- History and Culture
Chamarel became a part of Bel Ombre Sugar Estate in 1961, when the company acquired the areas known as Nuage (625 acres), Eden (500 acres), St-Denis (600 acres), and Jacoby (312 acres), totalling the area to 4,138 acres under the same ownership. The evolution of Chamarel prior to this time period is similar to that of other areas of Mauritius: successive attempts at sugar production followed by diversified agricultural developments. However, its landscape lends it some unique features which have most likely greatly shaped the local culture and folklore.
Indeed, Chamarel is similar to Bel Ombre in its geographic isolation. Situated slightly downward from the plateau of Plaine Champagne and cut off from the rest of the South by a series of mountain peaks, it was, along with Le Morne and the forests of Bel Ombre a prime spot of hiding for maroon slaves. This remoteness has also served as the grounds for the development of illicit activities such as alcohol and marijuana contraband. This past has created an aura around the village and fuelled many stories that swing between historical fact and myth.
A village of now 783 inhabitants, Chamarel has retained this unique character that differentiates it from other villages, with tables d’hotes serving local game and cuisine, its seven coloured earth and waterfalls, as well as the coffee plantations that have been present since its integration to the Bel Ombre Estate.