With Air Mauritius recently starting a direct service to Singapore and Lufthansa’s Eurowings due to start flying a route from Cologne, Germany in May, the island, once the preserve of luxury honeymooners, looks set to become a more accessible escapade. Here’s a look at some of the most stunning sights that await travellers in Mauritius.
Île aux Bénitiers
The jagged rocky formation that sits alongside this small island looks like a giant clam shell — or bénitier — which is how the island got its name. It can be easily reached from the west coast of Mauritius. Visitors can stroll along its beach and admire the clear blue waters that surround it. Fishermen will take visitors to Bénitiers Island from the village of La Gaulette.
The Chamarel Plain
Also known as the Seven Coloured Earths, budding photographers will be keen to capture the array of shades that tint the earth around this geological formation in hues of brown, yellow, red and purple. Volcanic ash containing minerals of different colours is thought to give rise to this natural rainbow effect. The Chamarel Plain is situated in the southwest of the island, not far from Le Morne peninsula. Chamarel Falls is another must-see in the area, where water cascades from a height of 100 metres. Visitors can also tour the local rum distillery.
Lovers often end the day at Tamarin Beach, on the west coast of the island, taking in what’s thought to be the island’s most beautiful sunset. Visitors can start the day with a trip to the nearby salt pans, to watch salt being harvested. Almost 1,500 tonnes are collected each year. This unusual site stands in contrast with the usual picture-postcard views of Mauritius and its white sandy beaches. The area is great for watersports too, as Tamarin Bay is a popular location for surfing and stand-up paddleboarding.
Île aux Cerfs
This island, off the east coast of Mauritius, can be easily visited by water taxi from the Trou d’Eau Douce lagoon. The île aux Cerfs — or Deer Island — offers postcard-perfect scenery of white sandbanks and turquoise waters. Although it remains uninhabited, the island is a popular spot for tourist excursions and has plenty of facilities. Visitors can sample local cuisine in the island’s restaurants, or try out activities like golf or parasailing.
Blue Bay Beach
Visitors also come to Mauritius to discover its underwater marine life. While the destination doesn’t offer as many options for walkers and hikers as the nearby island of La Réunion, it has nothing to envy of its neighbor when it comes to snorkeling. The clear waters of Blue Bay Beach offer the best views for divers and snorkelers. The underwater scenery can even be admired without getting wet with a trip on a glass-bottomed boat.
The Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
Officially known as the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, this is another place where visitors come to take postcard-worthy snaps of Mauritius. The garden was first built by the island’s former Intendent, Pierre Poivre, and is famous for its giant water lilies, which float serenely on a pool of water. The garden is home to plant species from all corners of the earth, including a palm tree that’s in the process of dying after having only flowered once. Don’t miss the mighty baobab tree at the entrance.
Île Plate and Îlot Gabriel
A catamaran cruise is a great way to explore the northern waters of Mauritius. Most trips run to Île Plate — or Flat Island — with a stop at Îlot Gabriel — or Gabriel Island — along the way. Several companies run trips to these Mauritius nature reserves. It’s a great way to spend a day lazing around and relaxing, while also snapping pictures of the beautiful turquoise sea.