This island lost in the Indian Ocean offers a range of impressive customs and cultures and is very affordable. The volcanic and small island is 65 km from north to south and 48 km from east to west. Just like the island Reunion, 220 km to the west, Mauritius Island belongs to the Mascarene archipelago. A coral reef protects its 330 km of coastline, including 100 km of beach. In the interior of the island lies a large central plateau from 400 to 600 m altitude where you will also see mounts reaching up to 828 m (‘’Plaine des Chicots’’).
The territory of 1.865 km2 has been so altered by the occupants that the forest, once full of magnificent ebony trees, has nearly disappeared, replaced by sugar cane plantations. Remains of primary forest, however, still exist in the south-east of the island, in the gorges of ‘’Rivière Noire’’. The blue or red latanias, native palm trees, are one of the most beautiful trees of Mauritius. From November to January, blooming flamboyant s are a joy for the eyes.
The beaches with uniformly fine sand are another major attraction of the island whose turquoise waters are always between 20 ° C and 25 ° C. Most hotels offer sailing, catamaran sailing, windsurfing, etc. Scuba diving enthusiasts will find their happiness from October to March. Rodrigues, to 570 km north-east of Mauritius, must be visited as well.
Hiking for not too long will allow you to discover luxurious flora and well-preserved landscapes. Mauritius is trying to protect its natural heritage, and for good reason: the population density is 600 inhabitants per km2. Dutch, French, English population preceded the arrival of the Indians in the nineteenth century. Indians form the largest part of the population (70% of the 1 million inhabitants). The native population is divided between Creole, Métis and Franco-Mauritians, who hold most of the economic power.
Although community sense prevails, inter-community relations are generally good. The population is friendly and smiling, a trademark that is found in hotels in Mauritius, known for the high quality of customer service. Avoid wearing monokinis swimsuits on public beaches, as they can offend local sensitivity. Given the rise of petty crime, it is important to close your bungalow and not to leave your belongings on the beach. Finally, pay attention to the use of drugs (even soft ones), because the authorities are ruthless about it
Art and culture in Mauritius
Derived from French, the Mauritian Creole is the most spoken language of the island. The diversity and the importance of religion are manifested by the number of churches, mosques or temples (150 Hindu temples!). Ceremonies, particularly marriages are very interesting to watch. Christians, 30% of the population, fill the churches on Saturday afternoons. Although Mauritians are not very fond of folklore, creoles maintain the tradition of the Séga, music inherited from black slaves.
What to visit in Mauritius
Located on the west coast, the capital, Port Louis, is especially worth to visit because of its colorful decor (pagodas and creole houses, loincloths and saris). Not far from the capital, in Tamarin Bay, you will have the opportunity to see dolphins in remarkable conditions. Botanical enthusiasts will appreciate the ‘’Jardin de Pamplemousses’’ whose rare species, nutmeg or clove, are the pride of Mauritians. ‘’L’île Plate’’ and ‘’L’îlot Gabriel’’, situated in the north of the island, are the most beautiful and quiet beaches of the island. Southwest, ‘’Terre des Sept Couleurs de Chamarel’’ is a magical place. The colors of the dunes are varying from fawn, orange and ocher. So, when will your next flight for Mauritius be?
Gourmet specialties in Mauritius
Ruby snapper, flame snapper, giant trevally, and frigate tuna compose the most popular dishes. Fish is eaten grilled or vindaye which is garnish from western India made of oil, mustard, ginger, garlic, onion, green peppers and vinegar. King of local crustaceans, the camaron (shrimp) is renowned for its very fine flesh. The palm hearts salad is just excellent. Indian curry accompanies meats: mutton, chicken, beef, pork, wild boar or deer, not to mention other riskier culinary experiences, such as the monkey!