Uncontrolled Development

Grand BaieRecently I decided to head to the North of the island. The purpose was to visit the Grand Baie area which I have not seen for a few years. My memories of Grand Baie and Pereybere date back to the 80’s. In those days the region had a charm and beautiful tranquil beaches. (Click on photo to view larger format).

Walking around Grand Baie I had a shock at its development. Unfortunately, for me, it is a negative sight. This small touristic place has become an eyesore. Buildings have been constructed willy-nilly, stacked up against each other. Walking along the main road you have, what seems to be, a never-ending line of restaurants each having a tour operator next-door. The buildings almost touch each other or are stuck together. You get a feeling of wild architectural construction without a thought for the environmental pleasure. There are several commercial centres along the main road mostly catering for the tourist but looking like concrete bunkers. In the rat-race to build commercial outlets it is obvious that not much has been done to replant trees or have green areas.

Thankfully, the lagoon is still there with the many moored boats. However, I get the feeling that the beach is shrinking. Either it is due to erosion or the parking spaces invading inch by inch (or cm by cm if you prefer).

PereybereContinuing North just up the road is Pereybere beach. This used to be a tranquil public beach area with few hotels or seaside homes. Today, the same phenomena has invaded the Pereybere area with construction of restaurants, bars and seaside homes in every available space. The beach is no longer the enjoyable one of years ago. Today the beach has been taken-over by hawkers who demand ridiculous prices to rent beach chairs and parasols. The beach and turquoise sea still offer an enjoyable swim if you pick the right time to go there. (Click on photo to view larger format).

While I don’t begrudge people attempting to make a living from tourism, I feel that there is a saturation point. The saturation point comes when the charm of a place has been replaced by sterile construction with no regard for its traditional reputation. Also, when a main coast road is polluted by heavy and noisy traffic this is a recipe for disaster.

Conclusion, I have no wish to return to the area but rather will explore little hidden corners of the island which still have charm and beauty. Best for me to head South and enjoy nature before they commercialize that too.

0 thoughts on “Uncontrolled Development”

  1. Well whatever you see here my friend, is the “modernization” and “development” our people have been looking for since years. They want it. They do not really like the boring trees and greenery or the sandy beach. It’s too simple. They need some glamor. Just like it is in Las Vegas. We do not like the way we are. We never accept whatever our island has given us. We want more. The grass always looks greener on the other side. Hope you getting my point here. Maybe they will never realize what they have really lost until they lose it all. And the blame goes on others. 🙂

  2. Your analysis is right. As a Mauritian, we didn’t even notice the pace at which those buildings came out of earth. You can also note, while we are at it, that most businesses in Grand Baie or Pereybere are owned and managed by Foreigners. I used to ride my bicycle to Grand Bay, now I don’t even go there by car. I also wrote a similar article in my blog…Good luck. Keep writing.

  3. I totally sympathize with your comments Mike.

    I guess it has to be put down to the plethora of tour-operators and airlines making as much money as possible in getting people to travel such distances as are necessary for the tourists/holiday-makers to travel to such resorts as Grand Baie.

    Equally the tourists/holiday-makers will make as much money as possible towards the privilege of experiencing these areas of beauty, without regards to the damage that is caused by their apparent need to have one or more holidays (annually) to these areas.

    On the other-hand, it is (apparently) money-making enterprises that surrounds these beauty-spots, but like the “rain-forests in S.America” they are becoming smaller and more difficult to find – whilst being over-developed in the way you have described.

    There again, at least it keeps people employed around the globe and in Mauritius, so unless sufficient thought and planning is put in place to protect these treasures, they will be damaged or even lost for future generations to enjoy. Then who wins…???

    I guess it can only be put down to human’s need to expand in population and with their greed
    to take-over and consequently (often) spoil the world’s hidden treasures.

    I personally, am only too happy to explore areas of the UK – rather than travel abroad along with a load of tourists and all that goes along with that…

  4. The torture of the nature does not stop here. You should grab this opportunity to see how the beaches got smaller at Trou aux Biches with the over population of transats and with the ongoing construction of the restaurant pandit. And at Pereybere, it becomes pretty painful to find a nice place because all “premium” places are occupied by the transats, again. I will end with Mont Choisy with the beach being closed to vehicles while part of that same entrance has been ‘gifted’ to allow direct access to the beach to its customers. *arrggg*

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