The official ceremony of the Levé de Drapeau took place at the Champ de Mars racecourse on Monday. Picture: Louw Lemmer/ Twenty 20.

The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius – and the offices of its various High Commissions around the globe, including South Africa, are gearing up to celebrate the island’s 50th anniversary of accession to independence, as well as the country’s 26th anniversary as a Republic.

The official ceremony of the Levé de Drapeau took place on Monday, at the Champ de Mars racecourse, and included a flag-raising ceremony, a helicopter display and a colourful cultural sound and light show, to showcase the many different and vibrant cultures that make up Mauritius.

Mauritius’ Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth said what made Mauritius unique is the creation of a rainbow nation that necessitated adjustment, tolerance and respect for different faiths and cultures.

“Mauritius is connected through the hearts of all of us.  We learn from those who are around us and we respect the advice of the older generation in a way that shapes our own vision of how we should fend in life,” said Jugnauth 

Increase of visits from South Africans

The January arrivals from South Africa was 7 196, an increase of 10.3% from the 2016 figure of 6 522. South Africa remains as the fifth highest source market to Mauritius for this period, contributing 5.9% of total market share.

For the whole year of 2017, South Africa represented an 8.4% share of overall tourist arrivals - totaling 1 341 860 visitors.

With international travel and tourism cited as a key economic driver in Mauritius to create jobs, grow the economy and prosper local communities, this is good news.

In the Top 10 of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018

Mauritius is among the Top 10 countries to visit this year, in its Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018.

A four-hour flight from South Africa, with flights departing from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, there are no visa requirements for South African travellers, which takes the hassle out of deciding where to book your next holiday. 

There is a wide selection of accommodation on offer, from 5-star ultra-luxury hotels to all-inclusive hotel packages, beautiful villas and self-catering apartments, makes this island destination even more appealing to local travellers.