Caverne Patate


Useful Information

Location: Rodrigues, Mauritius.
In the south west of the island, Plaine Corail. Take the road to Petite Butte. The cave warden's hut is down a small track, close to the Centre Communal Mlost Hotels.
(-19.754870, 63.386698)
Open: All year daily 9, 11, 13, 15.
[2021]
Fee: Adults INR 200.
Groups (10+): reductions.
Tickets at the Administration Office or from several tour operators.
[2021]
Classification: Speleologykarst cave Speleologyreef cave
Light: torches provided
Dimension: L=1,150m, VR=18m.
Guided tours: D=2h, L=700m.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: J. Riviere, P. Brial, M. Duquenois (1997): Mission spéléologique à l'ille Rodrigues, Annales de Vulcano-Spéléologie de la Réunion Bulletin, 2, 23p.
J.P.Hume, L.Steel, A.A.Andre, A.Meunier (2014): In the footsteps of the bone collectors: nineteenth-century cave exploration on Rodrigues Island, Indian Ocean Historical Biology, 2014.
William R. Halliday (1996): Caving in the Republic of Mauritius Cascade Caver, January 1996, Volume 35 No.1.
Address: Administration Office, Rue Jenner, Port Mathurin, Tel: 8311504..
Caverne Patate, Petite Butte Corail Petite Butte, Mauritius, Tel: +230-5805-1022.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1789 first mentioned by captain de Labistour.
1831-1875 excavated by palaeontologists.
1996 explored and surveyed by French speleologists.

Description

Caverne Patate (Sweet Potato Cave) is a karst cave in the calcarenite limestone plains of southwest Rodrigues. It was named after the small fishing village Cite Patate, 800m to the south. There are numerous speleothems in the cave. The cave is visited for a long time and as a result the ceiling and the speleothems show remains of black soot from the torches. Today visits are only allowed with electrical torches. The visit requires a "permit" which is issued by your hotel in Rodrigues or by the “Terres” office in Port-Mathurin. In other words, the tickets are sold by the hotels, not on site. We guess the reason is to organize the visits and limit the number of participants. We suggest you also organize the transport, when you buy the permit at your hotel, busses are rare in this area and its a decent walk from the turn off. The visitors are equipped with mandatory helmets and handlamps. The cave has an elevated trail but no electric light. The tour follows the main passage for 700m and then leaves through the southern entrance.

Numerous animals have fallen into the caves and so they contain the bones of already extinct animals. Bones of the extinct turtles and the weird solitaire birds were found. The caves were excavated mostly in the 19th century.

There are legends that in this cave or another cave nearby pirates have hidden a treasure. Unfortunately this caused some destruction for the caves by treasure hunters.