South Africa is back on a few red lists again and some of our December travel plans have been rattled. But there are still plenty of places we can visit, including Mauritius.
View from Linds and Jess' self-catered apartment (Flic en Flac)
We caught up with our friends, Linds and Jess, who are currently on the beautiful little island to find out what the perfect Mauritius holiday looks like.
“Mauritius is one of the most under-rated places on earth, presenting the perfect combination of charm, beauty, adventure and luxury. The island is volcanic in origin, situated within the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Africa, and boasts an abundance of natural geological phenomena.
Panoramic view of the volcanic Tourelle Du Tamarin and Morne Brabant Mountains
“Its unique legacy reminisces heritages from all around the world (Arabic, Malay, Indian, French, Portuguese and Chinese, to name just a few) which have been transformed into a humble and exquisite Mauritian culture. This rich culture can be experienced through the diverse food, architecture, religions, languages, crafts and even technology that are delicately sewn into the fabric of the local society.
“The land is contoured by specular reefs, including the famous crystal rock, that is home to a remarkable array of aquatic life, including the spinner and bottlenose dolphins who confidently frolic in the reef currents.
“Flying onto the island, you can’t help feeling awestruck at the abundance of natural beauty. The stunning Rivière Noire District is hard to ignore; a number of beautiful waterfalls cascade in series from the volcanic Grand Bassin located atop the island’s plateau all flowing effortlessly towards the azure blue coastline.”
View of the Grand Bassin and central island plateau
For Linds and Jess, the most noteworthy are the people. “From our ocean guide, Sid, and our taxi driver, Vashil, to our local fisherman, whose name is well known on the island as Captain Jack Sparrow (not even joking). Everybody has warmly welcomed us to the island with nothing but smiles and an admirable knowledge of the Island.”
Activities you can’t miss
In Mauritius, taxis are really accessible from anywhere on the island and can take you on a tour de l’ile (tour of the island) at an affordable price.
Port Louise and its food market, Cap Malheureux
Located in the Rivière du Rempart District, Cap Malheureux is a historical icon of the island. Cap Malheureux, which translates to ‘Unlucky Cape’, is the location where the British were able to defeat the French and take control of the island in 1810. If you’re wanting to stay in this region, the Coin de Mire hotel comes highly recommended.
Chateau de Labourdonnais
Spiral staircase, Château de Labourdonnais (built in 1856)
This restored Victorian mansion is en route to the northernmost part of the island after your stop in Port Louis. According to Linds and Jess, the grounds are immaculate and the Chateau is both beautiful and insightful. It includes a permanent display that walks visitors through the history of the island and the mansion alike.
Guided boat tour
When it comes to the South Strip, Linds and Jess recommend a guided boat tour:
“You can tailor the boat tour to whatever adventure your heart is calling you on, but we would recommend swimming with the dolphins and snorkelling around crystal rock. On our boat trip, Sid's wife also made the most spectacular tuna tartare and shrimp salad, which we had for lunch at an island overlooking crystal rock.”
Hiking the Chamarel Mountains
For an active day inland, you can hike the Chamarel Mountains and the 7 waterfalls, also known as the Tamarind Falls. The surrounding area is known for its locally grown coffee and for its annual pilgrimage to the Chapel of St. Anne which was built in 1876.