For a small nation, Mauritius overflows with scenic hikes by way of the mountains, holy pilgrimage websites, wonderful meals and historic areas that hint the island’s globe-spanning historical past.
Simply off the coast of Le Morne, on the island’s southwest, Mauritius provides a spectacular phantasm.
Sand and silt on the ocean ground run off in a method that makes it appear to be they’re pouring down a waterfall — or like the whole island is being sucked down an unlimited drain.
It is actually simply the stream of underwater currents that create the dramatic picture. The ocean water is spectacular from the shore, however to see this specific view requires a helicopter experience. Excursions are arrange only for that.
Chamarel Coloured Earth
On an uncovered hilltop inside a park, the earth takes on magical rainbow hues of purple, crimson, violet, inexperienced, blue and yellow.
The colours are most vibrant at dawn, and so they seem to shift in the course of the course of the day because the solar strikes and clouds move overhead. Close by, a slender waterfall plunges over a cliff, and the Black River Gorges Nationwide Park close by protects what stays of the island’s unique rainforest.
Down the one pedestrian avenue in Port Louis, throughout from the Municipal Theatre, lies one of many metropolis’s hidden treasures.
The Pictures Museum is the fruits of Tristan Bréville’s lifelong ardour for cameras, and his private assortment of 1 million photos documenting the historical past of Mauritius.
Solely a relative few are on show. Among the many jewels are a set of daguerreotype photos which are the primary photographs taken wherever in Africa.
Photography Museum, Rue du Vieux Conseil, Port Louis; +230 238 5737
Dhal puri on the Central Market
The Central Market in Port Louis underwent a makeover just a few years in the past, which cleaned up the constructing and left intact the colours, smells and flavors that outline Mauritian delicacies.
Market stalls overflow with chilies, dragon fruit, rose apples and towers of greens.
Towards the middle is a meals corridor the place distributors serve up contemporary juices and the definitive native avenue meals, dhal puri. It is yellow cut up peas wrapped inside a roti flat bread and served up with chili to style.
To determine one of the best, be a part of the longest line.
Central Market, Farquhar Avenue, Port Louis, Mauritius
The mountain often known as Le Pouce overlooks Port Louis. It is not the tallest peak in Mauritius, however its location subsequent to the capital makes it essentially the most iconic.
Ascending to the highest takes about an hour. On the best way down, strolling all the best way to the town heart takes two or three hours.
Close to the bottom, in Moka, is The Creole Home in Eureka. The colonial dwelling has undergone a stunning restoration, and the restaurant prides itself on serving one of the best Mauritian meals.
Eureka, La Maison Creole, Moka, Mauritius; +230 433 8477
When the volcanoes that created Mauritius died out, one of many craters stuffed with water and have become a lake often known as Grand Bassin.
It is also referred to as Ganga Talao, a reputation that hyperlinks the water symbolically to the Ganges River in India. The waters right here have taken on a equally non secular significance, with a shrine to Lord Shiva dominating the lakeside.
“Grand Bassin is a lake which is taken into account to be one of the sacred locations in Mauritius, particularly for the Hindu neighborhood,” says Sarvesh Unuth, an English trainer visiting the lake.
He says it could actually get crowded, visited by greater than half the island’s inhabitants in just a few weeks in the course of the Shivratri pageant celebrated yearly in honor of Lord Shiva.
On different days, it is a spot of tranquil reflection with a microclimate cooler than the remainder of Mauritius.
Blue Penny Museum
A museum devoted to a single stamp might not look like essentially the most riveting attraction, however the Blue Penny Museum presents an enticing overview of Mauritian historical past.
The museum facilities on two of the rarest stamps on the planet: the crimson penny and the blue penny. Each had been issued in 1847 by the British colonial authorities.
Solely 500 had been printed of every, from a single plate. The final one bought at public public sale in 2011 fetched greater than £1,000,000 in London — the best worth ever paid for a stamp.
The Blue Penny Museum showcases uncommon examples of the stamps, however just for 10 minutes at a time. The museum additionally presents art work, cash and interesting passages from Mauritian historical past as a hub for seafarers crossing the Indian Ocean.
Blue Penny Museum, Block A, Caudan Waterfront, Port Louis, Mauritius; +230 210 8176
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens
Famed for its actually gigantic water lilies, the SSR Botanical Gardens are a favourite picnic spot for Mauritians who unfold out beneath the tropical cover.
Not all of the crops have been labeled, however anybody desirous to know the tales of the flora can rent a information on the entrance.
Along with the towering palms, the gardens embody most of the crops that produced the spices that introduced Europeans battling into Asia for commerce in new flavors.
The 18th-century Church of St Francis of Assisi faces the gardens, constructed for the rich landowners of the day.
SSR Botanical Gardens, Royal Street, Pamplemousses, Mauritius; +230 243 9401
Champs de Mars Racecourse
The racecourse occupies an outsize significance in Mauritius.
The place some nations would use a a stadium or a park for grand nationwide occasions, Mauritius makes use of its racecourse. Established in 1812, that is the place the nation declared independence from Britain in 1968.
However it stays in use for horse races from roughly April by way of November, when the climate is cooler and crowds pack into the grounds to put bets on the weekend.
Within the stands, excessive society mingles of their most interesting garments, however the grounds are typically free and open to everybody.
The Mauritius Turf Club, Champ de Mars, Port Louis, Mauritius; +230 212 2212
This grand plantation dwelling was painstakingly restored in 2006 and remodeled right into a museum to seize the lifestyle of the nice Mauritian landowners.
The Château de Labourdonnais runs (obligatory) excursions of the house, but additionally provides scrumptious meals at its restaurant and a store stuffed with natural merchandise constituted of fruits grown within the orchards. The distillery produces rum from sugar cane grown on the property.
Domaine de Labourdonnais, Mapou, Mauritius; +230 266 9533
La Place d’Armes
The primary esplanade by way of Port Louis instructions consideration, lined with royal palms and outdated cannons that run from the revitalized port to the French-colonial Authorities Home, the oldest constructing in Mauritius.
It typically feels hotter right here than wherever else on the island, however within the morning, the boulevard makes a pleasant stroll and central level for exploring the colonial buildings on different streets like Rue St. Georges, the place the structure is wonderful — whether or not light or restored.
The mountain at Le Morne solely opened to the general public final yr, permitting guests to discover the location of one of many world’s most important communities of escaped slaves.
Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund‘s workplaces are within the close by village of Le Morne, the place guests can meet with guides who clarify the importance of the mountain.
With cliffs on three sides, the mountaintop supplied an simply defensible website for maroons, because the escapees had been recognized, who recreated traditions of mainland Africa and gave start to a brand new type of music, sega.
Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund, Royal Street, Le Morne Village, Mauritius; +230 451 5759
Almost 500,000 indentured staff had been introduced from India to Mauritius between 1834 and 1920, not solely to work on the native plantations, however to be despatched all through the British colonies.
When the buildings at Aapravasi Ghat first started processing new arrivals from India, the system was meant to point out the prevalence of “free” laborers after the abolition of slavery.
The depot at Port Louis was step one in what turned a world system of migration. The buildings are finest skilled with a information, obtainable without cost, who may give a greater perception into the experiences of the folks whose lives had been modified right here.
Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site, Beekrumsing Ramlallah Interpretation Centre, Quay Avenue, Port Louis, Mauritius; +230 217 7770