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MAURITIUS DISCOVERY
» 01 Sep 2010
LA VANILLE RÉSERVE DES MASCAREIGNES

La Vanille Réserve des Mascareignes was opened in 1985 in Rivière des Anguilles in the south of Mauritius. This part of the island has, more than any part, kept a feeling of “old Mauritius”, whether it is the manner of the people, their traditions or even the unspoilt scenery.

The guides will take you on an unforgettable walk and you will stroll through luxuriant greenery where banana trees, palms, and giant bamboos provide shade for the thousands of Nile crocodiles which are reared in this park. You can visit these crocodiles in perfect safety. You can also visit the Tortoise Savannah, a two acre park, which has the world's largest group of captive Aldabra and Radiata tortoises. You can have your photograph taken with Domino who weighs in at two hundred and seventy five kilograms! At ninety five years old, he is the oldest tortoise in the park.

The original Mauritian and Rodrigues tortoises are extinct and so others were brought in from the Seychelles in the 1880s on the recommendation of Charles Darwin. The Radiata hail from Madagascar and though they can live up to one hundred and forty years, they are an endangered species.

Owen Griffiths, biologist and cofounder of the Vanille Reserve des Mascareignes, was the person behind the idea of reintroducing giant tortoises to the island of Rodrigues as well as the replanting of 116,000 endemic plants. This vision, to re-make Rodrigues the giant tortoise island as described by Francois

Leguat three hundred and fifteen years ago, is now a reality. Already La Vanille has sent over three hundred captive bred Aldabra tortoises, raised over the last twenty years, back to Rodrigues and the Francois Leguat Tortoise and Cave Reserve, which is open to the public.

You will also discover a variety of other creatures: geckos, monkeys, Madagascan
tenrecs, Java deer, Japanese Koi Carps, Fruit bats and many other species. A must-see is the collection of butterflies and other brightly-coloured insects, which is one of the largest and most fascinating collections in the world.

It has taken Mr. Jacques Siedlecki thirtythree years of patient work to amass this amazing collection, and he will greet you himself to talk about his passion for
insects.

The “Crocodile Affamé” or “Hungry Crocodile Restaurant”, built among the tree-tops, will offer you a choice of Mauritian and other dishes, in particular several made with crocodile, which tastes not unlike chicken, but with the texture of calamari. Snacks and various drinks are also available.

In the “Crocodile Shop” you will find hand bags, wallets and other articles made from farmed crocodile skins, as well as a range of other gifts and souvenirs made in Mauritius which will help remind you of your visit to the park. The entire La Vanille Réserve des Mascareignes team will be happy to welcome you to this unique place where nature and humans come together in a truly Mauritian way.

La Vanille Réserve des Mascareignes - Senneville, Rivière des Anguilles -
Tel : (230) 626 2503
Fax: (230) 626 1442
Email: crocpark@intnet.mu
Web: www.lavanille-reserve.com

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