The thought of an extended exhale – away from civilisation – on a white beach with a colourful umbrella-decked drink in hand, is what draws most people to an island holiday… Yet, immediately after the initial rest is fulfilled – most of us want more.
Thankfully, all islands are not equal. Some, like Mauritius, offer the slice of paradise, with more on offer than the pictured sun lounger.
Beyond the beach
Named the Leading Adventure Destination in the Indian Ocean Islands at the World Travel Awards for the third year running, this island offers a destination that awakens your heart with possibility from the moment you book – and a new discovery beyond each bend.
When it comes to fun for the whole family, Mauritius has it all. From museums that tell its intriguing historical back-story, and parks and reserves like the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens at Pamplemousses with soulful giant tortoises and water lilies, to a playscape on land and sea – including time-honoured big game deep-sea fishing and golf, and top of the trends flying trapeze, stand-up paddle boarding and underwater excursions.
While the daydream of a lazy sun soaked swim is sure to get you on the plane, it’s the bustling array of activities that realise more than just memories, and will fill your #throwbacks until you return.
A foodcation journey
It’s widely accepted that the plates of a nation are some of the most immersive ways to truly experience local culture. And few can hold a fork next to the flavoursome blends of colours and spices simmered into each authentic Mauritian mouthful.
But more than rustic fare and a selection of tropical fruit, local chefs are trained to create true Mauritian gastronomy that are sure to tickle the most discerning tastebuds. Fan favourites include chilli fritters known as Gateaux piments, various local curries and seafood, and Mauritian flatbreads including roti chaud, dholl puri and fratata, expertly paired with coconut chutney and a spot of black tea.
In addition, Mauritian rum has made a name for itself globally – it is home to at least 10 distilleries that have benefited from centuries of know-how to obtain the best vintages. Beyond visiting these celebrated craft-makers, Club Med’s La Plantation d’Albion – that is part of its exclusive collection – offers a connoisseur-curated Rum Road where guests are invited to taste these and other vintage rums in a setting to match.
Natural discovery that is second to none
Thanks to its volcanic origin, Mauritius is home to a diverse flora and fauna, not usually found in such a small area. Its unique terrain, including rich coral reefs and dramatic mountain ranges, offer vibrant vistas for every traveller – from avid explorers, hikers and birding enthusiasts to those that seek out beautiful secluded, preserved coves (enhanced by black lava rocks), for a moment of solace.
It is also home to the natural monument located at the southwestern end of the island that symbolizes the resistance to slavery, Le Morne Village, one of two local UNESCO World Heritage Sites. At the base of the Le Morne mountain lies the International Slave Route Monument, which consists of 10 sculptures made by artists from Mauritius, Reunion Island, Madagascar, Mozambique, China, India and Malaysia.
Beyond its cultural significance, and natural beauty, its all-year-round tropical climate, is just the cherry on top of a breath-taking paradise.
Mauritius offers warm hospitality to match the weather
Friendly, positive, enthusiasm, passion and attentiveness are just some of the recurring characteristics that past travellers call out time and again.
For South Africans, accustomed to friendly, fun-loving people at home, finding kindred spirits the world over immediately enriches the experience. And an authentically Mauritian welcome will not leave anyone wanting. It will be as warm as the air and welcoming as the cold drinks that are ready and waiting.
“The island is a natural mood booster, but the people you meet create the real magic,” says Laura Hendel, customer growth marketing manager at Club Med Southern Africa.
So let Mauritius be the view your mind goes to for solace, the setting of the best nights of your life and days that will quench your wanderlust.