3 sports to try in Rodrigues
Feeling the need to get away from modern life? The best way is through a combination of physical effort and nature, on land and at sea – with one of these three sports offered on Rodrigues island.
Mourouk beach on the south coast is renowned for kite-surfing. When Jerome Branellec started this sport on the island 15 years ago, things took off very slowly but today, there are five kite schools on Rodrigues, and the island has earned a great reputation on the kite world map.
“It is a well-deserved reputation,” he says. “The conditions are often excellent, and the lagoon is vast but shallow. Beginners feel safe and progress rapidly with appropriate coaching. The experienced kiters can do just about anything: enjoy long rides on the flat or take on hardcore waves, all in the same spot.”
Helped by the south east trade winds blowing straight in from Western Australia, the strongest winds are around June-October time. Lighter in the mornings and stronger in the afternoons, the average speeds of around 25 knots offer ideal boarding conditions for kiters of all levels. Experienced boarders should check out the world famous surf break known as “Jimmy’s Pass”, which has been likened to the famous “One Eye” in Mauritius.
Walking has always been a habit in Rodrigues. Twenty years ago, roads were scarce and locals used trails to visit each other or go to the weekly fair, carrying racks of chickens and vegetables. Today the road network is much improved, but many Rodriguans have maintained their walking habit.
Walking is also the best way for visitors to capture the essence of Rodrigues, and a group of young people launched the Association of Rodriguan Guides to keep the tradition alive. Specialising in hiking, they’ve also studied the history of the island, its culture, folklore, fauna and flora. David Casimir, a member of the association, says: “For our treks, we prefer to go through what we call goat paths (shortcuts through nature), as our activity focuses on discovery. We combine the hike with a lunch in a Rodrigues home or a stop at an artisan’s workshop, for visitors to discover Rodrigues’ authentic lifestyle.”
The topography of the island invites hiking. The undulating and hilly landscape offers breathtaking views.. Take a walk to Cascade Victoire, discover the forest at Saint Gabriel around the old stone church, and admire the amazing views of the southern lagoon. The Association of Rodriguan Guides also plans to offer an itinerary around Rodrigues in stages, with nights spent in guesthouses.
Seasoned and beginner scuba divers will find much to explore in the waters of Rodrigues. Despite its many excellent sites, the island has been a word-of-mouth diving destination, and a lack of physical interaction has allowed Rodrigues to maintain its natural coral reef eco-system.
The more popular sites include the exotic sounding Couzoupa, Pirate’s Hole, Ti Colorado, Coco Fesse and Neptune Pass. An especially popular spot off the south east coast of Rodrigues is the 17m ‘Canyon’ dive site, with its incredible topography and openings under the reef which allow long shafts of sunlight to filter through. The density of Rodrigues’ fish life also makes the island an ideal snorkelling destination, for those not quite ready to take the full scuba plunge.