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Mauritius

 
Language: Officially English.
Climate: Cyclones, heavy rain November and May. 
Currency: Rupees. 
Flight Time: Approx 12 hours 
Time Difference: 4 hours ahead of GMT.
Recommended vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio.
   
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Mauritius

What's it really like?

Location:

Attracting around half a million visitors a year, Mauritius is the attainable dream holiday for those seeking an exotic 'paradise'.

Most of the accommodation on the island falls into the luxury bracket and ranks amongst the best in the world, usually set beside a private beach in very beautiful but isolated settings.

Grand Baie (Grand Bay) is the island's principal resort and though it may be small on amenities it's big on local colour offering a welcome diversion from the cosmetic charms of the hotels.

The northern coast provides the best base for exploring the island due to its proximity to the major attractions and the quality of its roads.

Note: Local police tell us that the island is safe for tourists but they advise against walking alone at night, especially women.

Most hotels have their own discreet security arrangements.

Tip: If your budget allows, choose accommodation with air-conditioning. Ceiling fans on their own are not always sufficient.

Beaches:

Most hotels have their own picture-postcard stretch of near perfect beach against a backdrop of lush vegetation.

Those trees may look temptingly shady but watch for creepies especially ants.

Also care should be taken when bathing near rocks where the poisonous spiney stonefish is prone to lurking.

Days out:

British influence is everywhere including a few rules-of-the-road like driving on the left and the use of roundabouts, so car hire is often the best way to get about.

Tourists to Mauritius heading inland can take advantage of factory outlet shops in Flor�al, southeast of Port Louis,

The Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis is the place for international brands and designer boutiques and is also home to the Craft Market, offering Mauritian glass and essential oils.

On the south of the island, the Domaine de l'Ylang Ylang estate contains a perfume distillery which offers walking tours of the wood fired distillery where the plant oils are extracted.

Visitors can also explore Port Louis' Central Market, a treasure trove of clothing and exotic spices, or Grand Baie Bazaar for Malagasy handicrafts, leather goods and semiprecious stone solitaire sets.

One of the best places to pick up exceptional quality clothing at bargain prices is Quatre Bornes twice-weekly market.

Stall-holders along the streets will also compete, sometimes quite vigorously for your cash.

Golf: Seven 18-hole courses and numerous 9-hole courses attached to hotels.

Excursions:

  • Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens is a well-stocked attraction but you will need a guide book or pay for a guided tour.
  • Trou aux Certs, an extinct volcano dating back millions of years is a huge pit in the earth cloaked in thick vegetation.
  • Black River Gorges is a national treasure of intense beauty. Woodland trails lead visitors through spectacular scenery.
  • Port louis is the capital and has a business-like mood. The shopping malls claim the best chic boutiques while the harbour area has some quaint caf�s and restaurants.

Nights out:

Most of the entertainment is hotel-based and folklore shows do the rounds

There are nightclubs and bars in Grand Baie but don't expect the same 'evening stroll' culture enjoyed in most Mediterranean resorts.

Those who prefer their dining to be a little more historic should book a table at the stunning 19th century Le Ch�teau de Bel Ombre.

Set amidst elegant 100-year-old French gardens, the Chateau lies at the foot of a mountain and serves exquisite food in an exceptionally romantic setting.

The interior of the Ch�teaux is covered with authentic antique wood panelling and the dining room is surrounded by a classic veranda, providing a refined and intimate ambience.

Bucket and Spade Brigade:

Strictly for undemanding beach babes so make sure your hotel has entertainment laid on. The climate may not suit the very young.

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