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There's More to Mauritius

by Lia Holloway on 20 March 2014, 15:03PM

Think Mauritius is all about lying on an idyllic white beach, working on your sun-kissed glow, sipping on an exotic tropical cocktail? Ok… a little bit of that doesn’t hurt, but there’s so much more to Mauritius!

Inland from the turquoise Indian Ocean, behind the soft white beaches fringed with palm trees, there is another natural beauty to be discovered. Black River Gorges National Park covers over 16,500 acres of the island, providing a retreat for hundreds of plants and nine spices of birdlife unique to Mauritius. Take a hike through the National Park and experience a wide dramatic gorge between a series of majestic mountains. See stunning waterfalls with plenty of photo opportunities along the way. On the outskirts of the Black River Gorges National Park, lies the Galets River. This is a popular river trekking route that combines trekking, climbing and swimming. Descend down natural slides, jump off rocks into fresh water pools and stand under a waterfall as it cascades down the sheer rock faces above you. On the south-east coast of the island, lies Lion Mountain. Given this name for its sphinx-like profile, Lion Mountain offers a medium hike with spectacular views overlooking the turquoise lagoon below. If you’re an early riser, head to Chamarel, west of the Black River Gorges and watch the morning sun change the colours of the dune-like knolls of the Coloured Earths. The reason behind the wide variation of colours is unknown; however some believe that the shades were created by volcanic ash deposits that cooled at different temperatures, whatever the reason, they are a spectacular sight to behold.

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Mauritius is also home to some of the most spectacular dive sites. The coastline is fringed by reef which continues a few hundred meters out to sea. Diving is most popular along the west coast as this sheltered from the strong currents of the south easterly trade winds. Discover mature table corals, fans and anemones. Highlights include the Silverstar wreck, an old fishing boat which sank in 1990 or the Sirius wreck, a 19th century British frigate. Thanks to the strict marine conservation policy the wreck is a perfect ecosystem, teeming with marine life. Along Rempart Serpent, you can view several species of morays, lionfish and stone fishes. Also in the south-west near Tamarin Bay, you can watch a large pod of dolphins play just off shore. For a unique viewpoint of the magnificent reef and marine life, take a submarine ride. Sub-scooters are also popular as they are an effortless way to experience the thrill of diving beneath the water. Diving up to 3 meters deep, the scooters allow you to breathe freely and naturally in a transparent cupola. A diver guide escorts you through your 30 minute underwater cruise to make sure you get the most out of your underwater adventure.

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If you prefer to be on the water rather than in it, Mauritius is a haven for deep sea fishing. From giant beasts of the sea like the blue or black marlin to yellow tuna and barracuda, there are so many trophies to be caught. Be sure to take pictures of your catch as proof! For the dedicated angler, take part in the prestigious deep sea fishing competition, the Marlin World Cup. Boats can be hired from almost all hotels or let a local share their secret fishing hot spots on a deep sea fishing safari.

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Boasting the oldest golf course in the southern hemisphere, Mauritius has been a golfer’s sanctuary for many years. Today, you can enjoy eight different 18-hole golf courses and five 9-hole golf courses, some designed by Bernhard Langer, Ernie Els and Rodney Wright. Plus, with the panoramic vistas across the Indian Ocean, you feel like you’re in golfing heaven.

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For those that want a taste of the true essence of Mauritius, visit a typical ‘table d’hôte’ or local specialised restaurant. The cuisine of Mauritius is a fusion of Indian, Chinese, Creole and European flavours which have evolved from the different cultural heritages and traditions. Head out to the markets or street stalls to try the local fares on offer like dholl puris. This is thin fried bread stuffed with ground yellow split peas and complemented by a bean curry and chutney. Be sure to try everything coconut, from coconut cakes to coconut chutney (it is a tropical island after all!). The Bois Cheri tea estate in the south of the island grows black tea. This is then combined with Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka and vanilla flavouring to create a velvety smooth black vanilla tea. The Bois Cheri Tea factory offers a tea tasting and incredible views over the plantation fields and southern coastline. For something a little sweeter, head to L’Aventure du Sucre, a sugar museum where you can taste of nine different types of sugar. Mauritian Rum production is also woven into the history of Mauritius. The Rhumerie de Chamarel is a distillery in the south-west. Experience the process of rum making and learn how they create quality eco-friendly rum from growing to distillation. One of the highlights of the distillery tour is the opportunity to sample the rum. Selection includes White Rum, Coeur de Chauffe, Chamarel Liquors, Exotic- Flavoured Rums and the Old Rum.

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Let our Mauritius experts tailor-make your ultimate holiday. To book call 0845 543 6615 or visit www.travelbag.co.uk/holidays/indian-ocean/mauritius


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