The Seven Colored Earth of Chamarel is a geological curiosity and one of the major tourist attractions in Mauritius.
This is a relatively small (∼7500 sq m) area of strikingly bare landscape and sand dunes. This unusual phenomenon results from color variations due to cooling of molten rock at different temperatures. It is believed that the lava formations are very old, dating from 3,5 to 7 million years ago. Sand dunes are made of mineral clay and settled into layers.
The color pattern of the hills looks surreal, creating the remarkable effect. Vibrant colors play out across the seven colored earth of Chamarel, from yellow, yellowish brown, green and blue to red, purple and violet. At first, the colors appear to be shadows. But at the closer look you will see they are very much real. Sunrise is the best time to see the dunes, when sun rays and dew mingle and bring out the best of its colors.
If you take a handful of each of the seven colored sand and mix them all together, they will eventually separate into different colored layers. If you want, you can buy a tube of multi colored earth and take it as a souvenir.
Throughout the years heavy rains have left the mark on the dunes, creating criss-cross channels and making the dunes even more beautiful. What is still intriguing to the geologists is how they never erode despite torrential downpours and harsh elements.
As one of Mauritius’ main tourist attractions, Seven Colored Earth of Chamarel is protected by a wooden fence. There is a network of trails around the hills with large observation decks. Visitors are not allowed to climb on the dunes. They can either take a closer look from the trails, or enjoy even more impressive view from the elevated platforms.