Mauritius is an Indian Ocean island which is famous with its beaches. In the history, it has been home to many nations including Portuguese, Dutch, French and finally British who freed slaves. Therefore, it’s really multiethnic. All of the nations that lived here before British plundered the island before leaving. So the infrastructure reflects that of British, even though the islanders speak French better than English and 50% of them are Indian.
After midnight, I got on a plane with my family for a 9-hour flight to Mauritius. Although I like living all 4 seasons, I can’t tell I’m a big fan of long&cold winters. So, I appreciate a little getaway from chilly Istanbul for hot holidays in this little island.
We land in Mahébourg in noon and head to our villa by car-we rented for our visit. I’ve been in a couple of tropical islands, and it’s safe to stay that renting a car makes the whole visit more worthwhile. It gives you the flexibility to go around the island to visit all the beaches, prevents you from wasting time on public transportation and protects you from the hot weather. Long story short, that’s what we do most of the time when we are travelling. Prior to coming here, we did our research and found out that the best beaches and residential areas are cumulated in the northern and western sides of the island. Thus, we rented a villa by the popular Grand Baie.
After settling down, we start going over our must-see list. First stop is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden, Pamplemousses. The garden hosts magnificent plant species brought in from across the globe and also plants native to the island. Its giant water lilies and sacred Indian lotus are without a doubt the most prized. We get bitten by countless mosquitos-my advise would be to wear long sleeves and pants here- in the boiling weather, and award ourselves with delicious cups of ice-cream at the capital Port Louis. We return to Grand Baie by stopping at the beaches along the way. Amongst Creole restaurants, fast-food chains and international cuisine restaurants, we choose the famous Luigi’s for the best pizza on the island.
Mauritian cuisine doesn’t hold a certain traditional cuisine, so we decide to have breakfast at our villa. Then, we head to the south of the island which hosts the Curious Corner of Chamarel, Chamarel Waterfall and 7 Coloured Earth. The Curious Corner of Chamarel is an illusion house catering to people from all ages. 7 Coloured Earth is a truly unique place where earth’s colours range from violet-blue to brown. Iron and aluminium repel each other and gather spontaneously in colourful stripes. Because soil is depleted from nutrients, no plants will ever grow on the dunes. This is what makes the scenic pictures so incredible, earth in shades from blu-violet to red surrounded by rain forests. Lastly, the steep Chamarel Waterfall is a testimony of the volcanic activity that lasted several million years. If I had to name 3 must-do’s on the island, The Curious Corner of Chamarel, 7 Coloured Earth and Casela must be it. On our way back to our place, we stop at Black River Gorges National Park where we get a great panoramic picture. We have dinner at one of the sea-food restaurants by SuperU and arrange a daily boat tour for the following day.
This morning we have to get up rather early, because we will be going on a boat tour to a nearby island called Gabriel. The boat tours of the northern coast depart from Grand Baie and include a day on boat with visits to 2 little islands, snorkelling and lunch. It’s a great opportunity to swim at different coasts and sunbath, though one should keep in mind that there would be noisy and drunk French tourists all over the catamaran. After a day in the sea, we’re exhausted and sunburnt! We stop by at one of the best ice-cream places when we get to our island Love by SuperU.
Casela is simply the world of adventures. From 4D Cinema to Safari, from Walk Thru Aviary to Giraffe Feeding; it’s almost our best day-yes it’s a whole day attraction. We see countless animals and take part in various activities. If you visit the island, don’t miss out Casela! We end the day at Nando’s by La Croisette. Although not Mauritian, if you haven’t been in before then this restaurant is also a must see.
The next day, we visit the famous Indian Temple called Ganga Talao. We not only walk around the water but also participate in a ritual, and I end up getting blessed. Then, we proceed to La Vanille which is also a nature park hosting trillions of tortoises and crocodiles. Its gift shop is the best on the island, we find beautiful-smelling vanilla cane bowls and fabulous hand-made fridge magnets. Now, it’s time to see the goat-shaped edge of the island: Le Morne. Its strong wind makes it an excellent place to surf and kite-surf. For swimming on the other hand, long and calm, Flic en Flac and Mon Choisy are the best beaches of the island!
I never miss out to visit a craft and/or flea market of a town I’m in. So, I pick one that is called Goodlands and we get lost in the colourful stalls of cashmere and more. From hand-crafted jewellery boxes to cashmere scarves, we buy the prettiest gifts to ourselves. Afterwards, we hit the road to explore eastern side of the island-because that’s the only place we haven’t stepped on. Hence, we reach Flacq and see Mangrove trees whose roots are in the ocean. After we visit couple more beaches, we all agree that our side of the island is the best! We cannot think of a better place to eat than Ocean Basket, so we end the day with an exceptional see-food dinner.