Mauritius has been a port of call, a trading centre and home to many peoples and cultures from the Portuguese in the 16th century, through Dutch, French, British, African, Indian and Far Asian immigrants to its present harmonious racial mix of them all.
Today, Mauritius is regarded as one of Africa’s most successful democracies and has enjoyed years of constitutional order. Its economic prosperity is firmly rooted in tourism, agriculture, industry and the financial sector, and Mauritius enjoys one of Africa's highest per-capita incomes.
Because of its diverse historical past and mix of cultures, Mauritian cuisine is superb. Fresh seafood of all kind reigns, including lobster, linefish, prawns and mussels, while there is also a fascinating variety of dishes such as Chinese dim sum, Indian dal puri and spicy curries, fresh Paris-style baguettes or local Creole dishes.
It’s the ultimate beach holiday destination with accommodation to suit all pockets and tastes from five-star hotels and upmarket resorts, to self-catering beach villas, guest houses, B&Bs and lovely campsites.
Its fabulous beaches at La Baie de Tamarin, Flic en Flac, Cap Malheureux (where the British invasion force finally defeated the French in 1810 and occupied the island), Blue Bay, Belle Mare and others are idyllic places to chill, soak up the sun and enjoy water sports of all kinds, from snorkelling, scuba diving and “undersea strolls” to kayaking, jet-skiing, motor boating, parasailing and much more. Your client can also view the marine life in a glass-bottomed boat that gives clear glimpses of the technicoloured tropical fish and colourful corals below.
But there’s lots more to see and do in Mauritius.
Le Morne Brabant, a peninsula at the south-western tip of Mauritius, is well worth a visit. The lone basaltic rock soaring 556m above sea level is one of the most imposing sights on the island. A beautiful adjacent lagoon is a visitor favourite. The peninsula is one of the last refuges of one of the rarest plants in the world, the mandrinette (Hibiscus fragilis).
Mauritius was also once home to the one of the world’s rarest birds, the flightless dodo, now the island’s national symbol, hunted into extinction by sailors in the 17th century. Your clients can see contemporary paintings of it and a few original bones in the National History Museum in Mahébourg.
The Black River Gorges National Park, one of the island’s three national parks, conserves and preserves the remains of the island’s indigenous tropical forests. The park is a spectacular expanse of dense forest covering more than 6 500ha of the island’s surface, with more than 300 endemic species of flowering plants and nine species of birds unique to Mauritius, such as the Mauritius kestrel, the pink pigeon and echo parakeet. Your client can drive, or take a bus, a guided tour or one of the hiking trails criss-crossing the park for spectacular views.
Other must-see places include the tropical Mauritius National Botanical Garden with its enormous water lily pads; the bustling Central Market in the capital city of Port Louis, where bargaining rules; and the harbour-facing Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis, an essential part of the island’s vivid cultural life – your clients can stroll round its 170 boutiques and craft market showcasing lovely local handicrafts, admire local art, feast on tasty food, enjoy family entertainment, and check out its marina that welcomes vessels from all over the world.
If your clients have time, they can visit the Sugar World Museum, colourful Hindu temples, or historical colonial mansions; or enjoy rum tasting at the Rum Shed, a spa treatment, or just slip into the island’s relaxed atmosphere.
They won’t want to leave …