Exploring north, south, east and west or becoming creolized
Red for the Flame Tree, Blue for the ocean, Yellow for the Sun and Green for the nature = the national flag of Mauritius
Mauritius – An african country and island situated plenty of kilometers far away in the Indian ocean. Also a perfect place to slow down from the first world pace and let you drift around.
Not the first part in an All Inclusive hotel which offered relaxation, surprisingly good food and nice design for the first couple of days as well as the second part of the trip with a rented car and staying at self-catering apartments.
After some research we decided to give the southern part of the island and try. We stayed in La Gaulette – the surfers area – in an eco-friendly Airbnb rented apartment with the view from the rooftop to the Le Morne Brabant. Perfect situation to explore the southern area as well as the Black River National Park.
Distances are short but sometimes it takes awhile to go from A to B because of the traffic and the small streets. Small local villages, Sugar cane farms, ocean road and endless green are significant for this part of the island. Few resorts remind that this is a tourist destination but here you just see a few of them.
The place is ideal for a boat trip early in the morning to see the wild dolphins not far from Tamarin bay as well as continue the day with an excursion to the entrance Black River NP.
This green area with the mountains accommodates different beautiful waterfalls, the gorge, hiking trails and trees and birds to explore. Long beaches like the famous beach town Flic en Flac invites for beach walks as well as good people watching.
A day trip to Port Louis is possible from every part on the island but we need to bring patience. The traffic is heavy and a bit chaotic – at least if you are not used to drive on the left side of the road. We parked at the waterfront mall and from there it is just a short stroll to the market.
We were not sure if the 23rd of December was the reason or if the market is crowded like hell every day. Bring some time and nerves to explore it. You can buy everything starting from food, clothes, cheap sunglasses and designer ware (obviously fake). It does not mean the quality is bad because Mauritius produces for some popular fashion labels.
To continues traveling around the island going to the north is a possibility but a very touristy one we figured out very soon. The villages and towns are prepared with hotels, bars and restaurant offering worldwide cuisine. The prices are still reasonable but higher than in the south.
We found very crowded beaches but the plus side was the amount of locals at the beach. The famous church Notre Dame in Cap Malheureux is worth a short stop as well as the botanical garden in Pamplemousse – in the north of Port Louis – with the huge water lilies and roses.
The eastern part is also less crowded than the north and less attractive for many people because of the tights and the stronger winds. This makes the area more interesting and a trip to Ile aux Cerf – an island on the east coast of Mauritius – is a must.
First impression shocked and explained us some reviews but if you continue walking away from the landing-place you will find less crowded beaches with palm trees, black stones and turquoise water.
While exploring the island it did not take us very long to realize that the people are exceptional friendly and helpful wherever we were and whatever our problem or question was. They always are interested in making us feel like home and were not to proud to say sorry if something like preparing the food took a bit longer.
A german teacher we met – she worked some weeks on a school on La Reunion – called the mentality and spirit “being creolized” and that is what we latest became after one week. Also with the creole cuisine which we tried to eat as often as we could because the african, indian, Sri Lankan influences and spices makes the dishes very delicious.
As a conclusion I can say this island offers plenty of affordable options to spend holidays and is worth a try for people who enjoy laying at the beach, the summer, sun and sunshine as well as beautiful nature, good food and the local people.
What to see
Black river National Park – a green and hilly National Park with beautiful waterfalls, rare bird species and different trails invited to a hike
Port Louis Market – a colonial style market building housing a fruit/vegetable, souvenir market and a food court surrounded by a very crowded street market
Ile aux Cerf – a very popular island in the east of Mauritius which becomes less touristy as far as you walk away from the jetty.
Underwater world – plenty of tour operator offer snorkeling, diving, boat trips to see the underwater world
Beaches – more (north and west) or less (south and east) also by the locals crowded white beaches exist everywhere around the island
Where to stay
Accommodations from high end All-In till reasonable Airbnbs you will find everywhere on the island. If you choose self-catering apartments like us you can get simple and clean places like Beautique Studios in La Gaulette starting from 35 EUR per night. Prices depends on the area. North and north-west are the tourist and more expensive areas. In the south and the east you also find luxury resorts as well as apartments but less than in the other parts of the island which can makes it more interesting to get a better idea of the local life.
Where to eat
The typical home-made creole food we got mostly in the less touristy area like in La Gaulette. The restaurants “Chez Meileez” and “Frizzy” showed us how tasteful the creole cuisine is. They cooked every meal freshly what took for Europeans a very long time to wait but was worth to. Also the market in Port Louis had a food area where we found simple, cheap but nice food.
supermarkets have a good choice of everything and are in the most small towns and fruit/vegetable stalls are at every street as well as food stalls at every public beach.
How to get around
Renting a car is the easiest way to move around. It is possible to do this with the international as well as the small local rental companies which offers good prices like we paid (1000rupees=25EUR per day) at activewaves.com. The gas price is low (1,02EUR per liter) comparing to Europe and parking is for free everywhere.
Another possibility is using the public transport. Buses are going everywhere but mostly the last one is during the sunset time.
When we went to Ile aux Cerf we had the idea to take the public ferry but they had an interesting price model which is negotiable and brought us to the conclusion that it is a better deal to take an offer which is 500 Rupees or less at Trou D’Eau Douce.
How to get to
Lufthansa and Condor offers flights from Frankfurt. More connections from Europe also offer Air France, Corsair, Emirates, Turkish and Austrian Airlines.