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Travel & Holiday Tips in Mauritius
 
 
 

General

With world-class hotels offering the best service in the Indian Ocean and a renowned gastronomy as well as top spas and golf, Mauritius also offers more to do than many tropical islands, with trekking, mountain climbing and eco-tourism playgrounds. And with its signature sunny days, the world’s third largest coral reef surrounding a turquoise lagoon and silky, blonde, sandy beaches, this island certainly comes close to paradise.

Port Louis

Capital and main port of Mauritius, the city was founded by the French Governor, Mahé de Labordonnais, in 1735. The harbour is sheltered by a semi-circle of mountains. The city has plenty of character and, in some quarters, signs of its past elegance are still evident. Off the main square, the palm-lined Place d’Armes, there are some particularly fine French colonial buildings, especially Government House (built in 1738) and the Municipal Theatre, built around the same time. There are two cathedrals, one Protestant and one Catholic, a fine Supreme Court Building, some 18th-century barracks and the Natural History Museum (exhibiting Mauritius’s most famous bird, the extinct Dodo). On the outskirts of the city, at the foot of the mountains, is the Champ de Mars, originally laid out by the French for military parades, and now a racecourse. The splendid Edward VII Avenue and Fort Adelaide, a citadel fortified in the time of William IV, offer the best views of the racecourse, city and harbour. South of Port Louis is Le Réduit, the French colonial residence of the President of Mauritius, set in magnificent gardens. Other places of interest include the Jummah Mosque in Royal Street and the Chinese Pagoda.

The Domaine Les Pailles nature park nestling at the foot of the Moka mountain range covers an area of 3,000 acres. Among the attractions are a natural spring, a spice garden, a replica of a sugar mill and an old rum distillery. Trips through the park in 4-wheel-drive vehicles, horse-drawn carriages or trains are also possible.

Northern & Western Mauritius

To the north of Port Louis are the Pamplemousses Gardens. These, created at the end of the 18th century, are known to naturalists throughout the world for their large collection of indigenous and exotic plants, including the giant Victoria regia water lilies and many species of palm trees. Of particular interest is the talipot palm, which is said to flower once, after 60 years, and then die. There are also tortoises here, some of them over 100 years old.
Facing the calm water of the lagoon between Pointe aux Piments and Trou aux Biches is the Aquarium populated by 200 species of fish, invertebrates, live coral and sponges, all originating from the waters around the island. An open-circuit seawater cycle of one million litres runs through the 36 tanks every day. The Aquarium offers a unique opportunity to admire the colourful treasures of the Indian Ocean.

The island’s main residential town in the west of the country, Curepipe, provides good shops and restaurants. Between Curepipe and Floreal lies Trou aux Cerfs, a dramatic, extinct crater 85 m (280 ft) deep and more than 180 m (600 ft) wide, which offers extensive views of the island from its rim.

Open daily, Casela Bird Park is set in the district of the Rivière Noire, stretches over 20 acres of land and contains more than 140 varieties, amounting to 2,500 birds. Specimens from the five continents may be seen there, but the main attraction is the Mauritian Pink Pigeon, which is one of the rarest birds in the world. Other attractions are the fish ponds, tortoises, monkeys and orchids (seasonal). Trees, streams and small cascades all add to the remarkably peaceful atmosphere.

Rodrigues Island

Situated 550 km (340 miles) northeast of Mauritius, this tiny, rugged, volcanic island is a beautiful and relaxing refuge for travellers. The island is covered in coconut palms, filaos (casuarina trees) and pink-flowered bushes known as vieilles filles (spinsters). The capital, Port Mathurin is the main port of entry and the ‘Mauritius Pride’ sails regularly to and from Mauritius.

Southern Mauritius

Domaine des Grands Bois covers over 2,000 acres of magnificent parkland, rich in lush and exotic fauna. Ebony, eucalyptus, palm trees and wild orchids provide the backdrop for stags, deer, monkeys and other wildlife.

Near Souillac, in the wild south, La Vanille Crocodile Park breeds Nile crocodiles imported from Madagascar. The site offers a vast park with a nature walk through luxuriant forest studded with freshwater springs. A small zoo of animals found in the wild in Mauritius is also located here.

Situated nearby, the Rochester Falls can be reached by a road which crosses a sugar plantation that is open to visitors. Water cascades over spectacular rock formations. Spectacular joints have been formed by the contraction of lava due to sudden cooling. Within a short distance of Bois Cheri, Grand Bassin rests in the crater of an extinct volcano, this is one of the island’s two natural lakes. It is a place of pilgrimage for a large number of Mauritians of the Hindu faith.


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