“From one citizen you gather the idea that Mauritius was created first, and then heaven; and that heaven was copied after Mauritius” ~ Mark Twain
The Island of Rainbows and Shooting Stars…
Located off the African coast, Mauritius is a tiny island in the Indian Ocean known for its pristine cultures, beautiful mountains, vast sugarcane fields and a vibrant cultural mix of Indian, Creole, French and Asians. The only home of the now extinct Dodos, this island was created by volcanic eruptions, millions of years ago. Colonized by the Dutch, French and finally the British, this unique island has a lot to offer.
Mauritius Tourism has seen a boom in the recent decades and tourists from around the world are flocking to the island nation to experience its natural beauty and interesting culture, a mix of French, English, African and Indian. Mauritius has recently started getting recognition as a honeymoon destination and Mauritius Honeymoon packages are getting quite popular.
Best Season to Visit
Being very close to the equator, Mauritius enjoys tropical climate throughout year, with hot and humid summers and a warm winter. The peak tourist seasons are from Oct to April, though these months are no less humid. While making the plans, one must consider the mercurial temperament of Mauritius weather, while it might be raining heavily a moment, it can be bright sunny the next.
One can reach Mauritius either by Air or by Sea. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is located in the south east of the island. Many major regional and international air-lines like Air Mauritius, Air France, Air Emirates etc have frequent flights connecting the island to the rest of the world.
Apart from cargo ships, there are some cruises that have now started in the Indian Ocean which include a visit to the Mauritius. It can get a little pricey, but is worth an experience.
Visitors from a number of countries like Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand do not require a visa to visit Mauritius.
Places of Interest
Grand Bay (Grand Baie)
Grand Bay is the shopping and leisure paradise of Mauritius. This coastal village located in western Mauritius was perhaps the first to witness the tourism boom in the country. The bay area is popular for its nightlife and has a number of restaurants, bars and pubs. Grand Baie’s Diver Ocean is a beautiful diving spot. The La Cuvette beach has recently been renovated and is a nice place for a walk along the ocean.
Pereybere beach is a serene place to spend some quality time swimming with your kids. This place is famous for its shopping facilities, restaurants and pubs. It is a bit crowded on weekends and holidays but is fun nevertheless.
The Balaclava ruins house the remnants of a colonist society from the 1800s. Also, the ruins of the fortress estate include the ancient settlements dating back before French rule which were amongst earliest settlers of Mauritius.
Ile aux Cerfs
Ile aux Cerfs, also known as the Deer Island, is a fabulous place for water sports and has the most beautiful beach in Mauritius. It has some of the most remarkable sand beaches and lagoons. This place is ideal for snorkeling and one just cannot afford to miss this small island, delicately placed on the ocean.
At Vieux Grand Port is the oldest settlement in Mauritius. One can see the remains of the first Dutch fortifications here. Excavation work is still going on to uncover an important part of Mauritian history.
Ile aux Aigrettes
Ile aux Aigrettes is a natural forest reserve located near the south western coast of Mauritius. The sparkling waters of a lagoon and the ruins of an old French limekiln flanked by dense forests welcome the visitors and enchant and awe them. The Mauritius Wildlife Fund has been working hard to make the island an international standard for the protection of natural resources and endangered species. Though the Dodos cannot be brought back, some of the world’s rarest birds, including the kestrel, can be found here. One can also see the extremely rare Pink Pigeon, the Aldabra giant tortoise and the Green Gecko Phelsuma.
Flic en Flac
It is a local fishing village that has expanded to become a well-known destination for tourists. Flic en Flac has a beautiful white sand beach stretching down the west coast to Tamarin which is enjoyed by both locals and tourists. One of the major attractions here is Scuba Diving. Also, there are some great diving spots just a few minutes from the beach.
Surya Oudaya Sangam
Add a religious touch to your holidays. Located at the Grand Bay, the Surya Oudaya Sangam temple is one of the many colorful Tamil temples in Mauritius.
Black River Gorges
This is a national park in the interior of the island. The forest houses the remaining native species of plant life endemic to Mauritius and has the famed ebony trees, or whatever remains of them.
A lake located inside the crater of a now extinct volcano, Ganga Talao is an important pilgrimage destination of Hindus in Mauritius. This place is frequented by devotees of Lord Shiva during Mahashivaratri. There are giant eels in the lake which are not hunted by instead fed by the people. The top of the mountain provides a beautiful panoramic view of the countryside below.
Located in the interiors of the island, the Tamarind falls is a string of seven waterfalls flanked by green mountains and lush sugarcane fields. The falls have a number of pools and is a great place for swimming and trying some line fishing.
To do in Mauritius
Be it para-sailing, rock climbing hiking kayaking, scuba diving or snorkeling or deep sea fishing, Mauritius is a great place to have any adventure. Be prepared to sweat a lot though.
Eat and Drink
Mauritius is a paradise for those who live to eat. The mixed culture of the island has resulted in cuisines which seem to take the best form France, England, China, India and Africa .. a heady mix if you think about it. Right from the street side food to the Indian curry, the seafood and European dessert, its a delight for food lovers. Do not forget to taste the sugarcane rum !
A visit to Mauritius will remain incomplete without experiencing the amazing music and dance of the island. Do not forget to dance on the rhythm of Sega with the Creole dancers. Sega, which comes from the days of slavery, is the most popular form of music on the island. A fusion of reggae and sega, called seggae has found popularity in recent times. Indian folk music which came with the girmitiyas from mainland India is also popular.