Mare aux Vacoas is the largest lake in Mauritius, located just south of Curepipe in the district of Plaines Wilhems.
This vast reservoir of freshwater is supplying the towns and cities of Curepipe, Vacoas, Floreal and Moka with potable water.
Together with ground water abstraction and the Curepipe aquifer, Mare aux Vacoas is serving much of central Mauritius with water, covering a population of almost half a million people, according to the Central Water Authority (CWA).
Mare aux Vacoas can be reached with car from Curepipe or Vacoas-Phoenix just north of the lake, or from Grand Bassin and Black River Gorges National Park in the south, right after the forests of the Sophie Nature Walk. The road stretches along the west side of the reservoir, and there is a small parking lot right next to it, where there is usually also a snack stand or two, serving various local food.
Due to its location and altitude of around 600 metres above sea level, Mare aux Vacoas and the surrounding areas are susceptible to climate instability, and the water reserve levels are constantly changing.
As late as February 2012, the reservoir reached critically low water levels, and the CWA put a ban on car washing and lawn watering, with offenders liable to fines of up to Rs 50,000 and imprisonment of up to 2 years.
Mare aux Vacoas is mainly a water reservoir for central Mauritius, and not a lake as such. In other words, there are no water sport activities or other lake based activities, apart from guided walks in and around the neighbouring forests.
Just south east of the reservoir there is also an activity park (Domaine des 7 Vallées) offering various forest based activities, including horse riding and hiking, along with wild boar and deer hunting in the mountaineous forest.