Le Pouce is one of the many mountains of Mauritius, worn down by erosion over the last two million years. The sharp peaks of their summits do not suggest that they can be reached, but the trails are still there, if you know how to find them or know their location.
Geographically, le Pouce is located in the Moka mountain range. It is the third highest peak in Mauritius at 812 m. It can be accessed via Port Louis or Saint Pierre.
From its 812m peak, le Pouce offers a splendid panorama : the Morne, the Coin de Mire, Port Louis, among others.
Le Pouce is less difficult than it seems and it is common to see entire families climbing in good spirits to share a sports moment. The last section to reach the summit of le Pouce is very steep but safe as there are few dangerous cliffs.
During the hike to the summit, one can discover exotic plants but also some rare and unique endemic species.
We made the ascent of Le Pouce with Jean Paul Leblanc, a cousin of my wife, on April 24, 2023 from Saint Pierre.
The hike starts from the starting point (a small parking lot on the left) on a wide straight track, with a gentle slope and no difficulty.
On the way, a wooden sign indicates some directions and walking times, anticipating 2h10 for le Pouce.
Follow the direction and access a very stony, sloping, shaded path under the cover of Jamrosas and winding (see trail map). The path does not present any particular difficulties in dry weather, but can be slippery in rainy weather or after rain (be careful).
Further on, the path narrows, uncovered (you can already admire beautiful panoramas) and turns into a path mainly composed of large stones that are hard on the ankles. The vegetation quickly becomes scarce and the path makes a bend to the right where one will then go along a high rock barrier that is impassable and with horizontal wooden bars that can’t be guessed why (the monkeys seen further down in the valley don’t need these bars to pass the rocks and they are too fragile to slow down any possible stone falls). The path, still very stony, begins to climb more and more. After a few bends, one arrives at a tiny blue oratory at the beginning of a small plateau.
On this plateau, you can enjoy beautiful panoramas of the island before they widen up to 360° at the summit.
The stones finally disappear to be replaced by grass and soil. A left fork leads to Port Louis.
The trail continues to the right through the Goyaviers, tall and magnificent palm trees. It winds through without difficulty a reasonable slope and sometimes a bit slippery. The tall ones multiply and replace the Goyaviers, each one struggling for the invasion of the steep flanks of the Thumb. One reaches a new small plateau where the panoramas have grown even more. The Thumb straight ahead displays its summit which seems close.
At first glance, the slope is extremely steep for the last 30 meters: this part is not recommended for people prone to vertigo. The climb begins in a guava forest and then small-colored woods due to the strong winds that sweep the peaks year-round. The path has very high steps that, combined with the verticality of the place, create the only real difficulty of the outing. Here, there are no vertiginous cliffs but a deep furrow dug by thousands of passages, much safer than the smooth rocks encountered on other peaks.
Hands are necessary for safety as handrails are very rarely found in Mauritius. The summit of a few meters square contains large rocks and a little space for tired hikers. Port Louis occupies a large part of the ocean view, and the whole of Le Pouce is surrounded by surrounding peaks, a guaranteed show. Be careful, the wind can be strong. After enjoying the show, the descent can start back on the same route, taking care on some steep sections where it is better to sit down before putting your feet down. Once arrived at the plateau near the colored woods, the rest of the descent is a pleasure.
To ascend the Thumb, it is preferable to wear good walking shoes or trainers (neither sandals nor flip-flops) and possibly a hiking stick. A windbreaker is recommended (complemented possibly by a rain garment). It is important to drink water regularly during the ascent.
It is essential to check the weather forecast before leaving and only ascend when conditions are good. Finally, it is advisable to leave early in the morning.