M is for Mauritius

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent.

It is a tropical island, part of an archipelago, that has at various times in its history passed through the hands of the Dutch, the French and the British before gaining independence in 1968.

One of the island’s attractions is that it is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious place where people of different faiths and cultures have lived in harmony for centuries. Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy and for economic and political freedom. Mauritius is categorised as “high” in the Human Development Index.

The island was the home of the now-extinct Dodo, a flightless bird, a large bird favoured by visiting seamen for the quality of its meat, which unfortunately along with the introduction of various non-native predators over the centuries contributed to its eventual extinction. The bird is prominently featured on the island’s national coat of arms.

The island has long been a favourite destination for those wanting a wedding abroad, and also for relaxing holidays featuring sun-kissed beaches and water sports!

But there is plenty to do exploring the capital, Port Louis, which is rich in heritage and friendly locals!

The city was founded in 1735 by the French governor and is located on the North West coast. The central market is a focal point and there are also many historic sites reflecting the diverse culture who have settled there.

Located on a hill overlooking the city and harbour, the Citadel of Port Louis (Fort Adelaide) is a fort that was built between 1834 and 1840 to guard the city against riots during the abolition of slavery. Today local and international concerts and artistic shows are performed there and it is definitely worth a visit for the stunning views from this vantage point.

Aapravasi Ghat (Immigration Depot in Hindi), honours the thousands of indentured labourers who arrived from India after the abolition of slavery and who finally settled on the island. This is the place where the immigrants first landed.

Getting around is easy, choosing from:

  • bus– getting around the island by bus is a real treat. Not only is it great fun, but you’ll get a chance to meet the locals too. Buses have conductors that are happy to help you get to where you want to go.
  • boat– for exploring a little further afield to Rodrigues and Reunion Islands. You can also charter yachts to go cruising around the island.
  • taxis– affordable, friendly, and they’ll take you anywhere you want to go.

The best time to visit is in the island’s winter – from June to September, where it’s cooler, dry and windy.

Sounds like paradise? It could be.