IF YOU’RE IN NEED OF SOME RELAXATION AND FANCY A GETAWAY, WHY NOT HEAD OVER TO THE EXOTIC ISLAND OF MAURITIUS. SET IN THE SOUTHEAST COAST OF AFRICA, THIS LUXURIOUS HOLIDAY DESTINATION IS THE PERFECT BREAK FOR COUPLES AND FAMILIES WHO WANT TO INDULGE IN SOMETHING A LITTLE SPECIAL
Surrounded by the mesmerising blue Indian Ocean, the location is a tranquil piece of heaven, for you to rest, relax and recuperate. But if it’s a more active holiday you’re after you won’t be disappointed.
Around 100,000 British tourists visit Mauritius every year, according to government figures. The tropical island is an oasis of paradise offering visitors endless activities and experiences; from sun kissed beaches, water sports to mouth-watering food, rich culture and history.
The island is full of a fascinating blend of cultures, inviting you to absorb the diversity of traditions and languages. Dotted around the island, you will find the perfect mix of Churches, Mosques, Temples, Chinese Pagodas and intricately carved Mauritian temples. English may be the official language, but Creole, Hindi, French and Bhojpuri are widely spoken in the country.
For food, you will be spoilt for choice, as the plethora of tasty dishes made with a mix of African, Indian and Chinese influences, will tantalise your taste buds. The mouth-watering food full of intricate flavours, colours and spices including the street food dish of ‘Dhal Puri’ is a must try.
The vast lines of sugarcane fields are among the first things visitors notice about the island. Sugarcane has a long history in Mauritius, as it was introduced to the country by Dutch colonizers, popularised by the French and developed by the British. For a unique experience visit L’Aventure du Sucre – a sugar museum and sample some sugarcane and learn about the history and its importance to the island.
If your idea of relaxation is sitting on a beach, picture yourself with a cool glass of freshly squeezed sugarcane nectar, or maybe even a cheeky margarita, whilst topping up your tan on the white sandy beaches. The island consists of many beautiful beaches including the Belle Mare Beach in the southeast, the hidden gem; La Cuvette Beach in the north and ideal for kite-surfing lovers; Le Morne Beach in the south of the island.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous why not take a swim in the turquois blue sea, or go a little deeper and experience an undersea walk? To embark on this unique experience you will be suspended metres below the sea with a continuous supply of oxygen and will walk around the ocean bed, making friends with colourful fish and sea creatures including dolphins and turtles. If you’re feeling a little more daring, head to the west of the island and have a once in a lifetime experience, walking with a Lion or Tiger at the Casela Nature & Leisure Park.
For a little more extraordinary experience, you must visit the “Coloured Earths of Chamarel” in the south west, as it is one of Mauritius’ popular tourist attractions and you will be left amazed by the colourful wonders of nature. While you are there, you can visit the Rhumerie de Chamarel, where you can try out the local rum with different flavours.
If a little bit of history is more your thing, why not head to the capital of the island, Port Louis, which is full of architectural monuments including the colonial architecture in all its glory. Take a walk to the Government House atop the palm- lined Place d’Armes central square and then head to the Blue Penny Museum to gaze at one of the world’s rarest stamps or gawk at dodo skeletons in the Natural History Museum.
Near Port Louis, you can stroll around the National Botanical Garden, the oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere. It is famous for its long pond of giant water lilies and it covers an area of around 37 hectares. Many trees have been planted by world leaders and royalty, including Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, Indira Gandhi and François Mitterrand.
Tea lovers are in for a treat, as they should not leave the island without visiting the Bois Chéri Tea Plantations. Tea enthusiasts can take a guided tour to see tea-pickers rhythmically plucking leaves from the bushes and experience the chance to sample some of the tasty flavours of tea on offer.
Jamaica may be known for producing the best rum in the world, but Mauritius is not far behind. With the expansive sugarcane fields around the island and with rum being produced on site, the distilleries have an amazing variety of rum for you to sample.
If you’re wanting to take back some souvenirs and gifts for family and friends, head over to the capital and visit the Port Louis Central Market, where you’ll be spoilt for choice for items to take back home. For a more special shopping experience visit Le Caudan Waterfront, which has over 170 boutique shops, café’s, restaurants, pubs, cinema and a casino. Away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, you can also visit the Bagatelle shopping mall.
From waterfalls, to golf courses and nature trails, the tropical island offers a whole host of exciting and interesting things to see and do. Don’t leave the island before sampling a glass of refreshing sugarcane juice, experiencing the wonderful natural sights and beaches and learning about the colourful Mauritian folklore and put your best foot forward by participating in the energetic local Sega dance.