A Travel Guide to Mauritius

Mark Twain famously said; “Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius”.

Whether these were Mark Twain’s own words or if he was quoting a local is a point of debate. What ever the case may be, it’s easy to see where the comparison between Mauritius and Paradise came from. If Heaven was a place on Earth, Mauritius would be that place.

This pristine paradise just north of the ‘Tropic of Capricorn’ in the south western part of the Indian Ocean is a place everyone wants to visit at some point in their lives and I was no exception.

Here is a perfect 7 days Itinerary of must do’s on your visit to Mauritius

Blue Safari Submarine

They say the real beauty of the ocean lies beneath the surface. And what better way of seeing that beauty than on an underwater safari? As the only leisure submarine operator in the Indian Ocean, you know you’re doing something exclusive and special. Blue Safari Submarine has a fleet of submarines and ‘Sub-Scooters’ all suited for different type of activities and experiences. They even offer a champagne dinner below the surface and for the ones looking to tie the knot with a wedding under the sea. Talk about creating some unique memories!

Given that my son is a bit of a “dare-devil”, I guess it was a good thing that the Sub-Scooters had an age requirement that he didn’t meet. So instead we got to experience the underwater safari in a Leisure Submarine, which was just as adventurous and exciting in my opinion. We boarded the submarine and quickly grabbed the front row seats. The Captain of the submarine had a vast knowledge about the marine life and artefacts we got to see during the safari and made sure everyone learned as well as enjoyed. This was a great activity that everyone will enjoy, no matter the age.

SSR Botanical Garden

This botanical garden in district of Pamplemousse, named after ‘Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam’, the first prime minister of Mauritius and the Father of the Nation, is a national treasure. The Botanical Garden (as it was then known) has a history of over 300 years, dating back to Mauritius’ French period, making it one of the oldest botanical gardens in southern hemisphere. It is populated with a vast variety of flora, both indigenous and from across the world. It most notably contains a collection of 85 different varieties of palm trees form across the world.

I set aside a few hours to walk the gardens and spend some ‘alone time’ in the serene beauty of all the tropical flowers and trees. “How lovely is the silence of growing things” – Evan Dickens

Should you get the time, do spend some time walking this beautiful botanical garden.

Boat Trip on the east coast and lunch with Falcon Boats Mauritius

No visit to a tropical paradise island is complete without a private boat ride along it’s unspoiled coastline. We had the privilege of going on the boat of Captain Dino (FYI, his Indian name was Sahil), who made sure it was nothing short of a perfect day. We sailed along the east coast and stopped only at the loveliest spot for a delicious Mauritian Barbeque lunch. After lunch, my son and I got to experience parasailing and it was indeed a soulful experience to soar so high above the beautiful endless Indian Ocean. My son was thrilled, because in Mauritius, unlike other places, the age limit for parasailing (with an accompanying adult of course) was only 5 years old. Needless to say, we were both left breathless.

Horse Riding

Everyone has at one point in their lives imagined riding a horse on the beach, and what better place to do just that then along one of Mauritius pristine beaches. Belle Mare is a beautiful beach surrounded by various resorts. The weather was just beautiful and it was a perfect ride.

As amazing as this experience is, it’s even better when you’re experiencing it with someone you love. And I had the pleasure of doing just that with my little hero. Turns out he was a natural!

 

Casela World of Adventures

This adventure park not only holds the boasting rights of being one of Mauritius’ leading attractions but also of being the most visited attraction in the entire Indian Ocean. This adventure park/zoo offers activities such a zip-lining, camel safari, swimming with dolphins, feeding giant animals such as giraffes. They even offer their guests the opportunity of going on an ‘African Safari’ and experience close encounters with the Big Cats.

You might think that this is a place that only kids would enjoy, but you’d be wrong.

We had a wonderful day at Casela, feeding the giraffes, fishing, going on safari, the fun was never ending. It was simply great! It’s a full day of out outdoor activities though, so make sure you go on a day when the weather is right and do come prepared with hats and water to keep yourself hydrated.

Chamarel Coloured Earth

‘Seven Coloured Earths’ as the area is also referred to, is a geological foundation consisting of sand in seven assorted colours. What makes the Charmel Coloured Earth even more fascinating, is that that colours never mix. Even when forcefully mixed together, they eventually separate naturally and settle according to their colours.

Visiting this place is a fascinating and educational experience that also allows for some great and unique photos. There’s also a small restaurant close to the attraction where you can enjoy some fresh sugarcane juice. Perfect on a hot day while watching some big tortoises that are kept close by.

Rhumerie de Chamarel

Mauritius is often associated with Rum and this association is not unfounded. While the island has several rum distilleries, there are only a few that produce “Rhum Agricole” (the French term for Rum produced from freshly squeezed sugarcane juice). Out of these few, I had the pleasure of visiting ‘La Rhumerie de Chamarel’. The distillery is still involved in cultivating its own sugarcane, a practice not commonly done by distilleries anymore.

Rhumerie de Charmel and its rum has won several awards and it didn’t take long for me to find out why. They took us on a rum making tour, similar to a wine tour (for those of you familiar with those). The tour concluded with a tasting session wherein they offered us rum cocktails of our choice. I tried a few different variants and without a doubt, my favourite was the Spicy Chamarel Rum. After the tour we had lunch and enjoyed some delicious Mauritian food. Not surprising to the people who know me and my sweet tooth, I must give a special mention to the caramelised pineapple dessert. It really was out of this world.

Curious Corner of Chamarel

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk on the ceiling instead of the floor? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be giant in a small house? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand in the air? This place plays tricks on your senses lets you experience all this and much more. To say that this was a trippy experience is understatement. This house of quirky tricks and illusions will tease your sanity and leave you questioning what is real and what is not. Spending time in a house of illusion is fun for everyone, no matter your age. It’s especially fun for bored kids on a rainy day.

La Vanille Nature Park

La Vanille Nature Park hosts a wide range of reptiles, fish and mammals, ranging from bats to lemurs to crocodiles and alligators to giant tortoises. The park is a vital part of a conservation effort to protect and preserve the natural forest environment and habitat as well as several animal species, particularly the endangered giant tortoises.

One of the things I was really looking forward too was to visit the nursery, because who doesn’t love baby animals? I got hold both baby tortoises and crocodiles. Not the fluffiest of animals, I know, but they sure were cute. As we later moved on to the fully-grown ones, nothing could have prepared us enough for the contrast in size. Everything was supersized! The tiny tortoise I had held in my hand would eventually grow big enough to sit on. The giant tortoises were roaming around, and kids could sit on them and have their pictures taken. We also payed a visit to the insect museum, which I realise is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I found it really fascinating. The butterflies obviously stole the show! The crocodile and reptile enclosures are clearly a big attraction. The fully-grown crocs were truly impressive to watch. We concluded the park visit by seeing something a bit cuddlier and less terrifying, the farm animals. My son might be the greatest petting zoo enthusiast in the world and the combination of him with fluffy animals nearly made my camera ran out of memory space.

Sunset Luxury Cruise

Taking a sunset cruise along a tropical island is on everyone’s bucket list. Watching the sun say good night in the most spectacular and extravagant fashion as it disappears behind the horizon is sight you’ll never forget. Top that with the gentle rocking of the sea and you know you’re in paradise.

While Mauritius has an extensive list of cruises operators, I chose to experience my sunset cruise with ‘JPH Charters’, a reputable fishing and cruise operator with a range of different boats. The sunset was really something else and I was left in awe, wondering if I’ve ever actually seen a more beautiful one than this golden Mauritian sunset.

Born To Fly

We all dream of being able to fly. But in Mauritius, you can do more than just dream, you can really fly. ‘Born to Fly’ is a seaplane operator that lets you experience this tropical paradise, its turquoise lagoons and the deep blue sea surrounding it all, from far above. It’s a breath-taking experience you won’t soon forget. The Captain, who was also the owner of the company was amazing and made sure you felt completely safe while you enjoyed the Birdseye view of this paradise island.

The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa

I personally love Westin properties and this one was no exception. The room was amazing with unrivalled views of the great Indian Ocean. I loved waking up to this view. Mornings were just beautiful. As soon as we arrived at Westin, we couldn’t wait to hit the beach and enjoy some Mumma-Baby time J The hotel had a few restaurants including an Indian restaurant, well I wasn’t surprised when I learned that the Westin’s owner is an Indian man.  The food was delicious and flavours were intact keeping some Mauritian touch to it. Other restaurants were nice too but had limited vegetarian options.

The Westin had a ‘Kids Club’ for their younger guests and my son took full advantage. He got to take dance lessons, go crab hunting, painting and he also made a few new friends. All and all I think Westin has done a wonderful job.

My visit to the Mauritius and The Westin Turtle Bay just happened to coincide with ‘EARTH HOUR’ and Westin made sure the occasion was celebrated in style. The evening began in the lobby where all the guests where invited and handed candles to light. We then walked through the hotel and out to the garden where candles where kept. This was when the time passed 8pm and all the lights where switched off. They offered us drinks and food and it was all free for all the guests. The hotel put on a “Fire dance” performance followed by an open floor for everyone who wanted to join in and dance. The whole experience was lovely and it was a great evening for kids and parents alike. It was a great party!

Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa

I must admit that the Hilton Mauritius was a wonderful experience. The garden view room was nice and comfortable, we were on the ground floor with garden access followed by the beach.

The Hilton Mauritius had 3 restaurants where of one was a Beach restaurant where they offered lunch by the beach, so you could enjoy the view while your enjoyed your lovely food.

In my opinion it was the Hilton’s themed buffet which was the culinary highlight of the hotel.

The buffet offered 3 cultural food experiences; French, Mauritian and Indian, on a rotating basis, making sure the guests enjoyed a new theme every day. I tried them all and I must admit neither disappointed! Every theme also offered a “Live Counter” where a specific part of the cuisine was ‘made to order’ in front of the dinner guests. The Indian one for instance offered a fresh roti counter.

But the theme of the day didn’t end there. Instead it followed you out to the beach restaurant where they offered concerts and performances in accordance with what was now the theme of the night. The live bands where talented local performers and artists who’s tunes kept you entertained well into the night.

The Hilton had a beautiful pool. But should you prefer something bigger, the beach was but a stone’s throw away. The hotel had a sports centre situated by the beach where you could go paddle boating or kayaking free of charge. My son and I went paddle boating more then once and we both loved it. It was a perfect activity, simple enough to do without a guide.

The breakfast was one of the many highlights of the visit. Now for those of you who know me, know I love breakfast. And Hilton did not disappoint. The breakfast was pre-ordered the night before and was arranged beautifully on the patio of my garden side room minutes before we woke up. The breakfast was so good that I choose to enjoy it by the beach on the second day.

The Hilton Mauritius also has a jetty, where guests enjoy evening drinks, cocktails and mocktails. The Jetty can be booked as a venue for personal or corporate events.

They also have a nice kids club and on Easter they organised some fun games and activities for the kids on the beach side. My son had amazing time at the Hilton I must say!

 

Spa Day

No trip is complete without a relaxing Spa experience. I opted for SOL Spa at the Sofitel Hotel and must admit it was amazing. I loved the massage, the coconut scrub (it smelled like fresh coconut) and a quick refreshing facial. It was a perfect Me time and that’s how I ended my trip to Mauritius. I’m still posting lots of pictures on my social feeds, so make sure you check them out.

Photo Safari

If you ever have the pleasure of visiting #MyMauritius , make sure you go home with quality photos that does it justice. This photo tour will take you on a journey to discover the very essence of #Mauritius, it’s beautiful people and culture, and of course it’s pristine landscape. The tour packages are tailor made to cover what you want to see and capture on camera. Clique Photo Safari Mauritius was featured on CNN and was quoted as “The world’s most stunning Photo Safari” @photosafari_mauritius_tour

I will miss Mauritius and will always have a plan to return to this paradise.

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