What are the colors of the soil? Black, brown, gray - that would be the most common answer. What about colors of sand? Judging by the sand in the Terres des Sept Couleurs (The Seven Coloured Earth) park in Mauritius, it comes in all colors of the rainbow. No special lighting effects involved.
Visiting the village of Chamarel is the best and easiest way to witness this breathtaking moonscape with your own eyes. Here, sand dunes have seven different colors, creating an out-of-this-world landscape.
This phenomenon was discovered in the 60s. Before, these multicolored sands were covered with a layer of ordinary soil. Gradually the soil eroded, and the rainbow-colored dunes emerged from beneath the surface. It has been found that these sands have many different minerals. The boundaries between the colors are very clear, which creates extraordinarily beautiful patterns .
Many scientists tried to find out what caused the sand to have different colors. The conclusion was that the culprit is volcanic rocks, which were gradually cooling down and painting the soil in different colors. At the moment, this is the only most plausible theory for this phenomena. The curious and yet unexplained part is that for so many years, these multi-colored sands never mixed and the borders between the colors never got blurred. - after all, the dunes are constantly being exposed to the winds, water and sun.
The best time for exploring this psychedelic landscape is sunrise. The rising sun provides an indescribable atmosphere and colorful sands look particularly good in these hours. At dawn, the landscape changes every minute due to the play of light and shadow on the dunes in the rays of the rising sun.
Gallery: Seven Colors of Dunes, Mauritius