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Mauritius Travel Guide

Mark Twain once said “Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius” This tiny tropical island that I call home, is so small that sometimes it does not even appear on a world map.

Nestled in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Madagascar, Mauritius is most famous for its warm turquoise waters, beautiful beaches, tropical rain forests and the now extinct dodo. Lesser known to many, is its unique blend of cultures and ethnicities which stems from its rich multicultural heritage, that includes French, African, Indian, Chinese and British influence. Today that translates to a beautiful fusion of colour, flavours, people and languages – most Mauritians are trilingual, speaking French, English and Creole.

Discover the key things to do and see while visiting this little slice of paradise.

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MEET & SUPPORT THE LOCALS

There is no better way to discover Mauritius and experience its hospitality and charm, than to meet its people. As the island relies mostly on tourism and there is still a great disparity between rich and poor, by supporting the street vendors and local artisans you supporting the local community and are helping to conserve traditional trades like basket weaving.

PORT LOUIS

The capital of the island, the business district, a working port and a melting pot of sights, sounds and smells where old sits alongside new. Wander the streets, explore and experience the hustle and bustle of the city, see the ageing Colonial buildings and get a glimpse of the island’s quirks and charm.

PORT LOUIS MARKETS

See the weird and wonderful array of fruits, vegetables, spices and local specialities on offer including Chinese herbal remedies, traditional salted fish and much more. Eat like a local, whether it’s dholl puri, a roti, Chinese dumplings or pineapple covered chilli and salt, the best food is street food.

CATAMARAN TRIP

A day on a catamaran is the perfect way to sit back, relax, see Mauritius from a different perspective – with a cocktail in hand and discover the smaller islands scattered off the coast. The most iconic cruises leave from Grand Baie, the touristic hub situated in the north of the island and journey to Coin de Mire, Flat Island and Gabriel Island. With an open bar, a Mauritian feast and all snorkelling equipment on board, this is an opportunity to discover the pristine beaches and marine life away for the main island.

PAMPLEMOUSSES BOTANICAL GARDENS

One of the oldest botanical gardens in the Southern Hemisphere, the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden stretches over 30 hectares and houses a number of rare and endangered endemic species. While you stroll through the lush gardens you will discover over 85 different varieties of palm trees, the iconic long pond of giant water lilies as well as giant tortoises, stags and much more.

CHATEAU DE LABOURDONNAIS

Founded in 1774, this incredible estate spans over 540 hectares with beautiful orchards, surrounding green sugar cane fields and one of Mauritius’ most beautiful Colonial houses. Decorated in the original Victorian style, the mansion was converted into a museum and is a testament to the lifestyle and families who lived in the chateau during the nineteenth century.

Whether you take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, visit the museum, do some rum tastings or have an authentic Mauritian lunch, this should be high on your list of places to visit in Mauritius.

HIKE LE MORNE BRABANT

Declared a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2008, this imposing Mountain in the south-west of the island has a huge cultural and patrimonial significant to Mauritians, as it once served as a sanctuary for runaway slaves.

Today, with a guide you are able to hike this incredible site and discover the breathtaking panoramic views of the west and south-west of the island. Not for the faint hearted, the hike takes between 3-4 hours all round and requires some hand scaling and rock climbing but is more than worth it, when you reach the top.

BLACK RIVER GORGES NATIONAL PARK

The Black River Gorges National Park is an expansive nature reserve which spans 67.54 km² and is home to most of the island’s remaining rainforest, native species and a variety of wildlife. Perfect for those wanting to explore this is the best area for hiking and trekking.

Key things to visit when you are in the area include the Chamarel Waterfall & Chamarel View Point.

Word: Nadine Pougnet

Imagery: Nadine Pougnet