Mauritius – the dream island in the Indian Ocean is a coveted destination for many travelers. Little wonder, because Mauritius scores with white sand beaches, luscious green palm trees, and turquoise ocean waters. So, what to go for first? On our recent visit, we collected 15 venues and things you can do for entertainment on the island:
This guide first appeared in German on reisememo.ch
Let’s settle one thing – the beaches really are as white as they are advertised in the glossy catalogues and they truly reach as far as the eye can see! The luxuriant green of the mountains competes with the turquoise blue of the ocean to combine into the perfect backdrop for the dazzling beaches. It is a fitting ambiance for everything this dream island has to offer.
We scoped out the east and southwest coasts.
On a peninsula in the island’s southwest dominated by the majestic Le Morne Brabant – the locals call it the “Table Mountain of Mauritius” because of its unusual shape – lies Le Morne beach. The white sand against the green mountainous background once again makes for a captivating contrast. We were also taken by how the expanse of beach makes it possible to take beach walks that you never want to end. Oh, yes – and the sunsets here are almost gaudy, they’re so beautiful…
On the east coast, Belle Mare beach, at almost five kilometers, is one of the longest beaches on Mauritius. The white sand borders a flat, crystal clear blue lagoon protected by its coral reef. The east coast impressed us as mostly unspoiled; above all, we enjoyed the undisturbed nature and the tropical filaos trees lining the beach. While the west coast of Mauritius is known best for its stunning sunsets, here you get incomparable sunrises — it absolutely pays to get up early to catch one.
Water sports perfection
Naturally, Mauritius offers all the usual water sports; you can choose snorkeling, kayaking, wind- or kite surfing. The conditions are perfect for our friends of the wind-filled sail.
Divers, too, can get a real eyeful here, even if not quite as dazzlingly as on the “neighboring” Maldives. Although Mauritius swims in the same Indian Ocean …
But on this island, it’s not just the water lovers and sun worshipers that get their money’s worth, it is also a paradise for nature lovers and golfers.
Nature day trips
For hikers, Black River Gorge National Park offers secluded, shady hiking paths.
You won’t find many of those on Mauritius, because the forests have been logged out to where just two percent remain. All for the sake of tea and sugar cane plantations.
Still, a day trip to the national park is a winner, because in the same area around Chamarel, Cascade Chamarel beckons as the highest waterfall on Mauritius, and then there is the “Terre des sept couleurs,” or seven-colored earth – a colorful hillscape created by mineral oxidation – not to be missed.
Even if this colorful patch of earth is rather small, visiting the park is worthwhile, because just a few downhill minutes by car from it stands the Chamarel Ebony Forest. Here they are promoting reforestation while protecting what remains of the virgin jungle.
Information-hungry tourists are taken by Land Cruiser up very steep tracks to the summit. On the way up, there is a jungle nature trail to marvel at.
Plant lovers should absolutely plan on a stop in Pamplemousses near Port St. Louis to see Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden. Especially impressive are two ponds with giant water lilies and lotus flowers. And so are the resident giant tortoises.
We saw just a few bicyclists on Mauritius. It seemed to us that it is not especially well suited for bikes, given the narrow, rough streets. And then, of course, there is the occasional heat to cope with.
For families with youngsters in tow, an excursion to Casela Park at Flic en Flac recommends itself. There, you can take them on a mini safari to learn all about life in the bush.
For golfers, Mauritius tees up plenty of good times. Two of the most spectacular golf courses anywhere, Ile aux Cerfs and the Anahita, are located on the island’s east side.
In the southwest, on the Le Morne peninsula, the Paradis golf course has a few holes with special effects — mostly made of water! And the Tamarina course in the west even offers a total view of the “Mauritius Matterhorn” from the signature hole!
Mauritius island explorations
At most sightseeing spots, no matter how remote, you will find taxis or contract buses.
The best way to explore Mauritius on your own, however, is to rent a car. Because the public transportation net did not seem all that dense to us.
Restaurants and cuisine
While you’re on the go, of course, you will want to grab a bite from time to time.
The cooking on Mauritius is a mixture of Indian, African, and Chinese influences. That said, it is difficult to find an appealing restaurant outside the hotels.
In Trou D’Eau Douce on the east coast you have the well-reviewed “Le Café des Arts“. In the north, around Grand Gaube, the good eateries are well hidden behind walls and difficult to track down.
We did not come across any restaurants in the south that would attract tourists – aside from the food courts in shopping malls with cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets.
In the west, near Flic en Flac, something like a “restaurant row” heaves into view with several restaurants lined up next to one another.
But, here as well, the impression made by the restaurants from outside is at best ambivalent. Nevertheless, we forged ahead and picked one of the better-appearing ones with many customers sitting inside.
The menu looked promising; the Google reviews came across with 3.7 stars, which is not bad, considering. Still, we would have been better off passing it up: the grilled fish was edible, but most of the fried calamari and crab we left untouched on our plates.
The mobile burger joints on the beach enjoy better ratings. As we find out belatedly…
So, a word to the wise, wherever you stay on Mauritius, we recommend booking at the half- or full American plan rate. Unless there happens to be a restaurant like Wapalapam in Le Morne close to your lodgings.
The Wapalapam’s hustling Austrian owner obviously has sized up the hotel guests from next door both as hungry for a change and well-heeled: the prices are rather steep. Like they are everywhere on Mauritius. But at least, at the Wapalapam the value proposition is on the money…