The Mauritius of today is the result of a turbulent and oftentimes dramatic development which took place over the past centuries. From an isolated volcanic rock in the middle of the Indian Ocean pristine and blissfully untouched by human beings for a long time, with lush green foliage overgrowing its rugged mountains, unique and exotic trees, ferns and flowers blossoming all over its lush valleys; waters cascading and tumbling down its mountain slopes, forming rivers and flowing into turquoise lagoons, where the waves of the Indian Oceans never cease to pound onto white sandy shores, Mauritius has come a long way.
Nature’s beauty is still there; sometimes painfully intense, such as during the colourful sunsets, the deep blue of the Ocean, reflecting myriad shades of turquoise, or then the wonderful flowers growing in lush abundance at even the most unexpected places. There is even something beautiful in the fast growing cities and the of course within the people who dwell on this unique island; descendants of Dutch, French, Malagasy, African, Indian, European and Chinese settlers; some of whom came out of their free will; some dragged in chains and some blown in by the winds of fate. The songs have been composed, the poems recited, the books written. History has been lived times over again.
And now it’s your turn to come and visit what is termed the Pearl of the Indian Ocean; the Star and the Key; Paradise Revisited or simply the most wonderful island fulfilling your dream of the perfect holiday: Welcome to Mauritius!
Some information for the eager traveller:
Situated at 20 degrees South and 57,5 degrees East in the south-eastern Indian Ocean, 230 km from neighbouring island La Reunion and 860 km from Madagascar, the surface of Mauritius covers about 1865 square kilometres of tropical forest, sugar cane, white sand, and exciting cities as well as dreamy little villages. The 330km coastline encompass rugged black basalt cliffs, golden sands and palm studded beaches; all fringed and protected by a huge coral reef.
Consisting of volcanic rock, the rugged peaks of Mauritius reach a maximum height of 828 metres; some jagged and steep, others oddly shaped, the largest one gently sloping. The central plateau stretches on an elevation of about 600 metres and is riddled with remnants of extinct craters; some of them so spectacular that they form veritable landmarks.
Of course a paradise revisited offers all the rights things to do for the entire family, exciting places to see, a variety of sports and leisure activities, the possibility to just lazily hanging out on the white sandy beach; and a wonderful climate to do those things; with sunshine and wind and rain in the right amounts. There is almost always a sunny spot to be found on the island all year round and tropical cyclones seem to miss it, as it is just such a tiny speck in the great blue Ocean.
What applies to activities can also be said about accommodation; contrary to common belief they are varied and by far exceed the stereotyped luxury hotels commonly associated with Mauritius. Of course there are indeed those very luxurious accommodation types, ranging up from 4 to 5 star hotels beach villas and luxury bungalows; but are completed by many charming two and three stars guest houses, bed and breakfasts, hunting cabins, romantic chalets and even boats that can accommodate individual travellers, couples, families and groups of friends wanting to share an island experience.
And then there is the food! Local delicacies, little culinary sensations, reflecting the many cultures and continents that come together in one single melting pot, called in olden time the Ile de France. Yes, there is baguette, but also pourris, piments and curries in any variation, cooked and baked and steamed ; originating in Madagascar, Africa, China, and God knows where else, delightfully melting on your tongue or tickling your palate. Or even drinks such as lassi, alouda and surely that local rum, trickling sweet and delightful and hot like molten lava down your throat.
And if you still have not had enough, try wellness! There are myriad treatments in the spas and wellness centres distributed evenly over the island. You can find peace of mind and deep relaxation under knowing and gentle hands rubbing and kneading and soothing pains and aches and the stress of many years. Oils, stones and mud packs are applied; treatments from many continents and civilisations exercised to renew you and reinvigorate your tired body, mind and spirit.
As this is not only one of the most beautiful, but doubtlessly also one of the most wildly romantic spots on earth, why not spend your honeymoon in Mauritius? There are many picturesque corners on the island; cosy coves with white sand, black lava rocks and blue skies; enchanted gardens with tropical flowers and shimmering pond...or consider a private cruise in an intimate setting with just you, your beloved and the colourful sunset, which is later turning into a fat yellow moon...
Better even: getting married on the island, as there is a host of possibilities for theme and romantic weddings in churches, on the beach or in the jungle. Formalities can be done quickly and as you are in paradise already, you can combine your wedding with the honeymoon and even save....
When you come to Mauritius, many treasures await you. So be smart, book wisely and look for local guides who care about the environment, as they will take you to small and hidden nature places where you can breathe deeply, fulfil all those hidden notions you ever had about tropical islands and listen to the song of the island with body and soul.
You will doubtlessly experience that Mauritius really lives up to its name as the jewel of the Indian Ocean and it’s easy to see why so many return to its shores year after year!
What you should know before booking:
Official language in Mauritius is English, although French is the most widely spoken. Creole is the Lingua Franca and the means that unites “tou Moris”. Of course a large percentage of the 1.2 million Mauritians speak, besides Creole, and a little French and English their respective original tongues, which are Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Arab, Hakka or Mandarin.
Books could be written about it...
Windy but sunny in the East, windy and fresh in the South, often rainy but interspersed with glorious sunny days over the central plateau, sunny in the North and dry and sunny in the West is the general rule, but of course there are many exceptions! The same applies for the best time to travel to Mauritius. Ideal for travelling are April, May, October and November, as cyclone season usually lasts from December right through the end of March. June and September are good for travellers who don’t like it too hot, and many tourists nowadays seem to have taken a liking to the “winter months” July and August, when days are short and nights can be fresh, but swimming is still possible, especially in the warm and protected North or West. Peak season is without doubt between Christmas and New Year and bookings around those holidays should be done well in advance.