MAURITIUS

This island had for a long time remained unknown and uninhabited. It was probably visited by Arab sailors during the Middle Ages. It is shown on old maps from the 1500s, with an Arabic name `Dina Arobi'.

It is believed a Portuguese sailor Domingo Fernandez Pereira was the first European to land on the island at around 1511. The island appears with a Portuguese name `Cirne' on early Portuguese maps, probably because of the presence of the Dodo, a flightless bird which was found in great numbers at that time. Another Portuguese sailor, Don Pedro Mascarenhas, gave the name Mascarenes to the group of islands now known as Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion. The Portuguese did not stay long as they were not interested in these islands.

DUTCH PERIOD (1598-1710)

In 1598, a Dutch squadron, under the orders of Admiral Wybrand Van Warwyck, landed at Grand Port and named the island "Mauritius", in honour of Prince Maurice Van Nassau, "Stathouder" of Holland (National Leader). However, it was not until 1638 that there was a first attempt of a Dutch settlement. It was from here that the famous Dutch navigator Tasman set out to discover the western part of Australia. The first Dutch settlement lasted only twenty years. They are remembered for the introduction of sugar cane and the Java deer before leaving in 1710 where they had found in the mean time a far better settling place: The Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. About five years later, in 1715, the French occupied the island, renaming it "Isle de France".

FRENCH SETTLEMENT (1715-1810)

Abandoned by the Dutch, the island became a French colony when, in September 1715, Guillaume Dufresne D'Arsel landed and took possession of this precious port of call on the route to India. He named the island "Isle de France", but it was only in 1721 that the French started their occupation. However, it was only as from 1735, with the arrival of the most illustrious of French governor, Mahé de La Bourdonnais, that the "Isle de France" started developing effectively.

Mahé de La Bourdonnais established Port Louis as a naval base and a ship building centre. Under his governorship, numerous buildings were built, a number of which are still standing today, part of Government House, the Chateau de Mon Plaisir at Pamplemousses, the Line Barracks.

The island was under the administration of the French East India Company which maintained its presence until 1767. From that year until 1810, the island was in charge of officials appointed by the French Government, except for a brief period during the French Revolution, when the inhabitants set up a government virtually independent of France. During the Napoleonic wars, the "Isle de France" had become a base from which French corsairs organised successful raids on British commercial ships. 

BRITISH SETTLEMENT (1810-1968)

The raids continued until 1810 when a strong British expedition was sent to capture the island. A preliminary attack was foiled at Grand Port in August 1810, but the main attack launched in December of the same year from Rodrigues, which had been captured a year earlier, was successful. The British landed in large numbers in the north of the island and rapidly overpowered the French, who capitulated. By the Treaty of Paris in 1814, the "Isle de France" which regained its former name `Mauritius' was ceded definitely to Great Britain, together with its dependencies which included Rodrigues and the Seychelles. In the act of capitulation, the British guaranteed that they would respect the language, the customs, the laws and the traditions of the inhabitants.

The British administration, which began with Robert Farquhar as governor, was followed by rapid social and economic changes. One of the most important events was the abolition of slavery in 1835. The planters received a compensation of two million pounds sterling for the loss of their slaves which had been imported from Africa and Madagascar during the French occupation.

The abolition of slavery had important repercussions on the socio-economic and demographic fields. The planters turned to India, from where they brought a large number of indentured labourers to work in the sugar cane fields. The Indian immigrants, who were of both Hindu and Muslim faith, were to change rapidly the fabric of the society. They were later joined by a small number of Chinese traders. Cultivation of sugar cane was given a boost and the island flourished, especially with the export of sugar to England. Economic progress necessitated the extension and improvement of means of communication and gradually an adequate infrastructure was created.

Rapid development of the infrastructure continued. Free primary education was given to the population so that local civil servants could be trained to run the affairs of the country.

INDEPENDENCE (1968)

Mauritius gained independence on 12 March 1968 and adopted a constitution based on the British parliamentary system. The first post independence years were difficult but after more than 15 years of planning and hard work, Mauritius achieved economic and political stability. Mauritius changed its status to that of a Republic on 12 March 1992. The Mauritian Constitution is based on the Westminister model. Political power is vested in the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. Elections are held every five years.

Mauritius is a beautiful island nation off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. The nation is comprised of Rodrigues and Mauritius island as well as the outer islands, which are all part of the Mascarene Islands. With amazing white sand beaches, stunning blue water, mountains, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and so much more packed in one country, you will not run out of things to see in Mauritius!

1. Chamarel

Rent a car and drive to Chamarel. Driving uphill will reward you with an amazing view! Have a lunch at Chamarel restaurant and enjoy the food and the scenery. Once you are in Chamarel you have plenty of options to go to. 

Seven Colored Earth in Chamarel has some amazing coloured soils that you will not want to miss. It showcases an undulating landscape of the various and contrasting shades of coluor. There are blues, greens, reds and yellows that are thought to be the result of the erosion of the volcanic ash.

If you are interested in nature you can visit the beautiful Chamarel waterfall that rise up from the moors and showcase an abundance of the native plant life. After spending the afternoon sightseeing in this area, you will want to stop in Chamarel Village and partake of the local cuisine while watching the sun set over Le Morne and the southern part of the island over the Indian Ocean. 

 If you want some entertainment you can visit the curious Corner of Chamarel and if you like rum you can visit the Rhumerie of Chamarel.

2. Black River Gorges

Nature lovers will enjoy the incredible views of the Black River Gorges, the largest national park in Mauritius. Covering an area of 6754 hectares, the park is home to numerous endemic flora and fauna and provides visitors with beautiful hikes, with varying levels of difficulty. During your drive through the park and Plaine des Champagnes, you will also get to stop and admire Alexandra falls. You will find thick forest covering the hills of the national park. There is also an impressive viewpoint of Black River Gorges. You will find the viewpoint not in the park but on the way from Chamarel to Grand Bassin, the sacred place for Hindus, which is also worth visiting once you are there.

The forest has become a protected area as there are over 300 species of flowering plants and this the place to protect the endangered bird species. There are more animals to find than birds. Thousands of bats made this forest their home and you can also find monkeys, deer and wild pigs here. When having a walk around you will find out there are many rivers in Black River Gorges. There are more entrances to the park. In Tamarin you have the Black River entrance and entrance Case Noyale. From the south you have the Plaine Wilhems and Chamouny entrance.

3. The 7 Cascades

This valley is a nature wonder, a place that will convince you that Mauritius is beautiful. The 7 cascades or Tamarind falls lie beneath each other and it is possible to hike or abseil down from one to another. The valley of the 7 cascades is located near the Black River Gorges national park.

4. Ile aux benitiers

Do you want to have the real Robinson Crusoe feeling? Then hop on that speed boat from Flic an Flac and have a BBQ at Ile aux Benitiers including beer, wine and rum! On your way to the island you can spot dolphins and swim with them! Benitiers island is still a very pure island. The bbq will be prepared on a metal ton and stumps will be your chairs to sit on.

Price tour: about 1.200 MUR per person

Flic en Flac is another must on your list of what to do in Mauritius. Located on the west coast of the island, it has some of the magnificent beaches Mauritius is famous for. Hotels are within a short walking distance to the beach and offer all of the amenities needed to make it a place you will want to spend days relaxing at. Enjoy a relaxing spa, sip on one of the famous local ice cold Phoenix beer or Green Island rum at one of the outside bars after playing in the ocean all day!

5. Ile aux Gabriel

Up in the north at Grand Baie you can hop on a catamaran and go to Ile aux Gabriel, a bounty island with calm water to relax in. Go on a catamaran day tour including free drinks and a bbq on the catamaran and enjoy the day. You can arrange the catamaran at the tourist offices.

The tour should cost around 1.000 MUR per person excluding transfer to the port of Grand Baie.

6. Ile aux cerfs

If you thought it would be over with beautiful beaches and islands you are wrong. Ile aux Cerfs, located in the east, is another island which should be on your Mauritius bucket list. Arrange a catamaran or speedboat tour including bbq and drinks to Ile aux cerfs, have a stop on your way to the island at a waterfall and relax once you are on the island. If you want to do something active you can go para sailing at Ile aux Cerfs.

A catamaran or speedboat tour to Ile aux Cerfs including para sailing costs around 1.200 MUR per person.

7. The south coastline and le Morne

It can be said that this road is one of the most beautiful ones to drive in Mauritius. Starting from Black River to Souillac (or the other way round), you will drive the south coast. Combine this trip with the Rochester Falls to make it even more special! Also have a stop at le Morne, because the beaches here are amazing and fun for kite surfing! Make sure that your way back home is a bit before sunset, so you can make a sunset south coast tour. Both the Rochester Falls and le Morne are free to visit.

8. The east coastline and Blue Bay

The south coast is beautiful, but the east coastline should also be on your bucket list! Starting from village ‘Quatre Soeurs’ with end point ‘Blue Bay’ you will find out you need your camera all the time. The east coastline is more pure and attracts less tourists than the south and that is exactly what makes it so special. On your way go and have a lunch at La case du Pêcheur in Bambous Virieux. This restaurant and B&B is located at a very rustic place with beautiful views! Drive further to Blue Bay and also have a look at the beaches at Pointe d’Esny. They are beautiful! The costs for this day are renting a car and paying for the fuel. Besides that it is all up to you.

9. Le Souffleur

The hidden treasure of Mauritius. At le Souffleur you will not find beaches, but cliffs. The sea is rough and the waves will crash against the cliff which creates an amazing fountain! Le Souffleur is hidden between Blue Bay and Souillac in the south and the way to get there is not easy. There is no paved road to get to this place and a 4WD is recommended. Navigate to village L’Escalier and from here there is a road which leads to le Souffleur. From there is a road which leads to Le Souffleur.

10. Port Louis

Port Louis is the capital and there are so many different things going on here that you could spend more than one day and not cover it all. For ideas on what to do in Mauritius, head on down to the picturesque central market or bazaar. This is where you can find locally grown vegetables, exotic foods, local products and spices, arts, crafts and souvenirs. 

The Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis is a meeting place for locals and lovers alike. It also has a great shopping center. There you can also enjoy street entertainers, a wide array of food options and many unique shops. There are many historical buildings to visit on the waterfrom, including the Blue Penny Museum, The Stamp Museum, and the Mauritius Natural History Museum. The Blue Penny Museum has many rare stamps, including the blue penny and penny orange stamps from 1847 which are among the rarest stamps in the world.

11.Try deep sea fishing

Deep sea fishing is one of the more famous things to do in Mauritius. There are many species of huge fishes in the surrounding sea, including blue and black marlin, yellow tuna, different varieties of barracuda and sharks, and so many more. Most all of the hotels will have fishing boats to hire for an experience of a lifetime! Join an all-day fishing excursion for the ultimate Mauritus sightseeing experience. 

12. Head to Grand Bay

For a fun-filled night out, the locals know what to do in Mauritius – they head to Grand Bay! There you will find great restaurants, bars and discos as well as more opportunities for shopping. The La Cuvette beach is a great place to relax and enjoy your visit. This is a real tourist mecca, and you will find some wonderful Mauritius attractions here.

13. Dive in Blue Bay Marine Park

Blue Bay is probably the most popular places to see in Mauritius for tourists. With its magnificent beaches and crystal clear waters, it is certainly the place where you will want to spend a lot of time. The Blue Bay Marine Park is located on the southeast part of the Mauritius island, and is near the airport and several hotels, which are within walking distance making it very convenient. It is an amazing place where you can scuba dive, snorkel, surf, sail or enjoy any water sport you desire, or spend the day sunbathing with a tropical drink in your hand.

There are over 50 different species of corals, some of them very rare, in a unique network of reefs that break the oceans waves to protect the bay. There are also many fish species in the shallower water that will make any snorkelling or diving a fantastic experience.

 

 

Chamarel waterfall

The 7 Cascades

Ile aux benitiers

Ile aux Gabriel

Ile aux cerfs

The south coastline and le Morne

Blue Bay

Le Souffleur

Port Louis

Grand Bay

Chamarel waterfall

Seven Colored Earth in Chamarel

Seven Colored Earth in Chamarel

Rhumerie of Chamarel

Chamarel waterfall

le Morne

Bel Ombre