Visiting Mauritius: What to do & where to stay

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I'm a small-town journalist, photographer, wellness junkie, and lover of life who is not afraid to enjoy the adventure. My definition of success is living in the most expressive way possible. .

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I'm Anna


American novelist Mark Twain boldly stated that Gods created Mauritius first, then the sky. That’s how smitten he was with the tropical decadence of this sacred corner of South Africa. A century later, I bet he would still be in awe. It is hard not to.

Besides its beautiful beaches, aquamarine waters, and 5* resorts, the volcanic island is mainly praised for its undeniable diversity. That, to me is the greatest asset. It beats the somewhat well-trodden honeymoon islands of Seychelles and the Maldives out of the water.

It lavishly rewards its visitors with a mountainous exterior, culinary delights and luscious wilderness. All the more reason to crawl out of your beach chair and explore her ‘heavenly blueprint.’

The Blisshunter at Pamplemousses Garden, Mauritius

When to visit Mauritius island

With an average temperature of 25ºC Mauritius really is an anytime holiday destination. The summer lasts from October to April, while periods of heavy rainfall are expected in February and March. Due to its size, Mauritius remains relatively spared from intense cyclonic activity. I was lucky to visit the island mid December with only mild rainfall during one day in almost 3 weeks.

Where to stay in Mauritius?

During my trip I stayed in four different hotels and locations, the south coast being my favorite. I found it to be the perfect place for relaxation with a bunch of adventurous activities just around the corner. The north side of the island is more bubbly and touristy, with a plethora of restaurants and luxury resorts. The full comparison of the hotels can be found in this blog post.

Best things to do in Mauritius

1. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (SSR) Botanical Gardens

On the outskirts of Port Louis is the oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere: Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden. In 1735, Pamplemousses served as a kitchen garden for the nearby castle of Mon Plaisir. Over the years, it expanded into a 37-hectare botanical kingdom. The collection entails 650 plants, medicinal herbs, 85 palm species, and native fruit trees.

Red Cardinal at Pampelmousses National Botanical Garden, Mauritius
Giant water lilly pond in Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden, Pamplemousses, Mauritius

The showpiece of the park is the giant water lilies. Victoria Amazonica has a leaf diameter of 2 meters. You can admire them in full bloom during the summer months (December to March).

Allow yourself about three hours for a proper exploration of the garden. Also, remember there are no catering facilities in the park, therefor it is best to bring your own picnic and mosquito repellent.

2. Whales and wild dolphins at Tamarine Bay

Mauritius is one of those few places in the world where you can swim with whales and dolphins in the wild. I want to emphasize that these animals are not lured or herded. Once you take a catamaran or a private boat tour across the turquoise lagoons, you will get a 90% chance to see and/or interact with them from a reasonable distance. If you like scuba diving, I’m sure you will fall in love with Mauritius if not for its coral reef, more for its underwater wildlife.

Île aux Cerfs, the 87 hr big eiland in Mauritius.

3. Le Morne + The underwater waterfall

Le Morne Brabant is a world on its own. Its focal point, Morne Mountain, represents the country’s fight for freedom and is part of UNESCO World Heritage. From the air, an ‘underwater waterfall’ illusion appears at the foot of the mountain. Taking a seaplane is your best shot at seeing this mesmerizing phenomenon.

Drone image of Le Morne, Mauritius

4. Black River Gorges National Park

Follow the signpost of the Seven Colored Earth Geopark, and find the top attraction of Mauritius 3 km further. The 100-meter-high Chamarel waterfall hangs over the ledge of a basalt cliff that is about 8 million years old. Its fertile soil is ideal for all kinds of tropical vegetation, including the coffee plant grown there since 1967 and processed into Chamarel Coffee, the only coffee produced in Mauritius.

5. Île aux Aigrettes & Vallée de Ferney

The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manages the 26-hectare nature reserve of Île aux Aigrettes to protect endemic and endangered species. You can only reach the island on a guided tour from Pointe Jérome.
It’s hard to imagine that two years ago, the most impactful environmental disaster in Mauritius took place here. A whopping 1,000 tons of fuel oil leaked into the Indian Ocean after a Japanese bulk carrier ship hit the reef.

Pink Pigeon in Mauritius

Does a walking in a 400-year-old forest sound appealing to you? Then I suggest you pay a visit to Vallée de Ferney. The 200-hectare reserve is located 2 km south of Vieux Grand Port and is only accessible on request. It’s a classic scene from Jurassic Park.

You traverse about 3 km of native tree species and learn everything about wild birds, including the Mauritian kestrel. Today, the park is proudly home to 14 pairs of Mauritian kestrels. A big step in the right direction is when you realize that the bird was considered the world’s most endangered bird of prey in the 1970s.

Aldabra tortoise at Vallée de Ferney, Mauritius

How to get around Mauritius

Except for the island of Rodrigues and Île aux Cerfs, which can be reached by taxi-boat, you can pretty much get everywhere by car. Renting a car would be your best option to fully explore the island. Keep in mind that the Mauritians drive on the left-hand side. In case you prefer to skip that (just like I have), you can hire a driver who will not only take you around the island but will also know the best places to indulge in the local food.

Woman taking a boat taxi to Île aux Cerfs with Four Seasons Resort.

How many days are sufficient to visit?

Although Mauritius is pretty small, it’s jam-packed with wander. If you want to take things slow and indulge in the colorful culture, you will need at least 15 days on the island. A week would give you a glimpse of what’s behind the curtain of this luscious paradise, but it’s nearly enough.

What to eat in Mauritius?

‘We are a colorful amalgamation of Indians, Chinese, Creoles, and Europeans,’ my driver Hossen jokes. This easily summarizes the Mauritian cuisine, which can be described as sweet and spicy at the same time.

Think banquet stew with banana and eggplant curry. As well as the tamarind fruit with which the inhabitants make delicious lemonades and jams. Street food and fresh fruit such as coconut and lychees can be found on every corner of the street in Mauritius.

In the small Dallas Snack shop in the middle of the city, an endless line of locals is queuing up. Fifteen minutes later, I know why: the best dhal puri in town. I take the flat pancake out of the bag and take a bite. The spiced yellow split peas ground into a smooth paste with curry tickles my taste buds.

I walk past the colorful stalls where the smell of incense meets me. The most common religion in Mauritius is Hinduism, hence.

Hi, I'm Anna

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