30 September 2016
“There’s nothing to do but lie on the beach.” “When it rains, we’ll be stuck inside the hotel because there’ll be nothing else to do!” “I don’t want to just swim and sunbathe.” Sound familiar? The adventurous and restless might not jump at the chance to jet off to a destination with miles of brilliant white sands and crystal clear waters but Mauritius isn’t just a paradise for sunbathers.
Love to hike? Lace up those boots and trek Black River Gorges National Park. Keen birdwatcher? Don’t miss the pink pigeons on Ile aux Aigrettes. Foodie? Feast to your heart’s content on fusion dishes with mouthwatering flavours influenced by Chinese, Indian, French and African cuisines.
If you’re dreaming of tropical island paradise but need activities for the adventurous too, Mauritius might just be your perfect holiday destination. Read on for a taster of the activities you can do on this exquisite island.
With 60km of trails through lush forests and an area spanning almost 17, 000 acres, Mauritius’ Black River Gorges National Park features some of the island’s best hiking. Meander past waterfalls, gaze at volcanic peaks, and spot native plants and birds – there’s over 300 species of flora and 9 species of bird to see!
Like a challenge? Hike to the top of Black River Peak. It’s the highest point in Mauritius so it’s quite a climb but you’re rewarded with spectacular views once you’ve made it to the top!
Feast on the wonderfully aromatic octopus curry, with its flavours of ginger, cinnamon and tomato. Nibble a slice of the utterly moreish banana tart with a cup of tea in the afternoon. In need of a snack? Fill an empty tummy with Mauritian street food! Munch flatbreads filled with yellow split-peas and spices (dholl puri), samosas and chilli bites (gateaux piments). These are just a few dishes for foodies to add to their list but there’s a mouthwatering mix of Chinese, Indian, African, Creole and French cuisine to sample.
Whilst you’re there, don’t miss tea tasting at the Bois Chéri tea factory and sampling sweet treats at L’Aventure du Sucre. The captivating sugar museum sits inside a former factory on the Beau Plan Sugar Estate and as well as tasting 12 unrefined sugars, you can try a tipple of nine rums, too!
Fly over bright green treetops on a zip wire at Casela Nature and Leisure Park. Kite surf the waves in the twinkling blue waters of Le Morne Peninsula. Gallop across the bright white sands at Riambel. Hop on four wheels and steer your quad bike through sugar-plantations-turned-eco-adventure-parks Domaine de L’Etoile and Frédérica Nature Reserve…there’s plenty to keep little adventurers and restless adults busy!
Although Mauritius might not be the first destination you think of when you think of a family holiday, there's certainly plenty to do here. Why not take a trip on a Blue Safari where you'll descend to 30 metres in a submarine to get up close and personal with the local sealife. Or why not take a tour of the Ile aux Aigrettes with a vast array of birds, plants and animals.
There are even some amazing water parks to keep the children entertained. At the Waterpark & Leisure Village there are plenty of amusement rides as well as a kids' pool and slides.
Colonial rule by the French and British means there’s a mix of striking architecture to explore and a complex history to learn about. Wander past the picturesque Notre Dame Auxiliatrice (Red Roof Chapel), located at the point where the British troops first landed. Visit the oldest settlement on the island, Vieux Grand Port, to see the Dutch ruins from the 17th century. Marvel at the one- and two-penny stamps issued in 1847 – these red and blue postage stamps are two of the rarest stamps in the world. And don’t miss touring the exquisite Creole mansion, Euréka. Built in the 1830s and home to one of sugar plantation families, this huge 109-door house is now a museum complete with period furniture.
There’s also two fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites nestled on the island – Le Morne Cultural Landscape and Aapravasi Ghat – and they’re definitely worth adding to your to-do list.
Prepare for your trip to Mauritius…
Ti Frère (Sega)
Eric Triton (Blues)
Lonbraz Kann (Dir. David Constantin)
Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint Pierre
Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons: A Journey to the Flora and Fauna of a Unique Island by Gerald Durrell
Boy by Lindsey Collen