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2020 guide

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welcome • 3

8 Contents Wow Factor: Unmissable activities the island has to offer honey and the 8 moon: Romance and wellness with a backdrop of paradise adventure: 10 Adrenaline-packed fun in the sun scenery: 18 Wind-sculpted mountains and forests await culture: 26 A rainbow nation with a diverse and distinct flavour oceans: 32 Swim, snorkel, or surf in the sky-blue sea year-round accommodation: 38 From high-end luxury resorts to upmarket hostels ECO: 40 Nature reserves, eco-excursions and sustainable initiatives tour ops: 42 Contact details 6

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Welcome to Mauritius Created by a volcanic eruption eight million years ago, Mauritius is an enchanting, pocket-sized tropical haven, boasting stunning sandy beaches, mountains made for hiking and abundant nature nature’s playground

With its fabulous hotels, top-notch spas and gourmet dining, it can be hard for visitors to drag themselves away from the sunlounger, but Mauritius is about so much more than sun, sand and sea. The island offers an endless array of natural, active and cultural activities that appeal to every holidaymaker. The one-time home of the now extinct dodo bird, Mauritius remains a biodiversity hotspot, where visitors are almost guaranteed glimpses of rare birds (and the odd wild boar) on hikes to waterfalls and eye-popping views from mountaintops, along with thrills such as mountain biking, zip-lining and abseiling.

one island, many faces

As a rainbow nation, with local islanders hailing from four continents, visitors can be transported to India at Hindu festivals, to Africa in performances of the hip-wiggling traditional séga dance,

and to China, eating steaming boulettes on a street food tour of the capital, Port Louis. French Colonial glamour can be experienced on strolls through lush botanical gardens, lunch on the veranda of heritage houses once owned by sugar barons, and artisanal rum tasting. The British influence is evident in the tea plantations, driving on the left and the widely-spoken English language. The sunny north, centred around emerald-green Grand Baie, has the greatest concentration of hotels, sandy coves and entertainment, from an interactive sugar museum to a submarine safari or tandem sky-dive. It’s also the home of the capital Port Louis. With some of the most celebrated hotels and beautiful white-sand beaches, the east coast has an understated glamour, plus the ultimate island playground of Ile aux Cerfs and a new family-friendly waterpark. The island’s premier animal-park, Casela, tourism-mauritius.mu

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swimming with dolphins, and the 7 Coloured Earth Geopark are found on the sheltered ‘sunset’ coast, centred around vibrant Flic en Flac, with flat, calm beaches for young families. The south coast has sleepy fishing villages, deserted beaches and surf-pounded cliffs at a gap in the reef. Its attractions range from tortoise hatchings at La Vanille Nature Park to a mysterious meditation site, The Vortex. The southwest has Black River Gorges National Park for nature hikes and crater lake Grand Bassin (Ganga Talao), a pilgrimage place for Mauritian Hindus, plus the iconic Le Morne Penninsula, offering world-class kitesurfing, a breathtaking mountain hike and a spectacular illusory underwater waterfall offshore. The sultry southeast is having its moment, with a new internationally-branded hotel and a dodo experience in the pipeline.

Top tip

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Vibrant

Air Mauritiusʼ refurbished A340s on the London HeathrowMauritius route feature new LED ambient mood lighting, more legroom and state-of-the-art inflight entertainment

Rodrigues is an island to watch; its airport expects to double capacity by 2022 This region is the island’s most historic place, and includes the characterful ancient port capital of Mahébourg. Visitors can take powerboat trips to offshore islands and can also visit La Vallée de Ferney nature reserve, where the rare pink pigeon is now breeding in the wild. Mauritius’ neighbouring island, Rodrigues, is also one to watch. Infrastructure improvements include a revamped road network, new optical fibre wifi and hotels renovations. •

Top five... reasons to go 1 With direct flights, Mauritius is easy to reach and with only four hours’ time difference, jet-lag free. 2 It is a tropical safe haven, with no deadly snakes or spiders. 3 Mauritius is compact and easy to explore by hire car (or mini moke) or by electric bike. 4 Beyond the beach are temples, botanical gardens and heritage houses, plus nature hikes, eco-parks and swimming with dolphins. 5 This island’s real treasures are the friendly, hospitable locals, a fusion of French,

Indian, Creole and Chinese peoples, and visitors always rave about the service.

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LAGOON ATTITUDE

The eco-committed seaside hotel for adults

In the North of Mauritius, along a still protected coast, the hotel has idly settled on the shores of the very wide Anse la Raie lagoon. Opening on 1st December 2019.

www.hotels-attitude.com

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6 • the wow factorS

The wow factors Explore Mauritius’ offshore islands by catamaran or speedboat. Île aux Cerfs in the eastern lagoon is the ultimate tropical island playground with watersports, scenic golf and even a giant Tarzan swing. Alternatively, head to the far-flung northern islands for snorkelling in clear coral gardens and pristine sandy beaches.

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Climb UNESCO-listed Le Morne Brabant

Take a guided hike up this imposing rocky crag, once a hideout for runaway slaves,

which juts out of a hammerhead peninsula and is fringed with white sands. At the top a 360-degree, jaw-dropping view of lush forests, islands and pristine corals awaits, while a helicopter tour uncovers a spectacular but illusory ‘underwater waterfall’ offshore.

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Chill out on rustic Rodrigues

Gerald Durrell once referred to Mauritius’ tiny sister island of Rodrigues as an ‘enchanting and unspoiled isle’. This charming outpost offers secluded beaches, coastal hiking trails and rustic table d’hotes. Just a 90-minute flight away, Mauritians call it ‘the anti-stress island’.

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Get social on the Creole Côte d’Azur

Horseshoe-shaped Grand Baie in the north is the island’s tourism hub. Surrounded by pretty white sand coves, it’s also the spot for evening entertainment with 50 bars and restaurants on the coastal road, designer boutiques and excursions galore.

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Sample the nation’s street food on foot

Street food tastings come with lashings of history and culture on walking tours of the port capitals. Sample gato pima (chilli cakes) or boulettes (dumplings) in bustling Port Louis,

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Go island-hopping by boat

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the veranda and artisanal rum tasting at the island’s plantation homes. Most striking is Eureka’s, with 109 doors, turreted rooftop windows and a wrap-around balcony. Saint Aubin dates from 1819 and is set on a southern tea plantation. The gardens of the house feature a traditional rum distillery and a botanical gardens.

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or try merveille (crispy tortilla with tamarind sauce), typical of characterful Mahébourg.

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Stay awhile in the Chamarel highlands

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Steve Boncourt

A sunset over the geological marvel, the 7 Coloured Earth, is a must-see. Other lures in the lush highlands are guided nature trails, horse riding and a zipline over the endemic forest canopy. Also unmissable are table d’hotes and rum tasting. Thrill-seekers can abseil down Chamarel Falls, which are as high as the Statue of Liberty.

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Swim with dolphins or watch whales

Take a popular early-morning boat ride to swim with playful bottlenose and spinner dolphins in Tamarin Bay. For a more exclusive experience go whale watching on the west coast for a chance to spot sperm whales (year-round) and humpback whales (July to October).

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Glimpse the lost world of the Dodo at Ile aux Aigrettes

Say hello to Big Daddy, a giant Aldabra tortoise found lumbering under the canopy on a rangerled tour at Ile aux Aigrettes, a tiny wildlife reserve in the southeast which also offers encounters with pink pigeons, echo parakeets and Telfair skinks. •

Refresh your senses in the island’s green heart

From the national park you can take in expansive views over forested valleys to the coast and Black River Peak, the island’s highest mountain. Visitors can also take a hike past volcanic craters and tumbling waterfalls, keeping eyes peeled for rare endemic birds and trees.

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Explore bygone days at a colonial mansion

Colonial glamour awaits in tropical architecture, refined table d’hote lunches on

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8 • Honey and the moon

Honey and the moon Some believe God made Heaven to look just like Mauritius, others that he copied Heaven when he created the Indian Ocean island. Either way, it’s the perfect place for a little romance

just for grown-ups

Adults-only options are on the rise islandwide. The newly-re-opened Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel features fresh plantation-style rooms with

C Beach Club

Mr Kim Jeong Heum Travie

four poster beds and plunge pools for two on the cove. Romance at revamped eco-escape Lagoon Attitude is sea-facing suites with a whirlpool bath on the balcony, while Le Meridien Ile Maurice’s new Nirvana wing features plunge pool suites. Privilege rooms at three-star Veranda Tamarin Hotel & Spa give exclusive access to rooftop bar, View, with an infinity pool overlooking Tamarin Bay. Four Seasons’ Resort Mauritius at Anahita’s Exclusive Beach at Île aux Cerfs has a beach grill and thatched beach bar with rope swing seats for Lazy Dodo rum cocktails. There’s no shortage of romance at island spas. Holistic gemology treatments at the brand new Banyan Spa at Preskil Island Resort includes an amethyst bonding treatment for couples and a gazebo by the sea for outdoor massages. The Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita’s ‘After Eight Spa & Gourmet Experience’ is an aromatic couples massage in an overwater spa suite followed by a gourmet dinner. Following a €1 million restyling, Royal Palm Beachcomber’s spa has 18 new individually-decorated private spa cabins

Dinarobin Beachcombe

Those who know Mauritius won’t be surprised to hear that this paradise island was named the ‘World’s Most Romantic Destination’ at the World Travel Awards in 2019. Couples can marry anywhere in Mauritius, from jungle-clad Casela Nature Parks to a submarine under the sea. Most opt for exclusive weddings at island hotels, which guarantee no more than one ceremony a day. The beach, jetty or tropical garden are favourite venues. The reinvented Preskil Island Resort in the southeast has a new wedding gazebo by the sea, or couples can tie the knot on its luxury catamaran. New ‘mindful’ beach weddings at SALT of Palmar feature a hand-crafted arc, live séga music and a seasonal, locally-sourced reception menu plus optional carbon offsetting through tree-planting, and donations to a charity for disabled children instead of wedding presents.

Top tip Ultimate romance means a private island, choosing from a Moroccan Villa on Ile de deux Cocos or a Bubble Lodge on Ile aux Cerfs, with gourmet dinner, butler service and complimentary golf

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Romance

Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel

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nestled amongst nature, and fresh treatments from French cosmetic brand, Codage. Locally-inspired treatments include the new ‘Mauritian Fusion’ massage at Long Beach Mauritius’ Cinq Mondes Spa and Wellness Retreat, which blends energising Indian-style head massage and draining techniques to the rhythm of the séga. The recently opened Veranda Tamarin Hotel & Spa has a ‘chakra-rebalancing’ treatment using local nomi, ayapana, mint and combava.  Lux Le Morne’s new revitalising coconut body scrub treatment is homemade from palms in the garden. The new C Mauritius C spa offers phototherapy treatments using tropical plants, herbs and floral extracts for healing, and an outdoor gym with equipment made from natural materials. The Anantara Spa at Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas is the only one on the island to boast a Turkish Hammam and Anantara’s wellness

programme includes visits and advice from experts. New spa experiences include The Manor House Spa Suites Package at The St. Regis Mauritius Resort, which consists of a detoxifying in-room massage followed by an afternoon tea ritual prepared by a butler.

New wellness experiences

A second Wellness Festival will be held at Heritage C Beach Club in May and Long Beach will launch fitness packages combining Ayurveda with nutrition and sleep therapy in February; in the meantime wellness options include Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa’s ‘Be Well/ness Sundays’, held twice monthly at the Heavenly Spa, and Lux Le Morne’s new Zen Package combining private yoga classes with a massage using Shirley Page’s aromatherapy, plus new Wellness Mind-Body Reset Retreats at Constance’s five-star hotels. •

Top five... romantic experiences 1 Lovebirds at One&Only Le Saint Géran enjoy a bespoke breakfast cruise by speedboat, with a swim and snorkel. 2 A new exclusive sundown safari on Le Morne mountain at LUX* Le Morne gives a sweeping view of the coast. 3 Eco-romance is a new plant-based sustainable dinner in a thatched cabana at Long Beach Mauritius’ organic chefs’ garden. 4 New complimentary honeymoon experiences at Beachcomber Resorts include mini-moke hire, a northern island cruise and guided hike. 5 You&me moments at Paradise Cove

Boutique Hotel includes lantern-lit stargazing with an astronomer.

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10 • ADVENTURE

Fun in the sun

FOLLOW THE TRAIL

Mauritius is so compact you can climb a mountain in the morning and go ziplining or quad biking in an eco-park in the afternoon. At the heart of the island, the Black River Gorges National Park is criss-crossed with hiking trails for all abilities, from a self-guided family-friendly forested track to Black River Peak (the island’s highest trail), to the strenuous Macchabée trail. Rodrigues’ most famous coastal hike heads through endemic forest from Graviers to St Francois and passes Trou d’Argent (Money Hole), a wild cove where pirates once landed. With increased demand for nature-based activities, ground handler Mautourco is promoting its hiking tours in 2020, guided by trusted specialists.

Active

Mark Twain described seeing ʻrugged clusters of crags and peaks, green to their summitsʼ during his visit to Mauritius, a pint-size island which is packing a punch in adventure tourism

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Thrill

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Follow in Charles Darwin's footsteps on a self-guided mountain hike up Le Pouce

Top tip

BERNARD THOMAS

Sign up for international sporting events from May to September, from competitive cycling to trail running, including The Dodo Trail, for all-levels

An exclusive sporty hike to Chamarel Waterfall with Explorers Mauritius, co-partnered with Mauritius Wildlife Foundation (MWF), includes a peek into caves where starlings nest. Eco-hotel SALT of Palmar now offers hikes islandwide, and recently-opened C Mauritius has guided treks with a local staff member.

TWO-WHEEL ADVENTURES

Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin on a family-friendly self-guided mountain hike up Le Pouce (‘The Thumb’) for a sweeping view of Port Louis. A guided hike up UNESCO-listed rocky monolith Le Morne Brabant, which juts out of Le Morne Peninsula and was once a refuge for slaves, offers 360-degree island views. SALT of Palmar encourages its guests to climb Lion Mountain for a spectacular view of the east coast lagoon. Take an electric-bike journey with Explore Nou Zil (Our Island) in Chamarel, Souillac, Pamplemousses or Grand Port, or two-wheel cultural tours with My Moris for a slice of island life. Electro-bikes are an island trend, and are available at several island hotels. A guided electric-bike tour of Mahébourg at Preskil Island Resort includes a visit to Rault biscuit TOURISM-MAURITIUS.MU

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12 • ADVENTURE

Top tip

factory and the National History Museum. A new cycle safari at SALT of Palmar, ‘The Skilled Cyclist’, is a four-day mountain bike trip inland, guided by former cycling champion Patrick Haberland. It takes in waterfalls, temples and markets. Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort’s guests can ride mountain bikes along the casuarina-fringed southeast coast to Le Bouchon, or peddle to Pont Naturel. For self-guided cycling tours, Yemaya Adventures has mountain bikes for hire, which can be delivered anywhere on the island.

Turquoise Holidaysʼ interactive online map highlights top island experiences which include exploring Domaine de LʼEtoile and wild swimming

XAVIER KOENIG

Sporting

ECO-PARKS

Family-friendly eco-parks offer activities such as hikes, quad biking, horseriding and mountain biking, and the chance to spot monkeys, deer, and wild boar. Celebrating its 40th birthday in 2020,

Visit a familyfriendly eco-park to spot monkeys, deer and wild boar Casela Nature Parks on the west coast has the widest range of adventure activities on the island. Its new ‘Premium Moments’ activities includes Thrill Mountain, which has a canyon swing, Nepalese bridge and an adrenaline-pumping zipline. Domaine L’Etoile in the southeast has a ride on a Tyrolienne, quad biking, horse riding and ziplining, while visitors to Heritage Nature Reserve in the southwest can explore on eco-buggys, quad bike or by 4x4, with a picnic at Frederica Waterfalls.

Top five... island adventures 1 One-stop adventure playground Casela Nature Parks has camel, quad and e-bike safaris, interactions with African animals and thrilling rides. 2 Take a guided hike up UNESCO-listed Le Morne Brabant, once a refuge for slaves, for 360-degree island views. 3 Hike in the Black River Gorges National Park to spot endemic birds among rivers, waterfalls, forests and mountains. 4 For an eco-thrill go canyoning down Tamarin Falls or abseil down Chamarel Falls – as high as the Statue of Liberty. 5 A flightseeing trip to see the ‘underwater

waterfall’, a spectacular illusory cascade off Le Morne peninsula.

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Lux AD


LUX* Resorts & Hotels delivers a different kind of luxury. With hospitality that is both lighter and brighter, LUX* stages exceptional experiences, whether on the beach, in the city or in nature.

LUX* GRAND GAUBE RESORT & VILLAS, MAURITIUS

LUX* BELLE MARE RESORT & VILLAS, MAURITIUS

LUX* LE MORNE, MAURITIUS

• Retro-chic meets timeless elegance by Designer Kelly Hoppen • Relax with wellness from LUX* Me Spa, Murdock Barber of London, Kérastase hair salon and Essie nail bar • Cutting-edge equipment at LUX* Me Fitness • Reinvented food and drink experiences with ten eclectic venues • Exclusive partnership with the Mont Choisy Golf, the 18-hole seaside course •

• Amazing beach facing a crystal lagoon • Beach Rouge Restaurant • Family-friendly resort • Adult-only rooms and Wellness Junior Suites with added values • Fine and unique dining offers • Voted Best AllInclusive Resort in the South Hemisphere by Trip Advisor 2018 • Private beach with 12 private villas •

• Explore a fascinating location at the foot of Le Morne Mountain – a UNESCO World Heritage site • Nice pavilions in the gardens • LUX* Me Spa with breathtaking views • Boutique hotel feeling • Rooms with direct access to the beach (Ocean and Prestige Junior Suites) • Choice of three renowned restaurants •

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14 • ADVENTURE

Tyrodrig Zipline Adventure in Rodrigues is the Indian Ocean’s highest zipline, stretching across three ravines in the island’s centre, while the newest is at Lavilleon Natural Forest in Chamarel, with a Nepalese bridge and a via ferrata. Bigfoot Adventure offers quad biking trips along the south coast cliffs. A new family-friendly Polaris eco-buggy expedition with Fun Drive Mauritius is on a private estate in the northeast.

ECO-THRILLS

A WORLD OF LUXURY SECLUSION AND NATURAL BEAUTY With all pool villa accommodation nestled in 64 acres of tropical gardens, our stylish, open-air Resort offers boundless space for escapism. Unrivalled children’s and teen facilities and spacious Residence Villas make this the perfect family retreat, while romantic tranquillity caters to the desires of couples and honeymooners.

The island has an increasing array of ecothrills by independent operators. Vertical World offers canyoning down Tamarin Falls’ stunning seven cascades to an exhilarating abseil down Chamarel Falls. Skydive Mauritius offers a tandem skydive in the north. A flightseeing trip by helicopter reveals the island’s volcanic origins, and a microlight or sea plane trip cruises over skeleton-like coral gardens. A heli-tour to the ‘underwater waterfall’ gives a bird’s eye view of an illusory

Families can breakfast with giraffes and feed baby crocodiles cascade, which seems to tumble over a cliff off Le Morne peninsula.

FAMILY FUN

Families can experience ‘breakfast with giraffes’ at Casela Nature Parks and kids can be a ‘Zookeeper for a Day’ or spot wildebeest, impala and kudu on a new guided e-bike safari. At La Vanille Nature Park in the south, kids can see an iguana close-up, handle tortoise hatchlings and feed baby crocodiles and Madagascan lemurs. Explore Nou Zil offers off-road nature rides by fat bike past deer, monkeys and wild boar in private Wolmar estate and a gourmet electric-

Your Four Seasons experience continues with our three restaurants, exclusive beach on Ile aux Cerfs, an award-winning over-water Spa and complimentary golf on two championship courses.

For more information: fourseasons.com/mauritius

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16 • ADVENTURE

EXPERIENCE THE SOUTH EAST COAST OF MAURITIUS AT ANANTARA IKO MAURITIUS RESORT & VILLAS. bike coastal ride in Saint Antoine. Horseriding is offered at La Vieille Cheminee in the Chamarel highlands, on Riambel Beach, and in the forests and beaches of Le Morne with Haras du Morne.

Guests at Long Beach Mauritius have free entry to the Belle Mare Waterpark

KIDS GET ACTIVE

Family experiences at island hotels include Beachcomber Resorts’ Familymoons (for children up to 17) which include a complimentary dolphin encounter at Paradis Beachcomber, the use of a mini moke to explore the island at Victoria Beachcomber, or a ranger-led tour of Ile aux Aigrettes at Shandrani Beachcomber. A bespoke family boat trip to Ile aux Aigrettes from Preskil Island Resort includes meeting Big Daddy the tortoise. Electro-bikes

allow families to explore independently. A Little Sporty, a new family package at LUX* Grand Gaube, includes five nights in a villa with private pool, kids’ daily tennis lessons, a family golf lesson and a yoga taster. The Belle Mare Waterpark re-opened last October, witth spiral slides, a virtual reality game, a Raft River experience and a pirate ship. •

Top five... bike tours 1 Take in four centuries of island history on an electric-bike tour of Grand Port with Explore Nou Zil. 2 A clifftop mountain bike ride with Yemaya Adventures to Albion Lighthouse, featured in the movie Serenity, ends with a dip in a rock pool. 3 Learn about life on a sugar plantation on a cultural cycle ride with My Moris, with a gourmet lunch at La Demeure de Saint Antoine. 4 A new payby-the-hour guided e-bike safari at Casela Nature Parks takes kids (over 1m50) to see African antelopes. 5 Explore Nou Zil’s full-day electric-bike tour of Chamarel includes the Seven Coloured Earths, Chamarel Waterfall and the Rum Distillery.

ANANTARA - A TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE, DEFINING AUTHENTIC LUXURY THE WORLD OVER. Nestled on the untouched Le Chaland beach, fringed by acres of sugarcane and crystal-clear waters, the resort comprises of 164 rooms and suites boasting secluded luxury. From exquisite dining options, to a signature Anantara Spa, pristine beaches, indigenous experiences and a range of activities; one can experience pure escapism before lush tropical gardens and uninterrupted views on the Indian Ocean. Offering a tranquil hideaway, the resort is just a 10-minute scenic drive from Sir Seewoosagur International Airport. Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas, Blue Bay Marine Park, Le Chaland, Plaine Magnien, 51510 Mauritius T: 00230 651 50 00 | F: 00230 651 50 05 E: res.amau@anantara.com

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Meet our Artisans  #BeachcomberExperience #Mauritius www.beachcomber.com

For over 14 years, I’ve been refining my eye for detail and flair for finesse to amaze you. Reaz, Restaurant Supervisor

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18 • SCENERY

It was the Mauritian painter and poet Malcolm de Chazal who said: “Mauritius seems to have been sculpted and painted by a tasteful giant”. The land of the dodo offers inspirational views and plenty of spots to spread a picnic blanket. Set among shimmering plains of sugar cane, a stroll through the world’s thirdoldest botanical gardens at Pamplemousses reveals over 500 plant species, from exotic spice trees to a giant amazon lily pond. The red-roofed Notre Dame Auxiliatrice church at Cap Malheureux is the best vantage point to see wedge-shaped Coin de Mire, the closest of the northern islands. The east coast has kept its traditions, with fishing villages strung along a natural, unspoilt

XAVIER COIFFIC

Mauritius is gifted with a beautiful natural landscape of windsculpted mountains, shielding pockets of native forest filled with ebony trees and rare birds – all in an area no bigger than Surrey

Panoramic

Painted by a giant

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MARVINHO DOS SANTOS

SCENERY • 19

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Top tip With no light pollution, Mauritius is one of the best places for stargazing, with an astronomer pointing out the constellations of the Southern sky

Inspiration

DANIEL MALINOWSKI

Rare birds can be spotted among ancient ebony trees during a forest tour and picnic

coastline, but nature is at its wildest in the south. Black River Peak Viewpoint in the lush Black River Gorges National Park offers one of the island’s best panoramic views over the forest canopy, stretching towards the sparkling ocean. Nearby is Alexandra Falls, and spiritual sacred crater lake Grand Bassin (Ganga Talao to locals), surrounded by candy-coloured temples and flanked by statues of Hindu gods. Rare birds can be spotted among centuries-old ebony trees on a tour with Yanature, which includes a forest picnic. Luxury local DMC Emotions tailors immersive tours to many of the island’s beauty spots. The highland village of Chamarel offers enchanting vistas and a geological phenomenon, the 7 Coloured Earth Geopark, with lunar-like multicoloured dunes and pretty Chamarel Falls. At Ebony Forest Reserve, a guided tour along a raised walkway takes in endemic plants, trees and birds, including the Paradise Flycatcher. A scenic southern drive passes Gris Gris – a cliff-top vantage point at the island’s southernmost tip – rustic fishing village Baie du Cap and deserted beaches to Le Morne Brabant, seen from Macondé viewpoint. A scenic bay to bay coastal tour from Jacotet to La Prairie Bay with Island Living highlights the history and wild beauty of the south. TOURISM-MAURITIUS.MU

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Top tip

DANIEL MALINOWSKI

An eco-hike through tropical Combo Forest in the south ends with a dip in a natural pool at L’Exil waterfall in a forested grove, while bold young islanders jump from basalt cliffs at Rochester Falls. A nature walk at La Vallée de Ferney takes in rare nailwood trees, with a guaranteed sighting of the Mauritius kestrel, and Mauritian bat-watching at sundown. Tiny forested Ile aux Aigrettes at the mouth of Grand Port Bay is thought to be the last resting place of the dodo; tours take in Aldabra tortoises, the Telfair’s skink and pink pigeons. The planet’s most famous extinct bird will be the star of a ‘Dodo Experience’ in the pipeline at Mare aux Songes fossil site, where ancient dodo bones were first discovered.

GOLF

With clement weather year-round and ten topnotch scenic modern courses designed by the

Nature

Join locals on a constitutional run on the 1km car-free road around the lush forested volcanic crater of Trou aux Cerfs

DANIEL MALINOWSKI

20 • SCENERY

Mauritius offers the best golf experience of any long-haul island destination game’s greats, this tropical paradise is firmly on the global golfing map. Mauritius offers the best golf experience of any long-haul island destination, catering for pro and amateur golfers alike, with varied play and good value off-peak offers. The island plays host to prestigious tournaments every December including the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at the Heritage Golf Club in the southwest – voted the Indian Ocean’s Best Golf Course at the World Golf Awards for the

Top five... scenic tours 1 Spend the day in the pretty Chamarel highlands, ending with a spectacular sunset over 7 Coloured Earth Geopark. 2 Head to Black River Peak Viewpoint for scenic views over forest-clad peaks including the island’s highest, Black River Peak, and the coast. 3 Stroll under shady endemic palm-lined paths past exotic spice trees and giant amazon water lilies at Pamplemousses botanical gardens. 4 Take a walk on the wild side along the cliffs at Gris Gris, to see the ‘weeping rocks’. 5 A southern coastal drive to Le Morne,

takes in surf-sculpted cliffs, fishing villages, and deserted beaches.

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22 • SCENERY

Top tip

PARADIS BEACHCOMBER RESORT & SPA

The new ʻGolf Blissʼ package at Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort, the World Travel Awardsʼ ʻIndian Oceanʼs Best Golf Hotel 2019, offers five rounds on four championship courses

sixth time. It has a new course (the island’s 11th) co-designed by Peter Matkovich and Louis Oosthuizen due to open in September 2021. There is also the Staysure Senior MCB Golf Tour at Constance Belle Mare Plage in the east. The Bernhard Langer-designed ‘island’ golf experience, Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club in the east, was named as IAGTO’s best golfing experience in the Indian Ocean in 2019, while Anahita Golf & Spa Resort was its ‘best hotel experience for golfers’, offering complimentary green fees, golf cart and daily golf initiation for suite and villa guests. Stay-and-play courses are increasingly extending complimentary green fees to other island courses, while hotels and resorts without their own golf courses are adopting neighbouring courses. For example, Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa offers complimentary transfers, green fees and a daily golf taster for non-golfers at Ile

Cannonier Beachcomber has preferential rates on Mont Choisy golf course aux Cerfs Golf Club. Complimentary transfers and green fees on Tamarina Golf Club are offered to select guests at Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa and Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa, which also throws in a gourmet picnic box. Cannonier Beachcomber is the only four-star hotel in the north with preferential rates on Mont Choisy golf course, while guests at the new fourstar C Mauritius, on the east coast, can access Constance’s championship, Legends and Links. •

Top five... golf essentials 1 Introduced by British military officers in 1844, Mauritius was the third country worldwide to play golf (after the UK and India). 2 The island has 10 world-class golf courses, catering to all levels, and hosts prestigious international tournaments. 3 As a pocket-sized island, a golf green is never far away, with stay-and-play and/or access to neighbouring courses. 4 Mingle with locals in the members’ bar at The Mauritius Gymkhana Club in Vacoas, the oldest golf course in the Southern Hemisphere. 5 The newest championship course is the

Peter-Matkovich-designed Mont Choisy Golf Club in Grand Baie.

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Stay Exquisite at The St. Regis Mauritius Resort The St. Regis Mauritius Resort, situated in Mauritius’s coveted location, reclining on white sandy shore and a turquoise lagoon of the south-west peninsula of the island against the majestic backdrop of Le Morne Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site and with the world’s best diving and kite-surfing spots moments away. Featuring 172 guest rooms and suites dotted along the beach, offering the feeling of privacy and relaxation, St. Regis Butlers are ready to anticipate every need in your residence. Guests can journey a myriad of gastronomic influences ranging from French- traditional Mauritian cuisine, to the exotic dishes of Southeast Asia and fine Japanese selections. Uncompromising your moments of relaxation, the Iridium Spa provides guests with the rarest of luxuries: TIME, luring guests into tailored, transformative experiences. For more information, kindly contact us on +230 403 9000 or email us on: stregismauritius@stregis.com

B A

L W s r e b

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Inspired By Nature, Refined to Indulge at The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa Mauritius At The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Mauritius, we know that feeling good flows naturally from unwinding in a delightfully comfortable environment. Our mission is to take care of everything down to the smallest detail to make sure you leave wonderfully rested, well-nourished and nurtured. Step into our world, let it become yours, and treat yourself to tranquility. Within its pristine location on the edge of one of the oldest marine park and environment, strategically located in historic Turtle Bay, the former breeding grounds of the Mauritian green sea turtle, The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa Mauritius bestows to its guests, moments of pure indulgence and an immediate air of belonging. Spread over 10 hectare, the resort boasts 190 guest rooms and suites, separated in 15 exquisite villas spread along the spectacular bay. For more information, kindly visit our website on www.westinmauritius.com or contact us on +230 204 1400.

Be Exposed To The Uncommon, Encounter The Unexpected And Ignite Inspiration at Le MĂŠridien Ile Maurice Le MĂŠridien Ile Maurice is located on the sheltered bay of Pointe-aux-Piments, on the North West coast of Mauritius. The hotel offers a 1,000-meter stretch of white sandy beach and spectacular views on the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Discover our newly refurbished hotel and explore Mauritius with authentic and thought provoking experiences at every turn. A wide selection of restaurants and bars and, beyond the simple relaxation afforded by the sand and sea, an infinite choice of activities and sports such as spa or diving. For more information, kindly visit our website on www.lemeridien-mauritius.com or contact us on +230 204 3333.

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Immerse in the culture Mauritius is sometimes referred to as a rainbow nation, and its heady mix of Indian, French, African and Chinese people give a diverse and distinct flavour to the island experience

Colourful

26 • CULTURE

A CULTURAL MELTING POT

Having been ruled by the Dutch, French and British – and visited by swashbuckling pirates – Mauritius’ varied history has left behind ruined forts, colonial mansions and botanic gardens. Street markets, incense from brightly-painted temples and tiny tabagie (local shops) stocked with everything from soap to firecrackers, add a splash of colour. Co-existing harmoniously on this small island, the friendly Mauritian people are part of the island’s magic, united by the creole language, the hipwiggling séga national dance and a fabulous fusion food that sees locals eating croissants for breakfast, Indian-style dholl puri (the nation’s favourite street food) for lunch and Chinese-inspired Bol Renverse (upside down bowl) for supper.

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CULTURE • 27

Top tip

XAVIER KOENIG

Celebrities Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu bought model wooden ships from Historic Marine, which make a unique souvenir

Dance

LAGOON ATTITUDE

ISLAND FLAVOURS

Typical Mauritian dishes to try in traditional restaurants are Creole-style rougaille (fish or meat in a spicy tomato sauce with thyme and chilli), Indian-inspired vindaye (fish or meat coated in turmeric, ginger, chilli and mustard seeds) and octopus curry. Accompany it with the newest island beer, Thirsty Fox, a homemade rum digestive flavoured with cinnamon or lychee, a healthy citronelle (lemongrass), or local vanilla-flavoured tea. Gourmet island specialities, smoked marlin and palm heart salad and crevettes are found at hotels and attractions, and seasonal game, venison and boar are served on verandas of colonial mansions. A taste of the island is increasingly on offer at hotels islandwide, from gajaks (snacks) such as gato pima (chilli cakes) and samosas to local cooking classes, usually featuring a Mauritian curry. Farm to table is a hot new island trend, with Salt of Palmar’s hydrophonic SALT Farm, including a veggie café, launching in January 2020. The new Preskil Island Resort offers Takamaka lychee wine tasting on Tuesdays at 1810, its thatched beached restaurant, while Lagoon Attitude has a new ‘tea corner’ promoting homegrown tea.

FOOD AND CULTURE TOURS

A food tour of the capital, Port Louis, should be on every holiday hit list. The original Port Louis street food tour from My Moris weaves history and culture between bites, as does the newest, from Explore Nou Zil, while duck and Chinese sweets and tea are included on Taste Buddies’ bespoke Chinatown food tour. Mautourco’s ‘A walk back in time’ in Port Louis includes UNESCO-listed Aapravasi Ghat, where indentured Indian immigrants first landed. Alternatively, download a free DIY Port Louis’ ‘street food’ or ‘history’ walking tour from Attitude’s Otentik Discovery app. TOURISM-MAURITIUS.MU

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Top tip Taste homegrown lychee wine at Takamaka Boutique Winery, the worldʼs first vineyard dedicated to producing lychee wines, surrounded by pretty forest on Plaine Champagne

Experience

GIRISH POONYTH

28 • CULTURE

Hotels often hold music and dance performances around a bonfire on the beach

Taste Buddies’ regional food tours include popular merveille (crispy tortilla with tamarind sauce) and glaçons rapés (ice with syrup) on a Mahébourg tour, while a new Grand Baie food tour features fish vindaye or rougaille, and a pineapple and lime juice.

STREET ART, FOOD AND DANCE

Cultural experiences are aplenty on the island. The African-inspired, UNESCO-listed séga music and dance is performed at island hotels, typically around a bonfire on the beach. Contemporary street art can be seen on a stroll through the capital, while a short, steep hike to the candy-coloured Hanuman Temple at sacred crater lake Grand Bassin (Ganga Talao to the locals), gives a bird’s-eye view of Mauritian Hindus performing religious rituals. My Moris cultural tours range from a Creole cooking class by the sea by local resident, Rosemonde to attending a Geet Gawai rehearsal, a musical tradition performed at Hindu weddings. ‘Chef for a day’ from ground handler Mautourco includes a trip to the local market and a cooking demonstration in a colonial house restaurant. Sunset Faraway Holidays now extends invitations to the Kaz Out music festival in November, which features musicians from The Vanilla Islands,

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30 • CULTURE

Top tip

MR KIM JEONG HEUM TRAVIE

Flavour

Fine dining at Café des Arts, a restored sugar factory in Trou dʼEau Douce, takes place among paintings by Yvette Maniglier, the last student of Matisse

and pirogue trips with local fishermen from Cap Malheureux. New for 2020 is an interactive shopping experience at Patrick Mavros’ recentlyopened jewellery atelier at L’Aventure du Sucre, and multi-day trips to Rodrigues Island. Attitude’s pioneering Otentik Attitude Experiences led to an explosion in authentic experiences islandwide from rum tasting, culinary specialities and séga dancing in the new ‘Ler Lokal’ concept from Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa to an electricbike tour around historic Mahébourg, breakfast on a pirogue, and Creole lessons at revamped Preskil Island Resort. SALT of Palmar has a unique ‘skills swap’ with locals and a three-day ‘Cookery Circuit’ cycle safari by e-bike exploring culinary hotspots and sampling street food. New courses with local producers from January 2020 include a cheese-making workshop with local dairy farmer, Angelo.

See how to cut out a palm heart on a new organic farm tour at La Vielle Cheminee Mini-culture vultures can look for artefacts, learn Creole words and sample street food on a family treasure hunt (from six years) in Port Louis with My Moris or see how to cut out a palm heart on a new organic farm tour at La Vielle Cheminée. Children can learn about cooking with plants in a new Chef’s Garden at Constance Prince Maurice. Creole lessons, a family séga dance class and a local cooking session feature in A Little Curious, a new five-night family package at LUX* Belle Mare. •

Top five... festivals 1 Tamils parade the streets carrying a ‘cavadee’ (a decorated rattan frame) to temples islandwide for Thaipoosam Cavadee in February. 2 The International Kreol Festival in November includes séga concerts, traditional food and a pirogue regatta. 3 At Holi, locals smear coloured powder over each other after burning an effigy of the demon Holika. 4 Hindus gather at the crater lake Ganga Talao at Maha Shivaratree in February to make offerings to Shiva. 5 Music festivals include Festival La Isla 2068 at Chateau de Labourdonnais in

May and Kaz Out at L’Aventure du Sucre in November.

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& Rodrigues

UP TO

SAVE

SUNSET FARAWAY HOLIDAYS ARE HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE THAT THEY WILL BE CELEBRATING 40 YEARS! Set up in 1984, as a family owned & independent Tour operator, the company’s launched its first campaign to sell Mauritius and Seychelles and never looked back.We remain a proud market leader in Indian Ocean specialist holidays, and 40 years on, we are still dedicated to sell the beauty of Mauritius & Rodrigues. Book with us and you will only experience true Mauritian hospitality and service! The Sunset family are passionate to welcome you!

50% for 2020

Rodrigues Island is among one of the rarest place you could seek for. Preciously kept away from the mainstream travel destinations, this pristine island is very well known for its authentic culture, people and unspoilt places where serenity reign over. GREAT HOTEL COLLECTION | FREE UPGRADES 4* & 5* DEALS | TOP FLIGHT DEALS

www.sunset.co.uk | 020 8774 7100 | enquiries@sunset.co.uk

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32 • oCeans

Endless beaches slope into a reeffringed sky-blue lagoon, offering world-class watersports from semisubmersibles to swimming with sea creatures and island-hopping adventures leT The ThrIlls BegIn

Mauritius is almost entirely encircled by the world’s third largest coral reef. Its main resort, Grand Baie in the north, has the most white sand coves, including pretty Pereybère and La Cuvette. Nearby are the swimming beaches of Trou aux Biches, with good snorkelling, and Mont Choisy, with waterskiing and wakeboarding. Celebrated talcum-white sand stretches on the breezy east coast, which includes the endless Belle Mare Plage, perfect for watersports in the Mauritian summer. The picture-perfect Ile aux Cerfs has white sandbars stretching into the east coast lagoon, and Blue Bay Marine Park is the island’s best snorkelling spot. On the ‘sunset coast’ a swathe of golden sand with calm shallow water stretches from vibrant Flic

Exploring

Ocean thrills

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DINAROBIN BEACHCOMBER GOLF RESORT & SPA

Relax

A ranger-led tour promises sightings of rare pink pigeons and giant tortoises

Top tip

MARVINHO DOS SANTOS

oCeans • 33

Discover the islandʼs underwater world at Odysséo, the Indian Oceanʼs largest aquarium, which is due to open in Port Louis marina in June 2020

en Flac to tranquil Wolmar. Surf’s up from June to August on the wide salt and pepper sweep of Tamarin Bay (sandy underfoot for swimming) while Le Morne beach is one of the island’s finest, with world-class kitesurfing. Rodrigues’ Trou d’Argent (Money Hole), a wild cove where pirates once landed, was named among the 30 best preserved beaches worldwide.

sea adVenTures

Watersports including snorkelling, windsurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and water-skiing are complimentary at most hotels. Le Morne’s ‘One Eye’ is among the top five spots on the planet for kitesurfing, with a protected bay for beginners to learn, and Rodrigues is popular with seasoned kiters. Kitesurfing courses with a Mauritian pro are available at Preskil Island Resort, and Long Beach Mauritius offers parasailing in the east coast lagoon. Nativ Lodge’s kayak tour of Mahébourg is new at Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas and takes in monuments, mountains and mangroves and includes a traditional Mauritian lunch. For ocean thrills, learn to drive a sea-kart on the scenic southwest coast. Most island hotels offer complimentary glassbottom boat trips and daily snorkelling. Eyeball exotic parrotfish, convict surgeonfish and tourism-mauritius.mu

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PARADISE COVE BOUTIQUE HOTEL

34 • oCeans

spot live corals in Blue Bay Marine Park, the island’s finest snorkelling spot, in the southeast. Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita offers snorkelling trips to translucent turquoise Eau Bleu, teeming with tropical fish, and a new educative Mangrove Kayak experience, both accompanied by a WiseOceans guide. The Underwater Snorkel Trail at the refurbished ecoescape Lagoon Attitude, which was previously TUI Sensimar, is hosted by in-house conservation experts from the Marine Discovery Centre.

Top tip

Snorkellers can join twice-daily feeding sessions of shark, giant moray eels and turtles at the Mauritius Aquarium in Pointe aux Piments. Underwater sightseeing around Grand Baie includes semi-submersible rides on La Nessee for little ones, an aqua scooter ride and, for wannabe divers, there’s undersea walk in the north and east. Mauritius’ and Rodrigues’ dive sites are the best in the Indian Ocean, and dive centres cater for all levels and often offer PADI scuba diving courses. Blue Water Diving Center in the northwest offers experienced divers an exciting dive in the ‘Shark Basin’. World record-breaking

Watch playful bottlenose and spinner dolphins in Tamarin Bay

Adventure

snorKel, dIVe or FIsh

Dream Yacht Charter offers multi-day sailing trips on a crewed catamaran, bookable by cabin, taking in Îlot Gabriel, with optional excursions to island attractions

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OCEANS • 35

blue marlin put Black River (Rivière Noire), on the game fishing map, with Rodrigues also a hotspot. Make like Hemingway and bag yourself a giant wahoo, marlin or even a tiger shark on a deep-sea fishing trip. The most popular watery west coast excursion is an early-morning boat trip to swim with and watch playful bottlenose and spinner dolphins in Tamarin Bay – while experienced stand-up paddlers can glide among them. For a more unusual nautical experience, Mautourco’s ‘Whale Encounter’ promises majestic sperm whale spotting year round and humpback whales from July to October. Hawksbill turtles can be spotted on snorkelling and sea plane trips on the north and west coast, and Royal Palm

Beachcomber offers bespoke excursions to swim with turtles off Trou aux Biches.

Island-hopping

A catamaran, speedboat or traditional pirogue cruise to Mauritius’ uninhabited offshore islands, with snorkelling and a BBQ lunch, is a holiday must. Most popular is Île aux Cerfs, the ultimate tropical island playground, a short boat hop from Trou d’eau Douce, with white-sand beaches, watersports and a treetop adventure course with giant Tarzan swings.

Escape

Crusoe’s CASTAWAYS

A day trip to the far flung pristine northern islands sails past distinctive wedge-shaped Coin de Mire (Gunners Quoin), to snorkel at tiny

The Wintertime Blues

You have the perfect destination? We have the perfect place to stay

Top five... island experiences

Relax at Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa ! We have all needed for a perfect break: picturesque oceanfront location with unrestricted sunset views, unlimited complimentary dolphin watching trip, unique torch ceremony... Taste all our restaurants and bars !

1 A day trip to the northern islands includes snorkelling at crystal clear Îlot Gabriel and spectacular beaches at Île Plate. 2 Close to shore, a ranger-led tour of Île aux Aigrettes takes in giant tortoises, pink pigeons and Telfair’s skink. 3 A familyfriendly kayak expedition around mangrove-fringed Ile d’Ambre with Yemaya Adventures can include a picnic and a swim at Île aux Bernaches. 4 A speedboat trip to the historic southeast islands ends with a BBQ lunch on Île aux Cerfs. 5 A five-star lunch and snorkelling in the Blue Bay Marine Park are lures at Crusoe-style private island paradise Île de Deux Cocos.

For booking contact your preferred agent or book direct at mauritius.hilton.com or call +230 403 1000 Always get the lowest price only when you book direct*

tourism-mauritius.mu HILTON MAURITIUS RESORT & SPA Wolmar | Flic en Flac | Mauritius +230 403 1000 | reservations.mauritius@hilton.com

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Top tip East coast breezes from November to April make ideal conditions for watersports, with clear, calm and warm waters for diving and deep-sea fishing.

Intrepid

36 • oCeans

Îlot Gabriel (Gabriel Island) and spectacular beaches at larger Île Plate (Flat Island). A seafood lunch in the ruins of Governor’s House on Île Plate is truly exclusive, as is a sail on Blue Zest’s pirate-style boat The Bounty to tiny white sandy haven Île aux Bernaches in the northeast lagoon. Yemaya Adventures offers a familyfriendly kayak expedition to Île d’Ambre (Amber Island), with green turtles often spotted close to shore. Busy Île aux Bénitiers (Clam Island) on the west coast is a common lunch stop on dolphin cruises, with snorkelling around ‘crystal rock’. Day visitors to Crusoe-style private island paradise Île de Deux Cocos get a cold towel and sparkling wine at the jetty, a five-star lunch and snorkelling in the Blue Bay Marine Park. One&Only Le Saint Géran offers an east coast trip on vintage boat Lady Lisbeth, built for Queen Elizabeth II, complete

with an onboard massage therapist and a champagne picnic on a deserted beach.

KICK BaCK and CruIse

Naturalists will enjoy tiny Île aux Aigrettes nature reserve, a kilometre from shore, where a rangerled tour includes a guaranteed sighting of rare pink pigeons and giant tortoises. Powerboats whisk visitors to the historic southeast islands, mooring at Île aux Fouquets, which has an old lighthouse, and stopping at Grand Riviére Sud Est waterfall and Île aux Cerfs for a barbecue. Sunset and dinner cruises with Catamaran Cruises Mauritius head from Black River to Tamarin Bay on the west coast, with the chance to spot whales and dolphins, towards Coin de Mire from Grand Baie, and to historic Grand Port bay in the southeast. Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort also offers sunset cruises to Ile aux Aigrettes. •

Top five... ocean essentials

STEVE BONCOURT

1 Mauritius is almost entirely encircled by the world’s third-largest coral reef, protecting biodiverse marine life in its lagoons. 2 Some 160km of beaches include sheltered coves, endless talcum-white stretches and golden sands. 3 The north and west have the greatest concentration of watery adventures, from diving and deep-sea fishing to swimming with dolphins. 4 Le Morne Peninsula’s ‘One Eye’ is among the top five kitesurfing hotspots on the planet, with a calm bay nearby for beginners to learn. 5 Mauritius’ and Rodrigues’ dive sites

are the best in the Indian Ocean.

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Top tip

On the up and up Mauritius hotels and resorts are forever raising the bar, from extensive refurbishments of established resorts to the launch of new lifestyle brands aimed at independent-minded travellers RISING STARS

Following a complete refit, family-friendly Preskil Island Resort (previously Preskil Beach Resort) near historic Mahébourg re-emerged as a four-star superior contemporary ‘island retreat’ in June 2019, with new rooms, fresh dining concepts and a gemology spa. Offering secluded luxury, Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas opened on Le Chaland beach in September 2019 with 164 rooms and suites, four restaurants, a spa with hammam and a kids club. Eight luxury pool villas are due by June 2020. SALT of Palmar has new family packages and cycle safaris for 2020, while the all-inclusive four-star plus C Mauritius opened on the east coast in December 2019 with 116 locally-inspired rooms, three pools, three restaurants and a spa. A game changer for the north, Le Meridien Ile Maurice will reopen as a new Colonialstyle five-star in June 2020, with beachfront rooms, an adults-only Nirvana wing with pool suites and fresh dining concepts.

SUGAR BEACH CITRONELLA

SALT

New ʻupmarket backpackersʼ accommodation, Kazʼalala Hosted B&B (kazalala.com), on Bel Ombre estate, has rooms in shared funky-coloured houses and an all-day restaurant

Retreat

PARADISE COVE BOUTIQUE HOTEL

38 • ACCOMMODATION

LE MERIDIEN ILE MAURICE

ADULTS-ONLY

Romance has gone up a notch with the re-opening of adults-only Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel in September 2019, with re-styled rooms, new pool,

and a tapas restaurant and bar. The first adultsonly eco-escape, Lagoon Attitude (previously TUI Sensimar) in Anse La Raie, re-opened in November 2019 with three different zones: lively, laidback and local. Sleek adults-only hotel Ocean V opened in Pereybere in November 2019 with a rooftop infinity pool, restaurant and lounge bar.

FRESH FLUSH

City resort Le Suffren Hotel & Marina in Port Louis harbour has undergone a contemporary maritime makevoer including a sushi and oyster counter and a revamped seafront bar. Meanwhile, Sugar Beach Mauritius is putting the fnishing touches to its room and F&B makeover. Tekoma Boutique Hotel in St Francois re-opens in March 2020 with 16 new rooms, including five new beachfront rooms and a fresh spa. Mourouk Ebony Hotel will then close for a complete facelift.

ONES TO WATCH

Maritim Resort & Spa Mauritius in Turtle Bay closes on February 1 2020 for a transformation, which will include 60 new rooms and a pool with a bar. LUX* Grand Baie Resort & Residences, a rebuild of LUX* Merville Beach, will emerge in 2021 with 119 keys, spa and rooftop bar. •

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Festive

big CULTURE picture • 39

Cultural colour

Girish Poonyth

Mauritius is a melting pot of global cultures and religions which is best experienced by getting involved! Events run throughout the year, celebrating everything from saints to new seasons. Festivals celebrated include Holi, the Hindu festival of colours that signifies the arrival of spring; the Chinese Spring Festival which sees lion and dragon dancers parade through Port Louis’ Chinatown; and the International Kreol Festival which celebrates Creole culture with food and concerts.

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40 • ECO

Go wild, go green As one of the most biodiverse islands on the planet, Mauritius is ripe for the eco-traveller, with nature reserves, eco-excursions and sustainable initiatives at many hotels. Top tip

ON THE WILD SIDE

Sustainable

MR KIM JEONG HEUM TRAVIE

MUR ROYAL PALM BEACHCOMBER

SALT

SALT

Mauritius has been ranked by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as having the third most endangered flora in the world, and it also has nine of the worldʼs rarest bird species

Ebony trees once covered the island, but today only 2% of native forest remains, and the island’s stakeholders are pulling out the sustainability stops to make sure the remaining wildlife doesn’t go the way of the dodo. Rewilded, with giant tortoises, pink pigeons and Telfair’s skink reintroduced, Île aux Aigrettes in the southeast gives a glimpse of the dodo’s world, and following their release in La Vallée de Ferney by The Mauritius Wildlife Foundation (MWF) the echo parakeet and pink pigeon are breeding in the wild for the first time in a century. Ebony Forest in Chamarel is working to rewild 45 hectares of indigenous forest for the survival of native species.

GREENER AND FAIRER HOLIDAYS Ecotourism starts the minute you board an Air Mauritius flight, with the nation’s airline working to reduce waste and single-use plastics. Sister island Rodrigues has banned plastic bags. UK tour operator Mauritius Holidays Direct invites customers to plant an endemic tree to restore Albion Park as a carbon-offsetting initiative. Mautourco’s sustainable Mahebourg tour involves local communities and the Spirit of Chamarel NGO is ensuring tourism benefits the village.

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

Sustainable practices at Mauritius’ hotels and resorts have earned them prestigious and internationally-recognised certification. Sun Resorts is Travelife Gold and EarthCheck Silver certified, Beachcomber hotels and resorts EarthCheck Silver, LUX* Resorts Travelife Gold and Green Globe, Constance Green Globe Gold, Heritage Green Key and Attitude Travelife Gold. The island’s first eco-hotel, SALT of Palmar, has refillable water bottles, zero waste and a hydroponic farm to supply its food opening in January 2020. The first ‘eco-committed’ adults-only Lagoon Attitude offers complimentary locallymade mineral sunscreen, a Marine Discovery Lab with blue net bags given to guests to assist with marine cleaning (with scrap upcycled) and a ‘Citizen Science’ programme where guests can help assess the state of the reef or identify sperm whales. Some 2,500 stems of mangrove were replanted to create the new Preskil Island Resort, and the grounds planted with 40 species of endemic plants from the southeast islands.

TREAD LIGHTLY, LEAVE NOTHING LUX* Resorts & Hotels offers carbon offsetting through its ‘Tread Lightly’ programme, and

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in-house water bottling to conservation programmes. LUX* Le Morne has become the island’s first zero waste resort – feeding 700 school children every week – with all LUX *Mauritius properties to follow. Attitude is the first island group to obtain the ‘Made in Moris’ label for its strong Mauritian identity and innovative ‘Otentik Experiences’, and its new ‘Positive Footprint Pledge’ encourages tourists to become ‘activists’ for the island. Eco-luxury Constance Hotels & Resorts encourages guests to support its sustainable initiatives from coral replanting to buying locally-made gifts. Sun Resorts invites guests to contribute one euro per night’s stay to support island projects, including the rewilding of Ilot Mangenie.

BEE SUSTAINABLE

Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels’ ‘52 commitments to our planet’ range from repurposing linens to a youth employment initiative. Royal Palm Beachcomber Luxury is

Lagoon Attitude offers guests complimentary locally-made mineral sunscreen

the first to ‘Bee Sustainable’, with beehives producing honey. Sustainable initiatives from Heritage Resorts include artificial reefs, which have revived marine life.

GOING LOCAL

Travelife Gold-certified Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa is reducing plastic, recycling soaps and using local suppliers. The new Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas has an ozone pool and a solar-powered waste transformer in the pipeline, while Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita has a Marine Discovery Programme for guests in partnership with WiseOceans. •

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With years of expertise catering for an international clientele, ‘Emotions’ has gained a reputation as one of Mauritius leading luxury concierge and destination management agencies. Our mission since our creation, has been to create exquisite customised experiences and moments of truth. The journey so far, has been both exciting and inspirational, whereby our team members have demonstrated with pride, business savoir faire and the highest standards of ethical conduct. With the loyal collaboration of our partners, we are today regarded as the go-to-Destination Management Company for handcraft and immersive experiences in Mauritius. We conceptualize, create and plan itineraries, products and packages that constantly evolve to adapt to our guests’ needs. In 2018, ‘Emotions’ unveiled its elevated brand identity, ‘O’Chic by Emotions’. O’Chic by Emotions has been crafted to relish and reflect high-end elevated concierge service, where luxury, exclusivity, discretion and accessibility blend flawlessly. O’Chic by Emotions offers unique travel experiences and custom curated itineraries. O’Chic is your passport to an unparalleled immersion in the authentic Mauritian Lifestyle.

C

M

Y

In conclusion, with Emotions and O’Chic by Emotions, nothing is left to chance.

CM

MY

We always respect your DNA.

CY

CMY

K

Contact rakesh@pearlr.co.uk rheenadookunadolphe@emotionsdmc.com

One island...

DANIEL MALINOWSKI

A story to be told www.emotionsdmc.com

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42 • TOUR OPERATORS

Ready to book

MARVINHO DOS SANTOS

Looking to secure a place in the Mauritius sun? Look no further – these UK operators are standing by to help

2 by 2 Holidays 2by2holidays.co.uk

Bushbaby bushbaby.travel

Elegant Golf Resorts elegantgolfresorts.com

Holiday Elite holidayelite.com

Abercrombie & Kent abercrombiekent.co.uk

Caribtours caribtours.co.uk

Elegant Resorts elegantresorts.co.uk

Holiday Place holidayplace.co.uk

Africa Travel africatravel.com

Carolyn Lodge Travel carolynlodgetravel.co.uk

Emirates Holidays emiratesholidays.com

Holidays Please holidaysplease.co.uk

African Collection africacollection.co.uk

Carrier carrier.co.uk

Enchanting Holidays enchantingholidays.co.uk

Hummingbird Travel hummingbird.travel

African Pride african-pride.co.uk

Cedarberg Africa cedarberg-travel.com

Essential Escapes essentialescapes.com

If Only… ifonly.net

Airworld Tours airworldtours.co.uk

Chaka Travel chakatravel.com

Exclusive Golf exclusivegolf.co.uk

Inspirational Travel inspirational-travel.com

American Express travel.americanexpress.co.uk

Club Med clubmed.co.uk

Exotic Retreats exoticretreats.co.uk

ITC Luxury Travel itcluxurytravel.co.uk

Audley Travel audleytravel.com

Cosmos Tours & Cruises cosmostoursandcruises.co.uk

Expedia expedia.co.uk

Kenwood Travel kenwoodtravel.co.uk

Away Holidays awayholidays.co.uk

Cox and Kings coxandkings.co.uk

Explore! explore.co.uk

Kirker kirkerholidays.com

Azure azurecollection.com

Definitive Tours definitivetours.com

Expressions expressionsholidays.co.uk

Kuoni kuoni.co.uk

Bailey Robinson baileyrobinson.com

Destination Golf destinationgolf.co.uk

Exsus exsus.com

Lets Go 2 letsgo2.com

Barefoot Traveller barefoot-traveller.com

Destinology destinology.co.uk

Flight Centre flightcentre.co.uk

Lusso lussotravel.com

Barrhead Travel barrheadtravel.co.uk

Dial a Flight dialaflight.com

Freedom Destinations freedomdestinations.co.uk

LUX Tripper luxtripper.co.uk

Beachcomber Tours beachcombertours.co.uk

Distant Landings distantlandings.com

Globehunters globehunters.com

Luxury Holidays luxuryholidays.co.uk

Best at Travel bestattravel.co.uk

Dive Worldwide diveworldwide.com

Golden Holidays golden-holidays.co.uk

Luxury Travel Guide corporatelivewire.com

Black Tomato blacktomato.com

ebookers.com ebookers.com

Gold Medal goldmedal.co.uk

Luxury Worldwide Collection luxuryworldwidecollection.com

Blue Bay Travel bluebaytravel.co.uk

Eagle Golf Tours eaglegolftours.com

Golf Breaks golfbreaks.com

Mauritius Holidays Direct mauritiusholidaysdirect.co.uk

Bridge & Wickers theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk

Eden Collection edencollection.co.uk

Golf Travel Club golftravelclub.co.uk

Mercury Holidays mercuryholidays.co.uk

British Airways Holidays britishairways.com

EFR Travel efrtravel.co.uk

Hayes & Jarvis hayesandjarvis.co.uk

Mosaic Holidays mosaicholidays.co.uk

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TOUR OPERATORS • 43

Serendipity Travel serendipity.travel

Tailor Made Holidays tailormadeholidays.co.uk

Travel Designers traveldesigners.co.uk

Wexus wexas.com

Orbital Travel orbitaltravel.co.uk

Skylord Travel skylordtravel.com

The Holidays Place holidayplace.co.uk

Travel Junction traveljunction.com

Windseeker windseekerholidays.co.uk

Original Travel originaltravel.co.uk

Solos Holidays solosholidays.co.uk

The Internet Traveller theinternettraveller.com

Travelbag travelbag.co.uk

Winged Boots wingedboots.co.uk

Perfect Weddings Abroad perfectweddingsabroad.co.uk

Somak Holidays somak.com

The Ultimate Travel Company theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk

Travelpack travelpack.com

Your Golf Travel 
 yourgolftravel.com

Planet Kitesurf Holidays planetkitesurfholidays.com

Southall Travel southalltravel.co.uk

THG Holidays thgholidays.co.uk

Travelsphere travelsphere.co.uk

Premier Holidays premierholidays.co.uk

Sovereign sovereign.com

TUI tui.co.uk

Tropical Sky Golf Holidays holidays4golf.co.uk

Prestbury Travel Group prestburytravel.co.uk

Spabreaks.com spabreaks.com

toescapeto toescapeto.com

Tropical Sky tropicalsky.co.uk

Pure Luxury Holidays pureluxuryholidays.co.uk

Sportif sportif.travel

Touchdown Holidays touchdown.co.uk

Turquoise Holidays turquoiseholidays.co.uk

Rainbow Tours rainbowtours.co.uk

Stylish Resorts stylishresorts.com

Tots Too totstoo.com

Virgin Holidays virginholidays.co.uk

Red Savannah redsavannah.com

SUNSET Faraway Holidays sunset.co.uk

Tourico Holidays login.touricoholidays.com

Voyage Privé voyage-prive.co.uk

Saga Holidays saga.co.uk

Supertravel Golf supertravel.co.uk

Trailfinders trailfinders.com

Wanderforth wanderforth.com

Scott Dunn scottdunn.com

Susie Freeman Travel susiefreemantravel.com

Travel Counsellors travelcounsellors.co.uk

Western Oriental westernoriental.com

Destination Management Company

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XAVIER KOENIG

Only Exclusive Travel onlyexclusivetravel.com

Lisa Darchambaud – UK Representative • P:+44 207 078 4896 • M:+44 7802 581377 • E:lisad@mautourco.com 84, Gustave Colin Street • Forest Side 74514 • Mauritius • T. +230 604 3000 • F. +230 674 3720 • www.mautourco.com 10/11/2019 20:41

23/01/2020 11:54


Flying you direct onboard our upgraded aircraft

Air Mauritius is the only airline to offer direct non stop ights from London Heathrow to Mauritius. Using A340 and A330neo aircraft we y from Heathrow Terminal Four up to 4 times a week. We also offer UK Regional Airport departures to Mauritius via Paris in conjunction with our partner Air France. In both our Business Class and Economy Class cabins enjoy the warm Mauritius welcome, an excellent choice of food styled on the multicultural essence of Mauritius and friendly on board service.

BUSINESS  Full at Business Class seats  State of the art on demand entertainment system

ECONOMY  State of the art on demand entertainment system  Individual 11.1 inch HD LED Screens

 Individual 15.4 inch HD LED screens

 Complimentary luggage allowance

 All seats have aisle access

 Champagne service (pre-order required)

 Complimentary lounge access

 Golf bag and wedding dress carried free

terms and conditions apply

For more information: Tel: +44 (0) 20 8834 5800 Email: UKReservations@airmauritius.com Web: www.airmauritius.com Trade web: www.airmauritius.biz Air Mauritius Training Site: www.airmauritiusacademy.com

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Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

Mauritius Guide 2020  

Created by a volcanic eruption eight million years ago, Mauritius is an enchanting, pocket-sized tropical haven, boasting stunning sandy bea...

Mauritius Guide 2020  

Created by a volcanic eruption eight million years ago, Mauritius is an enchanting, pocket-sized tropical haven, boasting stunning sandy bea...