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Domaine de Bel Ombre – Development that respects Nature

The Domaine de Bel Ombre is a great asset for Rogers, whose development philosophy for the region is centred on leisure activities and a quality environment that shows respect for all aspects of nature. Without neglecting its glorious past, the Domaine is busy building a future that is sustainable.

photos : csbo | rogers image bank

In some fifteen years, the Domaine de Bel Ombre has seen itself transformed into a unique tourism attraction that draws in more than 50 000 visitors each year. One of its main charms for these visitors is, as ever, the region’s natural heritage.

To further enhance these advantages, Rogers has drawn up a three-year plan which expresses its clear and bold vision for economic, environmental, social and cultural development, which will rely on co-ordinated and integrated implementation based on concrete action. This ambitious project will enable the Group to create a more sustainable future in creating a unique and distinctive customer experience.

This development relies on a synergistic and integrated planning approach and the management and promotion of the Domaine’s land and sea environment, in order to ensure a balance is maintained between nature conservation and the impact of human activities.

History, Heritage and Biodiversity

An essential element in the project is the promotion of the Domaine’s history, heritage and biodiversity. The Place du Moulin, built around the remains of the former sugar factory, will be transformed into the Cœur du Domaine. It will be the departure point for a fascinating, revealing and interactive visit arranged through an Interactive Land & Marine Resource Centre, which will become the keystone of the development plan (see page 94).

Paths will also be created along the banks of the Citronniers River immersing visitors totally in the natural beauty of the surroundings. A multi-purpose centre will also provide various facilities as an outlet for artistic and cultural expression.

The creation of a village square, Place du Village, will focus on highlighting Mauritius’ rich and diverse cultural heritage. Visitors will be able to enjoy a village square typical of bygone days, with religious buildings, a traditional tavern and a bazaar. The square will also provide a shop window for craftwork and traditional cottage industries.

The historical cachet of the Château de Bel Ombre, an elegant building constructed towards the end of the 19th century, will be enhanced. Amongst new attractions, there will be a shell museum which will display thousands of specimens from various places around the world, assembled by generations of collectors. Its formal garden will also be embellished with the addition of walking trails and a kitchen garden.

Increased range of accommodation and experiences

To further diversify the accommodation and tourist experiences on offer, Rogers intends to renovate the existing structures – the renovation of the Heritage Le Telfair has already been announced for 2017 – and introduce unique possibilities that will add to the Domaine de Bel Ombre’s distinctive character.

For an even more authentic encounter with nature, the Frederica nature sanctuary will be have an eco-lodge and the opportunity to camp there. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a picnic out-of-doors in the Domaine or discover its beauty while travelling in an open-top vehicle or even dipping into the fresh and clear waters of ponds in river.

For all these activities, the Group will be seeking eco-label certification from organisations of international standing.

Eco-sensible development

Given the success of the Heritage Golf Club and the luxury Villas Valriche programme, Rogers plans to create, through its subsidiaries, a second golf course and a new development project in the Domaine de Bel Ombre. Taking advantage of a unique coastal landscape with spectacular views and magnificent gardens, these developments will apply sustainability criteria so that they integrate harmoniously within the Domaine’s environment.

Rogers has always favoured open dialogue with the various stakeholders, as well as the socio-economic integration of people living in the locality. The agricultural, tourism and property developments have so far generated 1,500 jobs, of which almost half have been filled by those living in the area. The leisure activities which will be rolled out over the next three years will contribute to consolidating the socio-economic fabric, whilst boosting environmental conservation with a special accent on the creation of “green” jobs.

The pursuit of such activities in concert with all stakeholders will enable us to continue to work together on reinventing the future of the Domaine de Bel Ombre.

Integrated management

The implementation of the three-year development plan for the Domaine de Bel Ombre will be accompanied by a series of measures aiming to enrich the visitor experience whilst ensuring the conservation of the region’s rich biodiversity. A Lagoon Management Plan will act as the masterplan for the management and restoration of the marine environment and will be carried out in consultation and collaboration with marine biologists, hoteliers and other stakeholders. Amongst the measures considered will be better anchorage systems, the control of motor sports, the creation of marked diving zones, the production of a lagoon guide to be placed in hotel rooms and awareness campaigns and training for boat owners and their employees. As far as land biodiversity measures are concerned, they will include conservation initiatives such as nature trails, a biodiversity corridor along the course and estuary of the Citronniers River, an arboretum of native trees, the removal of invasive species to allow the native river ecosystem to flourish and adding further areas of mangroves.

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