Mauritius is an amazing tropical destination that attracts tourists from all over the world. But do you know that the island has more to offer than the usual sandy beaches landscape that we see in travel brochures? In this article I will share 5 places that you should not miss when you visit the island of Mauritius, off the coast of Africa.
Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
While Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden is its official name, most people know it as the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden. This is a beautiful garden located in the north of the island in a district of the same name. It’s known for its variety of beautiful plants, in particular its water lilies. Among these you will have some plants that are indigenous to the island of Mauritius and also some rare species that have been imported from elsewhere. Pamplemousses offers some wonderful opportunities for photos.
In case you’re wondering, “pamplemousse” is the French word for “grapefruit”. Mauritius was controlled by France from 1715–1810, and the language is still spoken widely.
The central market located in Port Louis is the largest market in the island and is definitely recommended for people that are interested to discover the culture of the island. There you will find a wide variety of crafts coming from various part of the island but also from Rodrigues. Make sure however that you bargain a little with the vendors as some of them have a bad habit of charging a higher price to tourist. The market is opened throughout the week including weekend.
Five minutes from the market you will find the Caudan Waterfront where you can spend the rest of the day. In this shopping center bordering the Port, you will find some a variety of merchants selling all kinds of products, as well as restaurants and cinemas. At night this is perhaps the only places that you could experience some nightlife in the capital.
Located in the center of the island, Grand Bassin (officially Ganga Talao) is considered as a sacred place by the Hindu community of the island. Every year a pilgrimage is set towards this place where the Hindus will go and collect this holy water.
Grand Bassin is actually the crater of a dormant volcano and is a place that is visited by a lot of tourists as well. The landscape and lush vegetation provide opportunities for some great photos. Make sure however that you respect all indications and customs as this is an important place of worship in the island.
Black River Gorges
Black River Gorges is a national park in the southwestern part of the island. It is full of hills, forest, and even marshland. The majority of Mauritius’s rainforest lies within the park boundaries.
If you are interested in doing some hiking then this is the place to go in the island. There are various tracks that are available there depending on your abilities. Some of these hikes will require that you have a guide, but others can be attempted on your own. There are plenty of trail markers to will help you find your way around this beautiful landscape.
Black River Gorges is definitely recommended for all nature lovers out there. All of Mauritius’s endemic birds can be found here, as well as the Mauritius flying fox – a type of bat whose name sounds a lot cuter than it probably deserves.
If you have a chance to stay in Mauritius, I hope you will be able to see one or more of these locations. After all, there’s more to Mauritius than just the beautiful beaches!