Mauritius: Africa's island paradise

A small island state located in the southwestern Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, Mauritius is known for its white beaches and crystal-clear waters. Looking for a holiday where you can experience nature, good food and relax completely? Mauritius has it all!

Mauritius was formed by a volcanic hot spot in the Indian Ocean. The island has its own unique flora and fauna, a variety of coral reefs and other spectacular natural phenomena. Nicknamed "Nirvana’s blueprint", Mauritius gives you high expectations. Fortunately, it does not disappoint.

Explore the beautiful beaches of Mauritius

Here, there are white beaches that never end, crystal clear and turquoise water, and palm trees laden with coconuts. A destination made for romance or relaxation, it is equally popular with families and couples going on honeymoon or a babymoon. This is what the resorts on the island have provided. Mauritius offers spectacular beaches, and the turquoise sea also has plenty to offer. Diving and snorkelling are popular activities, as well as jet skiing and windsurfing.

World-class five-star accommodation

An additional advantage of Mauritius compared to similar destinations, like the Seychelles or the Maldives, is that one can choose from among several resorts catering to different budgets. The hotels are often a destination in themselves, as they have made sure that you do not even have to leave the area. The hotels have several on-site restaurants and pools, various land and water activities, spa facilities and tennis courts. Some hotels also have their own golf courses.

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imageCyrus Pellet / Unsplash

Luxury hotels

The hotels on the island are often a destination in themselves, as they have made sure that you do not even have to leave the area to enjoy your stay.

Mauritius offers multicultural gastronomic experiences

Mauritius has an exciting mix of different cultures as the country has been both a Dutch, French and, finally, a British colony before becoming independent.

Food lovers will be able to explore a variety of flavours and aromas inherited from those who once migrated to Mauritius. Culinary traditions from France, India, China, and Africa — many of the most renowned and cherished kitchens in the world — can be found on the island.

Mauritius has maintained strong ties to French culture throughout its history. French dishes such as daube, civet de lièvre or coq au vin served with a fine wine are not uncommon in Mauritius. As the years have passed, the dishes have also been adapted to incorporate the more exotic ingredients found on the island.

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Strong culinary influences

Mauritius has an exciting mix of different cultures as the country has been both a Dutch, French and, finally, a British colony before becoming independent.

Indian inspiration

During the nineteenth century, after the abolition of slavery, Indian workers who came to Mauritius brought with them their own exquisite cuisine. The workers came from different parts of India, with each with their own culinary tradition, depending on the region from which they hailed. Indian food is distinguished by spices such as saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. These are the most common ingredients that give a powerful yet subtle taste. Dal, vegetables, beans and pickles are also widely used. Dholl Puri and roti, originally an Indian street dish, are like fish and chips for Mauritians.

Chinese immigrants arrived at the end of the 19th century. Most of the migrants originally came from the south-eastern part of China. Although the Chinese population is one of the smallest on the island, its food is well represented in the restaurants around the island. Fried noodles or rice, chop suey, and spring rolls are eaten by everyone.

Mauritius is essentially an island made up of migrants and descendants of the slave era. Each of these communities has adapted and mixed their cultures with each other, resulting in a common Mauritian cuisine. This can be seen in the Creole cuisine which is a mixture of many different ingredients and flavours. As in most other countries, there is also fast food such as kebabs, burgers, pizza, and chips.

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Indian influences on Mauritius

After the abolition of slavery, Indian workers who came to Mauritius brought with them their own exquisite cuisine.

A world-class golf destination

While the coastline offers the most beautiful beaches, the hinterland has a landscape that provides the perfect setting for spectacular golf courses. The golf courses in Mauritius have featured on many lists of world's top 100 golf courses, and the island has also been named the Golf destination of the year for Africa, Indian Ocean and Gulf States.

There are twelve large golf courses scattered on the small island. Mauritius has truly made a name for itself as a top golf destination.

imageStefan Waldvogel / Pixabay

World class golfing

Many of the golf courses in Mauritius have featured on many the of world's top 100 golf courses,

Nature experiences on land and sea

Mauritius is a small island. By comparison, the island is about the same size as Luxembourg and twice the size of Hong Kong. Despite its small size, the natural landscape offers amazing experiences.

The fact that the island is so small makes it easy to see all the wonders during a holiday. Nature reserves and parks in Mauritius are managed by local authorities to help preserve biodiversity as well as its historical heritage and ecosystem. The island has a variety of nature experiences to offer, including wildlife sanctuaries, hiking trails and fascinating viewpoints.

Here are just a few of them:

Le Morne and the Underwater Waterfall

Le Morne is a mighty mountain that was previously used as a refuge for slaves and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mountain offers an incredibly beautiful view, but also a glimpse of a dark history. Le Morne is a place for reflection. You get to know Mauritius even better by visiting it. At the base of the mountain, you can visit a museum that presents the history of slavery on the island.

The whole trip takes between 3-5 hours, depending on what physical shape you are in. The hike is 7 km long, and is relatively easy at first, but becomes steeper as you approach the peak. It’s important to bring enough food and drink, and proper footwear. The hike is most pleasant in good weather. It’s a good idea to start early in the morning to avoid the heat. The hike can be dangerous if it rains.

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The landscape surrounding Le Morne is magical. The sea at the base of the mountain offers a mysterious illusion whereby the sand and silt on the seabed flow off in a way that makes it look like an underwater waterfall - or as if the whole island is being sucked into a black hole. This is just an optical illusion, and it is absolutely safe to swim in the sea. The sight is most spectacular from the air, and you can book a helicopter ride to get the full experience.

The Seven-Coloured Earths of Chamarel

The Seven-Coloured Earths of Chamarel is a geological formation and a well-known tourist attraction in southwestern Mauritius. It is a relatively small area of dunes consisting of sand in seven different colours - red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow. The spectacular sight comes from the fact that the sand settles in different layers, the dunes then acquire amazing multi-coloured stripes. The phenomenon dates back 600 million years, when the rain first started carving beautiful patterns into the mountainside.

imageUdo S / Flickr

Well worth a visit

The Seven-Coloured Earths of Chamarel is one of the Islands most famous attracations.

Trou aux Cerfs

Another famous tourist attraction in Mauritius is the dormant Volcano Trou aux Cerfs which is located about 1 kilometre from the town of Curepipe. The volcanic crater sits about 605 metres above sea level, with a diameter of 350 metres and a depth of about 100 metres.

Unlike most volcanic areas, Trou aux Cerfs crater is surrounded by large, lush forests consisting of unique plant species and giant green pine trees. It is believed that Trou aux Cerfs erupted once and has remained dormant for the past 700,000 years, although some experts believe there is a chance that the volcano could become active again.

One of the main highlights of this tour is definitely the 360-degree view of Curepipe, and the majestic views of Rempart Mountain, Trois Mamelles and the Port-Louis-Moka mountain range.

Black River Gorges National Park

Black River Gorges National Park is the largest protected forest in Mauritius. The park has over 50 km of beautiful hiking trails, including more challenging options for those who are up for it. Visiting the park is a good way to access Mauritius's wilderness whether you prefer climbing to the highest peak or a gentler walk through the forest. The forest is home to over 300 species of flowering plants and 9 species of birds unique to Mauritius, including the famous pink pigeon, which has previously been endangered.

The park also offers beautiful waterfalls (Alexandra Falls is particularly beautiful), pristine rivers, picnic areas and dramatic mountain ranges.

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Fantastic nature and waterfalls in Mauritius

The National Park Black River Gorges offers beautiful waterfalls, pristine rivers, picnic areas and dramatic mountain ranges.

Where should you stay on the island?

Although the island is small, there are many accommodation options. This can make it challenging to know where to book on the island. There is not necessarily any one place that's best — it depends entirely on your personal preferences.

In general, it is nice to stay on the coast, so you have close proximity to the sea and the beach. No matter which side of the island you live on, you will experience beautiful nature and beautiful beaches. Grand Bay, in the north of the country, is the best place for those who want a little more bustle. It is an area where you can find bars and nightclubs, several restaurants and good shopping, as well as some nice beaches.

imageVaughan McShane / Flickr

White-sand beaches

No matter which side of the island you live on, you will experience beautiful beautiful beaches.

Mauritius is a year-round destination

Its climate makes the island a destination you can travel to at any time. Mauritius has a mild tropical climate all year round. The country has two seasons: a warm humid summer ranging from November to April and a relatively cool dry winter from June to September. October and May are often known as the transitional months. The very best time to travel is between April and June and from September/October. In Mauritius, one can also experience tropical rain, particularly between January and March.