You probably followed my adventures in Mauritius during the Xmas holidays on my social networks. But what you are not aware of is that I left with tears in my eyes! Sad to have to leave this beautiful island for which I had a real crush on, but also for the adorable people I met during my stay. I have to say I had the huge privilege to be accommodated in excellent conditions in an amazing villa by the sea. A good way to dream and a good reason to leave heavy hearted…! I thank each person but especially the hostess for her generosity and humor. She will recognize herself 🙂
Mauritius is one of these heavenly and exotic destinations that make you dream: its cosmopolitan population reflects in its rich and varied cuisine, made up of Chinese, Indian, Creole and European specialties. The beauty and authenticity of places, monuments and beaches are absolutely worth a visit. If you thought of visiting one day, here is a glimpse of what will be awaiting you.
Population and Culture
The Mauritian population is predominantly Indian, and visitors could easily feel like they are in India, but there is also a Chinese community that is well established on the island. They speak French and Creole, but English is the official language of the administration, a logical heritage of more than a century of British colonization. You should be aware that the Mauritian Creole is very close to French: for example, « bonjour monsieur » is called « Bonzour missié ». Sometimes it sounds pretty funny. As a French speaking tourist you feel comfortable and have no language barrier.
The Mauritians are good living people who love good food and dancing. The Sega, a musical style inspired by the traditional songs of Africans during the period of slavery, is the cultural emblem of the island. They are very attached to their cultural rituals and customs. They are also very into respecting the rules and modesty: they must take off their shoes before entering a place of worship (mosque or temple).
If you go there in March, you can attend the festivities organized by the Hindu community in Ganga Talaoqui (Ganesh Chaturthi and Maha Shivaratree). The Independence Day and the Island Marathon are held in July. The local cuisine is very tasty: rougails, chutneys, massala cooked meat, vegetables, poultry and sautéed mines, but also the achards and seafood will have your taste buds travel far away !
I went there late December. It was over 30 Celsius degrees every day, very sunny with some quick evening or night rains. In short perfect conditions. It is supposed to be the best time of the year but also the high season.
The must-see sites and places to visit
If you start your stay in Port Louis, the capital on the west coast, you will appreciate the modernity of the city and the harmonious coexistence of the different typical neighborhoods. Visit the central market to marvel at the exotic fresh products and artisanal items. The Saint-Louis Cathedral, the Municipal Theater and the Jummah Mosque are among the architectural buildings that are worth visiting.
It is also recommended to visit the Museum of Photography and the Mauritius Institute dedicated to the Dodo, the species exterminated in the 17th century. North of the town you will find the Pamplemousses (translate Grapefruit) region and the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden. This unique place will allow you to discover over 600 species of plants and some exotic animals. The centenary city of Aapravasi is also worth a visit: since 2006, the site has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Hiking and nature lovers should visit the Black River Gorges National Park: its marked trails lead to the magnificent Alexandra Falls. In Mahebourg, discover the beauty of the colonial houses and the national museum that unveils the naval history of this area of the island. The island of Aigrettes, located offshore also allows to better admire the richness of the fauna and flora of the Mascareignes.
Cap Malheureux (Sad or Unfortunate Cape), to the north, is one of the must-see sites for its famous Chapel. Le Morne, a south-western mountain classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008, is a place full of history that is close to the beaches where you can go kitesurfing. I also recommend you to visit Chamarel, the land of 7 colors: it is a geological curiosity that is near a large waterfall where it is possible to go swim. Just amazing.
The most beautiful beaches on the island
Its magnificent beaches and the turquoise waters of its seaside resorts are a tourist attraction for travelers, whether they come alone, as a couple, as a family or as a group. If you like sightseeing, head to the north-west coast: Grand Bay is without doubt the liveliest: restaurants, bars and nightclubs welcome visitors.
It is also possible to go to Trou aux Biches (Deer’s hole) or Pereybere to enjoy a nice atmosphere. Mont Choisy beach is popular because it is spacious and friendly: the food truck on site serves delicious fried mines in trays.
You can also go on the east coast, in Trou d’Eau Douce (Clear Water hole), a very authentic fishing village, then take a boat to go on Ile aux Cerfs (Deers Island) to discover the underwater treasures of the Indian Ocean. South of the island, you can also go diving in the Blue Bay Marine Park.
I also strongly advise you to sail to the “Ile aux Bénitiers” (Giant-clam shells Island) which is gorgeous and famous for the rock in the middle of the turquoise water. But also Flat Island, less touristy, wilder and dreamy ! Most tours will offer you a good lunch and good barbecue grilled lobsters.
A desire for luxury?
I recommend you spend a day (or sleep for the most fortunate) at the Constance Le Prince Maurice. And do not forget your cameras! Also remember to book the restaurant “Le Barachois” (names after a famous disctrict on the Reunion Island) for dinner, an unforgettable experience on a floating pontoon. And remain aware, a shark will certainly pass through the floating pontoon in the middle of the lagoon… 🙂
Finally, you can also swim with dolphins in the open sea and go on an unforgettable horse ride along the beaches.
This is a non-exhaustive list of places to visit. But it already gives you an idea of the exoticism and authenticity of this must-see destination if you are looking to spend unforgettable moments in a paradisiacal setting where the Mauritians will warmly welcome you!