Mauritius: Luxury & Private Safaris
Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, sitting over a 1,000 miles off the coast of Africa. The island was formed from gigantic underwater volcanic eruptions millions of years ago and is encircled by a broken ring of mountain ranges which provides a dramatic landscape. It’s also surrounded by nearly 100 miles of white sandy beaches making it a popular beach destination. Mauritius has a colonial history of Dutch, French and then British occupation and was used primarily to grow sugar cane. Initially slaves worked in the fields, but with the abolition of slavery, workers from parts of the British Empire came ashore. This multi-cultural and multi-ethnic Creole legacy remains today, particularly prevalent in the cuisine and the rum.
Though all the beaches are public and are shared by numerous hotels and locals alike, there is plenty of space to go around and it never feels too busy. Mauritius offers the best of both worlds: a great beach destination and lots of activities within the island’s interior. Highlights include hiking the black river gorges, photographing the Chamarel Coloured Earth, exploring the capital Port Louis and beautiful Grand Bai village, and day-tripping over to the beach on Ile De Cerf island.
Logistically easy to access from South Africa, Mauritius is serviced by direct flights throughout the year. A single island destination (unlike Seychelles) it’s easy to get around by private car transfers. If you’d prefer some freedom, rent a car and you’ll find a network of well-maintained roads. Cross the entire country in a little under 90-minutes.
Secrets and tips from our experts
Eat like a local! The local Mauritian food is often even better than what you would get in the hotels, so don’t be afraid to get out and have a bit of a progressive. If you’re looking for a cultural connection, allow us to arrange a traditional curry lunch with a local host in her farmhouse. The homemade ginger rum is especially delicious.
Is Mauritius the right destination for you?
Mauritius’s wide appeal stems from the diversity if offers. Larger hotels cater families with children of all ages, while others offer a private and romantic retreat for honeymooners. Four- and five-star international resorts are in abundance alongside luxury boutique hotels. Mauritius appeals equally to those interested in quiet time on the beach or in the spa as it does to those who prefer not to sit still. If you like the idea of a slice of sunny island life, you’ll be quite happy here.
When to visit Mauritius
Mauritius enjoys a relatively mild, tropical climate year round, with occasional rainfall. The most pleasant times to visit the island are between the months of April and June and between September and December. As Mauritius is located in the southern hemisphere, the summer and winter months are opposite to seasons in Europe and the US.
How much should I budget for a trip to Mauritius?
With it’s location so remotely out in the Indian Ocean, most visitors to Mauritius stay a minimum of 4-5 nights and many spend a week or two. Overall, it’s much less costly than the Seychelles and offers a very high quality resort experience for the price. There are some nice smaller four-star boutique hotels along with the five-star resort options so we’re confident in finding a good choice for any budget.
Our favorite areas
It’s hard to go wrong, but we really like the Southern coast, as the scenery is incredibly dramatic and boasts long stretches of beach. Particularly, the area in the Southwest near the iconic Le Morne mountain and the Black River Gorges. Everything just feels a bit more secluded.
The Northern and West coasts are a bit more sheltered and have the most consistent weather and wind throughout the year. This is an excellent area if you also want easy access to more amenities and sightseeing attractions.
More exclusive and less built-up than the west coast, the East Coast features some of the island’s most luxurious hotels the softest powder-white sand, emerald lagoon, and lush green vegetation of Belle Mare. The east coast catches the Indian Ocean’s wind, so in summer (November to April) you have a cooling sea breeze but in winter (May to October), you’ll prefer swimming in the lagoon rather than the ocean.
- Grand Bai – Busy area in the north famous for its nightlife
- Port Louis – Capital city on the west coast boasts lively markets and the Aapravasi Ghat World Hertiage Site.
- Black River Gorge NP – Situated in the southwest of the island and the last truly untouched nature reserve left on Mauritius.
- Seven Colored (or Chamarel Coloured) Earths – This site in the southwest this unique sand dunes area has a rainbow of sand colors.
What else should I know before heading to Mauritius?
- Mauritius: Luxury & Private Safaris: Mauritius is a very refined island destination and has been heavily cultivated, particularly because of the large swathes of agricultural sugar cane. Apart from the patches like the Black River Gorges or Bras D’eau National Park, there is not much wilderness left on Mauritius. The diving and snorkeling is not as good as you would find in other areas, so it’s not ideal for hardcore wildlife enthusiasts. In terms of accommodation, resorts tend to be on the larger side, so if you are looking for an unspoiled private island, head to Seychelles or Pemba.
Ways to experience Mauritius
- Mauritius is a really great country for those who want to be active and you will find it’s easy to paddle board, sail, snorkel, golf, take a yoga class, or go for a hike.
- Get out and explore using a private driver, but don’t hesitate to rent a car either. Mauritius is easy to get around.
- For water-lovers there are a number of outstanding excursions. Boat to an old French shipwreck then enjoy the beaches of Ile au Aigrettes, followed by a late lunch on Ile Aux Cerfs.
- Be sure to try local restaurants and immerse yourself in the delicious Creole cuisine. The island is compact enough to facilitate venturing out of the resort.
- Everyone should make time for a visit Port Louis, and explore the markets on foot – it’s a feast for the senses! While in Port Louis, stop at the World Heritage site of Aapravasi Ghat to learn more about the history of the island’s inhabitants. The museum gives a fascinating history of the birth of the country and the roots of its Creole culture.
Wildlife you may see
Mauritius is famously home to the Dodo bird which became extinct in the 17th century. Today, Mauritius has endemic species of bats, reptiles, birds and marine mammals. The Mauritius flying fox and Rodrigues flying fox are large fruit bats endemic to the islands. For bird enthusiasts, make sure to visit the island of Ile aux Aigrettes where conservation efforts are turning back the clocks, rooting out invasive species. This extraordinary little protected islet is well worth a visit, with its rare birds and 20 giant tortoises, introduced from the Seychelles on a suggestion by Charles Darwin.