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A paradise surrounded by coral reefs and blue seas with some of the best beaches on the planet, a stunning volcanic landscape and a large island to explore, Mauritius is one of the top beach holiday destinations in the Indian Ocean.
Discovered in 1505 by the Portugese, Mauritius is worthy of worship from any beach lover!
Volcanic origins give it spectacular scenery and some awesome natural attractions, think secret lakes and romantic waterfalls. Perfect for a tropical beach holiday, wedding or honeymoon. If you’re looking for relaxation, diving, snorkelling, sailing and any of a multitude of other sun-soaked beach activities then think holidays to Mauritius!
Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands, an archipelago that was formed by volcanic eruptions around 8-10 million years ago, and gives it a rugged, wild beauty that is world-renowned.
Travellers can expect wonderful weather, plenty of exciting places to visit, warm, clear seas and a broad selection of activities from which to choose. Mauritius caters for every budget and almost every desire - it’s a very safe and reliable place to visit.
Where is Mauritius?
Mauritius is located in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Madagascar. It is 4000 kilometres away from the south-east coast of Africa, and covers an area of 1865 km² with 330 km of coastline.
Mauritius’ pictures speak more clearly than words - it’s an idyllic beach resort and provides everything that one would expect off a tourist, tropical island resort. If you’re exploring the options of a Bush and Beach safari, it might be worth investigating Pemba and Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania - they’re perfectly located to finish off an African safari with a few days tanning on palm-tree studded beaches. The adventurous could have a look at the all-but-deserted Príncipe off Central Africa; yet more perfect beaches and wildlife worthy of the nickname, “The Galapagos of Africa”.
Holiday in Mauritius
Beaches and leisure:
- Generally speaking, the beaches of Mauritius are the traditional image of a paradise beach. With crystal blue waters surrounded by coral reefs and pristine white sand, they are perfect for sunbathing, swimming and watersports. There are plenty of areas from which you can go scuba-diving and deep-sea fishing as well, making the coastal regions ideal for everyone.
- Grand Bay. La Cuvette beach and shops - it’s the leisure and shopping centre of choice on the island. The beach of Pereybère is in this locality as well and has shops, restaurants and several pubs. Best for night-life in Mauritius; discos, restaurants and bars aplenty.
- To the east is Flacq Market, the country’s largest open air market. Vibrant and lively, it attracts a large number of people and is perfect for leisurely browsing. For families the Waterpark Leisure Village is ideal, it has giant chutes to provide a fun way to enjoy the good weather. For water sports and the most beautiful beach in Mauritius, the tiny Ile aux Cerfs is a must-see located just off the coast of the island.
History and culture:
- There are two attractions; the Balaclava Ruins and the Triolet Shivala. The ruins are a few metres away from Baie aux Tortues (Bay of Tortoises), named after the many turtles that were discovered here by 17th century Portugese sailors. The ruins remain mainly in the form of sea walls (built by Mahé de Labourdonnais). The Triolet Shivala is the longest village on the island and has the biggest Hindu temple, the Maheswarnath, which was built in 1819.
- At Vieux Grand Port lies the oldest settlement on the island where Dutch fortifications can be seen lying in ruin. They are currently being excavated in a bid to find out more about the history of the island. For a bit of old culture meets new, one of the oldest fishing villages on the island, Mahebourg, contains the Martello Towers. The end of slavery and beginning of Indian immigration is symbolised by them. Finally, for a bit of luxury, a small seaside resort named Souillac can be found along the coast of the Savanne district. A garden overlooking the sea is found here, as well as a viewpoint giving stunning views off the cliff top under the name of Gris Gris.
- The Labourdonnais Orchards contain a large variety of tropical fruit trees with perfumed and colourful exotic flowers. It is possible to hike or cycle through these.
- Further south, but still on the east coast, two areas to view the animals of Mauritius are open to visitors; the Ile aux Aigrettes and Domaine du Chasseur. The Ile aux Aigrettes is an island just off the coast which is protected, and gives the international standard of protection for Mauritius. Extremely rare birds such as the Pink Pigeon and Kestrel can be spotted, along with the rare Green Gecko Phelsuma and Aldabra giant tortoise. The Domaine is located in the Anse Jonchée hills, and is a hunting ground covering 900 hectares. Stags, monkeys and boars are found in the vegetation, whilst the endangered kestrel can also be seen here. The accommodation here has a wonderfully panoramic sea view and a restaurant with some incredible cuisine.
- Towards the centre of the island more of the natural attractions are found; Ganga Talao and Grand Bassin are the two natural lakes of Mauritius, and are located in the craters of extinct volcanoes. Ganga Talao is a pilgrimage site for the many Hindus living on the island. A national park can be found here as well; the Black River Gorges Park. The park protects Mauritius’ native forests and has a magnificent landscape as well as a number of endemic plants and rare bird species. Orchids are a bit of a speciality here.
- For accommodation with a difference, the rustic Eureka is an old Creole residence that was built in 1830, and it contains all the flavours of the island.
- Finally the journey of sugar from cane to shop can be discovered at L’Aventure du Sucre. Taking up 5000m², this is situated in the location of an old sugarmill, and the history of Mauritius is integral to this particular story, making for a fascinating few hours spent here. There is a restaurant, Le Fangourin, which sells authentic Mauritian cuisine seven days a week, in which you can finish your tour or just visit n the way through.
- Visit the west of the island, where the Casela Bird Park and Yemen Reserve have between them a huge variety of things to discover. The Bird Park has more than 140 bird species from the five continents, as well as fish ponds, tigers, tortoises, monkeys, deer and orchids. Yemen allows you to get close to some of the deer on the island, as well as admiring some of the more splendid Mauritian plants. There is an unobscured view of the sea which can be admired from rustic kiosks in the reserve. Here, some saltpans can be found, the result of the large amount of sunshine that the area receives, the centre of which is Tamarin. This is the heart of salt production for Mauritius.
- For the picturesque side of the island, the volcanic ash has given the landscape an interesting patchwork of blues, greens, reds and yellows. With waterfalls, moors and a wealth of native plant life, this is a truly beautiful area.
Best time to go to Mauritius
- May to November - warm and dry. May to September anticyclones affect the area. Best for beach.
- November to April - cyclone season, hot and humid.
Quite simply, Mauritius is the ideal beach holiday destination - it has an established infrastructure which helps lower costs, and has all the natural assets required to make a truly unforgettable holiday. The romantic atmosphere of the island make it a perfect destination for beach honeymoons and tropical weddings.
How to get to Mauritius
There are over 30 weekly flights to and from all European major cities with Air Mauritius, which has also combined with Air France to give 15 flights to and from Paris. Other airlines include British Airways four times weekly, Emirates Airlines three and Condor once.