Mauritius is a wildly popular African destination and it is the most developed of the Mascarene Islands. Famous for its luxury beach resorts it also has plenty to get your teeth into, mountain trails to hike, local markets to haggle at, amazing fishing if that takes your fancy.
Mauritius is off the south-eastern coast of Africa, east of Madagascar. There is no specific peak season, although the French school holidays cause a big increase in demand and prices in August. February is a good time to visit, the temperature in the coastal areas in the mid to high 20°C. The sea temperature ranges from 22°C to 27°C. In the central part of the island, the temperature can be up to 5°C cooler. The western and northern regions are warmer and drier, although Mauritius has a wet and humid climate.
Where to stay
Straying from the beach resorts, make your way to the fishing village of La Gaulette. Visit the coloured earth of Chamarel in the hills 9km east of La Gaulette. The less scenic site near Souillac is less busy with more vivid colours. Continue from Chamarel in one direction into the brilliant scenery of the mountain road up to the Plaine Champagne in the Black River Gorges National Park. Or, drive in the opposite direction, South to the beautiful Baie du Cap.
Visiting Port Louis, the capital city
When you arrive in Mauritius, you don’t need to flee immediately from the capital, rather, venture into the heart of Africa’s richest city, mercantile Port Louis. Experience the major market, Chinatown and get a real taste of life other than your own. The city lies beneath the beautiful peaks of Le Pouce and Pieter Both and overlooks the Indian Ocean.
Hiking in Mauritius
Keen hikers and lovers of the outdoors must visit Black River Gorges National Park. The place is bursting with unique birds, flowers and the rare global treasure of virgin forests. You may glimpse the endangered pink pigeon, clawing its way slowly but surely back into abundance. The Park covers 3.5 per cent of the island’s surface. You can take a bus or car, or you can go on foot, hike the wild and wonderful trails and soak in the atmosphere up close. Take great care, you are entering the wilderness; check the status of the trails, good maps are accessible, and guides can e hired via the visitor centre. The visitors centre is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 3 pm at the park’s western entrance, 5km southeast of Grande Rivière Noire.
Where to eat
The food on Mauritius is influenced by Hindus, Creole, Chinese, Muslims and Europeans. Some recommended restaurants in Port Louis are.
- La bonne marmite 18, Sir William Newton Street
- Black Steer Caudan Waterfront Port Louis
- Le Cafe Du Vieux Conseil Vieux Conseil Street
Buses and trams are slow but reliable and offer an up front experience with local life. If you hire a taxi agree on the price in advance so everyone is happy. Shared taxis are a common option on a budget.