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Mauritius – Natural Beauty, Man-Made Attractions

Beatrice Lessi

Africa’s Wealthiest Destination

Colorful, peaceful, flamboyant and wild: Mauritius, the island in the Indian Ocean,  is arguably Africa’s wealthiest destination. With its incredibly expensive – and spectacular –  resorts (up to $600 a night and more) the island caters for the more wealthy customers. Why do tourists like it so much? I was really curious to see it, and I finally managed to visit it for one week.

Nature and Fun

Mauritius is a tropical paradise with tons to do. Nature is amazingly generous, and you’ll find crimson trees welcoming even in the least romantic industrial area, or happy animals crossing the street  and trying to enter your door. A fascinating biodiversity that you can for example admire on Le Morne, a UNESCO heritage site I hiked being quite surprised for its difficulty.

On top of that, there are a lot of places and activities organised by man. Some examples?

Port Louis, the modern capital of this 38-mile by 29-mile island, is a bustling port with a revitalized waterfront and a busy market. La Vallée Des Couleurs Nature Park with is popular for its zip-lining and adventure themed activities is another point of interest. Casela Nature Park is known for its Tobogan rides and Camel Paddock trips.

Mauritius rum, sugar and fruit jams, the Seven Coloured Earths, an underwater waterfall, the Giant water lilies in the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, ravanne drum and Sega music, and nice golf courses complete the offer.

Languages and Popular Locations

Being both an English-speaking and French-speaking nation, Mauritius is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations and La Francophonie. The majority language and lingua franca of the country is the French-based Mauritian Creole, spoken at home by 86.5% of the population.

Most visitors gravitate toward resort areas such as Mont Choisy, quiet Trou-aux-Biches and the more bustling Flic en Flac, popular with scuba divers. Rivière Noire is ideal for those looking for great deep-sea fishing.

My Experience

One week is a bit too short to really see Mauritius, considering the distance from Europe and, in my case, that I also had to train for Antarctica Marathon, so I had to use some hours for that every day. That didn’t leave me with much time for the beach, especially because the weather changed all the time (the island is very green also thanks to the abundant rains), and I ended up sunbathing one day only.

But I did get a taste of this beautiful place.

I loved the multicultural population and the type of tourists it attracts (also quite mixed), the luxury of the best resorts, the really impressive biodiversity and the calm beaches. I also loved driving through the colorful villages with peeling paint on almost every house. The hippie-style buses are used by most of the population and they are also a delight.

What I liked a bit less was the fact that hotels are so good and offering so many activities, that one might end up spending all the time stuck in a – albeit wonderful – gated community that could be anywhere in the world. There’s little contact with the outside and the atmosphere is not distinctively Mauritius style.

We stayed at the Four Seasons and I can warmly recommend it. It features absolutely everything you want; nothing is missing. Olympic pool, 12 cottages with ocean views and both indoor and outdoor showers just to have massage and beauty treatments, restaurants where you can eat with feet in the sand or in water, possibility to do any fancy activity like mindful walk on the beach at 7 am or paragliding, kate surfing, stand up paddling…you name it.

An army of gardeners is constantly tiding up the amazing flowers and vegetation, all dressed up with hats and rubber boots to be protected from the rain, the amount of staff is incredible.

Food was top quality (the Italian chef, for example, has two Michelin stars) and decor to die for. Our villa was the perfect size and featured the ideal garden with huge bayan tree, a private pool and outdoor shower (start the day with that and be in a good mood for the next 24 hours! So energising), a relaxing view on the green and a pond with lotus flowers, high roof in traditional style, modern furniture made of natural materials, perfectly hard bed with fluffy cushions, spacious bathroom with relaxing side lights, walk-in wardrobe and abundant snacks and bottles of water.

What I Bring Home

There were three things I really liked in Mauritius: how confident and cheerful people are, the amazing nature, and the possibility to relax.

I learnt a little lesson there: to be more mindful and read and listen to podcasts with more focus. I wasn’t multitasking because nobody was multitasking, and I felt the slower rhythm was just perfect, never boring.

I hope I can keep this and incorporate it through my life – the peaceful atmosphere was contagious and we all need peace in this crazy world.

 

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