The island nation of Mauritius is becoming a popular holiday destination as an alternative to Asia and the Maldives. With direct flights from Perth, this republic in the Indian Ocean has become easily accessible and affordable. It also offers a raft of sightseeing, activities and fine dining – it’s not just a beach resort destination.
This beautiful island has a central plateau with impressive mountains and is skirted by white sandy beaches. Offshore are coral reefs and crystal clear turquoise waters. Mauritius is also renowned for its picture perfect weddings and honeymoons.
1. Walk with the Lions. A unique experience where you get to meet the lions and walk with them through the Casela Nature Reserve – a fantastic animal sanctuary. This experience books out many months in advance, so make sure you make a reservation when you organise your Mauritian holiday.
2. Seven Colour Earth. This natural phenomenon is located on the south-west side of the island at Chamarel. This stretch of multi-coloured sand is beautiful to behold, particularly as the sun rises.
3. Horse racing. On Saturdays between May and November, the track at Champs-de-Mars rings with the sound of hooves. The track is the oldest in the southern hemisphere.
4. Iles aux Cerfs. Take a day trip to this island off the east coast of Mauritius. Iles aux Cerfs is home to many deer (cerfs), a golf course, lots of wonderful restaurants and of course lovely beaches.
5. Take to the sea. There are plenty of sea-faring day trips from Mauritius where you can explore the beautiful lagoons and reefs. You can also go kite surfing, scuba diving, snorkelling, undersea walking, submarining or deep sea fishing.
6. Head inland. Take your choice of trekking, mountain bike riding, canyoning or kayaking. The interior of Mauritius offers forests, lakes, rivers, mountains and waterfalls. This nation also grows tea, vanilla and sugar, so you can also take part in a plantation tour.
7. Hit the beach. These are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Try Belle Mare, La Cuvette, Trou aux Biches and Le Morne.
8. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (SSR) Botanical Gardens. Recognised as one of the best botanical gardens in the world, these gardens are the most popular tourist attraction in Mauritius. One of the few places you can see the giant Victoria amazonica water lilies with leaves up to 3 metres wide.
9. Golf. There are 4 championship courses in Mauritius at Belle Mare Plage, Tamarina, Bel Ombre and Ile aux Cerfs.
10. Enjoy the food. This country has an enviable blend of Indian, African, Creole, French and Chinese cuisines. The resorts offer fantastic quality dining, however there are many independent restaurants on the island offering gourmet options. The street food is also not to be missed. Try the delicious Dhal Puri (Mauritian flatbread filled with curried yellow split peas).
11. Shopping. From luxury shopping malls to markets to small artisan boutiques, you will definitely find something unique to take home with you. Locally made products include textiles, jewellery, handcrafted wooden model boats and wooden artworks.
12. Sample some rum. Jamaica may be known as the home of rum, but Mauritius isn’t far behind! Visit one of the many distilleries found on the sugar plantations and sample your way through the many types of rum on offer.