After a rough crossing from Chagos to Rodrigues we finally arrived back to civilization. You go alongside the pier in Port Mathurin and the check in is quick and very friendly. You also find out a lot about the island, the big Saturday market and that the nice customs officer likes to sprint and will take part in the 400 m competition in an hour (that's why he was wearing running shoes and outfit...).
The people here are mainly of African origin, 96% are catholic. Compared to Mauritius were over 70% have other religious believes. There is also a Muslim minority, which you notice right away in the way the women dress. Everybody speaks English (the official language), French and Mauritian Creole and is exceptional friendly. The island belongs to Mauritius but is mostly autonomic.

05_Coconuts_waiting_to_get_processed_at_Co-Care_where_they_employ_handicapped_people
05_Coconuts_waiting_to_get_processed_at_Co-Care_where_they_employ_handicapped_people
06_The_cutting_machine_made_in_Germany
06_The_cutting_machine_made_in_Germany
07_One_of_the_workers_showing_us_how_he_cuts_and_shapes_the_coconut_to_the_different_small_pieces
07_One_of_the_workers_showing_us_how_he_cuts_and_shapes_the_coconut_to_the_different_small_pieces
08_In_this_room_all_the_finished_pieces_are_kept_waiting_for_further_processing
08_In_this_room_all_the_finished_pieces_are_kept_waiting_for_further_processing
09_The_work_area_where_they_start_working_on_the_cocnut_shells
09_The_work_area_where_they_start_working_on_the_cocnut_shells
10_The_bees_of_Co-Care_produce_one_of_the_best_honey_in_the_world
10_The_bees_of_Co-Care_produce_one_of_the_best_honey_in_the_world
11_Bees_returning_to_their_hive_after_work
11_Bees_returning_to_their_hive_after_work
12_Here_you_can_see_a_whole_hive_at_work
12_Here_you_can_see_a_whole_hive_at_work

We are impressed by the projects for poor and disadvantaged residents. CARE-CO for example helps people with special needs to get an education in their school and afterward they can choose to learn a handicraft and work at CARE-CO. There they learn how to prepare coconuts which they form into jewelery, cups, toys and many other things. During an interesting and informative visit at CARE-CO you can learn about working with coconut shells and also visit the bee hives, which produce an award-winning honey. In the “Centre de Formacion Agricole Frere Remi” young school drop outs can have a training in organic farming. They learn how to handle animals and how to plant organic wheat, vegetables and fruits. The vegetables and fruits are very thought after and are always sold out quickly. A great project!
The island was discovered in 1528 by Diego Rodrigues – therefor the name. But only in the 17th century people started to live on Rodrigues. At that time there still were about 400.000 and more giant tortoises living on the island. Within 100 years the two endemic species of giant tortoises were wiped out (eaten!), as well as many other special animal species (for example the giant salamander or the solitaire bird).

19_The_baby_station_of_the_giant_tortoise_reserve
19_The_baby_station_of_the_giant_tortoise_reserve
20_The_only_indigenous_mammal_of_the_island_before_humans_was_the_Rodrigues_fruit_bat_(Pteropus_rodericensis)
20_The_only_indigenous_mammal_of_the_island_before_humans_was_the_Rodrigues_fruit_bat_(Pteropus_rodericensis)
21_Lots_of_juvenile_radiated_tortoises_(Astrochelys_radiata)
21_Lots_of_juvenile_radiated_tortoises_(Astrochelys_radiata)
22_They_have_planted_lots_of_endemic_shrubs_and_trees_in_the_reserve_where_the_radiated_tortoises_(Astrochelys_radiata)_live
22_They_have_planted_lots_of_endemic_shrubs_and_trees_in_the_reserve_where_the_radiated_tortoises_(Astrochelys_radiata)_live
23_The_radiated_tortoises_(Astrochelys_radiata)_are_much_smaller
23_The_radiated_tortoises_(Astrochelys_radiata)_are_much_smaller
24_You_are_even_allowed_to_pet_the_tortoises
24_You_are_even_allowed_to_pet_the_tortoises
25_Smily_face
25_Smily_face
26_One_of_the_oldest_Aldabra_tortoises_(Aldabrachelys_gigantea)_in_the_reserve_which_is_called_Romeo
26_One_of_the_oldest_Aldabra_tortoises_(Aldabrachelys_gigantea)_in_the_reserve_which_is_called_Romeo
27_Feeding_the_tortoises_is_allowed
27_Feeding_the_tortoises_is_allowed
28_The_tortoise_canyon_where_more_than_300_individuals_of_Aldabra_tortoises_(Aldabrachelys_gigantea)_live
28_The_tortoise_canyon_where_more_than_300_individuals_of_Aldabra_tortoises_(Aldabrachelys_gigantea)_live
29_View_from_above_of_the_natural_canyon_where_the_giant_tortoises_live
29_View_from_above_of_the_natural_canyon_where_the_giant_tortoises_live
30_The_entrance_to_the_limestone_cave
30_The_entrance_to_the_limestone_cave
31_Stalagmites_and_stalactites_in_one_of_the_limestone_caves
31_Stalagmites_and_stalactites_in_one_of_the_limestone_caves
32_Entrance_to_the_small_but_informative_museum_of_the_Francois_Leguat_Reserve
32_Entrance_to_the_small_but_informative_museum_of_the_Francois_Leguat_Reserve
33_A_skeleton_of_the_extinct_solitaire_bird_of_Rodrigues
33_A_skeleton_of_the_extinct_solitaire_bird_of_Rodrigues
34_A_painting_how_Rodrigues_looked_like_before_the_arrival_of_humans_with_all_the_extinct_species
34_A_painting_how_Rodrigues_looked_like_before_the_arrival_of_humans_with_all_the_extinct_species

In the meantime a population of tortoises is again living on the island. In a great project – the Francois Leguat Giant Tortoises and Cave Reserve – Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) are bred since 2004 and are allowed to roam freely inside a natural canyon. Also more than 186.000 endemic and native plants were planted within the reserve. While walking through the Canyon Tiyel you get the impression how the former island looked like with all the giant tortoises and native trees and shrubs. You are also allowed to touch and pet the sometimes over 100 year old Aldabra giant tortoises under supervision and can feed them leafs. They like to be touched at their neck and stretch their throat as high as possible. Also Radiata tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) and the only native mammal the Rodrigues fruit bat (Pteropus rodericensis) have a place to live in the reserve. In the 1970ies there were only  about 70 Rodrigues fruit bats left. Since then the population has grown to over 2000 individuals again.

13_The_public_transport_is_cheap_and_great_especially_with_those_colorful_busses
13_The_public_transport_is_cheap_and_great_especially_with_those_colorful_busses
14_Riding_the_bus_around_the_island
14_Riding_the_bus_around_the_island
15_You_find_cows_everywhere_grazing_on_the_island
15_You_find_cows_everywhere_grazing_on_the_island
16_Beautiful_view_in_the_southwest_towards_the_airport
16_Beautiful_view_in_the_southwest_towards_the_airport
45_Lots_of_school_children_use_the_local_bus
45_Lots_of_school_children_use_the_local_bus
46_Car_panel_of_one_of_the_public_buses
46_Car_panel_of_one_of_the_public_buses
47_View_of_the_southern_side_of_the_island
47_View_of_the_southern_side_of_the_island
48_A_farmer_with_his_cattle_and_fields
48_A_farmer_with_his_cattle_and_fields

During the visit of the reserve you also get to see one of a few limestone caves where you can look at imposing stalagmites and stalactites. Finally there is a great small museum where you can learn a lot about the history and the plants and animals of the island – especially the Solitaire bird and the giant tortoises, who were all killed.
To drain the swamps dry a lot of Eucalyptus trees were planted, which in the meantime are very popular with the beekeepers and wood-processing companies. The ability of those plants to drain all the water out of the earth was the reason they were planted – but now nobody knows this anymore. Even though nowadays Rodrigues has immense water problems and suffers from drought in the summer, they are still planting more and more Eucalyptus trees. Possibly they should think to replace the Eucalyptus trees with native trees .
Exploring the island is very easy with the local buses. There are countless and beautiful hiking trails along the coast and inland. The island is also perfect for mountain bike tours and kite surfing, as well as diving. Rodrigues really is a very special place with nice people and far away from mass tourism, so one can really enjoy the time here.

52_A_great_place_for_a_vacation_close_to_Port_Sued_Est
52_A_great_place_for_a_vacation_close_to_Port_Sued_Est
53_Lots_of_lambs_running_around
53_Lots_of_lambs_running_around
54_Old_fish_traps_on_the_shore
54_Old_fish_traps_on_the_shore
55_Beautiful_shoreline_during_our_hike
55_Beautiful_shoreline_during_our_hike
56_Fishermen_catching_bait_fish
56_Fishermen_catching_bait_fish
57_View_of_the_coast_close_to_Les_Graviers
57_View_of_the_coast_close_to_Les_Graviers
58_Hiking_along_the_southeastern_shore
58_Hiking_along_the_southeastern_shore
59_Lava_stones_on_the_coast
59_Lava_stones_on_the_coast
60_Waves_breaking_along_the_reef_in_the_south
60_Waves_breaking_along_the_reef_in_the_south
61_Rough_coastline_close_to_Anse_Philibert
61_Rough_coastline_close_to_Anse_Philibert
62_One_of_many_beautiful_small_beaches_in_the_east_and_south_of_the_island
62_One_of_many_beautiful_small_beaches_in_the_east_and_south_of_the_island
63_Great_spot_for_a_break_close_to_Pointe_Tasman
63_Great_spot_for_a_break_close_to_Pointe_Tasman

project manaia

Krüss Mikroskope