Most people tell you about the popular places to visit. Today, we are going to make you discover those less known places. Mauritius has so much more to offer – beaches are not its only attributes. The island is indeed full of treasure and that would be a shame to miss those wonderful and unique places scattered around the island.
Mary, Queen Of Peace
Set on the slopes of Signal Mountain, Mary Queen of Peace, is a wide open area of greenery with an open church overlooking the city of Port-Louis. Offering a magnificent view over the buildings of the city and the mountain acting as a backdrop, this spot remains a unique spot to visit. Erected in 1940, a priest – James Leen – used to go there to pray for Mauritius so that it could be spared during World War II. Since then it has become a place of spiritual belief and a major tourist attraction.
The church is located on the highest point of the premises at 60 meters. Seven terraces dotted with flowers spots of all colors and 82 hard rock steps lead to the church and the view of the city. A large statue of the Virgin Mary holding a globe in her palm faces the area. The statue is 3 feet high and is made of white marble. The altar carved by Esther Clement, a Mauritian sculptor, was inaugurated three years later (1943) by the priest Leen. Masses held there usually attracts many people from all over the island. One of the major events that occurred there was in 1989 when Pope John Paul II visited the island and people from all over the country gathered to pray.
Built after six years of intense work, it is in 1840 that the fort was named Fort Adelaide, in honor of the wife of King William IV of England, the capital letters of the name listed above the pediment of Entrance. This famous building’s construction happened in the end of the period of slavery and the beginning of Coolie Trade.
Perched 500 feet high on a hill called “Little Mountain” and dominating the city of Port Louis, the fort with its huge walls of black stone, is visible from far away and therefore constitutes one of the more familiar landscapes of the city. Inside the fort you will come across shops and a staircase leading to a magnificent viewpoint. Do not miss the chance of visiting this wonderful and historical spot of the island.
Champs De Mars
After the surrender of French troops in 1810 against England, Colonel Edward Draper arrived on the island of Mauritius. For him, it was important and necessary to win the esteem and the collaboration of the French population. In this spirit, he introduced them to horse racing in 1812.
Indeed, he believed that corporation could arise if the eternal rivals have had to meet in a relaxed atmosphere. Sir Robert Farquhar, the governor of the island then supported this initiative and “Mauritius Turf Club” was founded in 1812. The Champ de Mars was inaugurated on 25th June of the same year and the first race of the Mauritian history was then launched.
The races are one of the most popular sports in Mauritius. It attracts more than 20 000 people each week. We shouldn’t omit the fact that this horse track remains one of the oldest in the southern hemisphere! It is indeed a must visit too!
Domaine Des Pailles
This nature reserve, beautifully landscaped on the slopes of the mountain ranges of Moka is only a ten minutes’ drive from Port-Louis downtown. Going back in time, to see the colonial Mauritius, with a perfect replica of a beef operated sugar mill.
Board the train and enjoy the ride of sugar cutting through cane fields or jump on a horse-drawn carriage to admire the vast expanse of greenery. Take a ride in a Land Rover in the mountains and catch a glimpse of deer, monkeys and rare birds.
Other facilities include a gourmet restaurant “Le Clos Saint-Louis”, a banquet hall “La Cannelle Rouge”, an Indian restaurant “Indra”, Chinese food “Xiao Fu”, “La Dolce Vita” an Italian restaurant and great Casino. Spend a memorable day in one of the hidden gems of the island!
Five acres to relax, alone, with family or lovers: this is Balfour Garden in a nutshell. It is the relaxing place par excellence, it welcomes hundreds of visitors a week. Its advantages ? They are numerous. Between the playground (slides, swings, small train …) and a park of centenarian tortoises, Balfour Garden invites you to discover its green spaces, its ancient trees, the sweet sound of streams and the melodious birdsong.
Located on the banks of the Grand River North West, the garden offers a view of a waterfall, which comes to die a hundred meters down into a lush gorge. On top of that gorge stands the “Tabor” beautiful white house that belongs to the diocese of Port-Louis.
Nicolière is on the way to the East and can be accessed through a country road to the center of Mauritius. Nicolière is a small lake / reservoir surrounded by unspoilt hills where the vegetation is totally different from that along the coast. Wild monkeys and bats can be spotted when driving in the afternoon and it is possible to stop at two or three points of view along the road and enjoy the view and fresh air and why not take a short walk in the bushes. Nicolière remains a tranquil spot where you’ll feel as if time has stopped.
Gunners coin is located in the northern part of the island, a lively village stone’s throw from Grand Baie. A simple cross on the coastal road takes the guest to the landscape of Coin de Mire with a lagoon where shades of turquoise intertwine and where the surrounding north islands stand quietly on the horizon … Coin de Mire perfectly reflects the island lifestyle where relaxation, comfort and simplicity are luxury.
Val Natural Park
This 2800-hectare Nature park takes its name from the luxury Valley, Cluny, in the South East of the island in the district of Grand Port. This single sugar plantation has today diversified into agriculture and livestock: freshwater shrimp farming, cultivation of anthurium – grown in greenhouses for export and a mini aquarium housing some eels and tropical fish. It is indeed a beautiful place to visit if you want to see the authentic side of the island of Mauritius.
An unpaved, bumpy road with almost no signposts will bring you through the sugarcane fields to the Rochester Falls. It plunges down 30 m over black lava rock carved into a unique form that will certainly amaze your eyes. We advise you to go there accompanied since you can easily lose your way along the track.
The fearless men who jump from the rocks into the water basin beneath the waterfall expect to be well paid for this, and will interpret a nod from you as agreement to do so. If you would like to take an exciting photo of such a rock jump, ask your guide to negotiate a reasonable price.
Have a nice trip around the island of Mauritius!