Things to see and do in Mauritius
Attractions in Mauritius
Bask on beautiful beaches
It's no exaggeration to say beaches are everywhere on Mauritius. Some of our favourite spots are on the northern beaches such as Trou aux Biches, shaded by tall casuarinas trees. Mont Choisy, a 2km (1.2 mile) stretch of white sand curves north from here, while between Grand Baie and Cap Malheureux lies the small cove of Péreybère.
Explore the marvellous Moka Range
Tour the Moka Range by quad bike, horse or a 4-wheel drive. For spectacular 360-degree views of Port Louis make the easy two-hour climb of Le Pouce, Mauritius' third highest mountain, which reaches a height of 812m (2,664ft). The village of La Laura is the best place to start the hike.
Follow the pilgrimage route to Grand Bassin
Grand Bassin's pilgrimage route leads pilgrims to a natural crater lake and sacred Hindu site on the Plaine Champagne. A towering statue of Shiva 33m (108ft) high heralds the entrance to the colourfully-decorated temples, busy with people and heavy with the scent of burning incense come festival time.
Get your adrenaline fix on Grand Baie
A seaside village with a beautiful beach and emerald waters, Grand Baie has become the centre of the island's watersports industry, with parasailing, underwater walks, submarine excursions and semi-submersible scooters all available. At La Cuvette, a long silky beach with clear water between Grand Baie and Cap Malheureux, sailors, windsurfers and waterskiers are welcomed.
Hike in Black River Gorges National Park
Black River Gorges National Park, a 6,800-hectare (17,000 acre) forest, provides a habitat for indigenous plants, birds and wildlife. It's also home to Little Black River Peak, Mauritius' highest mountain, which reaches for the sky at 830m (2,700ft). Hike to the summit or take the Maccabee Trail, which slopes down to the leafy banks of the Black River.
Learn to dive in pristine waters
Diving centres exist all along Mauritius' coast, to the west around Flic-en-Flac, in the north at Trou aux Biches, and on the Northern Islands to name just a handful of locations. The good underwater visibility, warm seas, and bountiful sea life make this one of the world's top diving destinations.
Let your imagination run riot at Le Souffleur
Unusually for reef-protected Mauritius, the full force of the ocean strikes its southern coast, leading to otherworldly rock formations. A cave in cliffs around Souillac at Le Souffleur helps funnel waves into a geyser 20m (65ft) high. A natural rock bridge exists at Pont Naturel, and at the clifftops of Gris Gris sits a rock shaped like a witch.
Peer through you binoculars on Ile aux Aigrettes
This Ile aux Aigrettes nature reserve lies off the coast of Mauritius and is home to several species that you will struggle to find anywhere else in the world, including the pink pigeon, giant Aldabra tortoises and Telfair's skink. 90 minute visits to the island leave daily from near Mahébourg.
Photograph the coloured earth of Chamarel
An extraordinary natural phenomenon, the famous coloured earths of Chamarel are believed to have been formed by various rock strata cooling at different speeds following volcanic activity here millions of years ago. They're certainly a beautiful sight, and the picture-perfect waterfall nearby is another reason to make the trip.
Relax on Rodrigues Island
Tiny, rugged, volcanic Rodrigues Island lies 560km (350 miles) east of Mauritius and is known as the 'anti-stress' island. Its capital, Port Mathurin, is only seven streets wide, with a friendly Creole population. Rodrigues offers walking, diving, kitesurfing, deep sea fishing and fabulously empty white sand beaches.
Set sail for the Northern Islands
Take a speedboat from Trou d'eau Douce to the popular island playground of Ile aux Cerfs for clean solitary beaches, golf and watersports. For a quieter day, take a catamaran through the crystal clear lagoons to the Northern Islands – Gabriel and Flat Island and Gunner's Quoin.
Spend the day at The Crocodile Park
The family friendly, La Vanille Réserve des Mascareignes nature park is commonly referred to as The Crocodile Park, for its thousands of Nile crocodiles. It is the only place worldwide to breed Radiata and Aldabra giant tortoises and also has deer, monkeys, boar, an insectarium, aquarium and small museum.
Stroll around Pamplemousses Garden
Pamplemousses Botanical Garden is the third oldest botanical gardens in the world and oldest in the southern hemisphere, having been created in 1770. Its international collection of plants includes a long pond of giant Amazon lilies and the talipot palm, which flowers once every 60 years, then dies.
Take a walking tour of Port Louis
A walk around the capital, Port Louis, offers the chance of encountering interesting attractions inside and out. It's worth exploring the fine colonial architecture of buildings such as Government House, which sits atop the palm-lined Place d'Armes, before popping into the Blue Penny Museum to gaze at one of the world's rarest stamps, or gawk at dodo skeletons in the Natural History Museum.
Take to the water at Blue Bay
Swim, snorkel or take a glass-bottomed boat out to see the fish and more than 50 species of coral in Blue Bay, Mauritius' only marine park. Better still, take a luxury excursion to the private island, Iles des Deux Cocos, just off the coast to explore the park from there.
Tour Mahébourg’s colonial past
The most characterful town on the island, Mahébourg, has a lively market, slowly mouldering colonial buildings and stalls on the new waterfront offering spicy gajaks (snacks) and a view across the bay of Grand Port, the site of the 1810 naval skirmish between the British and victorious French, and Lion Mountain.
Visit Mauritius Aquarium
Mauritius Aquarium, in the island's northwest in the village of Pointe Aux Piments, provides artificial habitats for 200 species of fish, invertebrates, coral and sponges originating from the waters around the island in five main buildings surrounded by tropical gardens. It also has a touch pool for children.
Wander around the National History Museum in Mahébourg
The colonial mansion now containing the National History Museum in Mahébourg contains a number of important island artefacts including the bell from the San Géran shipwreck that inspired Mauritius' most famous romantic legend, Paul et Virginie. There are also rooms dedicated to the Dutch, French and British periods of colonial rule.
Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority in the UKAddress: Kensington, 32 Elvaston Place, London, SW7 5NW
Telephone: (020) 7584 3666.