MAURITIUS - There’s more to the island than sun, sea and sand. Picture: Pexels
MAURITIUS - There’s more to the island than sun, sea and sand. Picture: Pexels

All the secrets of Mauritius revealed

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Nov 16, 2021

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Want to visit Mauritius? Here’s what you need to know:

When to visit

Mauritius offers an all-year-round tropical climate. The best time to visit is between May and September during the low season when the weather is cool, dry and sunny. December and January are also popular travel months.

Entry requirements

To enter, both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers must present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before their departure. Additional testing will be required once in Mauritius.

Unvaccinated travellers must also book a 14-night quarantine stay in an official quarantine hotel, including meals and transfers. Covid-19 insurance health cover is mandatory for all travellers. South Africans do not require a visa.

Flight costs

Air Mauritius currently operates seven flights a week from Johannesburg. SAA, British Airways and FlySafair will start operations from November and December.

Flight costs start from R9 000. However, packages of five, seven or 10 nights are available. These packages include hotel accommodation (either all-inclusive, full-board or half-board) and flights.

Where to go

The director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, Arvind Bundhun, says Mauritius caters for all budget types, from international star-graded hotel groups, luxurious beach and golf resorts, well-appointed apartments and villas, to glamping and eco-tents, self-catering apartments and Airbnb.

As well as its beautiful beaches, coral reefs and azure sea, Mauritius has a rich history intertwined with many different cultures, including Creole, Hindu, Tamil, Marathi, Muslim, Chinese, French and British.

The country has two Unesco World Heritage Sites – Le Morne Village and Aapravasi Ghat.

“Mauritius is the ideal hub for spiritual seekers of all faiths. Many festivals and cultural and religious celebrations take place during the year. For example, visitors to the island can participate in the celebrations of Maha Shivratri, Pere Laval and Diwali, among others,” said Bundhun.

Travellers should also add Port Louis, Grand Baie, Mahebourg, Le Morne, Chamarel and Rodrigues to their itinerary.

Named the Leading Adventure Destination in the Indian Ocean Islands at the World Travel Awards 2021, the country offers thrilling activities for adventure seekers. These include diving, kite surfing, surf skiing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, big game fishing, cruises and family underwater excursions.

“The varied, lush terrain of the island also makes it the perfect destination for trekking, hiking, mountain biking and trail running. Golf is also popular. We have award-winning 18-hole championship golf courses designed by golfing legends such as Ernie Els, Bernard Langer, Peter Matkovic and David Leadbetter,” Bundhun said.

A Mauritius travel blogger, Stephane Lamvohee, suggested travellers enjoy a food tour or visit Central Market in Port Louis, go dolphin swimming on the west coast or take in the sights at Ile Aux Cerfs.

Getting around

Bundhun believes Mauritius is an easy place to navigate.

“There is an efficient, affordable and friendly taxi service. You can ride on public transport, with many buses and cabs traversing the island. Visitors with the relevant licence can also hire a car or scooter. Alternatively, cycling and walking are a fun, fit way to experience the island, its people and the local culture up close,” he said.

Lamvohee said Mauritius has many bus routes to some of the most stunning attractions.

“You can easily travel throughout the island with a bus. Do carry loose change to pay for your bus tickets,” he advised.

Cuisine

Mauritius has Indian, French, English, Creole and Chinese cuisine influences. Foods to try include dholl puri, the country’s national dish, or a beautifully spiced rich tomato stew with sausages. Other options include breyani, vindaye and an upside-down bowl called bol renverse.

Secrets

Lamvohee advised travellers to purchase a local SIM card.

“It won’t cost much, and you’ll be connected all day. Always bargain if the price is not exposed. Local merchants tend to increase the price when they see tourists,” he added.

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