During my travels to many other countries around the world it has always amazed me how little knowledge there is amongst other seasoned travellers of one of the Indian Ocean’s greatest jewels – the island of Mauritius.
In fact, if paradise had a name I imagine it would be magical Mauritius.
If you call me spoilt, you’d be absolutely correct, as with a short distance of only 3643 km’s (2263 miles) away from South Africa, I have been fortunate to have traveled to this slice of paradise more times than I can remember.
Think warm, balmy tropical breezes. Think pristine stretches of white coral beach sand. Think calm azure blue waves lazily lapping at the shore….and then think of the scent of coconut oil and countless Pina Coladas. One would then only be able to think PERFECTION.
Mauritius, the perfect add-on to a South African Holiday
With quite a number of flights departing South Africa daily and only four hours of traveling time per flight, Mauritius is the ideal ‘tag-a-week-on’ vacation island for those looking for that something extra to add to their Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg itinerary. This getaway is ideal for anybody. I myself have spent time on the island in four different ways:
- My honeymoon
- As a family with my kids
- As a couple
- SOLO (Twice!!)….and each occasion has left an indelible and unforgettably wonderful memory
Mauritius is 2040 square km’s (788 square miles) of infinite diversity and home to an interesting and vast number of different cultures, namely Hindu, Creole, Chinese and Muslim. Needless to say, it’s a gastronomic delight bar none!!
Mauritius is geared toward tourism, however, the industry itself has managed to create a model that is not in the least bit commercialised – simply put, it just works. Each hotel on the island offers the choice of being booked on either a full or a half board basis, although I would strongly recommend that one always chooses to go for the full board package, meaning that return flights, airport transfers, accommodation, ALL meals, soft drinks and most alcoholic drinks are paid for as a package and up front prior to your arrival – this puts guests at ‘a no hidden costs’ advantage and as such alleviates the stress of a hefty surprise bill at the end of an otherwise idyllic holiday. Just about all the hotels on the island offer a Kids Club and a Teens Club, giving working parents a family getaway combined with a much needed adult break from it all….something we all need in this busy day and age. The kids I have to say LOVE it – so much so that it’s likely you’ll find that you’ve actually missed them by the time you have to head home.
This little island country is well known for its textile industry and its cashmere trade and offers an abundance of factory stores selling branded clothing with names synonymous with Polo, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie and Fitch, to name a few. So for a good travelers tip? Rent yourself a car in Mauritius for at least a day or two, especially if you love the idea of doing a bit of shopping. And if you’re not a fan of shopping? Rent a car anyhow to at least explore some of the island and more especially to take in a breakfast or a sunset cocktail in the town of Grande Baie. Glorious…!
Accommodation in Magical Mauritius
When deciding on which accommodation in Mauritius is best suited to your beach break needs, it really all comes down to a matter of choice. And if you take my word for it, it can be a rather daunting choice to make due to the impressively large selection of quality establishments that the island boasts. After visiting Mauritius on so many occasions, I eventually alleviated myself from tough decisions and from all the places that I had stayed, I chose a favorite. Club Med. And it is to Club Med that I will now always return time and time again. The island offers a choice of two Club Med Resorts – the resort at La Plantation d’Albion and the resort at La Pointe aux Cannonier. My preferred resort being the latter at aux Cannonier. This is due mainly to its position in the North of the island but also due to the fact that this particular Club Med offers so much in terms of good service and facilities as well as the fact that it is extremely good value for money. The North is the wind-free part of the island and the water is also so much bluer and lacks the abundant pieces of sharp coral on the ocean floor that other parts of the island can have a problem with. For snorkel and diving enthusiasts, the reefs in the North are fantastic.
Other hotels that I have stayed at and that I can recommend for various reasons :
- ‘The Oberoi’ – five star service and THE most incredible food. A zen experience
- ‘Le Saint Geran’ – this is the hotel for those wanting to be spoilt. (not really for kids)
- ‘Sugar Beach’ – a fantastic resort for a memorable family experience
- ‘La Pirogue’ – another favorite for a family getaway and value for money
- ’20 Degrees Sud’ – an exquisite boutique hotel. Another firm favorite for those wanting a great culinary experience.
If you intend to travel in a larger group then there is a wonderful selection of Villa Rentals in magical Mauritius. Most properties are ideally situated on the beachfront and include a full-time Chef who will purchase fresh fish at the market on a daily basis or serve up the most delicious Mauritian Curry. I haven’t stayed on the island choosing this option before but many of my friends have done so and they give rave reviews…so perhaps something to think about.
All hotels offer a huge selection of excursions which range from Swimming with Dolphin, Walking the Ocean Floor, Marlin Fishing etc. An unusual excursion which I have taken and one that I would highly recommend, is the sailboat trip to Benitiers Island, home to The Black Diamond Rock. The water in this far north region is quite something else. Turquoise blue and right off a postcard. The day is spent with a small group and your own onboard chef who does a Lobster/Crayfish BBQ that is out of this world. As delicious as it is, go easy on the green jungle juice that he hands out to all the guests on your sunset return – stumbling from the boat and falling into the water is a regular occurrence and one that I think I may have had experience of myself. 🙂
Interesting Fact about Mauritius:
Mauritius is the only country or island ever to be home to the now extinct Dodo Bird.