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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