Mauritius Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by phdecarne
  • Giant Water Lillies
    Giant Water Lillies
    by junecorlett
  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt

Mauritius Things to Do

  • Snorkelling is a passport to another...

    I only learned to snorkel when I was in my mid 30s when a friend talked me into going snorkelling with dolphins in Mozambique, and I vividly remember my utter sense of wonder the first time that I put my face into the water. Yes, it's a cliche, but there really was a whole new world under there, waiting to be discovered, and I vowed that I'd...

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  • Water sports: check what's in and what's...

    Let's be frank: Mauritius is all about the beach, which is why it's such a drawcard for families and people seeking a relaxing, 'get away from it' all break in an island paradise setting.To be honest, I find beaches dull, and the mere prospect of baking on one for days on end bores me to tears. Fortunately, there are heaps of other things you can...

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  • Sea kayaking: the most relaxing of water...

    My experience of kayaking extends to a (highly enjoyable) week long canoeing trip along the Orange River years ago and a few more recent attempts at sea kayaking, so I prefix this by admitting that I'm anything but a hard core kayaker. However, the older I get, the more I enjoy it, and if I look forward to potential travel opportunities in the...

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  • Sheltered conditions inside the fringing...

    Mauritius is a volcanic mound that has emerged above surface over the millenia as a result of successive eruptions. The island is ringed by a halo of fringing reef that is only breached in the extreme south - around Gris Gris - and is visible as a line of breaking waves offshore,as shown in the photo above. This barrier to wave activity is central...

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  • Pottering around in rockpools

    My earliest memory is of a trip to the seaside at Lyme Regis, and I have never recovered from my passion for rockpools, which I consider to be infinitely more interesting than mere sandy beaches.Although Mauritius is famed for its white beaches, there are many spots along its coastline where the fringing coral reef creates rock pools just begging...

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  • My nomination for Mauritius' coolest...

    The Mauritus Commercial Bank building on the southern edge of Port Louis, and to the left hand side of the highway if you're heading north. It is unmistakable in daylight, but after dark - lit up like a bizarre upscaled fish tank - it is an architectural fantasy of an ecofriendly building that can't fail to grab your attention.Unfortunately for...

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  • A piratical fantasy playground in Port...

    Unfortunately this amazing playground on the Port Louis waterfront just next to the Le Caudan complex was closed when we visited in June 2013 (which is mid winter, and therefore the low season).If you have an interest in philately - and given that the Mauritian Blue is the world's most expensive stamp with a colourful history to match, then why...

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  • Stark Gris Gris - a very different type...

    (work in progress)ook at this photo and ask yourself whether this is what you expected of Mauritius? And - if not - I rest my case!My major issue with Mauritius - a destination with which I have a somewhat conflicted relationship - is that the standard tourist perception is mono-dimensional. Swaying palm trees - check! Idyllic beach side resorts -...

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  • Stunning views from the lovely Alexandra...

    Given that Alexandra was the name that we chose for our daughter, I was always going to have a biased view of this place!The Alexandra Falls lie within the Black Rivers Gorges National Park and commands a stunning viewpoint out over the escarpment over the lowland to the Southern Ocean beyond.It's difficult to photograph, but utterly lovely in...

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  • Pink pigeons teetering on the brink of...

    This is the Mauritian pink pigeon (Columba mayeri) - one of only 500 left in existence.Depressingly, this number represents a 'success story' because in 1991, when the Gerald Durrell Conservation Trust stepped in, there were only 10 pink pigeons left in the wild, suggesting that the remaining stock must all be chronically interbred. Like numerous...

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  • Underwhelming Seven Coloured Earths of...

    Touted as one of Mauritius' premier tourist attractions, I was expecting rather more of the celebrated Seven Coloured Earths of Chamarel than the reality. Actually, I feel a trifle dishonest posting this photograph, as it makes it look rather more impressive than it is (so maybe I'm a better photographer than I thought).The different colours of...

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  • The aweinspiring Chamarel Falls

    The Chamarel Falls are as impressive a waterfall as you'll find anywhere, and all the more stunning if - like us - you weren't expecting them.Most tourists visit Chamarel to see the overhyped Seven Coloured Earths, which seem to feature on just about every tourist brochure. This multicoloured outcrop is located a few kilometres from the road turn...

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  • Textile factories dotted across the...

    The Mauritius economy has four main pillars: tourism, sugar, financial services and (the one which may come as more of a surprise) textiles.If you drive through the interior of the island, you'll come across many clothing factories, which are the antithesis of the opulent and airy resort hotels that will be most tourists' experience of Mauritius. I...

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  • Hindu shrines ready for customisation

    I must start by declaring my ignorance.I know next to nothing about the Hindu religion because I've never had the opportunity to spend much time in countries where it has significant representation. So it was quite an eye opener to find Hindu shrines and temples seemingly around every corner in Mauritius. The one thing that has always struck me is...

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  • Take a hike in Black River Gorges Park

    This is the brand spanking new Visitors' Centre at Pétrin, which is the main point of entry to the lovely Black River Gorges National Park and a vast improvement on the dilapidated office building on the same site. The surrounding area - which straddles a babbling stream - has been carefully landscaped and is a nice shady place for a picnic.We were...

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  • Go batty!

    Bats. You either love them or you hate them.I adore bats in every shape, size and form, but I have a particular soft spot for fruit bats. Often known as flying foxes on account of their doglike snouts, they are highly sociable animals and I can happily sit and watch a roosting colony for ages, engrossed by their jostling power plays and petty...

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  • An exceedingly picturesque bayou

    This picture perfect bayou is located in the small town of Poudre d'Or, just behind the Saint-Geran (colloquially known as the 'Paul and Virginie') monument and is an incentive to encourage you to venture off Mauritius' well beaten tourist track.Primrose yellow buildings with bright blue accents and a verandah leaning out over the water. Boats...

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  • Making a stand for mangroves

    Much of the ecological destruction that has taken place on Mauritius can be blamed on long dead generations of settlers, who cleared vast tracts of indigenous vegetation for sugar plantation. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, little was known about ecosystem function, so there's probably a case to be made that they didn't realise the...

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  • Rum distilleries at every turn!

    As I suspect is the case with every major sugar growing region, one of the first steps that Mauritius took in beneficiating its agricultural produce was to establish distilleries to produce spirits - primarily rum - from the sugar crop. Not only did this generate a higher value and diversified range of commodities for export, but also provided the...

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  • Stunning Le Morne

    The Le Morne cape is located on the extreme south west corner of Mauritius and its Brabant peak is a staple image of tourist brochures for blindingly obvious reasons.Unfortunately we didn't have time to stop here, as it was already late in the afternoon, so we just had to content ourselves with enjoying the spectacular view as we passed by.If you...

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  • The Saint-Géran monument in Poudre d'Or

    The Saint-Géran monument in Poudre d'Or commemorates one of Mauritius' most famous shipwrecks. The Saint-Géran formed part of the French East India Company's naval fleet, which ran aground of the coral reef just off Ile Ambre in 1744, resulting in the loss of 149 sailors, 13 passengers and 30 slaves .This real event was woven into the plot of the...

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  • Hindu shrines at Grand Bassin

    Grand Bassin is one of the largest Hindu shrines in the world outside India, and between February and March, can receive up to 400,000 pilgrims. This is a staggering number, particularly for such a small island and goes a good way towards explaining the acres of parking space. Grand Bassin is also known as Ganga Talao, meaning 'Ganges pool'. The...

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  • Ginormous statue of Lord Shiva at Grand...

    I speak under correction, but this vast state of Lord Shiva at Grand Bassin may be the most enormous statue I've ever seen in my life. Which is saying something, given some of the hulking bits of Stalinist era statuary scattered across the former Eastern Bloc, but a 33m bronze statue is a hard act to beat!The statue was completed in 2007 - hence...

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  • The submarine is expensive but worth the...

    The Blue Safari submarine that operates out of Trou aux Biches is ... deep breath ... worth the money. Phew, I've said it!This is one activity that I agonised over because it's so bloody expensive. At a listed price of €110 per adult and €69 per child (aged 3-11), the mere thought of it is enough to make your eyes water, but my kids are so...

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  • Sadly the closest that you'll get to a...

    These days, the nearest that you'll get to seeing a dodo in Mauritius is on tablecloths, fridge magnets, or in the grounds of the National Institute in Port Louis, where a small flock of technicolour fibreglass dodos are lined up on parade.After the profoundly depressing history of dodo's brief coexistence with humans, it's difficult to know what...

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  • A setting worthy of a Gothic Creole...

    I love this image for its brooding atmosphere - very much at odds with the perception of Mauritius as a carefree, sundrenched paradise.This is taken in the small settlement of Poudre d'Or on the north east side of the island, where st Philomene's church stands cheek-by-jowl with the canefields on the edge of town. The stark, uncompromising greyness...

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  • Pint sized St Mark's church in Poudre...

    St Mark's is one of the two churches in Poudre d'Or and islocated adjacent to Saint-Géran (often known as the 'Paul and Virginie') monument.I like the church for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the charcoal grey of the lava that's been used, which is a reminder of the island's volcanic origins: even on a fine day, it's a sharp contrast to sunshine...

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  • Do a self guided walking tour of Poudre...

    Poudre d'Or is a small, comparatively sparsely touristed town on Mauritius' north east coast that seems to be making a concerted effort to boost its tourist numbers.As you enter , there's an excellent signboard, which illustrates the location of various historic buildings in the town, including St Mark's church, St Philomene's church, the...

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  • Dodotastic reading for the whole family!

    OK, this one takes a little advance preparation, as I would bet large amounts of money that this book isn't available on Mauritius. But frankly it should be, and given that Mauritius is a prime family destination, it would be wonderful if you came armed with something locally themed to read the litle darlings at bedtime.In summary, Bertie and...

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  • The National Institute and its Dodo...

    The National Institute is a small museum in the centre of Port Louis (directly to the north of Company Gardens) that's easy to overlook. Which would be a pity, as it's not only a lovely colonial building, but also houses the Dodo Gallery.The Dodo Gallery is housed in the final room of the building, so you'll have to run the gauntlet of two rather...

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  • Port Louis' 'wet market' requires a...

    Food and travel are my twin passions, so the mere suggestion of a food market is enough to get me fired up with enthusiasm. In Port Louis, the markets are located just north of Government House, a couple of blocks back from the waterfront, with the somewhat overrated Central (tourist) market and the fruit and vegetable market on the (eastern) side...

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  • The austere exterior of the President's...

    The President's office is located just across the street from Government House and is not the sort of place I'd deliberately seek out, had we not stumbled across it when we were trying to find the National Institute (and its Dodo Gallery), which are just around the corner.It's a surprisingly austere looking building, which may reflect the Serious...

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  • An unexpected touch of Art Nouveau

    I love Art Nouveau architecture, so it's always a particular treat to come across an example when you're least expecting it.Most of the centre of Port Louis falls either into the category of 'old colonial' or 'hideous 20th century concrete', with very little in between. This building - with some glorious Art Nouveau inspired detailing - was a happy...

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  • One of a select band of famous...

    The Company Gardens is an interesting place to spend a few minutes because it is fairly bristling with an attractive and eclectic selection of statues that commemorate a whole range of people that I'd never heard of.I think it's fair to say that most international visitors would struggle to name a famous Mauritian: it is after all an island with a...

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  • Spooky banyan trees fringe Company...

    Company Gardens is Port Louis' largest park, located right in the heart of the city, and is instantly recognisable for the huge banyan trees that shield this tranquil space from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets.You'll see banyans across Mauritius, distinguished by their fibrous aerial roots that hang down like a curtain that sways...

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  • Fabulous colonial buildings in Port...

    Amid the nasty 80s concrete, the centre of Port Louis has more than its fair share of glorious colonial buildings, and the best way to explore them is to wander somewhat aimlessly around the streets between Government House and Company Gardens. We didn't feel at all uncomfortable, and I would recommend this as being absolutely safe even for the...

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  • The Holy Grail of philately

    I should start by declaring my bias here: I am married to a third generation tweezer-wielding nerd, and our daughter has inherited this apparently congenital condition. So, let's be honest: there was no way that we were ever going to avoid the Blue Penny museum in Port Louis, which is devoted to the world's rarest stamp, the Mauritian Blue!The...

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  • Hindu temples in glowing technicolour

    One of the memories of Maritius that I suspect will stay with me for a very long time is the riotous colour of the Hindu temples that you encounter even in the smallest of towns.The intricacy of the sculpture and the 'no holds barred' colour assault on the senses is quite extraordinary, especially for someone like me that's had limited previous...

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  • A magnificently proportioned colonial...

    Government House in Port Louis is everything that you could expect of a Colonial Governor's Residence in the tropics. Beautiful 'wedding cake' architecture lined with elegant balconies, decorated in pale ice cream tones, facing onto an impossibly wide, palm-lined boulevard that stretches down to the waterfront, it's a visual cliché in the nicest...

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  • A flame to honour victims of oppression

    There are a number of statues and monuments along the waterfront in Port Louis - mostly featuring political titans from the independence era - and this flame memorial to victims of oppression is probably the least obvious of the lot.The inscription reads; "October 17 2004. On this day, defenders of human and civil rights gathered here to pay homage...

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  • A totally unexpected RAMSAR wetland in...

    This was a totally unexpected find in Port Louis: a RAMSAR listed wetland on the northern edge of the city that didn't feature in any of the tourist literature. In fact, we only found it be following a brown tourist sign, and then only in the hope that it would help us short circuit Port Louis' abominable traffic.Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird...

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  • The Sookdeo Bissoondoyal Memorial Museum

    This tiny and - judging by the guest book, seldom visited - museum is located on the main road through the villlage of Rivière des Anguilles ('River of the Eels') in southern Mauritius.Sookdeo Bissoondoyal was an independence leader who lived in this house for some time. He was a teacher by profession, who moved into politics to form a political...

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  • A tribute to Mauritius' great educator

    This is one of several statues arrayed along the waterfront adjacent to the Le Caudan complex, which celebrate famous figures from Mauritius' liberation struggle and independence movement.Professor Basdeo Bissoondoyal was born in Rivière-des-Anguilles - a house that is now a museum dedicated to his equally celebrated younger brother...

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  • Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam: Father of the...

    Virtually all visitors to Mauritius will land at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, which is named in honour of the country's first Prime Minister.Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (affectionately known as SSR) is the man who lead Mauritius to independence in 1968, and regarded as the Father of the Nation. He was the son of an Indian...

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  • Commercial salt pans in Tamarin

    If you're driving along the south west coastal road between Le Morne and Flic en Flac , you'll drive straight by the salt pans in Tamarin.Unfortunately by the time that we got here, the sun was starting to set, so we didn't have time to stop and just caught a fleeting glimpse of the pans on the right hand (eastern) side of the road. Whih is a...

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Mauritius Things to Do

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