Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean, located east of Madagascar, NorthEast of Reunion and southeast of the Seychelles. Mauritius also controls Rodrigues Island and the remote, sparsely populated Agalega and Cargados Garayos (Saint Brandon) islands. It is a wonderful place for romantic and family vacations where you can enjoy the clean water and the long beaches, as well as unique nature and long history.
History of Mauritius
The island of Mauritius was first discovered by Arab sailors, during the 9th century. At that time the island was uninhabited and covered in a dense forest. The Arab sailors were not interested in settling on the island (they named it Dina Arobi or Dinarobin). Diogo Fernandes Pereira, a Portuguese sailor found the island in 1505 and decided to give it the name of Cerne. But they either did not settle permanently on the island.
The first to colonise the island were the Dutch who took possession of the island in 1598. In 1710, the Dutch abandoned the island, leaving behind macaques, the java deer, sugar cane, fugitive slaves and, also, an irreversible damage to the endemic and indigenous flora and fauna of the island – the Dodo was, by then, extinct due to extensive hunting (the bird was very easy to capture). The French settled on the island in 1713, also landing at the bay in the south-east. They renamed the bay Port Bourbon and renamed the island Ile de France. In August 1810, the British tried to take over the island but lost after a fierce battle against the French in the famous Battle of Grand Port.
How to get there
The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is in the southeast of the island. Tourists can sail to Mauritius and settle at the port. The Mauritius Pride and the Trochetia are the Mauritian vessels that usually sail to and from Reunion Island, Rodrigues Island and Madagascar.
What to see
Grand Bay is the first area of the island that became a tourist attraction. This is shopping and leisure paradise, and a place where Mauritians go when they want a fun-filled night out (there are lots ofrestaurants, bars and discos).
Pereybere is a wonderful public beach that is popular because of its shopping facilities, restaurants and pubs. It’s the best for swimming.
Balaclava Ruins is very close to Baie aux Tortues. 17th century sailors named it after the many tortoises in the area. The ruins of the old Balaclava estate can be found here. Visitors can see the sea walls, whose initial foundations were laid down by Mahé de Labourdonnais.
The Triolet Shivala is the longest village on the island, which offers an opportunity to visit the biggest Hindu temple, the Maheswarnath, first built in 1819 in honor of the Gods Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu, Muruga, Brahma and Ganesha.
The Caudan Waterfront and its surroundings has a great collection of local souvenir shops and other foreign brand materials such as clothes, and spirits. Here you can find the movie theater, game arcades, and local restaurants.
The Bazaar of Port-Louis is the place where you will find a variety of local snacks and tropical fruits, the cheapest food you will find in the capital city. Food sold on the street may have health issue (be careful, although cases of stomach diseases caused by street food are rare).
Ile aux Cerfs is paradise for water sports and has one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius. Boats depart regularly from Trou-d’Eau Douce village in the East which has some of the best seafood restaurants on the island. A variety of vessels serve the route including catamarans, yachts and “pirate-ships”.
Dutch Ruins are located at Vieux Grand Port, the oldest settlement in Mauritius. Here you can see the ruins of the first Dutch fortifications.
Yemen Reserve isn’t the largest game reserve on the island, but here you will be able to get close to the herds of deer, and see rare species of Mauritian fauna.
What to do
Deep sea fishing on Mauritius is perfect. Depending on the time of year it is possible to catch blue or black marlin , sailfish , wahoo , yellow fin tuna etc. You can choose between half day and full day fishing trips. Big game fishing is best on the west coast of Mauritius.
Scuba diving in Mauritius is the best way to explore coral reefs, multi-colored marine life, ship wrecks dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries… One of the most popular dive sites in Mauritius is the Cathedral, which is located off the Flic en Flac on the western coast of Mauritius. Other dive sites are Whale Rock and Roche Zozo that is an underwater rock pinnacle, and the submerged crater near Ile Ronde. Mauritius is almost completely encircled by a barrier coral reef which is home to many sponges, sea anemones and a variety of brightly colored fish such as Damselfish, Trumpet fish, Boxfish and clown fish, as well as the orange Mauritian scorpion fish.
Blue safari submarine is a unique chance to see the wonderful underwater tropical fish and you don’t even have to get yourself wet. Going underwater to 35 m depth on board of a real submarine. This way you can see shipwreck, explore coral reefs and observe and encounter various species of fish. The submarine is air-conditioned with fully transparent-glassed cabin so you will enjoy exceptionally clear panoramic views of the extraordinary underwater world.
Tamarind waterfalls are a beautiful attraction of the southwest of Mauritius. On the Interior portion of the island there is a wonderful string of about 7 waterfalls surrounds by green mountains and is tucked away beyond a sugar cane filled. Take your swim suit because there are numerous pools beneath certain falls to take a dip in. If you have never been here, it is the best to get a guide to take you around.
Accommodation and best season to visit
The Island offers wonderful resorts and quality hotels that are required to be booked on time (especially if you plan to visit in the peak season). Mauritius has tropical climate, modified by southeast trade winds. Winters are dry and warm (May to November); summers are hot, wet and humid (November to May); November to April is the season of tropical cyclones, so make sure to avoid these months. Mauritius has only two seasons, winter and summer.