The coloured earths of Chamarel were promoted as Mauritius' first tourist attraction back in the 1960's. Even today souvenir test-tubes containing the multi-coloured earth can be bought from beachvendors and tourist boutiques. Specimens of the earth can also be bought from the yellow-roofed administration building at the entrance of the site. The land belong to Bel Ombre Sugar Estate and a small entrance charge is made to visit the earths. An example of the horizontal mill, like a giants washing mangle, lies in front of the administration building. It was introduced by Charles Telfair, one of Bel Ombre's first owners.
Sunrise is the best time to see the Coloured Earths. Geologists are still intrigued by the rolling dunes of multi-coloured lunar-like landscape. The colours, red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow never erode in spite of torrential downpours and adverse climatic conditions. The phenomena has never been explained but it is believed the earths are composed of mineral rich volcanic ash.
Of more stunning beauty are the 83m (272ft) high Cascade Chamarel. They fall from the River St Denis in the Black River Mountains and plunge seaward to form the River du Cap. Wooden walkways from the roadway enable closer views of the waterfalls.