Mauritius has such a diverse landscape from stunning beaches, jungles, mountains, waterfalls and volcanoes to bustling streets and markets in the capital of Port Louis. Found in the Indian Ocean, near South Africa and India, this beautiful island is influenced by these two countries, religions and cuisines spill over and a mixture of cultures also means a mixture of languages, French, Creole and English are predominantly spoken across the country. The curries I’ve tasted in Mauritius have been some of the best I’ve eaten, apart from those I’ve had in India. I love this island, it has so much to see and do. If you are planning a trip to Mauritius read on for my top things to see and do, there is so much to explore and a lot more to do than just sunbathing…
1. Swim with dolphins
Swimming with dolphins in Mauritius is an unforgettable experience. The fact that these dolphins are wild was one of the main reasons I chose to do it. Bottlenose and spinners can be found close into the shoreline, playing and feeding early in the morning. Jumping in and seeing these majestic creatures glide past me was amazing, they are very fast though so keeping up with them was almost impossible! To watch spinner dolphins jumping out of the water was pretty impressive too!
2. Relax on a boat trip
You can’t go to Mauritius without going on a boat trip. It is a fantastic way to see this beautiful country, sailing along the coastline stopping off for snorkelling adventures, swimming on small island beaches, sunbathing on deck and not forgetting a barbecue lunch and unlimited drinks is a very nice way to spend the day. A beer or a rum and coke in the sunshine, legs dangling over the edge of the boat is just bliss! The boat trip I went on was combined with the dolphin swimming trip; I went with JPH Charters from Black River.
3. Explore the markets of Port Louis
Central Bazaar in Port Louis is the place to head for shopping and buying souvenirs. During the The Festival of Lights, better known as the Hindu festival of Diwali I enjoyed strolling around the streets taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of the markets. The fruit and vegetable market is full of vibrant colours and plenty of friendly locals selling an impressive array of produce. It really is a bustling place to immerse yourself in; I love nothing more than to explore a local area and watch people going about their day-to-day business especially somewhere like Mauritius where it is so different to my culture. The market is a good place to buy vanilla pods, they are very cheap compared to the price in the UK; spices are also nice to pick up and there are plenty of stalls selling clothes and pashminas.
4. Eat Curry
After a visit to the markets in Port Louis finish the day off with a curry, I love Tandoori Express. Found along the waterfront it is a no frills restaurant and really doesn’t look like much but their curries are to die for! Friendly service and cheap it is worth checking out. Combine your curry with a local Phoenix beer, heaven! Generally speaking eating out in Mauritius is fairly cheap compared to the UK, you can get a curry and a beer at Tandoori Express for around £10. For a night out in Port Louis Keg and Marlin is always busy and often has live music. Just out of the city Flying Dodo is a craft brewery with a restaurant, if you are in the city on a Friday night Le Suffren hotel is good for cocktails and there is always a party atmosphere.
5. See the Seven Coloured Earths of Chamarel
You could be forgiven for thinking that you have landed on another planet at the Seven Coloured Sands. Created from volcanic activity and the cooling of molten rock the sands are ever-changing in colours and depths. I’ve not seen anything like this before, the seven colours are apparently red, brown, green, yellow violet, blue and purple but I struggled to see some of these, I could definitely pick out red, brown, yellow and violet. It is such an amazing landscape and being backed by so much green rainforest made the stark contrast of the sands even more interesting.
6. Visit a dormant volcano
Tor Cerf is a dormant volcano found near the town of Curepipe, you can walk around its circumference and get right up close to the edge. There were lots of tourists there when I visited but it is worth stopping to take a photo and the panoramic views of the coastline and mountains are gorgeous.
7. Be blessed by at Hindu priest at Gang Talao
A visit to this sacred lake is a must; Gang Talao or Grand Bassin as it is also known is considered to be one of the most sacred Hindu places of worship in Mauritius. Formed in the crater of an extinct volcano, people come from far and wide to pay their respects to the Hindu Gods. There is a small temple beside the lake and statutes along the edge of the water. A pilgrimage to Ganga Talao happens every year in February or March during the Shivertri, a festival dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Shiva, during the pilgrimage people walk barefoot from all over the island to worship and pay their respects at the lake. There is also a huge statute of Shiva just outside the lake; it is 108 ft tall and very impressive! I found it very interesting to visit the lake and observe visitors paying their respects; I also got a blessing from a Hindu priest while I was there.
8. Take in the rainforest at Alexandra Falls Lookout Point
This incredible viewpoint is definitely worth stopping at with views looking out across Black River Gorges National Park. Look down on lush green valleys, rainforest and waterfalls. There are 60 kilometres of hiking trails within the park so if you have time for a walk this is a good area to explore.
9. Chamarel Waterfall
This stunning waterfall is 100 metres high, making it is as tall as the Empire State Building. There are two viewpoints an upper and lower one, both as good for taking some photos. You can abseil down the falls on an organised trip, hike the trails surrounding it and swim in the pools at the bottom. For more on exploring waterfalls in Mauritius head here: Chasing Waterfalls and Other Adventures in Mauritius.
10. Beach time
Mauritius has plenty of stunning palm lined, white sand beaches and crystal clear waters for relaxing on, Flic en Flac, Tamarin and Grand Baie to name just a few. Which ever you pick you won’t be disappointed, it would be rude not relax for at least a few hours in the sunshine, listening to the waves lapping on the shoreline while you are here!