While this Indian Ocean island is known worldwide for its luxury resorts and palm-fringed white-sand shores, there’s so much more to discover.
1. Explore the deep blue in a submarine
As the only submarine operator in the Indian Ocean, Blue Safari Submarine trips are an entirely unique way to see the colourful coral and tropical fish of the island’s surrounding waters. During a 40-minute dive, the submarine goes to depths of 35 metres, in which time you can visit the ’Star of Hope’ wreck and find out about the marine life around you from the expert marine biologist who’s on board to guide you.
2. Tour the Mauritian tea route
Beginning at the colonial houses of Domaine des Aubineaux, the tea route leads visitors to Bois Cheri tea plantation, factory and museum. Dating back to 1819 this estate is the oldest in Mauritius and is now a popular place for visitors to the island to find out about the history of tea in Mauritius. The tea route ends at St Aubin, a plantation house that was built in 1819 and that has since been converted into an atmospheric dining spot.
3. Trek across the coloured earth of Chamarel
The village of Chamarel is located in southwest Mauritius and has become known for its two natural wonders: the coloured earth of Chamarel and Chamarel Falls. Perhaps the most astounding is the landscape of coloured earth which was formed as volcanic rocks cooled at different temperatures, leaving patterns in the hillside. From the village you can also see how Mauritian rum is made and sample it yourself at the distillery Rhumerie de Chamarel.
4. Witness a Hindu pilgrimage at Grand Bassin Sacred Lake
Hindu festivals are celebrated with fervour throughout the year, as the island’s most dominant faith. Maha Shivratree festival, meaning ‘the good night of Shiva’ takes places on a moonless night during February or March – the date varying each year. Pilgrims dressed in white walk towards the sacred lake carrying decorated bamboo poles and statues of Hindu idols, before gathering there to worship, meditate and make offerings to the Hindu Lord Shiva.
5. Hike through rainforest that was once home to the extinct dodo
Black River Gorges National Park is the largest on Mauritius, encompassing 6,754 hectares of rainforest, stretching across rolling hills and gorges with a number of waterfalls to hike to. The forest that was once home to the now extinct dodo is also the habitat for nine species of birds that can only be found in Mauritius, as well as 311 species of endemic flowering plants, making it an entirely unique environment. Hiking trails are mapped out for easy exploration.