Mauritius is a fantastic holiday destination for beach seekers and for good reason. With the climate mentioned above being temperate year round and a clear drier season, Mauritius is a great destination for those who love a bit of action and adventure as well as just kicking back and enjoying the relaxing seaside and gardens. There are literally dozens of things to see and do on the island (and surrounding islands!) such as visiting Grand Bay, a leisure mecca and shopping precinct with shops, bars, and an avid, hopping nightlife. La Cuvette beach is here and is highly suggested as being well worth a visit. Pereybere beach is the best beach for swimming with luscious water and some great facilities for shopping and dining, so is great for a day out. Balaclava Ruins which make up an area of the Maritim Hotel are worth a visit if access is possible as these foundations were initially built by Mahe de Labourdonnais for the sea walls.
There is also the Triolet Shivala which is the longest village on the island and is home to the biggest Hindu temple known as Maheswarnath which was built in 1819. Ile au Cerfs is the go to place for water sports of all kinds, and other ruins like the Dutch ruins can be found throughout the island. Add to this the unique blend of many different uniquely inspired cuisines and deliciously fresh seafood to the menus across the island and Mauritius offers up a real treat for visitors.
Depending whether you like your holidays hot and sunny or a bit cooler with more outdoor activity like hiking, Mauritius has the ideal temperatures for everyone. There are only two seasons on Mauritius – summer and winter, but both have very nice temperatures with the main difference being in the types of weather experienced and where.
The winter is warm and dry and is between May to November and the summer is usually hot, wet and fairly humid lasting from November to May. Cyclones may appear between November to April, with most of them coming around the end of December to March. If you’re looking for cooler weather head inland and away from the coast, which tends to be a good few degrees hotter than the central plateau.
That being said the best time to head to Mauritius is likely to be late November into December and April into May to optimum weather that is neither too wet nor too dry and less likelihood of cyclones ruining your holiday – but with some of the impressive resorts and other accommodation, a day or two stuck inside wouldn’t be the end of the world either, although it would put a bit of a damper on things!
Mauritius is one of the few African nations that doesn’t necessarily require a visa for a number of visitors, depending on nationality. Mauritian creole is the most commonly used language on the island but English and French are widely used as well, with English being the main language used by the government.
Taxis are widely available, but avoid unlicensed taxis which promise cheaper rates but can try to rip you off once you get in and get to your destination. Other ways to get around Mauritius include by helicopter tour, bus and rental car. Renting cars is probably the easiest way for most travellers to get around and in comfort and on their own schedule as well, allowing an even more relaxed pace to enjoy. Air Mauritius offers flights within the country, but namely to Rodrigues and Plaisance. Ships are available for not much more to other destinations like Reunion Island and Madagascar – usually through cargo or passenger vessels which can be a unique way to travel.
Holidays are a combination of freedom from slavery days in February, New Year and Christmas as well as several observances under the Hindu calendar including Diwali. Street food is incredibly popular in Mauritius and is often a cheap alternative to dining for budget travellers, and gives you an opportunity to eat on the go if exploring.
The islands had been visited by both Arab and Portuguese sailors prior to its settlement by the Dutch in 1598 and remained there until 1710, but in the relatively short time they were there caused irreparable and extensive damage to the ecosystem resulting in the extinction of some species of animal, such as the Dodo. The French settled on the island shortly thereafter in 1713 and established their main harbour on the north west side of the island, which became modern day Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius. The founder of this city was Mahe de Labourdonnais, who has a statue dedicated to him visible in the harbour. He was the governor of the city between 1735 to 1746 and helped it flourish and develop into the city it is today.
In 1810 the British came and tried to take the island from the French and in the famously fierce Battle of Grand Port the French beat the British, but they returned a few months later and took control of Mauritius in December of 1810. The British then maintained control of the island until it got its independence in 1968.
Mauritius did have a rather large slave industry but slavery on the island was abolished in 1835 and many of the African slaves moved to small coastal villages. Workers from areas around India were then brought in to help drive the booming sugar cane industry.