The island of Mauritius is a wonderful travel destination. Placid lagoons, palm-fringed beaches and coral reefs abound the coastline of Mauritius and offer peace, tranquility and a relaxed holiday. Mauritius is surrounded by pristine white beaches and lush greenery in the central islands. The island enjoys pleasant tropical climate with mild temperature all the year round. Little wonder that Mauritius holidays are so popular with tourists from all over. Armed with this travel guide, you can pack your bags and head for destination Mauritius.
Map of Mauritius
Often called a small jewel of an island, Mauritius lies on the beautiful turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. It is about 2000 km South East of Africa. The island of Mauritius is about 45 km wide and 65 km long and houses about 1.2 million people. Mauritius is an archipelago, which was created by several volcanic eruptions that occurred under the sea several years ago. The island nation of Mauritius is part of the Mascarena islands and it also includes other islands namely St.Brandon and Rodrigues as well as the Agalega islands.
The Arab sailors first discovered Mauritius in the 9th century. The Dutch first colonized it in 1598. The French later took possession of the island. The island was captured by the British from the French after a major naval battle in 1810. Mauritius obtained independence in the year 1968 and later became a Republic in 1992.
The capital of Mauritius is Port Louis, which is the largest city in the Republic. Other important towns are Curepipas, Rose hill and Phoenix. The official language of Mauritius is English. But most Mauritians speak French. Some also speak German and Italian. Among the oriental languages, Hindi is the most common one. Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, Sanskrit are the other languages from India. Creole language is used extensively in theatre and literature.
Mauritius is a multicultural destination for the global traveler. Destination Mauritius is the most diverse of all islands in the Indian Ocean, with inhabitants originating from Africa, France, China, Japan, Arabia and Malaysia. There are several ethnic groups namely Indo-Mauritians, Creoles (persons having European, Madagascar and Africans origins) and Chinese Mauritians.
Mauritius offers many attractions and activities and the possibilities for relaxation, fun and frolic are plenty. Tourist attractions range from archeology museums and sandy beaches to sporting events and shopping. You could be shopping at the Grand Bay or enjoying nightlife attractions or even visiting to the Triolet Shivala, the longest village in the island. A closer look at some of the major tourist attractions can be interesting and illuminating.
Beaches of Mauritius
Mauritius Island is surrounded by emerald blue seawaters. It is home to several beautiful and breathtaking sandy beaches, which are within easy reach from the major cities. Some of the most popular beaches in the island are:
Pereybere beach: The Pereybere beach is situated in the northern region of the island, on the coastal road between Grand Baie and Cap Maljeureux. This beach offers deep and clear blue waters. It is most popular with youngsters; with some of the best beach action around.
Grand Baie: Probably the most popular beach in the island is Grand Baie. People from all over the world frequent this beach. Situated about 20 kilometers from Port Louis, this beach is a safe place for swimming, sailing, windsurfing and water skiing. From this beach, helicopter and boat services are available to visit the deep seas like Coin de Mire, lle Plate and lle Ronde. The beach has many a restaurant and trendy nightclub along with apparel and craft shops for visitors.
Mont Choisy: Situated on the northern coastline, this is one of the best beaches in Mauritius. It is popular with both tourists and locals alike. Locals enjoy the sea and play soccer nearby. Tourists relax under the sun and spend their weekends here.
Cap Malheureux: A magnificent view of some of the small islands off the north tip of Mauritius can be enjoyed from Cap Malheureux, which is a small fishing hamlet. Lle Plate is famous for its lighthouse; Lle Ronde is known for palm trees; Coin de Mire is an enormous rock of historical importance since it was from here that the English embarked and won the war with French in 1810.
Troux Aux Biches: This is a small public beach situated next to one of the biggest hotels in the island, Trou Aux Biches village hotel. Blue waters and matching lazy filao trees are a delight to watch. The aquarium on the beach has magnificent species of Mauritian marine life. There is also a splendid Hindu temple located across the beach.
Flic En Flac: This name is taken from the Dutch language meaning Free and flat land. The beach here is a great stretch and there is a busy holiday village that lies on its coastline. Holiday resorts and villas are found in large numbers to cater to thronging tourists.
Tamarin: This is the famous surfing center of Mauritius. There is a good view across the river estuary to Montage du Rempart, although it is only a small public beach.
Tamarin Falls: These waterfalls offer beautiful, deep cool bath at the bottom of a series of seven waterfalls. They lie about 3 kms north of Tamarin. Although it is tough to reach the waterfall, the hardship is worth it.
Blue Bay: This is a very attractive beach that can be very busy during weekends. It is the official beach situated close to Mahebourg.
Lle Aux Cerfs: Situated off the east of Mauritius, it is often said to be the next best thing after paradise. This island features attractive vast beaches fringed with palm trees and clear waters. There are many restaurants housed in small exotic kiosks with straw roofs and sports places. It is well connected to almost all the other islands and tourist spots in Mauritius.
Mauritius holiday guide
Deep Sea fishing sanctuary: The Le Morne Anglers club was founded in the year 1955 and has been a famous venue in Mauritius for big game fishing activities for the last 40 years. Blue Marlin and other game fishes are employed in unforgettable and emotional fights. Several international tournaments take place, including a Marlin World Cup. Mauritius anglers are pioneers of big game fishing. The club presently has more than 400 talented anglers. Famous fishermen from all over the world visit the club for fishing in deep waters.
Golf: Several hotels offer an excellent opportunity to play golf for avid golfers. There are also several golf courses in Mauritius for the visitor to indulge and enjoy.
Karting game: It was Kart Loisir who discovered this game of Karting; a new sport that is famous in Mauritius since the year 2001. The game in played in La Jouliette, Petite Rivere. It is a delightful game along with quad biking.
Jardin Botanique de Pamplemousses: The famous gardens of Mauritius were created by Pierre Poivre in 1767 in the estate of the French Governor Mahe Le Labourdonnais. Naturalists throughout the world delight at the gardens of Mauritius. These gardens are known for their vast species of exotic plants, which are indigenous to this island. The giant Victorial Regia Water Lillies and the talipot palm that blooms once in sixty years are native of Mauritius.
Domaine Les Pailles: This is a nature park that is located south of Port Louis. The park stretches over 3000 acres at the foot of Moka mountain range. The park can be toured using Land Rover, riding in a horse drawn carriage or in train. This park features a natural spring, a spice garden, an ancient sugar mill and an apparatus formerly used in distilling run called 'alambic'.
The Labourdonnais of Orchards: Tourists can view an exotic array of tropical fruit trees. In the lush green surroundings banana, palm trees as well as giant bamboos grow. There are also plenty of flowers, multicolored with sweet fragrances. A haven of tropical flora and a variety of endemic and exotic plants can be seen in the orchards. More than a thousand Nile crocodiles are bred here.
Saint Aubin and Bois CheriBois: Cheri has a tea factory with a tasting session for visitors. It is also a magnificent view point for tropical gardens, vanilla green houses and art galleries famous for Mauritian artists.
The colored earths of Chamarel: Among some of the oldest sites of this island are the seven-colored dunes at Chamarel. These dunes are the result of weathering of volcanic rocks. The widely contrastinglayers of the earth are just a short drive from the waterfalls of Chamarel.
Balaclava Ruins: The ruins of the old Balaclava estate with the sea walls are available for the discerning tourist to view.
Trou aux Cerfs: There is a crater in Trou aux Cerfs, which is the main attraction for tourists. The crater became extinct a long time ago and the crater floor is heavily wooded. The crater allows lovely views around the island. There are plenty of beaches and a radar station for keeping an electronic eye on cyclonic activity.
Mauritius is an international center for habitat restoration and the preservation of birds and reptiles. With a unique largely endangered flora and fauna, Mauritius is known internationally as an area of great importance for conservation.
Aquarium: This aquarium hosts some 200 species of indigenous fish, invertebrates, corals and sponges. It provides the visitor a unique opportunity to admire the fauna and flora of the Indian Ocean. This aquarium is situated between Pointe-aux-Piments and Trou-aux-Biches.
The bird garden of Casela: This magnificent bird garden is set between Bambous and Tamarin in the Riviere Noire district. The Casela Bird Park hosts some 140 varieties of birds from all around the world.
The Mauritius Kestrel is one of the world's rarest birds. In the early 1970s the entire population of Kestrels had been reduced to only 4 specimens thus making it the rarest bird in the world. This is the only bird of prey in Mauritius and still the rarest falcon in the world. The Pink Pigeon is the world's rarest pigeon that is found in the island. It is restricted to the wet upland forests in the southwest corner of Mauritius. This Mauritian pink pigeon is one of the main attractions of the Casela gardens.
The Echo Parakeet is the world's rarest parrot and it is indigenous to Mauritius. This is the only parrot, which is endemic to Mauritius. Promising management techniques have been successfully used to save the world's rarest parrot from diminishing. The garden also hosts giant tortoises and one giant tortoise in 150 years old. This bird garden is open on all days from 9 am to 5 pm and caters mainly to the tourists.
Domaine du Chasseur: Situated in the south east of Mauritius, near Mahebourg is the 1950 acres of land that make up this amazing attraction. This place is a natural hunting ground for a great variety of animals, which includes deer, monkey, boar and others. About 1000 deer herds and hundreds of wild boar can be encountered in this place. Many endangered species of birds can also be viewed here. Lovers of leafy walks can choose 5 to 15 kms long allowing them to admire rare kinds of trees along with the protected species. There is a panoramic restaurant with tasty Mauritius menu to complement the wonderful trip.
Port Louis: This is the capital of Mauritius. Here one can find modern houses and old Creole houses. Extraordinary markets, royal coconut trees, government houses, museum, Champ de Mars and its horse races towered by the Adelaide Fort, new commercial complex of Caudan and streets full of tourists symbolize this capital town.
The Triolet Shivala: The Shivala is situated in one of the longest villages found in Mauritius. This is a very large Hindu temple. Mauritius has origins from three continents and a diversity of culture. The Maha Shivaratree is a festival celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva.
Flacq Market: This is the place where one finds the open market in Mauritius. This village is regarded as one of the most important places in the island. Many items are available at bargain prices and it is a favorite tourist haunt.
There are many ways to tour this delightful island. You can choose a boat, bus, coach, taxi or bicycle.
Shopping in Mauritius
Port Louis hosts colorful Indian and Chinese boutiques offering an unimaginable variety of household articles. Mauritius is also a place for a range of spices, in addition to tablecloths, fabrics and basketwork. Nowhere in the world can one find such a wide and export quality variety of t-Shirts at such bargain prices as Mauritius. Sophisticated models of ships can also be found. Shopping for gold jewelry and gems can be relatively inexpensive in Mauritius.
Mauritius holidays tips
- There are several Airlines that fly to Mauritius. Some of them are Air Mauritius, British Airways, Condor, Malaysian Airlines and Singapore Airlines.
- Driving in Mauritius can be a costly affair as only super grade leaded petrol is available in this island and the cost is only slightly less than Europe.
- Mauritius uses British driving system (driving on the left).
- Beware of mosquitoes. Therefore use of mosquito repellents/ cream is advised.
- It is better to be equipped with sunscreen lotion when going out, even on cloudy days.
- The Mauritian currency is the rupee. Mauritian rupee does not circulate outside Mauritius and so it is better to change money on the island. Euro and US dollars and travelers cheques and cash can be exchanged in the bank.
- Tea is available in abundance as it grows in the island. Coffee is also available. Locally bottled wine and imported South African and French wines are available. Local beer called Phoenix is brewed on the island and is popular with the tourists. Locally manufactured rum is also available but it is expensive.
Mauritius is synonymous with fun filled beaches, great weather, clear skies, multicusine restaurants, snorkeling adventure, game fishing, water sporting sprees...It is a perfect holiday spot not to be missed for anything in the world!