Last year, we went on a family holiday to Mauritius. We were longing for the sun, beautiful beaches and an adventure and decided to visit this paradise-like island we had heard so much about. What a wonderful experience it was …. I had read a lot of articles about the island in the Indian Ocean and had seen a few tours with holiday-makers claiming that Mauritius is nothing more but a beach destination. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind spending all day every day on the beach, but it would drive my husband mad, as he needs some activities. So I was curious, and as I like to plan ahead, I did a lot of research and contacted internet users to make sure that I don’t miss any vital information. As you can probably imagine, the holidays were a tremendous success, and we have the fondest of memories of one of our favorite trips. We tried a lot of fantastic and free of charge activities, which I would like to introduce to you in this article.
The Black River Gorges National Park
Located in the South-West of the island, the biggest national park of Mauritius offers abundant, beautiful vegetation, ideal for walks and hikes among big trees and endemic plants, with spectacular views of the coast line and the islands interior. This activity is ideal for nature lovers and activity addicts alike. We especially enjoyed a refreshing bath in the river halfway through our hike. The walks through this natural paradise offer plenty of photo opportunities of the tropical flora and fauna alike. And to my surprise I had to learn that the forest with its variety of unusual species is one of the few indigenous forests in the world. Follow the bird song and with a bit of luck you will be able to spot the Mauritian kestrel or the Mauritian cardinal and find yourself eye to eye with monkeys or fruit bats.
The Rochester Falls
In the South of Mauritius, you will find the easily accessible water falls of Rochester falls. The water cascades down from a height of about 10 m into a clear, fresh water rock pool, ideal for a refreshing bath. We loved to explore the less touristy surroundings and beautiful landscapes before climbing up the rock wall to jump off the cliff into the water below. The rock is quite extraordinary, as its unusual shapes are a result of centuries of erosion on basalt rock.
To access the falls, follow the road from Souillac toward Surinam, and then take the indicated dirt road through the sugar cane fields. After about 1 km, you will be able to hear the falls. The basin is surrounded by Mauritian children who show off their acrobatic skills and add to the original flair of this spectacular attraction off the beaten track.
The high plains of Grand Bassin
Mauritius is a country of many cultures that has developed through the arrival of different peoples. Hence you will find a variety of typical cultural sites which I recommend you visit to better understand the riches of this beautiful island.
The hindu temple of Grand Bassin, Ganga Talao (which means “lake of Ganges”) is built on a natural crater lake on the high plains of the Savanne area. During the festival of Maha Shivaratri in February each year, the devotees of hindu faith go on a pilgrimage to the lake to honour the Lord Shiva. The colours of the landscape, the lavish arrangements of the offerings and the fascinating hindu culture made for an unforgettable outing.
The village of Chamarel
To change the culture, we wanted to discover a typical Creole village and returned to the South-West region of the island again, after having already visited the Black River Gorges National Park. We found amazing, picturesque landscapes. The 7 coloured earth at Chamarel is an absolute must-see, and a visit to the neighbouring village had us surrounded by laughing children, who played football in the roads. Mauritians are very friendly and welcoming, and especially adore children, so you will quickly be surrounded by curious villagers who try to engage you in a conversation. Surprisingly, a coffee plantation which we unfortunately did not have the time to explore this time can be found in this area – it will be on our to-do list for our next visit to Mauritius.
House Euréka in Moka
As Mauritius was visited by numerous colonialists, we wanted to learn more about how Mauritians lived in previous centuries. House Eureka is an impressive colonial manor house with 109 doors, opening up to a travel in time.
This list of activities is certainly not complete, there are so many more things to do and to see, such as a hike up Le Morne, one of the first historic sites in Mauritius and classified as a Unesco World Heritage site, take your masks and snorkels and discover the colourful marine flora and fauna in the lagoons around the island. Open up to this island full of surprises and make some life-long memories.
For those who are interested in visiting the island, I recommend the rental of a villa. We had found a beautiful villa in the South-West of Mauritius through the agency Oazure Villa Mauritius. The free-standing villa had a swimming pool, and right from the start, our hostess gave us great advice regarding activities and services.
So what is your favourite free of charge natural attraction in Mauritius?
Enjoy your holidays with oazure.com/en 🙂