Mauritius Island Adventure

Sarah Freeman on 01 December 2022
If you're looking to jet away for some winter sunshine and enjoy active day trips as well as relaxing on beautiful beaches...then look no further than Mauritius! Mauritius is located in the Indian Ocean just off the coast of east Africa and is just 61km long and 45km wide. You can fly direct from London or from Manchester connect in Paris or Dubai. I was lucky enough to spend 8 days here in December and one of the first things you notice is just how genuinely friendly and helpful everyone is. There’s a fantastic array of accommodation on the island from deluxe villas on 5 star resorts to smaller eco-friendly all inclusive properties. The resorts are of a high standard and while it might be tempting to simply lie in the sun on your lounger all day, there’s a wealth of fascinating places to go and explore. If you’d like a quick snapshot of the island, I’d recommend taking a north or south east island tour – lasting a day you can do this in a small group or as a private tour. The north and north west is the more developed and touristy part with the capital Port Louis and Grand Baie town. Port Louis was larger than I expected and had a vibrant downtown area with a great Central Market with wonderful fruit and vegetables and a new Caudan Waterfront area with international stores and craft market. On the outskirts it’s worth a quick visit to the old stone Fort Adelaide built by the British with its impressive views over the city and then drop down to Aapravasi Ghat to learn about the 500,000 indentured labourers who came to the island to work on the sugar plantations between 1834 and 1920. Don’t miss L’Aventure du Sucre, a former sugar factory restored after 200 years into a fascinating museum with 10 interactive areas and the chance to taste local products. The north is also renowned for its lovely sandy beaches, swimming and watersports and it’s worth visiting Mont Choisy, Trou aux Biches and Cap Malheureux which also has the iconic red roofed Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice church. For a completely different experience of the island, head to the centre and south west for beautiful natural landscapes including the Black River Gorges National Park. The centre has a much slower pace of life and as its higher the temperature is cooler. Trou aux Cerfs offers a stunning view of the island and is the dormant volcanic crater. From here you pass the huge Mare aux Vacoas reservoir and can head to Ganga Talao also known as Grand Bassin. This was one of my favourite places and is important for Hindus being a place of pilgrimage for the Maha Shivratree festival which brings 500,000 Lord Shiva devotees to the area for a week long celebration. There’s a traditional temple on the crater lake surrounded by colourful Hindu gods and you won’t miss the gigantic 33 metre high Lord Shiva and Lord Durga statues. Finally make sure not to miss a visit to La Vallee des Couleurs Nature Park, which offers thrill seeking activities from quad biking and ziplining and the opportunity to view the unique volcanic 23 coloured earth attraction.