Mauritius Travel Guide
Situated more than a thousand kilometers southeast of Madagascar in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the tropical island nation of Mauritius has long been a favorite destination for many South Africans.
However, the rise of travel blogs on the internet means that their little secret has now leaked to other travelers around the world. Passing between the hands of the French and the British in colonial times, and being settled by Creole, Indians, Chinese, and immigrants from other parts of the world over the centuries, not only is it a great place to go on a beach holiday, but it is also a culturally fascinating destination as well.
Currency: Mauritian Rupees
Languages: French, English, Mauritian Creole, Bhojpuri, Tamil, Hakka, Hindi, Urdu
What To Do
Begin that your holiday on Mauritius by visiting Le Morne Brabant. This rock pinnacle served as a refuge for escaped slaves during the years when this practice was legal here. Created by volcanic activity millions of years ago, this dramatically beautiful place was the scene of an ugly incident on a day that should have been cause for jubilation.
On February 1st, 1835, a detachment of police officers were sent up the mountain to find hidden slaves so that they might be informed of their emancipation, as slavery had just been abolished across all British colonies.
Fearing that this was a trick to get them back into the hands of their oppressors, many jumped to their deaths below. This incident served as the catalyst for the creation of the Annual Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery, which is a day when all Creoles on Mauritius celebrate their freedom from one of the most abhorrent practices in human history.
After the British took control of Mauritius, they sought to defend this valuable territory from their regional rivals. The Martello Tower Museum helps preserve the fortifications that helped make that possible.
Its round shape made it resistant to cannon fire from passing ships while giving the British an elevated standpoint from which a counteroffensive could be launched. Within its walls, there is a historical re-creation of officer’s quarters, which included the furniture that they used while on deployment.
With all the diversity that Mauritius boasts, markets such as the Bazaar of Port-Louis are a treat to walk through. Also known as the Central Market, it is filled with everything from fruits and vegetables to brilliantly crafted lanterns.
Though this attraction lacks the grit that it once had prior to being renovated in 2004, the new version still contains physical evidence of the cultural diversity that makes Mauritius such an intriguing place to visit.
If you are looking to experience one of the best natural attractions on Mauritius, head inland to Tamarind Falls. Also known as The Seven Cascades, it is a multi-tiered waterfall that is collectively the largest on Mauritius.
There are many tours available, ranging from half-day trips that will take you to the lower waterfalls, to full-day excursions that will allow you to take in all of them.
However, chances are good that you have traveled to Mauritius to take in its many spectacular beaches. There are many to choose from on the main island and the smaller ones in the archipelago, but if you cannot decide which ones to travel to, we recommend that you at least check out Trou d’Argent Beach.
While it may take some effort to reach, its lack of easy accessibility makes this place extra special. A pocket-sized beach sandwiched between volcanic rock, it is the sort of place that we all dream about escaping to on the most difficult days in our lives.
If you are looking for pure decadence, be sure to catch the ferry across to Ile aux Cerfs. While central parts of this beach can be crowded, a brief walk along its four-kilometer white sand beach will allow you to find the tropical bliss that you desperately need.
Don’t forget to go on a tubing trip down the interior channel that runs through the center of the island, as it is a carefree experience that might just make your entire holiday in Mauritius.
Finally, if you are looking for a beach that will produce some of the best tropical photos you have ever taken, head over to Le Morne Beach for an afternoon. With a mountain rising dramatically in the background and perfect crystal clear water in the foreground, you will find yourself in your own personal paradise.
Swells and prevailing winds make this a great place to learn and practice kite surfing as well, but beware if you are traveling as a family, as these conditions can produce currents that could prove hazardous.
What to Eat
With a series of influences ranging from Indian to French to Creole, there are a variety of dishes that one can try while on Mauritius. If you are looking for a quick snack, grab some Dholl Pori, which differs noticeably from the version produced in India.
Lacking the ingredients to make Paratha properly, immigrants from the Subcontinent instead substituted local ingredients to produce a fried flat bread that is stuffed with ground yellow peas and paired with curry, chutney and other ingredients familiar to Indian cuisine.
Often described as the unofficial dish of Mauritius, Octopus Curry is a popular dish in this island nation. Served with the chewy seafood as its prime ingredient along with rice and bread, diners also have the option of how spicy they want to make their dish, as chiles are often served on the side.
If you are looking for a sweet ending to your day, treat yourself by seeking out some Gateau Patat Douce. Made with sweet potato dough, it is combined with sugar, coconut, and cardamom before being deep-fried and served at tea time.