A tropical paradise located in the Indian Ocean, near Madagascar and the French Island La Reunion, Mauritius is a destination on the rise and has a lot to offer if you are looking to relax, explore diverse landscapes from lush nature to incredible blue waters and discover its amazing culture.
Going from North to South of the island will take only an hour and fifteen minutes but don’t mistake Mauritius’ tiny scale for not a lot to discover and do! With an incredible mix of culture, many different places to discover and even micro-climates following one region to another, it will surely surprise you as it did surprise me on my recent trip!
Here are five things which you might not know about Mauritius and which I hope will make you want to discover this beautiful place.
1. Mauritius has an incredible mix of cultures
I went to Mauritius when I was actually 2 years old but when I came back I didn’t realise how heavily French-influenced the island is. And not only! Mauritius proudly mix all of the cultures which have been present through its history from the early times to colonisation to the independence 50 years ago. You’ll discover the incredible Creole culture, full of flavours and colours, mixing both French and English cultures. For a French-speaking person, it’s quite funny to try to understand Creole language but it’s pretty hard! Mauritian kids have to learn French and English as a first-language and then can choose a third-language of their choice, often being Mauritian Creole.
Another culture very heavily influenced in Mauritius is the Indian culture. Indo-Mauritians actually make up to 60% of the population which you can imagine is huge! You’ll see many Hindou temples around Mauritius and delicious Indian food as well. More than Hinduism, there are also Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Baha’is… An amazing melting pot of culture, all living in peace!
2. It’s a small island but with so much to see
Mauritius has an area of only 2,040m2 - which makes it a whopping 3,795 times smaller than Australia! But with more than a million people living there and many many places to discover, there’s a lot to see on this tiny island!
Some famous places are Black River Gorges National Park with a stunning waterfall, the seven coloured earth, Rhum Distilleries to discover, Port-Louis for a day, L’Ile aux Cerf for the most incredible blue bay, Flic-en-Flac for some beach time, Grande Baie for shopping, Majestic Le Morne Brabant which you can hike… So much to discover!
3. Tourism and Travel is the first industry among others
Being such a small island with no natural exploitable resources, Mauritius has managed to be a champion in many industries over the years. And tourism is now one of the biggest! Take anyone who’s been in Mauritius and they will tell you about the incredible Mauritian hospitality, how nice and helpful people are and all of the incredible places you can stay in! Mauritius is good to explore but also really nice to relax.
Other significant industries in Mauritius are textiles, agriculture with sugar cane (and delicious Rhum) and more and more Information Technology Services.
4. Mauritius has over 27 microclimates!
When talking with Mauritians during my trip, they explained to me how driving from region to region, we could experience very different climates and temperatures. Quite crazy for such a small island! I totally noticed it when we went from the west to the north, where it barely rained during our few days.
According to Mauritius Inside Out, there’s that much to know about the local weather as there is:
a tropical climate in summer
a subtropical climate in winter
a maritime climate throughout the year
a cyclone season
a rainy season
southeast trade winds from March to November
There are definitely ways to enjoy a sunny holiday in Mauritius but it could rain from time to time! Again according to Mauritius Inside Out, October is the best month to visit.
5. The late Dodo bird is a national symbol
Fun fact, when I went to Mauritius for the first time as a 2-year old I was absolutely obsessed with the story of the Dodo bird. But the history on how the Dodo bird disappeared is quite sad actually being a combination of human stupidity and the introduction of new species. The Dodo bird was a beautiful big bird (23 kgs) which couldn’t fly having any predators in over 4 million years. When the Arabs arrived as the first people to set foot in Mauritius and Portuguese as well in 1505, Mauritius was a big destination in the spice trade and the Dodo bird was hunted for its meat.
And later as the Dutch colons arrived, they brought other species with them: rats, monkeys, and pigs - which all ate the egg of the Dodo bird. Unfortunately, the Dodo bird was laying only one egg per year so its population quickly diminished and the last was seen in 1681.
However, the Dodo bird proudly remains in Mauritius’ culture as a symbol in the coat of arms of Mauritius and in pretty much everything that you’ll see in Mauritius.
Overall Mauritius is a great destination to explore and discover more about its history. I really enjoyed discovering different landscapes, tasting delicious Mauritius food and Rhum, and talking with the local. I must say thanks to my work with Club Med for sending me there, discovering both Club Med Albion and La Pointe aux Cannoniers and re-discovering the Mauritian Culture all over!
After Mauritius, many told me to check its nearby French neighbour La Reunion - so maybe on my list for next time!
Have you been to Mauritius? Let me know!