Mauritius – Part 2

Mauritius – Part 2

We passed this rock on a boat safari

Last week in – Part 1 – I talked about best time to visit and where we stayed.

What to do all day in Mauritius? You could lie on the beach or recline on a lounger at one of the pools and catch up on your reading while soaking up the sun. Or you could get a bit more active and try one of the many sports on offer such as volleyball, beach football, bocce ball, water-skiing, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking or water polo. Our hotel offered excursions such as glass-bottom boat tours, snorkeling and scuba diving.

Lunch at the national park

Reps from various day trip and excursion companies punt their products in the hotel reception. You page through catalogues and compare prices. We decided to try a day trip out to sea on a boat with a midday seafood BBQ. We made sure we let them know that I’m vegetarian and checked when we boarded the boat that they had me down as a veggie. All good.

Small beach near our resort

Off we went out to sea. They dropped anchor and people were swimming and snorkeling while the rest of us lazed on board the boat.The guys organising the excursion popped the sparkly and fired up the BBQ. Come lunch time – all they had for me – was a white bread roll and a portion of salad. Everyone else was piling their plates with ‘eat all you can’ fish, lobster and prawns. We paid the same price as the others and it’s not like I could go elsewhere to eat. The guys on the boat were unmoved by my plight. I was furious and complained bitterly to the hotel when we returned. The hotel tried to make right and gave us a complimentary glass bottomed boat ride which didn’t appease me one bit.

There are so many excursions and outings to choose from. Try deep sea fishing, safari jeep trips, scuba diving, swimming with dolphins, quad biking trips, helicopter flips, hiking, skydiving, horse riding, mountain climbing, para sailing, water skiing, visiting nearby islands, sea kayaking, a submarine safari, rock climbing . . I would say there’s actually too much choice.

Out to swim and snorkel on a boat safari

We booked a few spa treatments at the hotel and they were good. It might be because the Mauritian population is predominantly of Indian descent that the focus at our hotel was on Ayurveda. Treatments included Indian Ayurvedic Head Massage, Balinese Massage, Reflexology, Royal Thai Massage, and Hot Stone Therapy. I also had a manicure and pedicure.

Greenie at a Hindu temple

We did a day trip alone with a local guide come taxi driver He drove us around the island taking in the capital city Port Louis, Grand Baie, lots of little villages, Hindu shrines, various beaches en route and local markets. The nice thing about hooking up with a local driver was that we could ask him to stop so we could walk around. We got to see what we wanted away from big tourist attractions.

We also did a group bus tour which took us to the plantations, historical buildings and we saw the – Chamarel Falls – in the Black River Gorges National Park. See it on a map here – Lonely Planet map. The advantage of being with a proper tour guide was he shared interesting information and the historical background to places we visited.

Mauritius is not a must-see-this, must-see-that kind of place. The island is similar whether you are north, west, south or east so you can lurk in one location and you aren’t missing out too much. This isn’t a ‘party like your life depends on it’ place either. Mauritius is where you go to get away from it all, to relax, to have a holiday. Your only real decisions are more about what activities to fit into your day, if any at all.

Charmarel Waterfall

Here are some links you may find useful to plan your holiday –
Tourism Mauritius
Aardvark Safaris
Safari Now accommodation
Wiki Travel Mauritius

National Park

For more tips and what to do in other destinations visit the – Greenie Travel Archive – page.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.



Travel in Mauritius in 2005

Room Le Méridien Hotel

This blog is written in two parts.

Mauritius is the Miss World of holiday destinations. Think – blue skies, palm fringed white soft sandy beaches, unending days of warm sunshine, crystal clear waters and warm friendly people. Because Mauritius is keen to prevent over development, it retains a lot of it’s natural beauty. It was originally uninhabited and the home of the dodo which is now extinct thanks to the arrival of mankind on the island a few hundred years ago.

And it’s not just the dodo that we will never see again. There are lots of animal and plant species that have been wiped out by the intentional and accidental introduction of foreign creatures and plants. A trip to one of the nature reserves will give insight into the flora and fauna which are such a critical part of the character of Mauritius. Read more here – Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.

Hindu shrine next to the beach

Tourism – brings in a third of the Mauritian foreign income so they also want to ensure it remains a premium holiday destination. It’s a favourite port of call for passenger liners. Development occurs in resorts that are geared to cater to your every whim.

You can expect a room next to the beach with views of the Indian Ocean from your balcony. A week break will typically include airport transfers, breakfast, and in-house activities such as use of a gym and pool and beach games such as volleyball. Extras such as fishing safaris, cycle trips, spa treatments and day trips around the island can be booked at the reception desk.

Greenie at a beach bar

Because Mauritius is almost a year round destination we decided to use up some of our accumulated air miles and pop across. I often think the point of air miles is to make sure – you never actually get a free flight – as they limit the number of seats, time of year, amount of time you have to book ahead . . . you know the story.

I once got a free fight from SAA using air miles. Got my confirmation by text and an e-mail which I printed. As you do. When I arrived at the airport, my ticket had been cancelled. Just like that. No warning, no explanation, no apology, no alternate flight, no nothing.

Indoor market

Since the only time to avoid Mauritius is January to March when there is a possibility of cyclones, we had a fair chance of redeeming our air miles.  Best time to go? April to October. The temperature is fairly constant year round, averaging between 25’C and 30’C. They don’t seem to have a winter or a summer.

Hand made boat – one of the local crafts

Mauritius is popular for French tourists who make up 25% of the visitors. English is the official language but not everyone can speak it. Newspapers, schools, notices and legislature are all in French. But the language everyone actually speaks is Creole, which is not taught in their schools. There are 22 different languages spoken on the island including Hindi, Tamil and Arabic. The people are a mix of French and British colonialists who settled, and slaves who arrived from India, Africa and China. This mix of cultures has created a unique hybrid cuisine. Mauritian food is to die for. Have a look at these foodie sites – Madeline, Dima and Runweb. Plenty fresh food and vegetables. Lots of yummy curries and a great place for vegetarians – except when on excursions when they cater for tourists – read about that next week.

We stayed at – Le Méridien Ile Maurice – which is near Turtle Bay. It’s on the north east of the island which was a fairly newly developed area, away from the busy tourist places. We had to take a taxi to go exploring. Our room was spacious and we could see and hear the ocean rolling outside.

Pool Le Méridien Hotel

Breakfast was an eat-all-you-want buffet. The choice and variety was so vast that it defied belief. You can start your day with champagne and oysters, a bowl of Bircher muesli, a full on English fry up or delicate pastries. It’s all there. We had our evening meal in-house and the evening meal was yet another almighty buffet. They have a different theme for each night of the week such as Italian or Creole. And if that wasn’t enough choice they had more restaurants where you could have seafood or a curry perhaps. You will not go hungry at these resorts.

See – Part 2 – next week for what to see and do in Mauritius.

Beach Le Méridien Hotel

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

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