Top 10 Things to See and Do
1. From the moment you touch down in Mauritius, the impossibly blue waters will beckon you to come and test them out in whatever way you see fit! From scuba diving to parasailing, kayaking to kite-surfing, just about every water sport you’ve ever heard of is available to try in Mauritius, with a number of professional operators to choose from throughout the island.
2. Be sure to pay a visit to the waterfront marketplace of foire de Mahébourg, where you’ll find an endearingly chaotic atmosphere and row upon row of steaming snack stalls emitting intriguing smells. The market is on every day, but visit on Monday (when it doubles in size) if you really want to experience it at its bustling best!
3. Lying nestled in deep green valley on the south west of the island, ‘the coloured earths of Charamel’ and the accompanying village are a must-visit for the discerning tourist. Both a geological oddity and a true natural wonder, the ‘seven coloured earth’ is a breathtaking volcanic formation of beautiful patterns of colour in the exposed hillside, caused by volcanic rock that cooled at different temperatures.
4. Perhaps a blindingly obvious one, but you couldn’t have a Top 10 list for Mauritius without mentioning its famous beaches! From shady coves and idyllic lagoons to lively bays and bustling ports (all in pristine condition and fringed by sapphire blue waters) the variety is enormous and the choice is endless.
5. The Vallee de Ferney is home to a protected 400 year old forest as well as an important habitat for the endangered Mauritius kestrel – one of the world’s rarest and most at-risk raptors! Take a guided tour through the main, well-marked trail and enjoy the numerous viewpoints, flora and fauna and fascinating species of animal that can all be found within the reserve.
6. Towering majestically over Vieux Grand Port, Lion Mountain offers a number of challenging hikes that are all rewarded with awe-inspiring views across the coast. Allow at least half a day to make your way to the top, and be advised that hiring a local guide to accompany you can often be well worth the money.
7. If you want to explore the mysteries of the seabed but fancy keeping dry at the same time, the Blue Safari Submarine will take you take you down among the colourful coral and tropical fishes to a depth of up to 35 metres, with departures up to every hour according t demand.
8. Already one of Africa’s premier golf destinations, Mauritius is also a rising star on the world stage as far as outstanding golfing facilities are concerned. With a dozen or so different courses scattered across the island, golf enthusiasts will be thoroughly spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to tee off next.
9. The National History Museum – The best place to learn about the islands colourful past, the National History Museum is located in a historical colonial mansion that itself is an important part of the islands history (the place to which injured French and English commanders were taken after the Battle of Vieux Grand Port). The museum contains many fascinating artefacts, including early maps of the island and the bones of the dodo!
10. Sightseeing tours by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation are a great way to explore the pristine beauty of the small island of Île aux Aigrettes – an important conservation site, tours of up to two and a half hours available, and you can even opt for some day tours that make a transition into volunteering.
Top 10 Family Experiences
1. Take a family scuba diving trip to explore the riotous colour and variety of Mauritius’ coral reef; knowledgeable diving outfits operate across Mauritius, and many include pool training for beginners.
2. Visit one of Mauritius’ equestrian centres for a horse riding excursion, and explore the thick, fertile forests, tumbling waterfalls, sparkling coastline and stunning panoramic views via horseback!
3. Get a feel for local life at the famous central market in Port Louis, which has been the main hub of the local economy for over 100 years. Peruse the colourful fruit and vegetable stalls, buy some authentic souvenirs, and watch the stall holder enthusiastically hawking their wares.
4. Less than two kilometres from the airport, make sure you stop at the Francoise Legaut Reserve, home to a successful breeding program that means hundreds of tortoises now roam the grounds just as they did in the fifteenth century! Also boasting on-site caves, an enclosure of giant fruit bats and 100,000 indigenous trees, the reserves charming tour guides enhance what is already a fantastic day out for all the family.
5. If you fancy some downtime that doesn’t involve the beach, Port Louis’ Star Cinema is the biggest and best in the city, with three screens playing the latest international releases.
6. Families full of adrenaline junkies should head to Tyrodrig, where five zip line cables ranging from 110m to 420m long are strung over a canyon ready for you to take the plunge and zip over the void at an exhilarating speed!
7. Sprawling across an impressive 14 hectares and encompassing a dizzying array of options that include a zoo, suspension bridges, zip lines, quad bike ‘safaris’ and swimming spots secluded between dramatic canyons – as well as a petting zoo, playground and minigolf for the little ones – the one certainty about a visit to Cerala Nature and Leisure Park is that no one will be bored!
8. Available to all those aged eight and up who want to explore the secrets of the Indian Ocean but don’t fancy diving, Captains Nemo’s solar sea walk provides a truly unique experience: wearing a divers helmet and weight belt, with solar-powered pumps feeding you oxygen from the boat above, you will be able to walk along the seabed and explore the coral reef on foot!
9. A breathtaking spread of undulating hills and lush green forest, the Black River Gorges national park is the islands biggest (and best) national park, and a protected reserve that is home to 300 species of flowering plant and three of the islands most endangered bird species – the Mauritius kestrel, the pink pigeon and the echo parakeet. Set aside at least a day to explore the sprawling forests and fascinating native species.
10. For a truly action-packed day out, Domaine de l’Etoile is an expansive forest reserve dedicated to extreme sports. Try your hand at mountain biking, quad biking, horse riding, hiking and archery; remember to keep your eyes peeled for the majestic Javanese stags that wander the through the trees, and refresh yourselves with a bite to eat at the on-site restaurant.
Top 10 Honeymoon Experiences
1. For adventurous couples in search of the honeymoon activity that they’ll remember into old age, why not try skydiving! Fly high above the island together, before zooming towards it from 3000 metres above the ground for a truly unbeatable adrenaline rush.
2. Although it is advised to avoid the often congested main roads of Mauritius, hiring bikes and sticking to professional cycle paths and trails can be a wonderful way to explore the islands beauty together.
3. A plethora of picturesque islands lie scattered along the coast of Mauritius, and each boast their own unique charms and breathtaking views waiting to be discovered. Go kite surfing around Rodriques, play a round of championship golf at Ile aux Cerfs or simply stretch out on the warm sands of Frangipani Island and unwind.
4. Relax and recover from the chaos of all that wedding planning with a treatment at one of Mauritius’ world class spas. A ‘must-do’ on any honeymooners itinerary, choose from an enormous range of luxury treatments to ignite your sense and sync your sense of wellbeing with your harmonious island surroundings.
5. Easily reachable from anywhere in Mauritius, the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens is famed for being of the worlds most beautiful botanical gardens, and certainly one of the islands top attractions. Breathtakingly beautiful, the gardens boast an abundance of tropical trees, plants and interesting species, and the centrepiece – a serene pond filled with Victoria amazonica water lilies – could not be more romantic.
6. Offering both fantastic surf and an endearingly rustic atmosphere, the white sands of Tamarin beach remain relatively unmarred by resort development. Walk along at sunset and gaze out over the surf as live jazz tune float through the air from the nearby bars.
7. Slip away together and get lost among the vast expanses of sugarcane fields that characterise the island – sample the sugar, visit the sugarcane museum or simply wander through the fields narrow passages and enjoy the scenery.
8. If privacy tops your honeymoon priority list, the Constance Belle Mare Plage hotel & villas is the place for you. Tucked away along two kilometres of stunning white sandy beach with its own aquamarine lagoon, the luxury villas afford you all the facilities of a resort but don’t compromise your desire for privacy and space.
9. Striking out into the Indian Ocean at the very south-western tip of Mauritius, the Le Morne peninsula is a UNESCO world heritage site steeped in beauty and history, even boasting its own micro-climate. Explore its many hidden caves and serene lagoons, go kite-surfing in the foaming waves or trek to the top of Île Maurice and simply gaze out across it all.
10. Visit Eureka, a beautifully preserved nineteenth century Creole mansion, for a truly comprehensive glimpse into Mauritius’ colourful plantation history.
Culture in Mauritius
Mauritian culture is a model of tolerance, diversity and hospitality: with no official language or religion, it is a true melting pot of different ancestries and religions living together proudly under the banner of ‘Mauritian’. With many different practising religions living side by side, the Island boasts temples, churches and mosques, and a variety of different festivals and celebrations take place throughout the year.