The Story Behind Mauritius’ Underwater Waterfall Illusion

Echoes of the ancient supercontinent, Gondwanaland
Echoes of the ancient supercontinent, Gondwanaland | © Khoroshunova Olga / Shutterstock
Rusheel Sakaram

Baffling the most well-traveled of our world, this captivating phenomenon happens in the Indian Ocean, on the tropical island of Mauritius. Visible year-round, it is completely safe to swim in or even surf on! To ignite your wanderlust, here’s how the magic operates on this paradise island!
Did you know you can now travel with Culture Trip? Book now and join one of our premium small-group tours to discover the world like never before.
If you’ve never come across this island before, it’s chiefly known for being the home of the now extinct Dodo bird. More recently, Mauritius took the world by storm with the discovery of a lost continent beneath it, known as Mauricia. It’s now back with yet another fascinating trait, an underwater waterfall. Just to be clear, it isn’t an actual waterfall, but rather an illusion which can only be seen from up top. Located on the southwestern coast of the island known as Le Morne Peninsula, the phenomenon takes place in the turquoise lagoon. Thanks to the crystal clear water, it possible to see through it, being the key to unraveling the mystery.

Misleadingly, it isn’t the water which is actually falling into the unknown, but rather the sand and silt sediments which are in perpetual movement. Mauritius, being a relatively young island, happens to sit on an ocean shelf raised above seabed level. Off this particular coast, a gradual slope is noticed, abruptly ending in a 4000-meter-deep abyssal drop. Thanks to this marine topography, various shades of blue are visible, due to the movement of sand and silt deposits along these slopes. It is this unique harmony of shades which create the optical illusion which has won so many admirers across the world.

Echoes of the ancient supercontinent, Gondwanaland

To best capture this gift from Mother Nature, there is nothing better than a helicopter ride above the Le Morne Peninsula. Enhanced with the UNESCO World Heritage peak, the view gets even more breathtaking and begs for unlimited snapshots and footage. The national carrier, Air Mauritius, offers great deals for this memorable flight.

Love reading Culture Trip? How about travelling with us! Our Culture Trips are small-group tours that truly immerse you in a destination through authentic travel experiences. You can also embrace slow travel and the joys of journeying by train on our eco-friendly Rail Trips.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article