Belinda Carlisle was right. Heaven is a place on earth and it’s called Mauritius. With all the makings of nirvana, this island nation is rightly famed for its flour-soft beaches, sapphire seas and celestial sunsets. As the ultimate castaway fantasy, it’s not surprising that Mark Twain wrote ‘heaven was copied after Mauritius’. And while we expect you to want nothing more than a sun lounger and cold cocktail, there’s a lot more to Mauritius than its impossibly crystalline waters and luxury beach resorts. Read on for some of our favourite things to do in Mauritius…

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens

Budding botanists, this one’s for you. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (SSR) Botanical Gardens are some of the best in the world. Their palms come in all varieties and forms, the centre piece lilies, the giant Victoria amazonica, unfold into impressive six-and-a-half-feet trays and unique tree species delight with names such as the sausage, fish poison and marmalade box. The abundant wildlife will feel like an additional bonus too, from bright Madagascar fodies to giant Aldabra tortoises. And what’s even better? It can be easily reached from anywhere on the island.

Le Morne

Mauritius holidays aren’t complete without a day trip to Le Morne. A rugged mountain so beautiful that even UNESCO had to get in on the action, Le Morne sits to the southwest of the island, jutting into the Indian Ocean. Thanks to its isolated and almost inaccessible cliffs, the mountain became a safe haven for slaves during the 18th century. So much so that Mauritius became known as the ‘Maroon republic’ because of the large number of escaped slaves who sought refuge on Le Morne Mountain. Easily one of the most memorable things to do in Mauritius is retracing their steps on the challenging 4.3-mile trek to the mountain’s summit or stick to its palm-tree fringed beach, just 15 miles from Black River Gorges National Park.


Neglecting Mauritius’ colonial history is like going to the USA and not ordering a burger – it has to be done. And no place is more up for the job than Eureka. The perfectly preserved 19th century Creole mansion is a shining example of tropical construction. Rooms are adorned with impeccably preserved period furniture, antique maps from the French East India Company and over 108 doors. When you’ve had enough architecture, there are manicured grounds, stone cottages and the enchanting Ravin waterfall just a 15 minute walk away.

Monday Market

Mauritius is a melting pot of culture and no place is it truer than foire de Mahébourg or Monday Market. Open every day, but double the size on Monday, it is a spectacular sight for those wanting a slice of Mauritian culture. Wander through waterfront stalls, eyeing up various textiles and silks (which were the initial focus of the market). Pick up kitschy souvenirs for green-eyed family members back home and stop to sample tropical local snacks from steaming stalls. Make sure to pile up on dhal puri (lentil pancakes), gâteaux piments (chilli cakes) and samosas – all delicious Mauritian staples.

Tamarin Beach

No one will judge you if you do just want to lie on Mauritius’ beaches with a rum punch and watermelon slice in hand. But we think, if you’re going to do it properly, you should do it on Tamarin beach. A surfing spot since the seventies (thanks to the strand’s powerful current and lack of reef protection), this authentic fishing spot is renowned for its salt pans, striking onyx sands and incredible sunsets. It is also the perfect family spot for sea life spotting, bodyboarding and sunbathing (or sandcastle building).

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