Moka: Three Centuries of History 

From a little village primarily concerned with producing coffee to a burgeoning smart city open to the world, Moka has changed over the years. Discover the timeline and key events that contributed to its rich history.


Construction of the “Château du Réduit” by Governor David who apparently was head over heels for a Mokassian lady! Governor Magon would later expand the Château.


The island is divided into 8 districts, one of which is Moka. Since 1773, the region has encompassed l’Îlot du Réduit, Quartier Militaire and Quartier de la Montagne.



First ascent of the Pieter Both by an amateur mountaineer, the Frenchman Claude Peuthé.



Sugar becomes the main cash crop in Moka.

It’s all in the name

In the 18th century, the French East India Company and the government of Louis XV encouraged the production of exotic crops such as coffee. In 1721, the company introduced Arabian coffee plants from Moka – a port city on the Red Sea’s shores, where modern-day Yemen is – into Mauritius. In 1817, Moka was home to 41 acres of coffee plants, but the sugar cane industry boom brought an end to coffee cultivation in the region around 1827.


Sugar cane production sees exponential growth, making landowners and officials focus on sugar plantations. In 1845, Mauritius produced up to 7% of the world’s sugar.


An epidemic across the island, affecting Port-Louis in particular, forces many inhabitants to move towards the high plateaus and a healthier environment – notably Moka.


Small business owners and hired workers can now acquire land. Many start settling in areas surrounding sugar plantations where they become market gardeners, shop owners, hardware store owners etc. The creation of these businesses helped develop the village of Moka.


Trains arrive in Mauritius helping those who want to move away from the capital and the coast.


Around 30 sugar factories open in the Moka region, of which 16 are considered of high importance. Moka’s population increases significantly.



Inauguration of the Moka Railway linking Moka to Flacq.


The Mon Désert Sugar Company is incorporated to revitalise the Moka region.


Mon Désert Alma Ltd is incorporated following the centralisation of Alma’s sugar activities in Mon Désert


Moka sugar factories start to settle around the FUEL area.


Espitalier Noël Ltd donates land for the creation of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI).



The Espitalier Noël Ltd group and its subsidiaries – in particular the sugar companies of Savannah and Mon Désert Alma – are listed on the brand new Stock Exchange of Mauritius.



Opening of the Bocage International School in Montagne Ory.



The “École du Centre” opens in Helvetia Saint-Pierre. In 1995, the school counted 450 primary school students who were later joined by 300 other secondary school students in 1996.



Espitalier Noël Ltd reviews its land strategy and opts for real estate development. The decision enables it to increase the returns on its assets. ENL Property was created to manage this new area of activity, and several other commercial projects in Moka, Helvétia and Saint-Pierre. It was also at this time that the Bagatelle Integrated Development was launched and that the Mon Désert Alma plant ceased its operations.



Savannah Sugar Estates Ltd and Mon Désert Alma Limited merge under the banner of ENL Land Ltd, whose land in the south and centre of the island is set aside for cane cultivation and real estate development.

The Wellkin Hospital (originally known as Apollo Bramwell), created by the British American Hospitals Enterprise Ltd opened in August 2009. Today, Wellkin is the largest modern private clinic in Mauritius.

Launch of the region’s first integrated project, “Les Allées d’Helvétia”, comprises three residential phases (duplexes and apartments), a sports and well-being centre (Synergy), and a shopping centre.



The Head Office of the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) leaves Forest side for Moka.



Opening of the Bagatelle mall and the Voilà Bagatelle business hotel and the inauguration of Island Living (initially ENL Lifestyle). Bagatelle is an immediate success!



Opening of Kendra Shopping Centre.



Inauguration of the St-Pierre bypass which helps ease the traffic on Moka’s main access road (A7).



Inauguration of the country’s second motorway (M3): Terre-Rouge – Verdun which connects Moka to the north of the country without having to go through Port-Louis.



Opening of the Verdun – Ebène section on the M3 motorway as well as the connection to Valentina.



Inauguration of the new Moka District Court building.



The ENL group joins the Smart City Scheme – a program launched by the government, for the development of its land in Moka. This development lays the foundations for the Moka Smart City.



Inauguration of the new market in St Pierre.



Today, ENL is the custodian of 23,000 acres of strategically and sustainably managed land.

Our team
Mauritius at a Glance