Mauritius is a well-known and prized holiday destination for people all around the world. Each year, about a million tourists set foot on this little island located east of Madagascar. The territory of the Republic is comprised of the main island, Mauritius, but other islands form part of the republic, like Rodrigues, Agalega, Saint-Brandon, Tromelin and the Chagos archipelagos. Other small islets also surround the main island and Rodrigues as well. It is an island of volcanic origin, although nowadays there are no active volcanoes there.
It is home to many endemic species of plants which the government is trying very hard to protect by establishing national parks and reserves in partnership with the private sector. Despite the inevitable degradation of the environment brought about by industrial, residential and touristic development, you would still be right to describe Mauritius in Mark Twain’s words: “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first, and then heaven” as the peaceful scenery of the remaining forests and unexploited gorges as well as the hidden beaches will without a doubt make you feel that you stepped closer to paradise.
Mauritius is mostly known as an island where people go to enjoy the beach. In fact there are about 39 public beaches which dot the 330 kilometre-long coast of the island. As most hotels in Mauritius are built along the coasts as well, tourists do not have to go very far to reach the sand as the beaches are often right at the doorsteps of their hotels. But sometimes a trip to some other coastal areas can be very rewarding, especially in the south and the east.
The sheer number of touristic activities available in Mauritius is guaranteed to satisfy any tourist. Golf enthusiasts will simply fall in love with the island’s golf courses: Gymkhana in Vacoas, Golf du Château in Bel Ombre, Four Seasons Golf Club, Legend and Links Golf Courses, One & Only Saint Géran Golf Course, Ile aux Cerfs Golf Course, all in the East, Le Paradis Hotel & Golf Club and Tamarina Golf Club in the West.
Horse riding excursions are also available in Mauritius: at the Centre Equestre de Riambel in the South, the Club Equitation du Nord and Horse Riding Delights in the North, at the Forbach Stables in the North, at the Haras du Morne and La Vieille Cheminée in the West, at the Domaine Les Pailles near Port-Louis, at the Domaine de l’Etoile in the East, at the Club Hippique de Maurice near the centre and the Centre Equestre de la Louisa also in the centre of the island.
As for aquatic distractions, there are plenty: big game fishing, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, submarine trips, undersea walks, undersea scooter rides, dolphin and whale-watching, kite-surfing, stand-up paddling, sea kayak, water skiing, surfing, etc. Most of those are available at the hotel boathouses or through tour operators around the island.
People wishing to spend more intimate moments away from hotel crowds also have the possibility to rent private luxury villas all over the island. They usually have their own pool and most of the services available at Mauritian hotels such as chauffeur services, concierge services, massages, laundry, personal chef, baby sitting, etc are also available. Furthermore people staying at some villas may also have access to golf courses and spa centres. Many touristic industries have flourished around the concept of Integrated Resort Scheme Villas and Real Estate Scheme Villas.
Tourists visiting the island will also be delighted by Mauritian cuisine. Due to the multicultural population of Mauritius, the local gastronomy is a blend of African, Asian and European cuisines. Tourists will be delighted to find that most luxury hotels in Mauritius often have several restaurants, each serving different varieties of excellent food. Great Mauritian food isn’t only served at luxury restaurants but can be obtained even on the streets. Mauritian street food is one of the tastiest in the world and won’t cost you much either.
Top – DSC_1113 by met70, on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/met70/
Middle – Insulated boat 1 by FlashingKalou, on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalou/