bel Ombre beach has narrowed by almost 10 meters over the last decade. Several scientific studies have highlighted the dangers of this type of coastal erosion. Given these alarming forecasts, Heritage Resorts has partnered with LUX * and Outrigger, two other hotel groups operating in the region, to set up a beach and lagoon rehabilitation programme. First, an unobtrusive basalt dyke was built at the mouth of the Citronniers River to stabilise the beach. Eight breakwaters were then placed in the lagoon to minimise the impact of waves washing onto shore. Finally, new sand was added to the beach.
Since then, the installation of artificial reefs – which attract large numbers of fish – has led to a revival of local marine life. The lagoon is once again home to species with amusing names such as “Madame Tombée” (Cheilinus trilobatus, or triple-tail wrasse), the “Cousse Cousse” (Abudefduf sordidus, or blackspot sergeant) or the Rouget Gros Labouche (Parupeneus bifasciatus, or bubble-bar goatfish). Within only a few weeks, more than fifteen species that were not previously found in the lagoon were identified in its waters. Today, Day Marine monitors the beaches, the University of Mauritius controls water quality and Reef Conservation is in charge of environmental monitoring in the area.
Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort stands out once again this year at the 2018 World Luxury Awards by winning the title of “Luxury Wellness Hotel” in the Indian Ocean category, a prestigious award that highlights both a global and innovative approach to wellness and the expertise of a team trained in the principles of Seven colors Wellness Experiences.
With a Wellness Pavilion of nearly 2000m2 set in the heart of lush tropical gardens, Heritage Le Telfair offers, through Seven Colours Wellness Experience, a range of holistic treatments meticulously adapted to the needs of each individual.
Seeking rejuvenation doesn’t quite make sense unless the approach is holistic, encompassing treatments, natural cosmetic products, exercise, healthy eating, and even the hotel room’s ambiance…Focusing on the seven chakras of the body and the seven colors of the rainbow, Heritage Le Telfair offers a complete holistic experience going beyond the energizing aspect of the treatments, to encompass the mental, nutritional, personal development and relaxation aspects. A series of physical exercises, tailor-made for individuals or groups, have been designed to correct muscle imbalances, improve posture, coordination, balance, strength and flexibility. Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, Pilates and meditation classes are offered in the shade of the Wellness Pavilion. Outdoor relaxation at the Heritage Nature Reserve with “Forest Bathing” or “Wellness Walks” to revitalize oneself in symbiosis with nature.
About the World Luxury Awards
Created in 2006, the World Luxury Hotel Awards represents the pinnacle of excellence in the hotel industry, offering international recognition to which the votes of guests, travelers and industry players have contributed. More than 300,000 international travelers vote each year, over a four-week period, to select the winners. Luxury hotels have the opportunity to participate in the World Luxury Hotel Awards by participating in categories that highlight their specificities and destination.
Five-time winner seems such a performance, and yet this year again, the Heritage Golf Club was awarded the title of “Indian Ocean’s Best Golf Course” (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018). The award underlines the tireless teams’ endeavor to give it their best shot. From the Management level, to the maintenance of the course, the Clubhouse or the Golf Academy, Heritage Golf Club’s team innovates to enhance client’s golf experience.
Jonathan Menteath, Heritage Golf Club’s General Manager, states: “we are extremely proud to have won the World Golf Award for the best golf course in the Indian Ocean for the 5th year in a row. With the number of world class golfing facilities in Mauritius and the Indian Ocean, this one feels extra special and I am proud of what our Heritage Golf Club team has achieved. I can only liken this sense of achievement and excitement to what a golf pro feels when sinking a winning putt.”
Francois Eynaud, CEO of VLH Ltd, operating Heritage Golf Club through Heritage Resorts, says that “this outstanding achievement reinforces Heritage Resort’s positioning on the local and international golf scene and augurs a fantastic AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open tournament in just a few days, hosted this year at Anahita Mauritius, and back at Heritage Golf Club in Bel Ombre in 2019”.
About the World Golf Awards:
The World Golf Awards celebrate and reward excellence in the realm of golf tourism, which includes courses on par with the best of the world and golf destinations. The aim is to enrich the golfer’s experience, an incentive that stimulates the global market. The World Golf Awards 2016 prioritized the 130 countries that are shaping the future of the ever evolving, dynamic industry.
Who votes? Travel and golf tourism industry professionals, executives, tour operators, travel agencies, the media and of course the public. The voting is a winner takes all system to ensure fairness and independence. The votes are cast online via the World Golf Awards website. The winners of each category meet with those of all countries before the final winners are announced.
If your idea of a holiday is relaxing on a white sand beach from dawn to dusk, Mauritius is the place for you. But perhaps you’re keen to escape the “sun lounger-swim in the ocean-sun lounger” routine, or prefer a dash of adventure to simply lazing around. In that case, lace up your sneakers and make sure you’re hungry – Heritage Le Telfair has got a treat in store!
With a different activity available every day of the week, it’s impossible to get bored. Heritage Le Telfair offers a programme of nature-focused and cultural experiences suitable for the whole family.
Nestled between verdant mountains and an azure lagoon, Heritage Bel Ombre consists of 2,500 hectares of dramatic landscapes. Capitalising on the estate’s natural beauty, we offer nature lovers a wide range of both relaxing and athletic outdoor activities. Every Tuesday, a speedboat will take you out to the middle of the lagoon to admire the dazzling spectacle of the Mauritian sunset, a glass of champagne and a few canapés in hand. On Fridays, head to Heritage Nature Reserve, located a few minutes from the hotel, for a wellness walk that culminates on a mountaintop, allowing you to bask in the day’s last few rays of sunshine.
You’ll also find plenty to enjoy at Heritage Le Telfair if you’re passionate about culture. Unleash your creative side with our Monday evening art therapy sessions run by a Mauritian artist. After a friendly cocktail at the Cavendish Bar and an art demonstration, the artist will present his work. It’s the perfect opportunity to support local talent and take home a unique souvenir of your stay. Thursdays are more active: Mauritian start-up Explore Nou Zil will take you on an electro-bike tour of the island’s wild south. During this fun and rewarding excursion, you’ll discover the region’s most iconic sites, from the traditional village of Souillac to Gris-Gris, the spectacular “Crying Rock” and the Savanne River – places whose names are as charming as they are!
Epicures can savour three different activities that are as delicious as they are fascinating. Every Wednesday, the Cavendish Bar offers a happy hour in honour of the island’s most typical cocktail: a rhum arrangé bursting with tropical favours. The foodie festivities continue into the weekend: on Saturdays, take a tour of the estate’s exceptional wine cellars at Annabella’s or in the historic setting of Heritage Le Château. In a nod to French tradition, each vintage is paired with a different and delicious cheese. On Sundays, put your culinary talent to work in the kitchen at Annabella’s by taking part in a relaxed and enjoyable cooking class. But you’d do well to concentrate – you’ll be served whatever you prepare for lunch!