Exciting Things To Do In Mauritius

By: Barry Crimble

If sitting on a beach all day every day isn't quite your cup of tea, but you really fancy a long haul holiday to a stunning island destination, Mauritius could be just what you are looking for. With many activities both in and out of the resorts, a luxury holiday in Mauritius can provide interest for a range of visitors.

The island itself is an independent state in the Indian Ocean, 900km east of Madagascar. The area is 1860sq km and is made up of a central plateau, gradually rising towards the South West where it reaches it's highest point at 800m.

Excursions around the island will give you an insight into the islands rich and colourful history, and where better to start than the vibrant capital, Port Louis. The harbour on the west of the island lies sheltered in a semi-circle of mountains, and the town has plenty of character, and proudly displays signs of it's historical past. There is a new waterfront development which is home to many shops. This is complimented by the old market a stone's throw away.

If designer shopping outlets is what you are looking for, then a trip to Curepipe is well worth the visit. This is the islands main urban centre, and is worth a stop if travelling through it on route to somewhere else! It's located in the centre of the island between Port Louis and the airport.

Mahebourg is a village which is worth a visit, especially if staying in the south east of the island. It's still one of the islands main fishing villages, and you are at leisure to wonder round the market stalls. If you are staying at the Shandrani, you can even hire a bicycle and cycle there!

Catamaran Trips can be arranged from most hotels and are an excellent way to see the beauty of Mauritius from the relaxing waters off the Indian Ocean. These are normally full day trips, where a bar-b-que lunch is provided of freshly caught fish, and salads. You are encouraged to snorkel from the boat, and you also have time to relax on one of the beautiful beaches of the island. Just watch out for the rum cocktails on your way back to the hotel!

Mauritius has a wealth of activities orientated around it's environment. A nature park close to Port Louis, Domaine les Pailles, covers 3000 acres at the foot of a mountain range. There are deer and rare birds in the park, and if you like a bit of adrenaline, Land Rover 'safaris' and quad biking are also available.

The island has a stunning botanical garden called Pamplemousses, it's known to naturalists throughout the world for it's large collection of indigenous and exotic palms, and the giant Victoria Amazonica water lilies. It is well worth paying for a guide to take you around the gardens as their knowledge and tit-bits of information make the visit all the more enjoyable.

A unique feature in Mauritius is Chamarel, an area of undulating land stretching in contrasting layers of colour, an patches of blue, green, red and yellow earth, all believed to be the results of weathering.

Mauritius is well known to ornithologists and the Casela Bird Park is set in the area of Black River, and stretches over 20 acres. There are more than 140 varieties of birds, from 5 continents. The main attraction is the Mauritian Pink Pigeon, one of the rarest birds in the world.

The beautiful flower of Ylang Ylang with it's fragrant yellow flowers, is grown in a plantation called Le Domaine de l'Ylang Ylang. Here the perfume is distilled over panoramic views over the bay of Vieux Grand Port, where the neighbouring islets can be seen.

Trips around the island can be booked from your hotel, with luxury holidays in Mauritius to a variety of hotels including the Shandrani can be arranged through Beachcomber Tours. For more information visit www.beachcombertours.co.uk or call 01483 445610.

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