When someone mentions the word Mauritius, the first thing that comes to your mind probably is the beach resorts, like the ones in Maldives. There is actually so much more to this island country to explore, beyond the chilling times at the beach resorts.
The island is mainly decided into the south and the north part. I was there just last week during the mid-August, which is the middle of their winter time (Don’t forget the countries in the Southern Hemisphere are currently having their winters). Although from the North to the South is only about 67km, however, the weather could vary dramatically between the north and the south. The southern part of the island is where all the mountain ranges and the waterfalls are located, and it rains almost every day during the winter time, and the north part are relative more flat, often is warmer and has less rains. The overall weather condition in Mauritius is often referred as, Micro Weather, where you might experience a storm and the ultimate blue skies and sunshine within a ten-minutes window. Especially on the northern side, so if you see a storm coming, don’t worry, just have a cocktail and wait out for the sun to come out again after 10-15 minutes time and enjoy your island life.
Northwest side is famous for the beautiful beaches, and that’s where most of the 5 start resorts are located. During the winter time, the Eastern winds can be very strong, and the North West side is definitely the least windy side, where you can experiences some calms while chilling on the beach. The capital city Port Louis is also located on the northwest of the island. Mont Choisy Beach is labeled as the most beautiful beach on the main island, which definitely worth checking out. Further north from there, there is the tourist hub, Grand Baie, which all the tourists will hang out at night for a causal dinner and some party bars. Many of the Catamaran trips for the island trips on the north side often are departed from the Grand Baie bay area.
Heading further north, there is the famous red roofed church at Cap Malheureux. It is famous not because of the red roof or the stunning beach next to it, it is famous due to the sad story behind. During the 1600s, when the French colonized the Mauritius, many Mauritians were be slaved. There was a big slave camp at where the church is built. Many of the slaves saw the island not far across the water, Gunner’s Quoin, and they planned an escape together by trying to swim across to the island. However, what they didn’t see was the large areas reefs between the beach and the island. Those who tried to escape were all killed by the shallow water and the reefs. The red roof church was then built in memorial to those were killed during the escape, symbolize the blood that was shed in the water.
Two popular islands on the North side definitely worth checking out, Flat Island and Gabriel Island. The water there is more than just crystal blue, along with the white sand beach, it painted the perfect tropical heaven for photo shoots (in other words, very instagrammerable!) It is also the heaven for diving and snorkeling. There are so many spices under the water waiting for you to check out. I was super lucky that on the way to the Gabriel Island, I saw a few groups of Humpback Whale playing around in the ocean. To be honest, this is the first time seeing an actual whale for me, and it was almost within the arm length, the spectacularness is beyond words can describe. Can you spot the Hunchback Whale in one of my photos below =)
(CAN YOU SEE THE WHALE IN THE PIC ABOVE?)
You probably need to allocate two full days to the south side to explore the mountain ranges, valleys, and water falls properly. Mauritius is a volcanic island, just like Iceland, currently with no active volcanic. However, the historical eruptions have made the soil in Mauritius enriched with minerals and lavas, as a result of that, there are areas with naturally formed colored earth. 23-Colored Earth (La Vallee des Couleurs Nature Park) and 7-Colored Earth should be added to your To-Visit List, where you can also experience the visual of the colored earth to the max by zip-lines across the valley or drive a loop around the area with a quad bike.
If you are a rum fan, then Mauritius will be the perfect country for you to visit. More than half of the country is covered with sugarcane fields, and all the domestic rums are made by local sugar cane farms. Rhumerie de Chamarel is one of the most famous ones in town and is one of the rare distillers still active to captivate its own sugarcane. You can join quite 15 minutes tour with the distillers, and the tour starts with a cocktail making class and ends with rum tasting. In between, you can fill in the gaps yourself 🙂
Black River Gorge Viewpoint, would be a good view point for scenic photos and see the gorges from high up. You can also see the spectacular Black River Water Fall from the top from the viewpoint.
If you want to see something wild and exotic, you can also check out the Casela Zoo, which is also located on the south side of the island. However, most of the animals are imported, since Mauritius is a very small island country, it doesn’t have many domestic animals. The zoo even has Kangaroos in it! (That is a long journey for those Aussie babes to find their new home)
For Kate Surfer, Le Morne would be the ultimate playground, which is located on the southwest side of the island. That’s also the bay for dolphin watching and swim with the dolphins.
There is also the famous Hindu Temple on the South side. Unfortunately I went during the winter (raining season) it was pouring down on my during the time so visibility to the beautiful lake there was almost zero.
The East side
There are a few stunning 5-star hotels located on the East Side, for example Shangri-la and Four Seasons. However, the east-side could be a little too windy during the winter time. Having that said, the island, Ile aux Cerfs is definitely worth checking out and you probably need to dedicate a whole day for chilling out on the beaches of Ile aux Cerfs. You can take a speed boat from the main island across from the Ile aux Cerfs, which will take only 5 minutes to get to the island. What’s famous about this island, is the miles long crystal blue shallow water. You can walk a whole mile and realize that water is still at your knee level. Again this is also a very Instagrammerable spot!
Now you have the ultimate guide for Mauritius, are planning a trip to visit the country soon?