Relax and luxuriate in some 'me time' visit Mauritius. Ornately decorated, pastel coloured Hindu temples through the roadside, lushly carpeted volcanic peaks, fields of swaying sugar cane and powder-white beaches mark out this Indian Ocean island, whose folks are a friendly blend of Indian and Creole, which has a past peppered with Dutch, French and British colonial influence. Look forward to the trip of a lifetime.
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Mauritius at a glance
Emirates gateway: Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport Time zone: GMT +4 hours Currency: The Mauritian Rupee (MUR). It’s sensible to order currency before your trip, but ATMs are widespread for the island and bank cards generally accepted Languages: English is mostly accepted because the official language, but Creole is most widely spoken. You will also hear French, Hindi, Bhojpuri, Urdu and Chinese Dialing code: +230 Religion: A real mix - but nearly half of the population are Hindu, then Christian (mainly Roman Catholic), Muslim, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism Plug sockets: 230V/50hz and infrequently UK three-pin sockets, but take an adaptor regarding variation Airport to North Coast: 55mins to 1hr Airport to South Coast: 40 to 50 mins car Airport to East and West Coast: 50mins to 1hr car
The peaceful atmosphere makes Mauritius a common spot for sleepy holidays, but beyond its beautiful beaches and luxury hotels lies an evergrowing range of fun and adrenalin-fuelled activities, while its bustling capital Port Louis has much to hold on to the attention.
Gaze at giant Amazonian lilies on ponds on the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden.
Learn to join in one with the world’s top diving destinations, loved for the warm waters, good underwater visibility and abundant marine life.
Plan a journey in the Black River Gorges National Park, the location of the island’s highest mountain, Little Black River Peak.
Try the delicious Mauritian cuisine, influenced with the Indian, Creole and Chinese heritage with the islanders.
When to visit
Mauritius is a its coolest from May to September, although temperatures rarely drop below 25C. December to April is the place where the island reaches its hottest and the majority humid when it also contains the highest potential for rain, the quantity of which will vary across the area.
What to pack
Take an abundance of light and airy clothing, but having a growing array of things to try within the island, from zip lining to quad biking, it's wise to take some gear for outdoor activities, as well as an abundance of swimwear to produce the most of pursuits sailing too. The predominantly Hindu Mauritians is usually conservative, so be respectful by covering up when entering chapels, or out. Areas of Mauritius:
North - The sunniest part in the island, boasting chalky-white beaches and good proximity to Port Louis, it’s hardly surprising its northern border is the tourism hotspot, especially around Grand Baie, with lots of restaurants lining Coastal Road. When it comes to activities, there’s many methods from sky diving to parasailing, underwater walks to submarine excursions, or perhaps a catamaran cruise, to sleepier Ilot Gabriel. Shaded by tall casuarina trees, Trou aux Biches may be known as one with the best beaches about the island and Mont Choisy, a 2km stretch of pristine, also curves north from this point. Up with the island’s most northerly tip could be the peaceful fishing village of Cap Malheureux, or Cape of Misfortune, named due to its history of shipwrecks.
East - Home to beaches for instance 10km Belle Mare, the eastern shoreline is the place where many with the original luxury hotels started life, including One&Only Le Saint Geran and Le Touessrok (now a Shangri-La hotel). Definitely plan a day on the ocean from here, stopping off at Ile aux Cerfs, a favorite island with a boat trip on the tourist hub of Trou d’Eau Douce. Blue Bay Marine Park - man or woman in Mauritius - within the southeast coast near Mahebourg, is one from the best places to snorkel near shore, or you can please take a ride in the glass-bottomed boat. The reserve is you will find private Ile des Deux Cocos, full of 1920s villa and managed by LUX Resorts, who will reserve it to have an overnight stay, excursion, or exclusive event. Or choose Ile aux Aigrettes, a conservation island where tortoises lumber from the shade and you will spot the rare Telfair’s skinks, the ornately-coloured day gecko and pink pigeons.
South & West - The “sunset coast”, which stretches on the west side from the island from Port Louis right down to Le Morne Peninsula, has many of Mauritius’ best scenery and is the place to find Black River Gorges National Park. A fascinating side trip is Grand Bassin, a crater-lake and sacred Hindu site that has a towering 33-metre statue of Shiva. For families, La Vanille Nature Park has numerous Giant Aldabra tortoises to wander among, while Casela Nature Park has canyon swinging, quad biking or even a more sedate safari among a number of Africa’s most famed creatures. More key attractions include Flic en Flac, a legendary surf spot inside the 1970s now famed for the dolphins, while Le Morne from the south is you will find exclusive hotels and excellent kite surfing with all the monolith of Le Morne Brabant among the area’s best climbs. Historically the south is less developed, with empty beaches and fishing villages, but several “domaines” or sugar estates, have right now been given over to nature and activity tourism, such because one at Bel Ombre.
Expect a palate-pleasing blend of French, Creole, Indian, Chinese and British influences, with sets from croissants to curries around the menu. Some local dishes to utilise include dhal puris, rotis filled up with dal and pickles and served with curry, and also the popular Creole stew of rougaille, with meat or fish, garlic, onion and thyme. Or you could just snack on deep-fried cassava chips using a cold local Phoenix beer; trying some in the rum made within the island is a must.
Around two-thirds of Mauritians are of Indian origin, descended from indentured labourers taken to work inside sugar industry. A further large part is Creole (mixed French and African descent), alongside some Chinese and others of Franco-Mauritian descent. Hinduism would be the predominant religion, and then Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, with a lot of religious and cultural festivals celebrated. Mauritius is recognized for sega, a folk dance set with a rhythmic beat featuring its roots inside 18th century when slaves performed it.
Due to its volcanic origin, age, isolation and unique terrain, Mauritius had always been the location of a diversity of plant life and animals not usually within such a small area. Today, it’s much diminished, however, you might spot a samber, a brown lightly deer, a mongoose, monkeys or around 100 types of bird. Giant tortoises once roamed the region, however they are now extinct; what you see within the Pamplemousses gardens along with attractions will be the introduced Seychellois Aldabra species. Take a catamaran excursion in Tamarin Bay to view dolphins playing.
Arabs were the first ones to discover the island inside the 9th century, naming it Dina Arobi. But they didn’t settle as well as the Portuguese passed by too, leaving it on the Dutch to begin a full settlement in 1638. They named it after Prince Maurice van Nassau, and started exporting its Ebony wood, introducing sugar cane plants from Java and killing swathes of dodo and giant tortoise for food. Survival was tough along with the Dutch finally lost the fight in 1710. Five years later, the French arrived and infrastructure developed considerably, however they lost this tropical isle to the British from the Napoleonic Wars using the 1814 Treaty of Paris ratifying the cession of Mauritius to your British, who ruled until independence in 1968.
Mauritius can be as appealing for families because it is honeymooners or adrenalin seekers currently, having a wide variety of diversions to be had. Golf is increasingly high-profile too, such as recent AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open with the Four Season Golf Club Mauritius in Anahita, which attracted quite a few big players.
Black River Gorges National Park
This wild and wonderful forested area is the location of Mauritius’ highest mountain at 830m, Little Black River Peak. Fitter visitors can hike to its summit, or grab the Maccabee Trail, which slopes as a result of the Black River, but there are a good amount of less taxing activities too.
Not far away from the Riviere Noire District, could be the unique geology on the “coloured earths” of Chamarel, a unprecedented natural phenomenon more than likely formed when molten rock strata cooled at different speeds following volcanic activity numerous years ago, leaving seven distinct colours; morning viewing is better. The Chamarel waterfall nearby on River du Cap is also a well known stop, as will be the elegant distillery and restaurant, Rhumerie de Chamarel.
Domaine de Bel Ombre
Located inside southwest with the island, this “domaine” or estate is where you can a array of outdoor adventures from the Frederica Nature Reserve, from your safari in the open-sided truck spotting deer and stopping to bathe in waterfalls, towards the more adrenaline-driven quad biking or Segway tours. Originally created in 1765, the estate is also the location of many restaurants, 18-hole golf course and much more activities. Pamplemousses Botanical Garden Created in 1770, this magnificent botanical garden could be the third oldest inside world and boasts a world collection of plants, while using highlight for several a visit towards the pond of giant Amazon lilies as well as the talipot palm, which flowers only one time every 60 years, then dies.
Weekday mornings are after you will see the main city at its liveliest. The busiest port within the Indian Ocean, it’s where you can around 100,000 Mauritians. There’s lots of colonial architecture and you could soak up the contrast between your Indian market, using its spices, saris and silks, and swanky Le Caudan Waterfront, once a bunch of disused warehouses the good news is packed with shops and restaurants. Check out the Blue Penny Museum to view one from the world’s rarest stamps - mistakenly issued in 1847, the Blue Pennys were printed while using words “Post Office” as an alternative to “Post Paid” - or adventure into the Natural History Museum to find dodo skeletons and many more.