The Tamarin falls, or "7 cascades" as they are called in French, are a well known sight in Mauritius. That's why I was so surprised how bad the falls and even the viewpoint are signposted. Of course we don't just want to enjoy the view from the viewpoint, but hike down the gorge and the first 4 cascades. For that you need approx. 2 hours. If you like to hike down all the 7 cascades and back again, you should plan a whole day for this trip.
|The upper 4 cascades:||approx. 2 hours (roundtrip)|
|100m altitude difference (down and back again)|
Access is only possible by the village of "Henrietta". Maps that show a road from the south are wrong, respectively these roads are not public! The junction to Henrietta is signed well, there is even a signpost reading "7 cascades". We follow the road until the Henrietta bus terminal, which is a big square on the right side of the road.
Here you will be received by locals that want to sell you a tour to the waterfalls. A guided tour is absolutely recommended, but you should negotiate the price! As a reference you should not pay more than 350 Rs per person. However if you like to explore the waterfalls on your own, you should read on...
If you want to look at the falls from the viewpoint first, turn right at the Henrietta bus terminal two times. After approx. 100m you will reach the viewpoint on the left side on the road. You can park alongside the road. Beyond the viewpoint starts the trail to the lower cascades, however I could not try this one so far.
For the trail to the upper cascades, continue left past the bus terminal and follow the road for 1.5km until you come to a building on the left side of the road. Here you turn right onto a track and park on the left side in the shade of the trees. To the right of the track there is a sugar cane field. On foot we follow the track and the edge of the forest. After approx. 300m the track turns right. Here starts a trail that leads straigth ahead and then veers to the left into the wood.
The small trail leads down steep and shortly reached the river. Upstream you can see the first waterfall. We traverse the river and go around the basin on the other (western) side. The trail traverses the river again below the second waterfall and from now on stays on the eastern side of the river
Without difficulties you should reach the 2nd and 3rd basin. But for going further down to the next level you have to master a crux: To the right (if you look downstream) of the 3rd basin you have to climb along a steep cliff and from there onto a tree and then down the tree. To do so, you have to let yourself fall forward towards the tree to grab it with your hands. There are notches cut into the branches of the tree that you can use as steps to climb down the tree.
Once you mastered this part you can enjoy a swim in the 4th basin. The water is deep and you can jump in from the rocks at the waterfall. If there are puddles of water with small fish in them on the rocks, you should take off your shoes and hold your feet into the water. What you have to pay for elsewhere, you get here for free: Fish will eat your hard skin from your feet!
For now, you can only proceed further down with canyoning equipment (see Vertical World). But you should not miss the view down from the edge. Afterwards we follow the trail upwards. If you still have some energy left and want to explore the remaining cascades of the falls, you keep left at the next junction. This trail will lead down into the gorge again and back up to the viewpoint and the bus terminal. But remember that you should plan a whole day for this trip! Unfortunately I could not try this part until now.
If you keep right at the junction, the trail continues to ascent until it leaves the wood and you are again in front of the sugar cane field. You turn right on the track and shortly reach the point where we turned onto the small trail on our way down. We continue on the track until we are back at our parked car.