Pont Bon Dieu Jardin Cave

Caverns of Pont Bon Dieu


Useful Information

Location: 2 km from Brisee Verdiere, between Moka und Flacq, Region Belvedere, east central Mauritius.
(-20.184943488915714, 57.64293181365672)
Open: no restrictions.
[2021]
Fee: free, donations welcome.
[2021]
Classification: Speleologylava tube
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=392 m, W=20 m, H=15 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
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As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

2006 cave purchased by Surya Ramdhonee.

Description

The name Pont Bon Dieu Jardin Cave (Bridge Good God Garden Cave) is derived from the Pont Bon-Dieu natural bridge at the cave entrance. The roof of the lava tube collapsed forming a pit which gives way into the cave on both ends. There is actually not what we call a natural bridge, which is a short piece of cave roof with a collapse on each side. Here is actually a cave entrance followed by a lava tube, which is called "natural bridge" because a road was built on top of the cave. The straight road makes a detour because of the collapse, just to return to its original path, a rather strange way to build a road. However, because an "artificial bridge" was avoided by this detour it is called a "natural bridge" by the locals. The second part of the name, the Jardin (garden) tells about the abundant vegetation of this collapse doline, with tropic birds and swallows all around. The protection from the outside climate and the humidity of the cave are responsible for a much better growth of plants than outside.

The cave was purchased by Surya Ramdhonee in 2006 and transformed into a meditation center. He created a new stone staircase to the floor of the doline and some trails through the depression. So this is not actually what we would call a show cave, nevertheless it is a sort of enterprise inside a cave. Buddhism has a long tradition in utilizing caves for temples or meditation. In the Far East almost any cave contains some sort of temple or at least some sculptures of Buddha. Surya Ramdhonee is a homeopath and neuromuscular therapist who offers shinrin-yoku, the Japanese art of "forest bathing". Forest bathing is a natural way to fight against the pressure of stress and anxiety. It reconnects the individual with nature by providing a reduction in stress and a natural elevation of mood.

So far the marketing babble of the owner. We do not believe in esotericism, but we know about the obvious impression a beautiful cave and a lush forest can make. The island has numerous barren landscapes, either a result of the geology and the lack of soil, but also a result of human intervention, which caused deforestation and soil erosion. The collapse doline of the cave entrance provides shelter from outside winds, humidity, and even some protection from the animals which were introduced by the settlers. The result is the lush forest of Royal palm kernels, coconut palms, Jackfruit, papaya trees, mandarin trees, lemon trees, and many endemic plants. The cave entrance is full of tree ferns and lianas, a result of the reduced availability of light.