Mauritius is an island I whole heartedly fell in love with and spent the most incredible 8 days on. It is just so beautiful, has wonderful palm fringed scenery everywhere you look, and absolutely gorgeous beaches.
It is the perfect place for a honeymoon, or simply to escape to paradise, but the best part about Mauritius is there is so much to do and so much to see. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to visit Mauritius, having been born in the Indian Ocean coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya. It is a place I will definitely go back to that is for sure.
An island where the primary language is French, although everyone does speak excellent English, there are hints of the old British rule in aspects such as the side of the road they drive on and the colonial style architecture still present in some parts of the island. The majority of the residents are of ancestral Indian heritage though but they have been in Mauritius for so many generations that they consider it home.
I can totally relate to this being a third generation Kenyan with Indian heritage. For me home is Kenya and always will be.
We did spend some days totally relaxing on the lush beaches with a cocktail and a good book, or cooling off in the pool, but we also spent some very memorable days exploring the island. Here are some of the highlights of our trips, and activities we chose to do.
Casela World of Adventures & a Lion/Tiger experience
At Casela World of Adventures, you can walk around the park as you would in a zoo and see various birds and animals, or you can go quad biking, zip lining, tour in a safari jeep or have different animal encounters (at an extra cost to your main ticket).
They have many species of animals which are lovely to see such as the giant tortoises (pictured below), lions, tigers, monkeys and so much more. There is also a petting zoo where young children can interact with hens, goats and sheep.
We decided to do the tiger cub experience as we had both never seen tigers in person before. I have to be honest and say I was expecting tiny little cute cubs so when I saw the size of these cubs I did freak out a little bit. They were totally fine though and so gentle. It was an exciting and wonderful experience and would really recommend it. An alternative experience is to walk with lions.
Now ahistorical world heritage site, Le Morne mountain, which is 550 metres high is a majestic mountain that stands as a cathedral for freedom, as it was where many runaway slaves sought refuge and hid. As the tale goes, the day that slavery got abolished, some slaves hadn’t heard about it yet and thought that some soldiers they sighted on the mountain, who were actually coming to give good news were actually dangerous and so they jumped to their deaths to avoid being captured.
You can see Le Morne from various points of the island, but you can also go up it! We didn’t but we have friends who did and said the views were spectacular.
Tea factory tour and tea tasting at Bois Cheri Tea Plantation
Bois Cheri Tea is one of the major tea brands in Mauritius with lots of history and heritage behind it, having been in production since 1892. It was established by Messrs Bour and Le Breton, and the 250 hectares of land now produce up to 700 tonnes of tea every year, 25% of which is reserved for exportation.
It is also one of the few tea plantations where you can visit for a couple of hours, see how tea is processed and packed, as well as spend some time in the museum. You also have the opportunity to go for a tea tasting and try the different variations of Bois Cheri Tea.
The tea tasting experience is made even more special with the view and it is seriously a must do if you are visiting Mauritius.
You can read more here: http://binnyskitchen.com/2016/05/26/tea-tasting-at-bois-cheri-tea-plantation-in-mauritius/
Grand Bassin – Ganga Talao
Another scenic and beautiful place is Grand Bassin (Ganga Talao), where you will find a natural lake within an extinct volcano crater. According to mythology, the water here is linked to the sacred Ganges river in India.
Many Hindus visit here and it is considered that taking a dip in this lake during the Shivratri festival is auspicious. Here you will also find a famous Hindu Temple with beautiful statues standing tall from the lake, and stunning views. You can go inside the temple for blessings and it is really worth visiting to see the architecture and the gorgeous statues.
At the northern side of the lake stands a 108 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva, which is the second largest statue of Lord Shiva in the world.
You can read more here: http://binnyskitchen.com/2016/05/15/ganga-talao-hindu-temple-in-mauritius/
The Chamarel waterfall is just breathtaking. 83 metres tall and formed by the River St. Denis, this is a site not to be missed. Surrounding the waterfall is lush green vegetation of the Black River National Park. You can get two different views of the waterfall and both are amazing. The steps to go up to the second view are a little uneven so make sure you have flat shoes!
Chamarel and the seven coloured sand
Within Chamarel, which is a small village in Mauritius is the unique seven colours sand. These were formed naturally and have hues of colours, ranging from yellow, red, brown, violet, purple, green and even blue. As you walk around the area you can get diverse views of the sand, as well as one from an observation deck.
At Chamarel, they also have giant tortoises and they are just adorable!
A BBQ on a Catamaran
One of the coolest BBQs I have ever attended was right out at sea on board a Catamaran as part of a day trip. Seriously the best BBQ I have ever experienced.
We decided to take the Catamaran cruise to the south west of the island and our first stop was watching dolphins swimming and jumping out of the water. It was just amazing!
We then went snorkelling, had our BBQ lunch on deck and then went onto a smaller boat around crystal rock and then on to Benitiers Island, which has beautiful white sandy beaches. We spend a bit of time looking at the souvenirs and swimming in the sea.
The day trip was so worth it. We had such a brilliant time and you just got such amazing views of the island from the Catamaran, especially of Le Morne.
We booked the triphttp://www.catamarancruisesmauritius.com/en/catamaran-full-day-cruise.php through our hotel
A foodie tour in Port Louis and eating the famous Dholl Puri with Alouda
I was lucky enough to have met my fellow blogger friend and Mauritian Anu from Peachy Tales for a day touring Port Louis and she took me to eat, what can be considered one of the most popular dishes in Mauritius – a dholl puri. This is a cross between a parantha and dal kachori and is a flat bread stuffed with ground yellow split peas.
We enjoyed the dholl puri with a very refreshing and delicious alouda from Pillay, which is similar to falooda and oh so delicious!
Located within a food market, it was fascinating to see all the fresh vegetables and fruits, and food for sale within the market. Interesting spots included Nan Khatai, which I grew up with in Kenya, so was good to see it in Mauritius too.
Guava and green chilli
As we were walking around Port Louis, Anu got us to try the guava which was in season, which are so different to the guava I am familiar with.
Mauritius has an abundant supply of sugar cane due to the sugar cane fields visible throughout the island. If you get a chance, definitely drink some sugar cane juice as it is so refreshing and delicious.
If you spot fresh coconuts, eating the flesh and drinking the water is a must too. They hydrate so well and are so lush.
Make the most of the picture perfect beaches and temperatures as they are simply stunning. A slice of paradise! The beaches on the south of the island are amazing but all over the island they are really beautiful.
- The easiest way to get around is taxi, but it can be quite expensive so it is better to hire a taxi for a day and try and get as much sightseeing as possible within the day. For example, in one day we managed to go to the temple, chamarel, Casela and Bois Cheri. We then spent separate days at Port Louis and on our catamaran trip.
- Always carry a hat, a bottle of water and sunscreen as the sun can get very intense.
- If you go to your hotel with a taxi when you arrive in Mauritius, you can negotiate a cheaper rate for the return journey with the driver so make sure you take their business card.
- Do wander around outside your hotel and in to other hotels to eat in order to experience different food.