Planet Earth has many beautiful natural sights to provide the human eye. Millions of miles of coastline around the globe provide white sandy beaches, coral reefs, and breathtaking cliffs. Lush tropical jungles show us all the flora and fauna Mother Nature has to offer, and winding rivers sometimes meet the end of the line where they drop hundreds of feet in mesmerizing fashion. Many people can think of at least one place in the world they would love to travel that offers some or all of these natural wonders, but few would probably think of the island nation of Mauritius as that destination.
The tiny island nation of Mauritius lies off of Africa’s east coast, just east of the larger island nation of Madagascar. Much of Mauritius’ early history was dominated by European colonisation. The Dutch were the first foreign powers to exercise control over the island, followed by France and England controlling the island for over a century each. After independence from England in 1968, Mauritius would become one of the world’s top high end tourist destinations.
Mauritius’ economy was initially based upon sugar and textile production after independence from England. As sugar prices around the world dropped and textile production became economically inefficient, the government of Mauritius made the tourism industry the heart of the nation’s economy. Because of the small size of the island however, the government focused specifically on developing a luxury tourism industry to maximise profits.
The tourism industry in Mauritius is watched very closely by the government. Charter flights into the country are not allowed, nor are bulk vacation packages. The limited space on the island and a desire to protect the nation’s environment has led to a tourism industry that encourages the construction of fewer hotels that focus more on upscale construction and luxurious accommodations.
Natural wonders are the supreme attractions that draw visitors to Mauritius. Mauritius’ tourism industry offers several distinct destinations with different attractions for tourists. Holiday destinations are often split into the following options:
- Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius
- The North
- The South/Southeast
- The East
- The West/Southwest
Mauritius’ capital city of Port Louis was founded in 1735 during the island’s French period. Port Louis is the largest and most populous city in this nation of 1.2 million people and serves as the economic and administrative hub of the nation. A bustling city during normal office hours, Port Louis quiets down at night and offers tourists a number of excellent attractions including the Caudan Waterfront. The city lies directly on the Northwest coast of the country and is surrounded by a mountain range that offers picturesque views.
The north coast of Mauritius was one of the first regions in the country to openly welcome tourists on holiday. Some of the nation’s most beautiful white sand beaches are located in the north and recent development has brought a number of night life options to cities in this region. The north is home to several upscale hotels, fine dining options, and even discotheques.
The south and southeast regions of Mauritius offer a truly distinct holiday opportunity to travelers. This coastal region of the country is the only part of the island where the coastline is not protected by coral reef. The coastline in the south offers breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean from dramatic cliffs and it is the only place on the island to see the waves of the ocean break and crash against the shore.
Mauritius’ East is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The coastline of the east benefits from cool ocean breezes and provides visitors with beautiful coves and emerald lagoons to visit. In this region of Mauritius, life tends to move at a slower pace making it a great place to escape and relax on holiday.
Regardless of the specific destination those on holiday choose, they will find a number of fantastic activities. Some of the most popular tourist activities in Mauritius include the following:
- Backpacking and hiking
- Undersea walks (wearing dive helmets and weighted belts)
- Deep sea fishing
Those looking for a wide variety of outdoor activities should visit the west and southwest regions of Mauritius. The numerous wide sand beaches and luxury hotels that now dominate the once sleepy fishing villages of the West Coast offer tourists a jumping off point for windsurfing, snorkeling, diving, and even deep sea fishing.
In 1970 a mere 18,000 tourists made their way to Mauritius for a holiday. After increasing the focus on upscale tourism in Mauritius, the number of tourists coming to this tiny island nation increased dramatically. 720,000 tourists came to Mauritius in 2004 and over 970,000 visited in 2008. The majority of those who visit Mauritius come from Western and Central Europe, but that does not mean they are the only visitors.
Those looking to vacation in Mauritius will find a welcoming atmosphere with modern accommodations and abundant activities available. English is the official language in Mauritius and most individuals employed in the service and tourism sectors are fluent in French, German, and Spanish. Direct flights into this island nation are available from England and South Africa, making it easy for many upscale travelers to reach this island paradise.