When Mark Twain visited Mauritius in 1895 he wrote in his travel diary “one has the impression that Mauritius was created first and then paradise, and that paradise was copied from Mauritius”. Even today these words describe well the wonder with which this island nestled in the Indian Ocean shows itself to travelers arriving every year from all over the world.
The Republic of Mauritius has been known since the 10th century when the island was first colonized by the Arabs, then by the Malaysians, abandoned for almost 500 years until the arrival of the Dutch in 1500. From that moment the island passed into Portuguese, French and English hands and finally gained independence in 1968 becoming – together with the smaller Rodrigues and Agalega islands – one of the most stable and secure democratic states in Africa. Today it is one of the most popular destinations for seaside and nature tourism in southern Africa because of its beautiful beaches, beautiful coral reefs, and natural environment of rare beauty.
Here are the best things to do and see in Mauritius :
1. Port Louis
In this guide, we will discover the main attractions of the largest of the islands of Mauritius on an adventure in this corner of paradise off the coast of Africa. Port Louis, the state capital, is a city of 150,000 inhabitants located in the northwest of the island and home to the main political and economic institutions of Mauritius. It is often visited less carefully by tourists, who are more interested in the island’s beaches; this colonial city hides many attractions not to be missed.
2. Fort Adelaide
In the city, you can visit the elegant buildings of Place des Armes. where you will find the Government Palace and the elegant municipal theatre, built in the mid-eighteenth century, the great fortress of Fort Adelaide, the nineteenth-century fortress guarding the port that from its height dominates the entire surrounding area and is now the venue for exhibitions and concerts. The picturesque central market stands out, where you can find all the typical products and buy all kinds of souvenirs. One of the places not to miss in Port Louis is the Aapravasi Ghat, the museum that tells the story of the Indian immigrants who arrived on the island after being freed from slavery.
3. Canoe-kayak Mauritius
To visit the wildest and most pristine areas of the islands and appreciate Mauritius at its best you have to move to the coastal areas of the western part where the natural environment looks very similar to the African equatorial forests. This vast area is developed in a region protected from the winds that offer ideal conditions to practice a large number of sports on its beautiful beaches. Here you can find everything you need for diving, swimming, water skiing, sailing, kayaking, and canoeing.
4. Black River Gorges
One of the most spectacular destinations in Mauritius is the Black River Gorges Nature Park, a large protected area that preserves many elements of the very special ecosystem with great care for bird species, with renewed attention to endangered species to avoid a new ecological disaster like the extinction of the dodo in the past. A “sustainable” approach to welcoming travelers and an ecotourism project is developing here with the involvement of the island’s inhabitants.
5. Gris-gris beach
The southernmost part offers some of the most beautiful beaches and spectacular cliffs in the Gris-Gris area where you can find the famous “la Roche qui pleure”, the “weeping rock”, an incredible rock formation on which the ocean waves break creating a magical rain of saltwater drops. In this region, there is also the beach of Blu Bay, a bay of white sand embraced by a bright blue lagoon and framed by rolling hills, a real paradise on earth a few hundred meters from a protected coral reef where you can dive to admire the multitude of wonderful sea creatures living among the corals.
6. Grand Port District
To the north-west of the southern tip of the island lies the large bay of Porto Grande, the largest natural inlet of Mauritius; on its shores lies the beautiful town of Mahébourg, one of the urban centers that best preserves the appearance of the colonial past of the island. In Mahébourg you can visit the charming Point Canon, where once stood the defensive fortress of the port and today concerts and cultural and sporting events are organized, the moving monument dedicated to the abolition of slavery and the beautiful museum of national history, which collects a large number of exhibits that retrace the history of Mauritius and in particular the relationship with the sea and navigation.
7. Roches Noires
For those who love tropical beaches and crystal clear sea, the destination not to be missed is the long east coast of Mauritius, where long sandy beaches and lagoons of wonderful shades ranging from emerald to indigo to deep blue. The most famous destinations in this area are Roches Noires and Poste Lafayette where you can windsurf and kitesurf practically all year round thanks to the wind blowing inland and offer some of the largest free beaches in Mauritius.
8. Grand Bay
In the north of the island is Mauritius’ most famous tourist destination, Grand Bay, known worldwide for its beautiful sandy beaches, luxurious hotels, and vibrant nightlife. In Grand Bay, you will find the most important tourist facilities. Thanks to the decision to make the region a strong “eco-sustainable push” it has been possible to create a form of balance between mass tourism and respect for the natural environment. In this area of the island, there are some of the most iconic beaches, such as Mont Choisy, Troux aux Biches, Bain Boeun, and La Cuvette where you can admire in all its beauty this paradise on earth immersed in the waters of the Indian Ocean.