Country guides Africa
Mauritius Travel Guide
Often called Paradise Island, Mauritius is a glorious tropical destination of mighty waterfalls, powder-white beaches and extraordinary sapphire waters. Arabs, Africans, Indians, the Chinese and an assortment of European countries have all imprinted on the island over the centuries, adding layers to the culture that adventurers will love exploring.
Most visitors to Mauritius choose package-tour holidays and stay at one of the island's magnificent resorts. The capital, Port Louis, is the tourist hub of the island, but there are literally hundreds of excellent beach resorts lining the Mauritian coast. Most of the resorts sport luxury amenities such as golf courses and spas, and watersports such as diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, sailing, and fishing.
The one drawback to a holiday in Mauritius is the long flight time for British and American visitors. However, those who do brave the journey will be richly rewarded by one of the world's true island wonderlands, a place that somehow manages to be both comfortable and exotic, luxurious and pleasantly 'off the beaten track'.
Best time to visit Mauritius
The climate in Mauritius is hot and tropical, tempered by cooling trade winds. Winters are warm and dry, and summers are hot and humid, but the merciful sea breezes keep things from ever getting too unbearable. Mauritius can be visited at any time of year, though travellers should bear in mind that it rains heavily from January to March, and that this is also cyclone season. The peak tourist season in Mauritius is from October to April so, if travellers are planning on visiting during this period, they should be sure to book accommodation well in advance.
What to see in Mauritius
-The Ile aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve is a premier eco-tourism site, offering guided jungle tours of an island rich in endemic fauna and flora.
-Relax on Mauritius' legendary beaches, including Flic en Flac, Grand Baie (great for watersports), and Trou-aux-Biches (for diving and snorkelling).
-A visit to Grand Bay, the centre of tourist activity in Mauritius, is a must for visitors to the island.
What to do in Mauritius
-Get involved in some watersports such as surfing, sailing, fishing, diving, or parasailing.
-Search the nooks and crannies of the open-air Flacq Market for great bargains and souvenirs.
-Take a jungle hike to a refreshing waterfall in Black River Gorges National Park.
Getting to Mauritius
Mauritius is perceived to be difficult to reach for British and American tourists, though in reality this is not the case. Direct flights to Mauritius are available from a number of UK airports, with the flight taking a manageable 10 hours. American tourists will have to book a connecting flight, meaning they might be in transit for a full 24 hours.
Georges by Alexandre Dumas and The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian.
Creole rougailles, spicy biryanis or tandoori curry dishes are common mains, with gateaux or traditional Indian sweets for dessert.
Cane rum, Mauritius' main alcoholic product, which is delicious with coconut water and a dash of lime.
What to buy
Carved wooden figurines, home-made jewellery, perfumes made from essential oils, hand-woven rattan bags, and local spices all make great souvenirs.
What to pack
Visitors should make sure they have a small backpack with them to take on day excursions, and should always carry plenty of bottled water around. They should pack sturdy shoes to protect their feet on some beaches, as there is a threat of sharp coral and stonefish stings.
What's on in Mauritius
The Festival International Kreol (November, December) is a celebration of Creole culture held in various venues across the island; poetry readings, Sega dancing, music performances, art exhibitions, and epic parties characterise this jubilant event. Mauritius celebrates its Independence Day on March 12, prompting impressive firework displays and wild parties in the capital of Port Louis.
Did you know?
-The dodo, the famous flightless bird, was native to Mauritius until it was hunted to extinction by European settlers.
-Mauritius is the most densely populated country in Africa.
A final word
An enticing and exotic destination, Mauritius is a great choice for an island getaway packed with brilliant sunshine, beautiful beaches, and unbeatable outdoor activities.