Mauritius is a captivating world-in-one-island slice of paradise. Of volcanic origin, the island is internationally known as a dream destination for its barriers of coral reefs, among others, forming natural, safe, crystal clear lagoons. This little piece of heaven is loaded with historic appearance, cultural diversity, geographic variation and almost limitless activities which will match with everyone’s expectations.
But Mauritius has not only beaches and breathtaking landscapes to offer. Port Louis, its modern capital, is a bustling port with a stunning waterfront and a busy market which will delight townspeople.
The North of the island is the cradle of the Mauritius’ tourism and is now full of hotels, restaurants, activities, etc.
A part of this success is due to Grand Baie, the most famous coastal village which hosts a vibrant nightlife and some of the best restaurants. The small beachside villages around Grand Baie – Trou aux Biches, Mont Choisy and Pereybère – are quickly developing in a similar fashion.
The inland plain of sugar-cane fields – pocked with piles of volcanic boulders stacked by indentured servants. Here you’ll find the wonderful Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens and the rightly popular L’Aventure du Sucre – a museum dedicated to Mauritius’ traditional colonial export.
The South and Southeast
With flashes of India, Ireland and the Caribbean, the wild unfolding south is an undeniable favourite for many. Long considered too harsh to develop due to its steep, wind-battered cliffs, the south coast has managed to stave off the encroaching hands of developers until quite recently. A few luxury resorts have popped up over the last few years, but the area remains mostly rugged, with a plantation estate or two hidden among the towering cane.
Known by the rather romantic sobriquet of La Côte Sauvage (The Wild Coast), the island’s east coast is a world away from the touts, nightclubs and souvenir shacks of Flic en Flac in the west and Grand Baie in the north. You can find lot of great places like Trou d’Eau Douce, Ile au Cerf, Belle mare & Palmar and Centre de Flacq.
A world away from the shores of the north, Mauritius’ western wonderland is the nation’s most diverse coast. The bustling tourist hub of Flic en Flac may not be to everyone’s taste, but the treasures that lie just beyond will satisfy even the pickiest holidaymaker. A veritable swatch book of lush greens and light browns, the area of Black River (Rivière Noire) has scalloping sandy bays that dimple the arable farmland. Then, further on, the tic-tac-toes of Tamarin’s shimmering salt flats perfectly reflect the beaming sun and soaring hills of fauna-filled Black River Gorges National Park. Next is bucolic Chamarel nestled in the highlands, followed by the last iteration of sky-reaching stone, Le Morne Brabant; an awesomely photogenic crag that caps the coastline’s southern tip.
First discovery of the Island
First discovered by the Arabs and the Portuguese at the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Island in the Indian Ocean at 2.000 km of the southeast coast of the African continent saw the arrival of new occupiers.
The Dutch who settled in the island in 1598 named it Mauritius after Prince Maurice of Nassau. Among other things, the Dutch introduced sugar cane and the Java deer before leaving in 1710.
It was under the French Governor, Mahé de Labourdonnais, that Mauritius knew its first development: a harbour was built. Port Louis, named after the ruling king Louis XV, became the capital of Mauritius. Trade on the island thrived; Mauritius could supply enough sugar and rum to the surrounding islands and visiting vessels.
Even if Mauritius has been ceded to the British in the “Traité de Paris” of 1814, most of the French settlers remained on the island and were allowed to keep their customs, religion and laws.
A few years later, in 1835, the British abolished slavery this led to the importation of Indian indentured labourers to work in the sugar cane fields. Their descendants constitute nowadays the majority of the population.
The island achieved independence on 12 March 1968 with Elizabeth II as Queen of Mauritius. The first post-independence years were difficult but after more than 15 years of planning and hard work, Mauritius achieved economic and political stability.
Mauritius changed its status to that of a Republic on 12 March 1992.
Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculture-based economy to a middle-income diversified economy. The economy is based on tourism, textiles, sugar, and financial services. In recent years, NTIC, hospitality and property development, healthcare, renewable energy, and education and training have emerged as important sectors, attracting substantial investment from both local and foreign investors.
You won’t leave Mauritius without experiencing a unique journey on board of a motorboat to appreciate the enchanting coastlines and crystal clear water lagoons of the South West Coast of the Island. Standing right in the middle of La Gaulette Lagoon, this enigmatic Piece of Coral seems to merely float over the turquoise water surface waiting for your photo shots.
Black Rivers Gorges National Park
This national park is located in the hilly south-western part of the Island. The Mauritius biggest and best national park is a wild expanse which covering roughly 2% of the island’s surface. It’s also the most spectacular corner of the island and if you make only one day trip from the coast make it here. With 300 species of flowering plants 9 endemic species of bird and 4000 giant fruit this park is since 1994 a protected area.
With lively restaurants, white-sand beaches, ever-expanding resorts and a natural harbor, Grand Baie is fertile tourist ground. Located on the northwest coast of Mauritius, its fashion and craft shops appeal to landlubbers, while swimming, sailing and windsurfing enthusiasts frolic in the emerald Indian Ocean.
Le Morne Brabant
Le Morne Brabant, found in the South of the island, is a scarcely inhabited place. There you will have the chance of seeing Le Morne Mountain, classified as World heritage, a single peak encapsulating so much of Mauritius’ history in it since it was the place, for slaves, to escape from their masters. The place is full of nice viewpoints over the west coast of the island and over the southern part of the island.
Pamplemousse Botanical Garden
The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden commonly known as the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, is a popular tourist attraction and the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere. Famous for its long pond of giant water lilies the garden also features spices, ebonies, sugar canes, and 85 varieties of palms.
Flic en Flac Beach
As wonderful and whimsical as the name sounds, Flic en Flac isn’t quite the picture of paradise you saw on your travel agent’s website. The area’s moniker is thought to be a corruption of the old Dutch name Fried Landt Flaak (meaning ‘Free and Flat Land’); the endless acreage of sandy shoreline was undoubtedly striking when explorers first arrived in the 18th century.
Ile aux cerfs
L’Île aux Cerfs, known in English as the deer island is near the east coast of Mauritius in the Flacq district and is the most popular tourist destination in Mauritius. Famous for its sandy beaches, beautiful lagoon and big selection of activities and facilities, l’Ile aux Cerfs is the perfect place for a day of relaxation and fun on one of the picture-postcard beaches, and to enjoy a swim and snorkeling in the lagoon.
Trou aux biches & Mont Choisy Beach
Relaxed Trou aux Biches and the neighbouring village of Mont Choisy (also spelt Mon Choisy) are fast-developing tourist destinations full of people seeking better beaches than Grand Baie. Trou aux Biches (Does’ Watering Hole) enjoys gorgeous stretches of casuarina-lined sand that continue almost unbroken all the way to sleepy Mont Choisy.
The route du thé
The Route du Thé, or the tea road, is the deliciously fragrant path that allows you to discover the real flavours of the island. Both gastronomic, historical and cultural, this itinerary allows to discover the tea, sugar cane and vanilla farms, through three estates, witnesses of the colonial past of the island: the Aubineaux, Saint Aubin and Bois Chéri.
Blissfully isolated over 600km northeast of the mainland, this tiny volcanic outcrop surrounded by a massive turquoise lagoon is a stunning mountainous gem that barely feels connected to its big sister, Mauritius.
Great food, some fine natural sites and a host of activities round out an experience that lives long in the memory.
Home to a large majority of Mauritians, the cool and rainy centre of the island feels, for the most part, like a continuation of the urban chaos in Port Louis. There’s very little to see in the corridor of towns that runs almost unbroken from the capital to Curepipe; in fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of that postcard your friends sent you from their trip here last year.
Diving in Mauritius
Diving in Mauritius features almost exclusively reefs as the island is virtually surrounded by coral and over 100 sites to select from. The depths range from 23 feet (7 meters) to depths of up to 147 Feet (45 meters) for those who hold the necessary qualifications. The water temperature is bath-like most of the year. On the Southern coastline, the Blue Bay Marine Park offers divers staghorn and cabbage corals and a host of damsel, butterfly and angelfish that swarm the reef. If you are in search of that heart-stopping moment that only the bigger species can provide, then the drift dive off the Pass St. Jacques is where bull shark, barracuda and grey and whitetip reef sharks are often spotted. The intricate and mysterious spaces inside the many artificial wrecks are another of the islands great diving attractions.
Golf courses at the Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club
Accessible to players of all levels, the golf club covers 38 hectares on the southern half of the Ile aux Cerfs island with the holes snaking up and down the length of the island, boasting naturally undulating topography, volcanic rock outcrops, lakes and gullies, and a variety of tropical trees and plants.
Water is an essential feature of the course with the nine lakes in all, and the 18 holes have views of the ocean.
The Seven Coloured Earth
The seven coloured earth is a natural phenomenon which will amaze your eyes. It is a relatively small area of sand dunes comprising sand of seven distinct colours (approximately red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow). The colours evolved through conversion of basaltic lava to clay minerals. Sunrise is definitely the best time to see the Coloured Earths. Geologists are still intrigued by the rolling dunes of multi-coloured lunar-like landscape.
Port Louis (French: Port-Louis) is the capital city of Mauritius, located in the Port Louis District, the western part also lies in the Black River District. This capital feels like a kaleidoscope of countries and cultures, with flashes of India, Africa, Europe, China and the Middle East.
Port Louis’ rightly famous Central Market, the centre of the local economy since Victorian times, was cleaned up considerably in a 2004 renovation. It’s a good place to get a feel for the everyday life of many locals, watch the hawkers at work and buy some souvenirs. Most authentic are the wonderful fruit and vegetable sections (including herbal medicines and aphrodisiacs) and the meat, fish and seafood market.
At Le Caudan Waterfront, one can meet friends for a drink, take a walk along the harbour, watch the latest movie, listen to music, enjoy a meal, try one’s luck at the casino and admire artists’ work while enjoying shopping. Its ability to offer such a dynamic and heterogeneous environment confers a strong sociological dimension to Le Caudan.
Go deep into the indigenous forests of Les Sept Cascades, South West of Mauritius.
Literally meaning ‘seven waterfalls’, Sept Cascades is a favourite amongst locals to go trekking and hiking in the lush greenery.
The hike may reveal to be quite challenging in some places but after all the huffing and puffing, you will be grateful once you reach the cooling springs and waterfalls.
Formed by the River St.Denis, the waterfalls of Chamarel are the most high of the Island with a height of 83m.The waterfalls are surrounded by lush vegetation of Black River Gorges. You can have a stunning view of the waterfalls from both a lower and an upper viewpoint from the Black River National Park. The St. Denis Rivers flows through fields, gorges and green spaces seawards and makes for a splendid view.
Tamil Surya Oudaya Sangam Temple
The Surya Oudaya Sangam temple is located in Grand Baie and like most Tamil temples, it is a richly decorated temple with many colourful representations of Shiva, Durga, Murugan (Skanda), and Ganesh. It is certainly the most remarkable Tamil temple in the region. As it is situated along the coastal road, it does not go unnoticed.
As development continues to boom along the north coast, it’s becoming rather difficult to tell where Grand Baie ends and Pereybère (peu-ray-bear) begins. This area is very much the second development on the north coast after Grand Baie and has found the sweet spot between being a bustling tourist hub and a quiet holiday hideaway.
Mahébourg is a small and beautiful city on the southeastern coast of the island of Mauritius. It is the capital of the Grand Port District. This place it’s all about simple pleasures: an interesting museum, a buzzing market, spicy street food, good budget lodgings, a pretty backdrop and beautiful beaches to the north and south.
Mahebourg Monday Market
Don’t miss the Monday Market in central Mahébourg near the waterfront. The initial focus was silks and other textiles, but these days you’ll find a roaring produce section, rows of tacky bric-a-brac and steaming food stalls. It’s the perfect place to try some of the local snacks – gâteaux piments, dhal puris, samousa and chilli bites. It doesn’t take long to navigate the snaking rows of vendors, but it’s well worth visiting if you found the market in Port Louis far too touristy.
Situated at Moka, in the fresh and lush climate of central Mauritius, the famous residence “Eureka” was built during the French colonial. The main part of the estate has been turned into a museum, and guided tours are organised through this magnificent colonial house, its lush gardens and down to the cascading river.
Blue Penny Museum
The Blue Penny Museum is an art and history museum that is wholly devoted to Mauritius.
It houses some prestigious collections, which are true testimony of the historical and cultural wealth and diversity of Mauritius, in a stunning layout. Inaugurated in 2001, the Blue Penny Museum is therefore a must-stop for anyone who is curious about discovering the country in depth.
Le Souffleur, a hidden attraction known only to locals, isn’t exactly a stone’s throw from Souillac like the other sights in the area. You’ll need a bit of gumption to tackle this one, but if you ask anyone in the know, they’ll all say that it’s well worth the adventure. Situated on the coast about halfway between Souillac and Blue Bay, this geological anomaly is a half-formed grotto on the side of a cliff that spouts a geyser-like fountain of water up to 20m in the air when the seas are rough.
C Beach Club
The C Beach Club is the trendy place to be, a unique beach club in Mauritius where the “sea, sand & sun” experience is at its peak. A beautiful lagoon, swimming pool, restaurants and bar, a boathouse and kite surf school await visitors. The C Beach Club also offers an exciting programme: Live music, international DJs, all-you-can-eat brunches and beach parties.
Take the road trip along the southeast coast through picturesque villages to Le Barachois. The off-the-beaten-path resto has gorgeous views, is surrounded by a natural fish reserve and mangroves, and serves an amazing lunch of local seafood and venison.
La Rose des Vents (Labourdonnais)
Joyful atmosphere and classic interiors of the Waterfront Restaurant welcomes you to dine out in the excellent restaurant and feel the harmony as it is. This is one of the best Mauritius restaurant to dine out, ambient and hilarious. The cuisine deserves attention too, the best food in Mauritius is served here. The best Parisian and European traditions are found here. Spend a perfect day or evening under the pleasant ocean breeze and light music and with outstanding services in the best restaurant in Mauritius.