Where to go during holidays in Mauritius – an exploration of the South

What to do in Mauritius - explore the south coast of Mauritius

Mauritian sea shore by Guillaume Laurent, on Flickr

The southern part of Mauritius is where tourists who seek tranquility and relaxation should definitely go. It is also the wildest part of the island and arguably the least developed. However, tourists will find quite a few interesting places to visit even there and should not worry about getting bored during their Mauritian holidays.

Along with a part of the district of Black-River, two more districts make the most of the south of Mauritius: the district of Savanne and the district of Grand-Port. Of course, one of the best-known landmarks in the district of Black River is Le Morne Mountain. This place has a lot of touristic appeal not only because of the really beautiful white sandy beaches that can be found in the area, but also for the other touristic activities that can be practiced there such as kitesurfing, big game fishing, golfing etc. One amazing natural phenomenon occurring in the area recently got widespread attention. It was named the “Underwater waterfall of Mauritius”. In reality it is just an optical illusion created by sand being carried away off the south-western shores and the lagoon of Mauritius towards the ocean floor. This phenomenon can only be seen from above.

The major Mauritian hotels of the area are: the Paradis Hotel and Golf Club and the Dinarobin Hotel Golf and Spa, Lux Le Morne, Berjaya Le Morne and Beach Resort, Les Pavillons Hotel Le Morne, Indian resort and Spa and Hotel Mornea. There are also quite a few private luxury villas in the area. Beyond the Peninsula, towards the South there is a small fishing village, called Le Morne Village. It is a nice place for tourists to visit to immerse themselves in rural Mauritian life.  Out at sea, people will be able to see Ilot Fourneau. For a fee, it is possible for tourists to ride horses not only around Le Morne, but also to Ilot fourneau.

At about 2 kilometers away you will then encounter La Prairie beach which lies between Le Morne Village and Baie du Cap. The lagoon off the beach is calm all year round and is perfect for snorkeling and swimming close to the shore. However on the east side of the beach, the seafloor drops to 2000 meters and there is a break in the coral reef. People who intend to surf, kitesurf or windsurf there should therefore always consult with the locals as the place is also popular with sharks. Further inland, the popular places to visit are the Seven Coloured Earths in Chamarel and the Black River Gorges National Park. Just before reaching the village of Baie-du-Cap tourists will inevitably encounter the Macondé hairpin curve.  People can climb up the observation post and take a good look at the panorama. There is a grotto at the base of the stairs in honor of the many victims of the various road accidents that occurred there.

Next along the road will be the fishing village of Baie-du-Cap and Bel Ombre which has many private luxury villa rentals available and Mauritian luxury hotels such as Heritage Golf Club and Le Telfair Resort, as well as the Sofitel, Tamassa Resorts, and Outrigger Mauritius Resorts. Before reaching the village of Riviere des Galets, tourists will be able to see Ilot Sancho, a tiny islet which is just a few feet off the main land. It is a very interesting place to visit since pirates and freebooters were rumored to hide their treasures there.

Just beyond the river, named Riviere des Galets because of its round pebbles that can be found in its bed, lies the village of Rivière des Galets proper. Further inland is the small town of Chemin Grenier, which translates to “Granary Road” in English. Still further inland is the Vallée des Couleurs Nature Park where locals and tourists will be able to partake in many activities such as zip-lining, quad biking, etc. And if you thought the seven colours of Chamarel were astonishing enough, you’d better brace yourselves for La Vallee des Couleurs’ 23 colours.

Closer to the coast you will find the beach of Saint Félix, a 1.5 kilometre stretch of white sandy beach. Further east is the beach of Riambel, which is really the most peaceful beach of the island because so few people ever go there. The lagoon however is not so peaceful and people should be warned that there are strong currents in the area.

The next big settlements further along the road are Surinam and Souillac. The town of Souillac was named after the Vicomte de Souillac, who once created a port there, where goods would be shipped back and forth from Port-Louis. Interesting places to visit nearby are the Telfair Garden, Gris-Gris, Le Batelage which was the old port itself, La Nef which is a museum dedicated to the poet Robert Edward Hart and Rochester falls. The little beach of Gris-Gris will be a welcome stop along the road after a visit of the town, as well as a popular local attraction nearby: the cliff of Le Souffleur.

The next big attraction along the road will be La Vanille Reserve des Mascareignes, which is a nature reserve and crocodile farm. Other interesting things to see at La Vanille Reserve des Mascareignes are the insectarium, the fossil museum, the aquarium, the giant tortoises, etc. There is a shop where tourists and locals can purchase items made with crocodile leather and a restaurant where people will be able to get a taste of crocodile meat, for a change.

The next major settlement along the road will be Plaigne Magnen, which will be further inland, near the airport. From Plaine Magnen and taking the A10, the next big town will be Mahébourg, the old capital of the island of Mauritius. Going back towards the south, the nearest beach will be Pointe d’Esny beach, although it is hidden behind some luxury villas, bungalows and houses, with only narrow pathways leading to it.

Out at sea, you will find the Ile aux Aigrettes nature reserve, where the last remaining trees of the forests which once grew along the coast of the mainland can be found, along with rare animal species. Further South will be the village of Blue Bay and Blue Bay Beach. The Blue Bay Marine Park will be a welcome attraction for snorkeling amateurs, as well as families wishing to take their children along for some sightseeing in glass-bottom boats. The beach, although beautiful, can also be quite noisy at it lies straight in the flight path of airplanes landing at SSR International airport. Still it is quite surprising to see a big airplane making its approach towards the tarmac at low altitude when you’re lying on the sand.  Across the bay, you will find La Cambuse Public Beach, a one kilometre stretch of white sand which remains mostly unpopulated throughout the year as it is not very well known, even among Mauritians, and access to this beach is very complicated. The major luxury hotel in the area is the Shandrani Resort and Spa.

Why Mauritius is even better than the Seychelles or Bora-Bora for your holidays

Why Mauritius is even better than the Seychelles or Bora-Bora for your holidays

Close to Le Morne by tomfellmann, on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomfellmann/

Mauritius holds a particular place among the world’s island destinations. It may not be as exotic as the Tahitian island of Bora-Bora or as pristine or glamorous as the Seychelles, but it is not as far-flung as the former and it is certainly more developed than the latter, meaning that while you can enjoy very relaxing holidays in the luxury hotels in the rural areas of Mauritius, you don’t need to feel out of touch with the rest of civilization either.

In fact, holidays in Mauritius might actually be preferable to these more glamorous destinations because the level of development allows for a range of touristic activities that may not be available in Seychelles or Bora-Bora.

During your holidays in the island of Mauritius, not only you will get the opportunity to relax on the white sandy beaches, but you will also have the opportunity to try various activities in nature reserves and parks such as riding quad bikes, mountain biking, archery, zip-lining, buggy rides, sky-diving, horse-riding excursions, safaris, etc. Furthermore, a lot of different activities can be practiced out at sea, including kite surfing, windsurfing, big game fishing, whale and dolphin watching, scuba diving and even going on submarine rides and explore the ocean floor.

Some of the nature parks and reserves that you can visit during your holidays in Mauritius are:  Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary, Domaine de Lagrave, Domaine de l’Etoile, la Vallée des Couleurs, la Vanille Crocodile Farm, Chamarel Adventure Park, The Black River Gorges, Frédérica Nature Reserve, and Casela.

During your holidays in Mauritius, you will also have all the luxury to improve your golf scores at the numerous golf courses which dot the island. Some of the golf courses of Mauritius are : the Tamarina Golf Club, the Paradis Hotel and Golf  Club, the Touessrok golf course, The One 1 Only Saint-Géran Golf Club, the Belle Mare plage Golf Club, the Four Seasons Golf Club, the Golf du Château at Domaine de Bel-Ombre and the Mauritius Gymkhana Club.

Mauritius also has a rich culture, as you can find people of almost all origins living peacefully there. One of the ways you can discover the culture of Mauritius is through several museums such as The Martello Tower Museum in Black River, The Frederik Hendrik Museum in Vieux Grand Port, The Robert Edward Hart Memorial Museum, the Mahébourg National History Museum, the Domaine des Aubineaux in Forest-Side, the Eureka House in Moka, the Chateau Labourdonnais in Mapou, L’Aventure du Sucre in Pamplemousses, the China Heritage Museum in Port-Louis, the Mikado Shell Museum, the Postal Museum, the Photography Museum, the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Memorial Centre for Culture and the Blue Penny Museum, all in Port-Louis.

Spending your holidays in Mauritius also means that you will be able to go shopping and sight-seeing in its towns, so if you need anything during your holidays, you can be sure you’ll get it at reasonable prices. Finally, the range of accommodations available in Mauritius, from bungalows, to luxury villas and 5-star hotels will also ensure you can tailor your holiday experience according to your budget and that most of your hard-earned money won’t be spent on travel expenses alone.