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White sandy beaches, turquoise sea a lush nature, vast ocean views and an exuberant nature in sea or on land, make Mauritius an ideal place for those who like to combine the beach, good cuisine and hospitality.
Places to visit
Beach, culture and nature are key words when speaking about Mauritius. 2000 km off the southeast coast of the African continent and the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands, and its name comes from the Dutch prince Mauricio de Nassau who landed there and established a colony before the French and British. Today it is independent, it features a cultural diversity that appeals to both French colonial charm and African rhythm with an Indian colourful and Chinese flair. And it is all this cultural versatility that is felt at every step taken, for example, in local markets (haggling is an important buying process), such as Quatre Bornes, Mahébourg and, of course, Port Louis, the name of the capital city and where a visit to the famous Jardin des Pamplemousses, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world where you will find water lilies, giant tortoises, deer, etc., is mandatory. Next to it you will find the Sugar Museum, a former sugar factory that tells the story of the island. Another highlight is the colour in Chamarel Terre des Sept Couleurs, a geological formation south of the island that can be seen as a natural phenomenon that creates an area of sand dunes made of seven different colours. The largest reserve on the island occupies a total of over 6.7 hectares of land and is called Le Parc National des Gorges de Rivière Noire, where you can see endemic plants, wildlife, pink pigeons and hawks or the Chamarel Waterfalls. This park can be explored on trekking trails which lead to the top of the mountain to an unforgettable viewpoint. In the centre of the island, the Trou aux Cerfs is 605 meters high and has a crater between 300 and 350 meters in diameter and 80 meters deep. This is the only volcano in the destination that has been dormant for centuries and can be visited alongside the Grand Bassin, one of the most important places for the Hindu community due to the temple dedicated to Shiva and other gods, and where Maha Shivaratri is held in February.
What to eat?
It is in its food that one can taste all the influences and flavours that make up the cuisine that is both delicious and surprising. The fusion takes place between the simplest African ingredient with the exquisite French aroma, wrapped in Creole and Asian flavours. Apart from the typical basmati rice used as a side dish in almost every dish, Mauritius has a number of typical dishes with seasonings that make a difference, starting with Biryani or Rougaille prepared with local tomatoes, onions, herbs, garlic, ginger and peppers, both with meat or fish. Paratha is also a highlight, handmade flour bread stuffed with vegetables, meat or fish and different sauces. The variety of tropical fruits, such as papaya, mango, coconut, pineapple, lychee and guava, set the tone for desserts and among the typical drinks, lassi, made of yogurt and cold water, stands out; alouda, a viscous infusion with milk and agar syrup (gelatine of marine origin). Let’s not forget coffee, tea, rum and local beers.
Legend has it that on one of Shiva’s ride to Earth, the god decides to land on the island, dropping from his head into the crater of a volcano two drops of the Ganges River, forming a natural lake. The Ganges expressed their outrage at the pouring of its waters into an uninhabited land, but Shiva promised that the inhabitants of the banks of the Ganges would colonize the Island. Thus the prophecy was fulfilled and today the Shivaratri Festival is held annually. And that is why Lord Shiva does not oppose the existence of other creeds in Mauritius. The symbol of Mauritius is the Dodo, a non-flying bird, extinct in the 17th century, as unique as fate. With a meter in height and a weight ranging from 10 to 18 kg, the Dodo can only be found today in soft toys, magnets and key chains that can be found everywhere. Séga is the name of the typical dance of Mauritius. Originally interpreted by slaves, Séga continues to represent the spirit of hope and freedom of the people; and there are still those who keep the traditional instrument (Ravane - wooden barrel with goat skin) to play this dance. Although colonized by various nations throughout history, it were the Portuguese who discovered Mauritius in 1507. However, and after the presence of the British, vehicles drive on the right. The dominant languages ​​are Creole, French and English.
Mauritius is by nature a honeymoon destination that knows how to combine the beauty of enjoying a beautiful sunset with the most exotic cocktail, with activities such as trekking, tennis, golf, cycling, boating or catamaran, kite surfing, sailing, snorkelling, swimming with giant tortoises or dolphins. No less important are visits to the islanders, such as Ile Aux Cerfs, which greets those arriving with a nice salt flavour and a blue colour that is an invitation to dive. It is advisable to respect nature and the preservation of species, especially with regard to coral reefs, so it is important to resist the temptation of buying coral artefacts 'foisted' by beach sellers who do so illegally, which leads to a fine that the tourist, when leaving the country, has to pay. The climate is sub-tropical moderate with two defined seasons: hot and humid between November and April; and fresh and dry from May to October. The best time to visit is between June and November, when the humidity level decreases.
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