Here are some rare and fabulous experiences from my recent trip that will make you go ‘FOOT LOOSE AND FANCY FREE’ in MAURITIUS.
After a long and tiring route from Delhi via Mumbai, it was a comfortable landing at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. It was a first time for me in Mauritius and therefore every little thing had its own charm. Even, the hassle-free passport stamping at the immigration counter did not go unnoticeable. The moment I breezed through the exit gates, I couldn’t wait to step out and soak in the abundance dose of Vitamin Sea. The idea of spending next seven days in this paradise island which had inspired poets like Charles Baudelaire, Bernardin de St Pierre, Mark Twain and many more was already making me heady.
Soon, I was on my way to a plush Mauritian resort and was absolutely looking forward to its charm, conviviality and exclusivity of the services as promised on its website. On the way I was surprised to learn that all the beaches in Mauritius were public. While waiting to see the first one, I realized that we had driven for a few kilometres and yet I had not seen anything but sugar cane fields on both the sides. The Mauritian history has lots to do with it. In the resort, the moment my eyes fell on the turquoise blue water of the ocean, I was taken over by the urge to lounge on the gorgeous white sands and just forget about everything in the world. That’s what most of us do but not me. You might know Mauritius for its beaches but I explored it beyond its emerald waters, reefs, lagoons, golden beaches. For the next seven days, I traveled from the north to the south to the west and explored the rich blend of Eastern, Western and cross cultural influences of the Island. Trust me, the natural beauty, pristine landscapes, azure water and the contemporary breath of fresh air hugged me everywhere I went.
‘Mauritius was made first, then heaven was copied from it.’….. Mark Twain!!
The museum at L’Aventure du Sucre is also a must-see. It teaches everything that one would like to know about the history of sugar in Mauritius. It hosts excellent temporary exhibitions too.
Mauritius has to be about the beaches because more or less it is surrounded by Indian Ocean on all sides. But that is not all about it. This Indian Ocean island nation has much more to offer beyond its beaches.
In Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius, I did not miss taking a walk along the harbor and taking in an unique Mauritian shopping experience.
Mauritius’s only mainland national park is Black River Gorges. One can explore it for many exciting experiences. Situated right on the sparkling shores of La Balise Marina in Black River, there is another adventure that awaits everyone who loves speed. It is called ‘Seakart ride’ and it is an ultimate water-sport. Honestly, I was scared out of my wits when I started off the ride but soon it became as exciting as it could be.
This was an unforgettable experience of walking amongst the largest group pf captive-bred giant Aldabra tortoises in the world. La Vanille Nature Park is situated in the wild South of Mauritius. This rain forest valley boasts of 1000 tortoises in the park as well as 2000 captive bred Nile Crocodiles.
The picture shows my friend Hitasha who went with me for this trip. While she ate, I clicked. Don’t be surprised if I tell you that sugarcane fields have a big and deciding role to play in the historical chapters as well as progress of Mauritius.
I was quite amused to see this rock formation in the Moka Range which resembles a man’s head. To me, it looked like a man standing right at the top. It is named after Pieter Both, the first Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.
I liked Casela World of Adventures because I had the pleasure of seeing various species of exotic birds, ostriches, rhinos, giraffe, tiger and lions. As far as walking with the Tiger is concerned, my friends had great time doing it but I kept away from because I do not support it and I was not excited about it due to personal reservations.
The food in Mauritius was as exciting and colorful as the Island itself. By eating at Labourdonnais Water front Hotel, I also got a taste of the first truly world class 5-star business hotel in Mauritius.
I would define Frederica Nature Reserve as a land of 1300 hectares full of surprises, pristine vegetation and breathtaking views. This one has a deep connect with the Sugar industry. A relic of the past, Federica’s chimney still stands majestically in the middle of the lush vegetation. This trip was arranged by our resort – Heritage Le Telfair
Some may visit the La Vanille nature park to eat the crocodile specialties at the restaurant ‘The Hungry Crocodile’ while others may caress the baby crocodile. I did not do both but I enjoyed the visit to see the monkeys, crocodiles, tortoises, etc.
I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the art scene in a local market in the capital city of Mauritius. It was so amazing to talk to this lady who has been painting for last twenty years. I was equally glad that she agreed to get clicked. I also bought two painted fridge magnets from her shop. I also learnt that Mauritius has a thriving art scene.
This lake is a serene and delightful spot and I really did not want to budge from here. More so, I got a great click too. At Casela, you may spend a day and yet find it less, so plan accordingly. For instance, I wanted to sit and laze here but we were short of time.
The Château de Labourdonnais is part of an agricultural estate where different activities such as production of rum, fruit juices, pastes, jams are developed. I loved visiting this delightful mansion and learning about its history. It is one of the oldest houses in Mauritius that has seen three generations.
I dived in 35 meters deep on board of a real Submarine in order to discover the beauty of marine life. This is definitely a fun adventure for all non-swimmers too. Read here for the whole account, my inhibitions and the fun that followed.
La Vallée des Couleurs Nature Park- More than being a land of 450 acres, developed into a nature park, it also has a unique treasure. Inside the site, there lies a portion of the land containing soil of 23 different colors. These mineral soils were deposited from the eruptions of the Bassin Blanc Volcano, millions of years ago. Also, I was delighted to find a geological museum which traces and explains this remarkable story.
This is how any woman would love to ditch the kitchen. Yes, I had my time of being a super-woman. Curious Corner of Chamarel wins its reputation of a house of illusion and mystery. To take a break from the outdoors, try this indoor fun.
If you would like to go for rum tasting, just grab your glass. If you are expecting great rum and wish to buy some for yourself and friends, you must go for the tour. It was a unique experience to have a guided tour of the rummery which culminated in the tasting of about 7-8 different kinds of rums.
Of all that I did, I never forgot to stop by and soak in the beautiful sunsets at the beach resorts. Every sunset was an opportunity to reset, refresh, relax and look forward to the evening meal of the culinary adventure that I also experienced in the seven days of my stay in Mauritius.
Do write to me if you need any help planning your itinerary to Mauritius. For my trip I would like to thank Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority for giving me a chance to associate with them.
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