For many people Mauritius is one of those destinations you may have heard about but really don’t know very much if anything about, let alone where it is. So lets start with a few basic facts.
Situated in the Indian Ocean west and south of the Maldives, the next landfall west is Madagascar and then Africa. The island has a temperate climate and is quite small. With an exotic blend of African culture, French colonial influence, a visit from the British and quite a marked Indian influence, Mauritius has a richness of culture and food that will entice and enchant.
Whilst the indigenous fauna was delicious and consequently is now extinct, you can still see a taxiderm-ied dodo bird, and there are lots of souvenir options in the markets in Port Isaac the capital. The island is all about coastline, water sports, relaxation and great food. The French influence is particularly strong in the food offered in the very many resorts around the island – and the sauces are to die for.
For those with a sense of history, Matthew Flinders was imprisoned on Mauritius on his way back from charting the coastline of South Australia and Victoria where he ran into Nicholas Baudin the French explorer doing similar things. And Mauritius is home to the second oldest botanical gardens in the world, and is well worth a wander. (You will have to go to Padua to see the world’s oldest botanical garden.)
The African influence can be seen in many resorts with thatched roofs and boma style meeting areas.
A tip – the island is influenced greatly by the prevailing winds at various times of the year, so be sure to check where the best side of the island is for the time you are visiting – and enjoy the spectacular sunsets on the western side.