The island of Mauritius is a tropical paradise located east of South Africa’s eastern coastline. The island is so small, a mere 2,040km2, that you may have never noticed it on the map before. It looks like a speck compared to neighbouring Madagascar, but this little known oasis has everything that a tourist looking for a fantastic getaway could ever hope to find.
Snorkelling and Scuba Diving
Plunge into the deep and discover the underwater world of tropical fish. Float in the turquoise waters of the Indian Oceanas schools of multi-coloured fish swarm around you, or strap on a respirator and explore one of the many coral reefs and sunken shipwrecks around Mauritius’s coastline. Surface temperatures of the water range from 22 to 27 Celsius so you won’t need a wetsuit unless you intend on going deeper than 20m. Most of the country’s hotels can set you up with diving lessons or snorkeling equipment, and there are also a number of independent companies that would be glad to help you out. Just make certain that they are affiliated with the Mauritius Scuba Diving Association to ensure they meet national standards. Flic en Flac, located on the west coast, is renowned as being the best place to go for spectacular views of the coral reefs and tropical fish schools. You may also want to pack a pair of swim shoes and gloves to protect you against any sharp rocks or sea urchins that happen to cross your path.
Mauritius is an eco-tourists’ fantasy. Explore lush forests, gushing waterfalls, green mountains and gorgeous vistas on guided hikes through Black River Gorges National Park. The park, located in southeast region, is 68km2 and holds the country’s largest plot of native forest. This national park preserves many types of plants that are unique to Mauritius. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of some of the most inspiring green wilderness to ever have been seen with human eyes. There are many trails to be explored in the park, all of them offering amazing scenery and wildlife spotting opportunities. Bird watchers are presented with the challenge of spotting the Mauritius Kestrel and Pink Pigeon, some of the rarest birds on Earth, as they soar above the jungle canopy.
Deep Sea Fishing
Mauritius has the distinction of holding several International Game Fish Association (IGFA) fishing titles including a monstrous 1115lb mako shark. Imagine cruising the waters of the Indian Ocean, blue waves slapping against the hull of your chartered fishing vessel, when a 1400lb blue marlin grabs onto the hook of your line. Any fishing enthusiast knows this is the fight of a lifetime, and Mauritius is a great place to seek out such prey. The best fishing lies just a kilometre off the west coast and your hotel should be able to set you up with a boat rental. As an additional service you can have a professional taxidermist stuff and preserve your catch and ship it anywhere in the world.
The Spa Treatment
Of all the things you can do in Mauritius, visiting one of their luxurious spas is considered mandatory especially if it’s your first time visiting. If you’re on vacation to relax why not pamper yourself with a relaxing message and hot sauna? Many hotels have spas on site that can accommodate your every need.
Golf players have plenty of options for places to tee off. Many of Mauritius’ hotels have golf courses, some with 9-hole and others with 18-hole courses and if you wish to play a course at a Hotel you are not staying at, you can still hit the fairway for a small fee. Many courses also have clubhouses, lockers, and a pro shop. You can rent the use of a set of clubs, balls, and even a caddy for your time on the links. A personal instructor can help you out with your technique if you’re willing to pay an hourly rate.
Mauritius has a strong textiles industry, so clothes on the island are cheap and plentiful. Duty free shops are also on the rise for people looking to buy discounted alcohol and souvenirs. Walking through the markets and plazas, you’ll be amazed at the array of colours and fabrics and the rock bottom pricing of even the fanciest items. Wooden carvings of boats and animals, and preserves like pickled vegetables and jellies are also big sellers.
Culture and Language
The language spoken by most Mauritian citizens is Creole, a blend of English and French. Many people in Mauritius are fluent in both English and French, so most travelers won’t have any difficulty in communicating with the locals.
The culture of Mauritius is a blend of the many ethnicities that have emigrated there. French, Chinese, Indian, and English cultures have all had an impact on forming the present day society on Mauritius.
Mauritius is a very small nation with a population of only 1.2 million people, so don’t expect to find a great deal of nightlife. In Grand Baie and the coastal areas like Flic en Flac you’ll find most of the country’s bars and clubs. Establishments are clean, but don’t expect to find a lot of wild parties going on.
What Are You Waiting For?
Mauritius is an eco-tourist’s dream and a beach resort tourist’s delight. If this little island paradise sounds like a place you might like to visit don’t hesitate to make your reservation. The people are known for being friendly and laid back, it’s warm year round, and the beaches are always beautiful.