A velvety green volcanic island, washed by the sparkling waves of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is typically recognised as a beach paradise. It’s a first choice for honeymooners and water sports enthusiasts but is equally appealing to those with a penchant for a hammock and a frosty daiquiri. The naturally opulent landscape has a magnetic spread of exclusive resorts and sumptuous hotels, making luxury holidays to Mauritius a popular choice for discerning travellers. Just keep in mind, there’s so much more to this place than palm trees and shorelines.
photo credit – by Selene Weijenberg
Spreading along the 330 kilometre coastline, the resorts of Mauritius beckon. With such formidable levels of competition, hotels on the island are at the top of their game, offering everything from tennis and squash courts to exclusive spa treatments and nutritionists. Many resorts will go even further, providing equipment for water sports enthusiasts and butler service as standard.
Once unpacked, there’s no better way to chart the stunning parameters of Mauritius than a helicopter tour. Air Mauritius offers sightseeing tours, heli-lunches and will even touch down on remote, astounding golf terrain for their customers to tee off into paradise. There’s just as much natural beauty to be gorged in the crystal-clear waters ensphering the island, and scuba diving, windsurfing and glass bottomed boat tours are all par for the course.
photo credit – by DanMaudsley
Though the island’s famous flightless bird, the dodo, died out over 300 years ago, there are still some beautiful natural sights to encounter. Listen to the chime of the island’s bird life on a walk through the idyllic Casela Bird Park. Pamplemousse’s Botanic Gardens to the north of Mauritius have a stunning array of orchids, a serene lotus pond and the chateau of Pierre Poivre. La Vanile Crocodile Park has a number of Nile crocodiles, notorious for their size and strength, as well as bats, tortoises and monkeys. For something closer still to nature, swing through the tropical treetops in the aerial assault course over at Parc Aventure.
photo credit – by /.\
If you’re more of a retail explorer, the colourful selection of fruit and vegetables yielded by the island’s velvety landscapes and some beautiful textiles are arrayed in the central market in Port Louis, the island’s capital. If you prefer to explore things at a more leisurely pace, head to Blue Bay Marine National Park on the South Coast, or Tamarind Bay on the west coast for a stroll. If you’re lucky, you just might spot a dolphin.
photo credit – by Katchooo
Citizens from Indian, Chinese, European and Creole backgrounds mix harmoniously on Mauritius. Due to such a wonderful hotchpotch of origins, there’s an accordingly broad range of festivals and celebrations throughout the year. In February, the annual pilgrimage of Maya Shivatree gets underway; a stream of pilgrims in white proceeds to the secluded crater lake of Grand Bassin. More extreme is Cavadee, a Hindu festival celebrated by Indians of Tamil origin. Devotees will fast for 48 days, and then engage in acts of devotion, which may include piercing the face with vel skewers or carrying heavy pots.