"Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius"
There's only one word that does justice to the beauty of Mauritius - paradise. A seductive combination of rolling landscapes cloaked in lush, tropical vegetation fringed by idyllic white sand beaches and a balmy climate all year round. Add cultural intrigue and delectable cuisine into the mix and you have a mighty appealing destination to discover. Surrounded by the dazzling colours of the Indian Ocean complete with extensive coral reefs, Mauritius is a prime holiday spot for anyone keen to explore underwater or feel the thrill of various watersports above the waves. Whether you are looking for time to unwind on paradise beaches or you want to enjoy an adventurous side of Mauritius, our local partners can oblige.
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Top things to do in Mauritius
Mauritius may simply seem a small island nation, but there is in fact plenty to do on its shores (and further inland!) Here are some of the top things to do whilst on holiday in Mauritius.
For a fascinating introduction to this island nation, one of the best things to do in Mauritius is to spend a day or two exploring the capital, Port Louis. Located on the north west coast, this compact city demonstrates the complex influences that have shaped modern Mauritius, with Portuguese, French, British, Dutch, Chinese, African and Indian elements all here. The old city showcases some fine French colonial architecture, while the Caudal waterfront is the place to go for fine food, nightlife and a relaxed vibe. Don't miss the bustling markets where the fresh produce is the star of the show.
Picture azure lagoons where the dazzling water is so clear you can see all the sandbars swirling under the waves, perfect for kayaking or paddle boarding in the shallows. The island lies off the east coast, and for entertainment and watersports it's one of the best places to visit in Mauritius. The 87 hectares include beaches, eateries, a golf course and numerous lagoons to explore.
A holiday in Mauritius wouldn't be complete without admiring the underwater landscapes, especially the coral which encircles much of the island. Past dynamite fishing has damaged some areas, but the colourful fish are easy to spot everywhere. There are also dolphins and whales present around the Mauritian coast, and trips to see them can be arranged. Marine turtles also visit the crystal clear waters here, under strict protection.
Le Morne Brabant mountain is the iconic landmark of Mauritius and is actually a UNESCO world heritage site. Its significance comes partly from its unique and dramatic site on a hammerhead peninsular encircled by icing sugar beaches, the peak rising up from sea level to 556 metres high. Secondly, and more importantly, the mountain has historical and cultural significance as a refuge for escaped slaves, and today it is seen as a beacon of peace, hope and freedom.
Lesser-known highlights of Mauritius
You know that the beaches are divine and the sealife magical, but what about these lesser-known highlights?
Fans of birdwatching will be pleased to note that there are eight endemic species on the island, as well as another 100 or so to look out for. The best place to go birding is the Black River Gorges National Park found in the southwest, and if you are lucky you may spot a Mauritius kestrel, pink pigeon or Mauritius parakeet, all of which were close to extinction but mercifully have been subject of conservation efforts and now numbers are on the rise.
The Grand Bassin or Hangar Talao is a crater lake sitting at 550 metres altitude in the southern central Savanne region, a mountainous zone of this petite 67 kilometre long and 45 kilometre wide island. The lake is an important pilgrimage site for those of Hindu faith, hence the shore is dotted with temples and shrines. During late February and early March pilgrims from all over the island arrive barefoot to celebrate the Shivaratri festival.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden is universally recognised as one of the best things to do in Mauritius and one of the world's finest botanical gardens. The appeal is not just for keen botanists but for anyone who appreciates the incredible diversity of nature and enjoys finding out about the power of plants. Book a guided tour to get the most from this extensive garden, and don't miss the star attraction - the giant amazonica water lily pads.
Interesting facts about Mauritius
Mauritius is a small, but fascinating nation. Did you know any of these interesting facts about it?
- The traditional folk dance of Mauritius is the sega, a dance style that has echoes of Indian folk dances but uniquely, the dancers' feet do not leave the ground.
- Mauritius is named after a member of 16th century Dutch royalty - Prince Maurice van Nassau, who governed the island in 1598.
- Mauritius and its fellow islands of the Mascarene group are young landmasses in global terms, at only around 8-9 million years old. They were created by volcanic activity.
- English is the official language and its widely spoken, but most people speak French or creole as their first language.
- The most identifiable extinct species is probably the Dodo, a flightless bird which thrived on Mauritius without predators until the arrival of sailors, who ate them and whose following of rats demolished nests and eggs. The species was extinct within a century.
Best time to go to Mauritius
Overall, the best times to visit Mauritius are September to November and April and May, firstly because of the lower footfall outside the July to August and Christmas peak seasons; secondly because of the calm climate and perfect temperatures.
Warm sun and blue skies are a feature of the Mauritian climate all year round, but there are variations within this. October to April is summer, and the best time to visit Mauritius if you want tropical heat, though this brings with it humidity and some rainfall. The cooler 'winter' season runs from May to September, and temperatures can drop to around 20 degrees, though skies tend to be clearer than in the summer. Pack a jacket for evenings if you visit during the winter months. From June to August parts of the island become breezy as the trade winds blow, particularly in the south and east.
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