Close your eyes for a minute and let’s travel back in time. It’s 1795 in Mauritius. This was the era when slave trade was at its peak in Mauritius, a season when France, alongside Britain, was among the major players in the global slave trade. A significant location which sheltered runaway slaves during this period was Le Morne – now known as Le Morne Cultural Landscape – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – which is now a symbol of the slaves’ fight for freedom, suffering, and sacrifice.
Situated in the southwest region of Mauritius, Le Morne Cultural Landscape showcases the giant basaltic monolith of Le Morne Brabant, a mountain on the Le Morne Peninsula in the extreme south west of Mauritius. This was where runaway slaves, known as ‘maroons’ came to shelter throughout the 18th and early parts of the 19th century.
Now fast forward to 2008. This was the year when Le Morne Cultural Landscape was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a global attestation to the evolution of this location from a former slave yard to one of Mauritius’ best beach destinations. What’s more, the Le Morne plays host to an amazing variety of endemic plant species, especially the stunning Trochetia boutoniana, a national flower which can only be found in Le Morne, Mauritius.
Visitors to Le Morne are sure to enjoy the charming views of the detached mountain which is surrounded by breath-taking cliffs which “…rises in solitary grandeur from this little peninsula on which it stands, a spur from it forming the isthmus which unites it to the mainland.”
The Le Morne Cultural Landscape is surrounded by mild emerald lagoons lined with coral reefs with the deep blue sea in the background. Tourists are certain to enjoy breath-taking views from the various spots on the landscape as well as the luxury resorts offered by the local tour operators. The various landmarks that dot the landscape also remind visitors of the significance of Le Morne in the history and memory of Mauritius. Indeed, Le Morne Cultural Landscape is now a symbol of resistance to slavery and a rallying point for commemorating the abolition of slave trade all over the world – especially the descendants of slave communities who still live on the island