Mauritius travel guide
2 MINUTE SUMMARY
Despite attracting sun seekers from across the globe Mauritius has managed to maintain its tropical island appeal with warm shallow lagoons, spice filled trade winds and a wild untamed south coast summoning up the majority of Indian Ocean idylls. There have been some casualties, with Port Louis, Grand Baie and the north coast, especially, experiencing much of the pirate plundering although you’ll find plenty of sleepy beach villages to appreciate what attracted travelers in the first place. Catamaran cruises to surrounding islands, such as: Deux Cocos and Ile aux Cerfs, offer just enough exhilaration to rid you of rum hangovers although there’s nothing like a morning’s hike up Le Morne Mountain to see the world from a much clearer perspective.
Snorkelling, Sega dancing and seafood Creole curries should all be compulsory for anyone visiting Mauritius; it is the perfect place to hop across to and wind down for a few days after a vacation in the wild national parks and exciting cities of South Africa.
Find out more in our Mauritius travel guide.
the splash of ink left on the Indian Ocean blotting paper after finally completing the unabridged version of Africa.
just warm shallows and soft white sand, although the beach is quite a pleasurable place to start.
Mauritius map & highlights
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME
Mauritius was once the ‘star and key’ of the Indian Ocean with the British and French arguing over divine territorial rights 2,000km off the southeast coast of Africa. These days it's soft white sand and a succession of sheltered lagoons that attract European visitors, alongside one of the largest coral reefs on the planet. Almost 50 uninhabited islands and islets surround Mauritius with the likes of Deux Cocos, Coin de Mire and Île aux Cerfs, offering untold idyllic images for day tripping salty sailors. Although volcanically dormant, Mauritius is still incredibly fertile with Black River Gorges National Park, the Seven Coloured Earth and Tamarin Falls, helping to make Chamarel Reserve a completely wild and unique experience within itself. Finally, Blue Bay Marine Park in the southeast, Belle Mare in the northeast and Trou-aux-Biches on the north coast, are some of the island’s best beaches and renowned for their clear and calm sea conditions and exceptional underwater ecosystems.
Black River Gorges National Park
The country’s largest national park presents a much cooler but nonetheless captivating location from where to get out and explore, with hiking trails leading through indigenous forests covering curvaceous canyons en route to waterfalls and panoramic views. Bird watchers will be in their element with kestrels, parakeets and pink pigeons just some of the feathers worth keeping an eye out for.
Built off the back of sugarcane, pineapple and coffee plantations, the village of Chamarel is well known for its Catholic church, adventure activities and nearby rum distillery. However, it’s the forest covered hillsides and plunging waterfalls that often steal the show. The Seven Coloured Earth lava formations and the Chamarel Falls are two highlights to discover by bike or on foot.
Deux Cocos Island
Padding over cool white sand or splashing in clear blue waters is what life in Mauritius is all about with the islet of Deux Cocos, within the Blue Bay Marine Park, an absolutely gorgeous setting from where to sit and stare off the island’s southeast coast. Coral reefs on Deux Cocos harbour numerous species of tropical fish making snorkelling or glass bottomed boat rides an unmissable experience.
Île aux Cerfs
Rent a boat or sail on a crewed catamaran towards the east coast island of Île aux Cerfs and you’ll soon be skimming over the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean as dolphins nip and tuck out of the blue and tropical island foliage begins to appear in sharper contrast. Île aux Cerfs is a quintessential island paradise with several shallow lagoons providing paddlers and snorkellers with hours of fun.
Although it can be tempting to hit the beach all day every day, it would be a shame to miss out on Mauritius’ cultural diversity and vibrant spirit, with Port Louis, the capital, exemplifying both within its European architecture and historic Chinatown district. Head to the UNESCO site of Aapravasi Ghat to unearth the island’s colonial history and relationship with India following the abolition of slavery.
Trou aux Biches
As far as exotic superlatives go, Trou aux Biches, a white sand beach on the island’s northwest coast, probably enjoys more than most. Shimmying palms, sheltered waters and just far enough from Grand Baie and Port Louis not to be unsociable, Trou aux Biches is one of the best spots to watch the sun set with sensibly sized spa resorts offering a little bit of luxury alongside stunning aquamarine views.