The Bucket List: Mauritius Edition - Activities and Sites You Shouldn't Miss
January 29 2018
January 29 2018
Mark Twain once said “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius”—and over a century later, this emerald green gem that rises dramatically out of the crystal-clear cerulean waters is as idyllic as ever. This outstanding destination is hugely popular with celebs looking for a luxury retreat, couples looking for a romantic getaway—it’s a sublime honeymoon destination—and wonderfully memorable family holidays. Here you will feel as if you have entered a dreamworld where power-white beaches melt into azure waters and are lined by coconut palm trees and luxury resorts—there’s no wonder Mark Twain considered this to be paradise on earth. Beyond the beach and glistening waters, you will find jungle-like interiors, eclectic and interesting cities and wonderful historic sights just waiting to be discovered. Not sure where to start? Here are six of our favourite activities in Mauritius that deserve to be on your bucket list:
Ile aux Cerfs
Mauritius has a huge variety of remarkable beaches and places from which to soak up the phenomenal African sun and marvel at the sheer beauty of the Indian Ocean. But one of the most exceptional places to enjoy the beach during a memorable day trip is undoubtedly the outstanding Ile aux Cerfs Leisure Island or if you are a keen golfer, then a trip to the Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club. This magnificent island just off the east coast of Mauritius has everything you could want for a fun-filled day in the sun; a choice of excellent and varied restaurants, ample land- and water-based activities for the whole family, phenomenal beaches (and all the creature comforts you could need for a great beach session, such as sun loungers and clean beach towels which are available to rent), an amazing lagoon and an outstanding beachside bar—this is the ultimate day trip destination. Golfers can enjoy the world-renowned par 72, 18-hole golf course designed by Bernhard Langer, which is technically challenging but incredibly worth the visit for the experience on playing on such a breathtakingly beautiful course where everyone is treated like a VIP. Whatever you do, set aside some time to take in the wonders of Ile aux Cerfs.
Hidden amongst palm plantations and lush tropical surrounds lies the incredible Chamarel Waterfall which at 100 metres is the highest waterfall in Mauritius. This incredible spot is the perfect place for taking pictures with two superb viewpoints (follow the stairs to the slightly higher and more secluded viewpoint) allowing you excellent vistas of the impressive sight. While you are in the area, you should definitely take the short drive to the Seven Coloured Earths—an incredible natural phenomenon where volcanic rocks have eroded over time and left distinct bands of different colours which range from brown to purple. And while you are at it, why not head to the local Rhumerie de Chamarel for some local rum. This awesome distillery is well worth a visit and an excellent place to find the ultimate gift for a friend or family member back home.
Stunning colonial houses dotted around Mauritius stand as a reminder of the island’s interesting past, but if you only have time to see one, then it should definitely be the Maison Eureka. This unbelievable wooden colonial mansion is situated in the cooler interior of the island. From here you can take in the amazing vistas of the Moka mountains, marvel at the lavish interiors and luxury of the mansion on a tour of the house and savour a drink surrounded by absolute opulence in the tea room. The lush gardens of the property are open to keen explorers and the house itself boasts elegant architecture, antique furniture and fascinating photographs which give you a glimpse into a bygone era.
A trip to Port Louis
The capital city of Mauritius, Port Louis, is a wonderful and exciting hub where the energy is virtually tangible. Take a trip to this amazing city to better understand Mauritius, its culture and its past. Here all you need to do is walk the streets to notice the seamless integration of French, Dutch, Chinese, and Indian cultures and the best way to get a taste—excuse the pun—for the Mauritian culture is to sample some of the mouthwatering local fare. Sumptuous dumplings, hearty curries and fresh seafood dishes are all made with fresh, local ingredients and are not only totally memorable but unmissable. Find a restaurant that appeals or do as the locals do and eat at the central market where you can find some unbelievable (and unusual) food. It’s also a great place to buy gorgeous Mauritian gifts and trinkets as memorabilia or as gifts for loved ones back home. The botanical gardens aren’t far from Port Louis and there are many fascinating museums to explore here once you have gotten your fill of glorious food and shopping.
Well worth a visit while on a magical trip to Mauritius, is Grand Bassin. This lake is set amongst the mountains of Mauritius, approximately 1800 feet above sea level, and is the most important and sacred Hindu place on the entire island. The sacred lake (also called Ganga Talao) is believed to contain holy water from the River Ganges in India, and it is home to a temple that has been dedicated to Lord Shiva. This incredible lake was discovered by Pandit Jhummon Giri Gossagne Nepal. This Hindu priest lived in a small village in the north of the island and one day had a dream about a holy lake in Mauritius, which he believed was connected to the sacred Ganges river. He went in search of the lake he had seen in his dreams and when he came to Grand Bassin, he knew it was the one. The news of his dream and the sacred lake spread quickly and so pilgrims started walking to the lake. Today, during the Hindu festival Maha Shivaratri, many locals embark on this pilgrimage from their homes to the lake on foot and it’s become one of the most important pilgrimage sites outside of India. In 2007, to add to this remarkable site and in homage to Shiva and Durga, two 108 feet statues of the deities have been created to welcome those who journey to this spiritual site.
Black River Gorges National Park
If you are a fan of hiking while surrounded by dense forest and staggering beauty, then a trip to the Black River Gorges National Park definitely needs to be on your itinerary. Undoubtedly deserving of its place on the list of top Mauritius points of interest, this park was created to protect a huge area of natural rainforest and vegetation. Spanning a whopping 6,574 hectares of the south-western area of Mauritius, this park gives a glimpse into what Mauritius might have looked like centuries ago—before it was developed.
Gorgeous trails (that total 60 kilometres) allow travellers ample opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the unique and exquisite tropical rainforest experience. Opting to explore the park by hiking also increases the possibility of sighting fantastic and unusual birds (such as white-tailed tropicbirds called paille-en-queue and pink pigeons), the resident macaque monkeys (who are also often seen at the picnic areas and viewpoints) and allows you to discover some wonderful and unusual endemic plants. The highest point of the island, Black River Peak, can be accessed from the park itself, but for those that don’t have the time (or inclination) to hike, there are still excellent viewpoints from which to take in the size and unbridled beauty of the park.
Heading to Mauritius and looking for the ultimate place to stay from which you can explore the gems of the island as well as indulge in all of the exceptional offerings at your luxury resort? Then look no further than Sun Resorts. With four unbelievable hotels to choose from in Mauritius, you are sure to find the perfect one for your dream holiday in paradise.