The Essence of Mauritius: Its People
Europe, Africa, India and China… The whole world in one island! It is often referred to as the ‘Continent-Island’ due to its diverse cultures and ethnicities, and Mauritians pride themselves on being able to live in harmony and respect the different religions and ethnic groups represented here.
Mingling in Port louis
In 1735 the French governor Mahé de La Bourdonnais made Port Louis a key harbor in this part of the ocean. Today, it is the island’s capital city and is worth a visit to see why Mauritius is hailed for its economic achievement. The best place to park is in the Caudan Waterfront, from where you can easily walk around the city, by far the busiest place in Mauritius during the day.
Mauritius has the most amazing white coral sand beaches and crystal clear lagoons, which contrast vividly with the backdrop of black volcanic mountains. It seems that Mother Nature has chosen our beaches to try out a palette of blue, white and sparkle! The best beaches definitely worth a visit are Pereybere, Flic en Flac, Le Morne, Belle Mare, Blue Bay and Ile aux Cerfs. A day at the beach is also a great opportunity to mingle with Mauritian families who enjoy picnicking on the beach on sunny days.
Life in Mauritius spins around the inviting warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Visitors can take advantage of this water paradise by trying out a variety of water sports and activities around the island. There are water sports galore to choose from: pedaloes, kayaks, water skis, sea karting, surfing, windsurfing, stand up paddleboarding, glass bottom boats, catamaran cruises, dolphin watching and big game-fishing… For the more adventurous among you, there are an underwater walk, submarine trips and parasailing.
You cannot possibly leave Mauritius without learning to dance a few Sega steps. Whether you have twinkle toes, or two left feet, this vibrant local dance with its distinctive African rhythm will have your hips undulating to the beat! Each resort has its own Sega show, which is a perfect way to end an evening. The spirit of Africa resonates through the musical instruments – usually ravanne, maravanne or triangle are played, while the songs, sung in Creole, depict the Mauritian way of life.
Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
This is undoubtedly one of the most visited attractions in Mauritius. Created over 300 years ago by the famous French botanist Pierre Poivre, the garden is the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere and boasts a plethora of indigenous plants. Count yourself extremely fortunate if you happen to see the Talipot Palm, which blooms once every 30 to 80 years! There are also giant tortoises, Java Deer, and the spectacular water lilies. Take a break under one the many gazebos throughout the place and enjoy the tranquillity and charm of this beautiful and unique Pamplemousses botanical garden.
The 7-coloured earth of Chamarel
This world famous attraction is a unique volcanic geological phenomenon resulting in seven colours of earth swirled together to create a beautiful feature. Found in the stunning region of Chamarel, this is a treasure not to be missed. Chamarel rises 283 meters above sea level and is reached by a panoramic route, which cuts through the luxurious tropical forest surrounding it. There are many places to stop to admire the exquisite view and take photos. One of these spots is an 83-metre high waterfall.
The art of Sugar, Rum & Tea
Mauritius’s history and prosperity are linked to the sugar cane industry. Sugar cane was introduced to Mauritius by the Dutch settlers as far back as 1639, but it was the French Governor Mahé de Labourdonnais who opened the first sugar estate in 1743. Today, sugar is no longer the backbone of the island’s economy as it has been for many years past, but its by-products, such as rum, remain extremely popular. The L’Aventure du Sucre useum in Pamplemousses will give you a fascinating look at how the countries history is intertwined with sugar.
Cultural Heritage Sites
Government House, a French colonial building built in 1738, the Port Louis Theatre steeped in history, the beautiful Central Post Office and Court of Justice buildings, and the old prison adjacent to them, all deserve a visit. Two UNESCO world heritage sites - Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne - are well worth visiting as is the Vieux Grand Port historical route which houses several historical monuments including the Dutch landing site.
It’s delicious, it’s Mauritius! Foodies will be in their element in a country that offers everything from Michelin-star chefs, fine dining, and enticing roadside snacks sold by street food vendors. The delicate ‘heart of palm’ salad is famous in Mauritius and something to try if your budget allows. Sample the ubiquitous street food: dholl puris, samosas, gateaux arouille and gateaux piments both on and off the streets of Mauritius, in the many small restaurants and takeaways (“snacks”).