The history of Bel Ombre follows the path of many sugar plantations around Mauritius, but in contrast to other plantations it is particularly remote and rather inaccessible. Many of the events that have marked its history have been shaped by this distinction. Starting in 1765 with concessions given out to French citizens who emigrated to the island, the land was used to cultivate food crops as well as prized commodities.
These concessions gradually merged as sugar became increasingly prized on the international market and the technology to produce it improved, resulting in the centralisation of harvesting and production processes.
Unfortunately, The high reliance of sugar production on labour resulted in a very heavy human cost: the estate resorted first to slave labour then indentured workers without whom the ‘Domaine’ as it exists today would not have been possible. The culture of the area is rooted in the blending of the different peoples and cultures interacting throughout history around plantation life. In the period immediately following independence La Compagnie Sucrière de Bel Ombre experienced its highest sugar yield before gradually declining throughout the latter quarter of the 20th Century. Since then, the Domaine de Bel Ombre – now Heritage – has been adapting to a changing economy and has been finding innovative ways to continue to thrive beyond the sugar era, shaping the natural, economic and social landscape with new ecologically sustainable ventures in tourism and real estate.