Named after the Dutch prince Maurice Van Nassau, Mauritius is one the world’s most beautiful island nations. The turquoise waters, beautiful landscape, and amazing cultural heritage make this country unlike any other in the world. Mauritius's location in the southwest Indian Ocean, some 500 miles east of Madagascar, gives the country a unique history that includes both African and Asian elements, not to mention lasting European colonial influence. Mauritius is certainly a top destination for anyone looking for a taste of secluded paradise, and the country boasts a diverse population, including English, African, Indian, and Creole elements.
1. Tamarin Falls: The journey to reach this beautiful series of seven falls is an experience and an adventure in itself but definitely worth it. One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, it should be seen by anyone visiting Mauritius.
2. Domaine du Chasseir: Covering about 2,000 acres, this beautiful site is the island’s heart. It also is a lively natural hunting ground with about a thousand deer and hundreds of wild boar. If hunting is not your thing, you may opt for a relaxing and tranquil walk, observing all the various trees, some of which are protected species.
3. Mauritius Aquarium: This aquarium allows tourists to view about 200 indigenous species, including corals, sponges, and invertebrates. It also offers an opportunity to view the fauna and flora of the Indian Ocean, all in one spot.
4. Colored Earths of Chamarel: Thanks to the weathering of volcanic rock, seven different-color dunes have grown from the soil of Mauritius. The Colored Earths make for a sight you’ll have trouble surpassing while you’re in the country.
5. Black River Gorges National Park: With one of the most exquisite hiking trails in the country, the park features indigenous wildlife and plants and the highest mountain in Mauritius. On your way back from the mountain, make sure to check out the park’s amazing gorges.
6. Rodrigues Island: This northeastern part of Mauritius is also referred to as “the antistress island.” Very small and volcanic, it has a large Creole population. This part of the island has much to offer, from deep-sea diving to delicious native Creole dishes.
7. Domaine Les Pailles Nature Park: Take a tour of the Moka Mountains by four-wheel drive, horse, or quad bike. While on the exciting tour, traverse the Domaine Les Pailles Nature Park andhead to the sugar mill. At the end of your journey, enjoy one of the four restaurants you will pass during the tour.
8. Pamplemousses Gardens: One of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, this one was created in the 18th century and is home to an impressive international collection of plants, including massive lilies and tailpot palms, which are very rare, as they flower only once every 60 years.
9. Cable Rides: Do Something Different, an adventure sports company that operates in many parts of the world, has organized cable car rides in Mauritius. Take in a splendid view of banana plantations, beautiful forests, and waterfalls. Halfway through this fantastic journey, have a relaxing swim and rest in a natural pool. Native Mauritian dishes are also a part of this package: savor a delicious lunch with fresh ingredients that will boost your energy level.
10. Northern and Eastern Island Sailing: Choose either the northern or the eastern sailing route. Take a ride aboard a spacious catamaran, and discover the islands’ beaches and underwater beauty.
Mauritius is blessed with a very mild climate: temperatures usually remain stable throughout the year, and rainfall is only occasional. The temperature in Mauritius usually remains around 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 27 degrees Celcius.) The best times to visit the island are between April and June and between September and December. Stick to those months, and you’re almost guaranteed sunny skies and great weather.
Visas: American citizens do not require a visa to enter Mauritius, but people from other countries do. Check the requirements for entry from your particular country in order to prevent any confusion.
Transportation: The laid-back atmosphere of Mauritius allows tourists to choose from a number of different modes of transportation. Public transportation is not only safe but also efficient and common. Several regular and express bus companies operate throughout Mauritius.
Taxis are another option, for more-individual and independent transportation. Taxis are available from any bus station, hotel, and from the airport.
Car and bike rentals can also be had. Many people choose to rent bikes at some point during their holiday so that they can take in the beauty of Mauritius at a slower pace.
Generally speaking, Mauritius is a safe and stable island. Crime is relatively low, and the locals tend to be friendly. Be careful when swimming out at sea, as the waters can get rough during the night. Petty theft can also be an issue, so keep track of your belongings. It is best to go out in pairs in most places when touring the island.
For more information, check the U.S. Department of State’s travel page on Mauritius.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created a security ratings system called the Ibrahim Index, wherein scores are based on each country’s quality of government. Before traveling to South Africa or anywhere on the continent, check the index and do your research.
Mauritius's pre-modern history began when sailors from the Arabian Peninsula and Southeast Asia discovered the island around the 10th century. Portuguese sailors reach the island in the 1500s, but it was Dutch explorers who gave the island its name, after Prince Maurice of Nassau, a Dutch title-holder. The Dutch eventually settled Mauritius in the 1600s, but the French took it over in the early 1700s, prospering off the island's natural riches, including sugar.
During the Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800s, the British gained control of Mauritius and held it in its control until 1968, when the Republic of Mauritius declared independence.
1. Don’t be surprised if you hear a few different languages being spoken while you are there: Mauritius has a cultural makeup that’s reflective of its history. The Dutch originally settled the island; they were followed by the French, who transported Africans from Senegal, Mozambique, Guinea, and Madagascar. British and Chinese interests were also dominant in Mauritius at one point. The Mauritian Creole population derived from slaves moved from the Caribbean.
2. The local cuisine is fantastic, largely for the reasons cited above. The varied history of Mauritius has influenced local food to the point that travelers need not worry about finding dishes that they’ll like. French and Indian dishes are particularly popular here.
3. Make an effort to become acquainted with some of the locals. They are extremely friendly and will be willing to tell you about some great places that you should visit.