The Daruty Forest is located in Petit Raffray, Mauritius Island. Often seen as a spooky place, this area offers us a magnificent opportunity to discover a tranquil nature trail to hike. In addition, it connects us with history. Let's explore it further together.
Do you know Daruty is the only official natural trail in the North? Even though this small forest has existed for decades, it was designated as a nature trail in 2022. This was on the International Day of Forests, which is celebrated every March 21. The forest is around 3 km long, with looped tracks, rich with various endemic trees like the Cordia Alliodora, Gmelina Arborea, Vitex Glabrata, etc. Moreover, with an area of more than 100 hectares, this picturesque forest is also a place for hikers and joggers to refresh themselves in nature. Since it was renovated in 2022, they have added a few benches and motivational sayings around the tracks. You can visit there with your family to spend wonderful time together.
Mountain bikers often ride there as the terrain is ideal for them to enjoy their sport. Sometimes, you may see people riding their horses. The tracks are suitable for all ages. It is not difficult, and even elders can adapt to them. As the Daruty welcomes several people on weekends, parking spaces can be taken if you do not arrive too early in the evening. The Daruty Forest Trail can be accessed by bus. There is a bus stop on the main road. It is better if you are accompanied as the area is remote, except if you are used to such places.
The Daruty Forest is officially known as, Belle Vue Forest. The origin of the name, "Belle Vue", is from the Belle Vue Robillard sugar estates. In fact, one of the historical landmarks of Daruty, is the ruin of the sugar mill, Belle Vue Robillard, which can still be seen there. It is currently wrongly identified as a "Jute Mill", as shown there. The story is, in 1839, Victor de Robillard bought 260 acres of land and founded a sugar mill. At the end of the 1860s, the estates had more than 400 acres. The sugar mill ceased its operation in 1867, and the area has been taken by the forestry department since then.
Next to the forest, was the Daruty sugar mill, owned by Jean Rose Daruty. The sugar mill was built at the early 1800s, and ceased to operate in 1865. Now, the chimney is in a private residential area. Additionally, there were the Mon Loisir Rouillard sugar estates, further away from the forest. The ruins of those sugar mills still exist today. From them, we can conclude that the whole forest area was basically surrounded by sugar mills and the agriculture sector was the main center of development. Apparently, there was also a laborers camp nearby. However, this information needs to be verified. As stated earlier, many sugar mills were present around.
Spooky & Dangerous
The Daruty Forest has a reputation for being spooky and dangerous. Many believe black magic is practiced there at night, as a few joggers have encountered black magic stuff on the trails. Also, there have been a few robbery cases as well, so everyone needs to be careful while visiting there.
The Daruty Forest remains one of the most beautiful nature trails out there, regardless of whether it is spooky or dangerous. It is rich with historical facts, and it is home to a dozen rare trees and plants. Visit it with your friends or relatives. For more nature trails in Mauritius, please click here.