Mauritius Holidays Guide
If you’re near a window, look south-eastwards for a moment. There, 6,000 miles over the horizon, deep in the Indian Ocean, lie the blindingly white palm-edged beaches, blue lagoons, coral reefs, emerald sugar-cane fields and purple mountain peaks of Mauritius. Another world? Yes. But in just 12 hours you could be there! When it comes to today’s faraway holiday preference, we think Mauritius is definitely up there with the leaders. Nature has done its bit, of course, with exotic tropical scenes that will etch themselves on your memory. A stylish gallery of world-class resort hotels adds all the essential creature comforts and leisure pursuits. Scattered along the 205-mile coastline and nestling contentedly beside picture-book beaches, each has its own character. You’ll feel instantly at home. That’s what Mauritius does best.
Mountains, deep ravines and gorges offer short hikes and mountain bike trips (a chance to see some endemic birdlife and wild monkeys) – while, offshore, supervised sea-kayaking excursions can be booked. Exploring by car is a popular way to discover the island’s lush and often lofty interior. Don’t miss the waterfront at Port Louis and do visit the National Park in the beautiful interior.
Nightlife & Party with Locals
Most larger hotels (and many smaller ones) ensure that their guests can enjoy live band entertainment and dance on-site, with regular Sega dance events. If you want more options to hand then the liveliest area to stay in Grand Baie, with its restaurants, bars and discos.
Gourmet Cuisine & Dining Out
French, Chinese, Creole, and Indian influences have all gone into the exotic Mauritius culinary pot! Whether your main course leans toward Indian curries or Chinese sweet-and-sour fish, they and a host of exotic new flavours await the jaded palate. A colourful ethnic mix means you can look forward to some wonderful palate, pleasing cuisine.
World Class Golf Courses
There’s excellent golf to be enjoyed on at least 12 delightful courses adjoining some of the leading hotels – the most acclaimed of which are the One & Only Le Touessrok Golf Club on Ile aux Cerfs and the Belle Mare Plage Golf Club. What could be more pleasant than being on a dream island whilst having the opportunity to improve your golfing skills?
World’s Best Scuba Dive Sites
Mauritius is surrounded by a coral reef with a rich marine life – and offers shallow comfortable dive sites for beginners, as well as walls, rock formations, caverns and wrecks for the experienced. Some of the best diving is where the island reef breaks – especially between Souillac and Le Bouchon (south coast) and at Flic en Flac (west coast).
Family Holidays to Mauritius
Mauritius’ hotel beaches are reef-protected in the main and normally ideal for supervised youngsters. Well-organised Children’s Clubs are the norm at the majority of resort hotels.
When it comes to all-inclusive options, Mauritius offers you an embarrassment of riches – with packages of varying comprehensiveness available at a range of properties around the island.
Weather in Mauritius
Mauritius’ idyllic beaches and tropical lifestyle can be enjoyed at their warmest during the November to April period (January to March can be less settled), while May to October (‘Winter’, though not as we know it!) tend to be the driest and sunniest months with cooler nights.
Mauritius – Weddings & Honeymoons
The popularity of Mauritius as a wedding destination tells its own story. The island’s matchless tropical setting, romantic Indian Ocean mood and the dependability of its long experience all set an enviable benchmark. Imagine the sun’s warm rays filtering through the shade of overhanging palms, while gentle waves lap the coral sands of a tropical beach beyond. What lovelier lifelong memories of your wedding day? You’ll find, too, that the cost of one of our wedding packages AND of staying in a luxury beach hotel here can often prove less than a similar one-day event at home.
Top Value Sunset Wedding Packages:
Take advantage of our special low-cost Mauritius Wedding Packages. Depending upon your hotel choice, these can include a whole array of special features – among them items like fruit and flowers in your room, a decorated wedding location, your wedding cake, sparkling wine or champagne, champagne breakfast, bridal bouquet, groom’s buttonhole, photographs of the ceremony and a romantic dinner. Many personalised optional extras can also be arranged for you.
Friends & Family
Friends & family are welcome to witness the ceremony by prior arrangement and special gala meals can be planned for the party.
Your Honeymoon in Mauritius
An island whose exotic scenery, beaches and mood all seem purpose-planned for romance, Mauritius will have no problems in delivering a honeymoon packed with moments and memories to treasure in years to come. You’ll almost certainly be back for a second honeymoon . . . and a third . . .
Luxury Holidays Direct Honeymoon Bonuses:
At selected hotels, we’ll help make your stay that extra little bit special as soon as you check-in, thanks to a range of features like complimentary gifts, sparkling wine and fruit or flowers, wine or champagne on arrival, a special romantic meal and in some cases a room upgrade whenever available. At some resorts, the Bride also enjoys significant seasonal savings – up to 100% – in accommodation costs.
Making the most of your stay:
We offer discerning Honeymooners an extensive selection of la crème de la crème luxury hotels and resorts – many of them in truly beautiful or exotic settings – just perfect for a romantic getaway. Choosing the right honeymoon hotel and room setting is vital. Tell us your priorities and we’ll guide you to the choices that best fit your needs.
Mauritius – Sightseeing & Activities
Mauritius’ white-sand Indian Ocean beaches and fabulous water sports may incline you not to travel far from your oceanside resort. Fight that temptation! The island’s lush and often lofty interior, the buzz of its towns and villages and the quality of its many land activities all demand some time.
What to see
Sport in Mauritius
Mauritius’ busy little capital, set within an amphitheatre of mountains, is a place of character and slightly faded elegance. Named after the French Louis XV, it boasts some fine 18th century French buildings, two cathedrals, a mosque, museums and the fortified Fort Adelaide citadel with splendid views of the town, harbour and racecourse (yes, really! – it was once a French military parade ground). The swirling Central Market – best visited early – will provide a flavour of the island’s exotic ethnic and cultural pedigree. Another ‘must’ is Le Caudan Waterfront, a popular leisure spot.
Royal Botanical Gardens of Pamplemousses
Not far from Port Louis, the famous Pamplemousses Gardens have a fascinating history going back nearly three centuries. Heavy with the fragrance of fruit and spice trees, their 60 acres contain stately palms, ebony, mahogany, pandanus, a 200-years-old Buddha tree and a pool of beautiful Giant Amazon water lilies.
A twisting road in the south-west of the island takes you to the geological phenomenon of the ‘Seven Coloured Earths’ – an undulating mound of multi-coloured sand, created by the weathering of volcanic rocks. A scenic waterfall located amid jungle vegetation adds to the setting.
Black Gorges National Park
Definitely not to be missed, this beautiful Park fringed by coniferous trees and casuarinas is home to endangered species like the echo parakeet, rare trees like the tambalacoque (dodo) tree – and, of course, many monkeys and deer. Nature-lovers can walk for miles in the Black River Gorge itself. Not far away is Lake Bassin, a volcanic crater and holiest Hindu pilgrimage site on the island.
Casela Bird Park
Casela Bird Park is known to ornithologists around the world, and habitat of the world’s rarest pigeon, the pink pigeon.
Curepipe & Trou aux Cerfs
Curepipe is the place to come if you’re interested in model-ship building and/or shopping! If not, the views of the island from the ancient crater of Trou aux Cerfs are unbeatable and worth the climb. In this area are the Tamarind Falls – seven falls tumbling into a deep, quiet pool ideal for swimming.
When it’s time to let your hair down and party into the night then the lively north coast beach resort area of Grand Baie is where you’ll want to be. Grand Baie has a host of bars, restaurants and hotels, which between them offer a pretty full programme of entertainment choices.
Moka lies in the picturesque surroundings of the lush Moka Range Mountains and waterfalls. The 19th-century mansions of Le Reduit and Eureka House offer insights into Mauritius’ colonial history – and splendid views.
A busy commercial centre and former colonial town set on a pretty bay where you can relax and sunbathe. The Naval Museum is a particular attraction, while nearby there are two beautiful nature reserves – the Ile aux Aigrettes and the Domaine du Chasseur.
What to do
Sightseeing & Activities
Without question, Mauritius can offer you some of the Indian Ocean’s finest watersports facilities and conditions. Waterskiing, windsurfing, snorkelling, deep-sea or lagoon diving, surfing, sailing and more – name them and they’re probably here! A number is often included in resort packages. The island’s superb underwater landscapes and variety of fish and sea plants make diving highly popular – as is deep-sea fishing (for which Mauritius offers both high-quality equipment and catches of impressive size and variety). Ashore, sport-lovers can take their pick of most major land activities, including golf, tennis, quad-biking, horse riding and trekking. See also the At a Glance section for more information on scuba-diving and golf.
Though the only dodo to be seen in Mauritius these days (and a replica at that!) is in a Port Louis museum, the island offers really rewarding bird-watching, including rare endemic species like the echo parakeet and pink pigeon.
Mauritius’ historic Champ de Mars racecourse is one of the oldest racecourses in the southern hemisphere. Racing is highly popular here – pulling regular crowds of 30,000 people every Saturday afternoon from May to September.
You’ll find both traditional Mauritian Arts and Crafts (look out for those model ships!) products and branded luxury goods in shopping centres in towns and beach resorts alike. A number of attractively priced duty-free shops (for designer clothes, perfumes, jewellery and electronic items) and colourful local markets like those in Port Louis, Grand Baie and Quatre Bornes (where you can practice the national sport of bargaining) provide a complete shopping spectrum. Le Caudan Waterfront’s Arts & Crafts market is well worth a visit. Mauritius is a major textile producer and in factory outlets around the island cashmere sweaters and cardigans are often offered at irresistible prices.
Nightlife tends to focus around the beach resorts (especially the Grand Baie area, which has a host of bars and restaurants) and hotels, which between them offer a pretty full programme of entertainment choices. Mauritius’ traditional and infectious Sega dance features prominently, along with oriental dance performances. Some hotels also have their own casinos. In Port Louis Le Caudan Waterfront offers restaurants, a casino and two cinemas after dark – and you’ll also find casinos at Domaines les Pailles (Port Louis) and in Curepipe.
Events in Mauritius
Its rich multicultural heritage is one of Mauritius’ many attractive features. So it’s no surprise that the events and festivals in this island nation should celebrate this diversity, and blend in the major attractions of all cultures. Here are some highlights among the many.
January in Mauritius
The New Year’s festival of Thai Pongal takes place on the first day of the month of Thai to celebrate the end of the harvest season. Happy painted cows are served delicious rice pudding in a festival of cleansing, purification and thanksgiving.
February in Mauritius
‘Ebony 2007’ at Citadelle (Port Louis) marks the celebration of the Abolition of Slavery – and showcases Mauritian skills in the making of clothes, jewellery and other accessories. This is also the month of Thaipoosam Cavadee, the festival when Tamil worshippers sport anatomy-defying piercings in an amazing display of religious fervour. February also brings Maha Shivaratri, when hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees congregate in a volcanic lake to bathe statuettes of Lord Shiva. The Chinese New Year – also known as the Spring Festival – is an another major February event, as families celebrate the beginning of a new year with vows, fireworks, good food and celebration. Fishing fans can keep an eye on the progress of the Marlin World Cup and the South Indian Ocean Billfish Competition.
March in Mauritius
March 12th is Mauritius’ National Day, celebrated throughout the island. Holika Dahan, or the Festival of Colour, see Mauritian Hindus celebrating good harvests and the Earth’s fertility. Huge bonfires are made on the eve of the festival, while the actual day is marked by loud processions, singing, dancing, traditional songs – and a whole lot more.
April in Mauritius
The Festival D’Art Pyrotechnique is an international firework competition held at Citadelle – and the organisers of the Sydney Fireworks, among others, will be there!
May in Mauritius
The 2007 Reggae Festival features local bands with their songs and live shows, in a style combining elements of reggae, ragga and dancehall with the traditional musical heritage of the Mauritian Sega dance.
September in Mauritius
Pere Laval’s Day sees thousands of devotees flock to the shrine of the 19th-century holy missionary Pere Laval, the ‘Saint of Mauritius’ who fought passionately against slavery.
October in Mauritius
Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the Hindu year, and Hindus all over Mauritius celebrate this event as enthusiastically as they do in India. In the same month is Id-ul-Fitr, the Muslim festival celebrated to mark the end of the fasting period of Ramadan.