Next Stop: Mauritius Island

What if it was finally your turn to savour the sun, sea and sand island lifestyle?

Tucked away in the Indian Ocean, a little over 9 hours from Australia, Mauritius is an island-nation known worldwide for its pristine lagoons and fine-sand beaches that belong in the finest travel magazines… but the island also possesses a distinct personality: it has a tropical, easygoing charm and a carefree attitude so infectious that it will have you trading your city shoes for flip-flops and sunglasses in no time! Come along and discover 5 must-visit places and must-have experiences during a trip to Mauritius.

1. Mont Choisy Beach

No doubt that you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches in Mauritius. But Mont Choisy beach is among the most loved on the island, and it’s little wonder why: sprawling across 3 kilometres, it’s the island’s largest beach, layered with rows of gorgeous casuarina trees that provide shade and a cosy space for picnic-goers.

The beach gets busy during weekends, attracting tourists and Mauritians alike – and you may want to stick around for this! Because the sea and the beach are so entrenched in Mauritian culture, you may just get your first taste of Mauritian séga, the local dance and music genre, with locals playing the guitar, the ravanne and other local instruments while family, friends – and sometimes strangers! – join in the fun and dance along.

While in Mont Choisy, be sure to look out for the itinerant roti or dhall puri merchants that are sure to pop up – a real treat!

2. Ilôt Gabriel, Coin de Mire & Flat Island

Nothing says “Tropical holiday” more than a relaxing day-long cruise to a group of islets just off the coast of Mauritius! Sit back, relax and enjoy the view of turquoise waters upon turquoise waters during a catamaran cruise to some of Mauritius’ uninhabited islets. Barely touched by civilisation, these islets feature some of the most pristine beaches and clear lagoons you will ever see. Better still, the catamaran cruise usually includes a complimentary local lunch as well as a guided visit to the islands.

3. Black River Gorges

Had your fill of beaches and lagoons? Visit the Black River Gorges National Park, the largest protected forest of the island. It offers stunning hiking trails and views featuring towering endemic trees, streams and creeks. With rest areas and picnic spots, this park offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy nature at a leisurely pace. The difficulty level of these hikes starts very low, making it accessible to most visitors.

4. Champs de Mars

Be part of the local phenomenon that is horse-racing at the Champs de Mars! Every Saturday during the racing season, Mauritians of all backgrounds gather to cheer for their chosen horses and riders, creating a truly frenzied atmosphere, where the passion for the sport turns into a fervour that washes over the whole racetrack. You can also choose to buy a ticket to view the race from a coveted lodge, with complimentary snacks and drinks.

5. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden

In search of some calm and quiet after all that racetrack excitement? Enjoy a quiet stroll in the Pamplemousses botanical gardens. There is much to take in in this veritable microworld: from the giant lily pad ponds, the historical Mon Plaisir castle, the centenarian trees and the giant tortoise enclosure among others, a visit to these well-tended gardens is one you can regret only if you forget your camera! These botanical gardens are also one of the island’s prime picnic spots, and are indeed a choice spot for those in search of quietude.

So, ready to visit this island-nation? With 188 direct flights from Australia to Mauritius each week, and a local population that is welcoming of visitors and speaks fluent English, a trip to Mauritius may be just what you need!

By Aadilah Soobratty, Aadilah is a writer who lives and works in Mauritius

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