Think of holidays in Mauritius and chances are the first, perhaps the only thing that comes to mind is an image of lazy days on white-sand beaches with nothing but the gentle lapping of the ocean to break the silence. Captivating enough I know, but there is in fact so much more to the island than beach-life alone. How about the Michelin-star dining? Underwater safari tours? World-class golf?
If you’re heading to Mauritius for a break or long stay, take my word for it when I say you’ll come back richer for the experience if you take heed of my personal top-five:
To sample the local gastronomy of Mauritius is essentially to taste the foods of the world. The island is steeped in heritage from Africa, India, China, France and many other countries – all of which have had an impact on local cuisine. That being said, it will come as little surprise to find that seafood is the order of the day and those with a taste for lobster may find themselves eating little but. Spice fish cooked in banana leaves often represents the daily special, while the scent of butter-poached langoustines often carries far and wide as the evening draws in. Splash out on something special at least once.
Soak Up the Culture
Never forget that there is an incredible town to visit behind the beach, in the form of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius. Along with an astonishing history and complex heritage all of its own, Port Louis boasts a dizzying Central Market where you can find a sensor feast of biblical proportions. Local crafts can be picked up by the waterfront and there is even the southern hemisphere’s oldest racecourse for those looking to try their luck!
A little more selective in terms of tastes yes, but given the fact that Mauritius is also home to the oldest golf course in the hemisphere, it would be a shame to pass up the chance of a round. The backdrop of pure-white-beaches, sparking blue seas and lush mountains is pretty much indescribable and has been relished by pros and newcomers alike since the course opened in 1844.
Back to Nature
Check out the Yemen Nature Reserve toward the west of the island or perhaps take a guided safari tour through Casela Nature Park to snap a few shots of the wild antelopes, zebras and deer that call Mauritius home. There are also boat tours a-plenty for those looking to catch sight of one of the rarest birds in the world, the stunning and elusive pink pigeon.
Walk it Off
Whether looking to clear a fuzzy head or just take in a breath of extra-fresh air, the island is covered in walking trails that scale mountains, descend into valleys and skirt around some impressive lakes. From simple beginner’s walks to those demanding some serious preparation and fitness, there’s something on offer you’re guaranteed to qualify for.
Last but not least, if there’s one place in the world to have your first experience with water-sports of any kind whatsoever, make it Mauritius. From stunning diving locations to world-class kite-surfing resorts and right through to swimming with the island’s native dolphins, believe me when I say that if you head home having not ticked at least one of the boxes on offer, you’ll regret it.
Photo above is used under Creative Commons License