Like a rich emerald, swathed in the translucent turquoise silk of the southwest Indian Ocean Mauritius is a small island, only 67km in length and 46km at its widest point.
The warm climate and the blue green sea gently lapping the sandy shores within the protective belt of the coral reef make for a tropical paradise with equally warm people whose friendship is legendary.
Nothing is too much trouble for the hospitable islanders, whose roots reach back in history to India, Madagascar, East Africa, China, France and England. With the rich mix of culture and a population of just over a million people, mauritians have realized that the only viable option on this small island is peaceful coexistence.
I need to count it up, but over the last 15 years I have visited Mauritius 17 or 18 times, sometimes as a tour operator and many times as a tourist. The place has a unique charm that has always made me go back and not want to leave, and it only takes 4 hours to get there.
Mauritius – c’est un plaisir
The season can be divided broadly into a hot, wet season, lasting December to April and a pleasantly cool, dry season from May to November, making Mauritius a year round destination.
Maximum summer coastal temperature average 33 degrees Celsius and winter averages 24 degrees Celsius. The coolest months are July, August and September but even then the sea water is warm and most enjoyable, with a temperature of not less than 20 degrees Celsius.
The monetary unit is the mauritian rupee (Rs) which is divided into cents.
All the usual credit cards are taken at restaurants, shops, hotels etc, carry a small amount of rupee for cool drinks, bus rides and really small retailers that don’t have credit cards facilities.
Banks are open the normal banking hours and ATM’s are available over the island but not as widespread as in South Africa. When you arrive at the airport you can draw some rupees for the first few days then sort out where your local ATM is. No need to convert SA Rands into Dollars or Euro’s.
Mauritius time is GMT plus four hours or SA time plus two.
Power supply throughout the island is 220 volts, using the three pin British type plug or the two pin European plug. If you don’t already have one, buy a SA/UK converter at the airport.
English is the official language but French and Creole are the languages in everyday life.
You could literally come in your swimming costume and buy the rest there. It’s not Sandton City where everything is at your fingertips but you can get just about everything you have in SA but you might have to work a bit harder to find it.
The cell phone network is well developed so bring along your mobile phone, if you can’t leave it behind. Internet connection is widely available, most good restaurants, bars and hotels have wi-fi just ask them for the code.
Well, I think thats enough for now. I have a comprehensive list of travel tips and depending on where you decide to stay and what sort of accommodation you choose, I will assist you specifically with advice.
The North Coast
With glorious weather, a string of beautiful sandy beaches and still, clear lagoons as its prize assets and the watersport playground of Grand Baie as its focus, the northern coast is the part of Mauritius most dedicated to the need of the holiday maker.
Facilities are tourist friendly, several top hotels have been built at or near Grand Baie and restaurants and bars cater to a range of tastes. The north eastern coast remains relatively quiet by contrast, it depends what you are looking for.
The West Coast
Mountains dominate the view inland from the coast of the black river district, providing a striking picturesque backdrop for the fishing villages and the savannah clad deer reserves in the South and the cane fields further North.
There is a lot to do on the coast, which has a fair concentration of resort hotels devoted to water sports. Big game fishing and diving are popular past times for holiday makers here.
The areas of Tamarin and Flic en Flac have well developed tourist friendly facilities such as supermarkets, restaurants and bars.
The South Coast
Considered by some to be the most beautiful region, the coastline and interior are certainly rugged and dramatic. The undeveloped area is said to be reminiscent of what the island used to look like before the tourist trade took off.
There are several gaps in the reef along the South coast, and from Souillac to just past Le Souffleur, the reef and the calm lagoons commonly found on the other coastlines are absent. There are fewer safe bathing beaches, but the sight of powerful waves close by makes for a refreshing change, while onshore winds cool the heat of the summer.
The East Coast
Lovely beaches line the East coast and the Bambous mountains dominate views inland from Grand Port Bay, where the land ascends steeply from the coastline. Further North, the land rises behind sugar cane fields.
The eastern coastline gets the brunt of the wind, with onshore southeast winds blowing all year round, gentler summer breezes provide welcome relief from the heat and stronger winter winds are appreciated by those who enjoy kite surfing and