Sightseeing in Mauritius
For a holiday in Mauritius it would be a shame to spend this solely on the beach. Travel through the country and explore the many facets of the island. Mauritius offers a lot of nature, such as the great Black River Gorges National Park, several waterfalls, a beautiful mountainous landscape for hiking and climbing, natural smaller islands and some fascinating views on the rough Indian Ocean on the south coast. To learn more about the history of Mauritius, museums, botanical gardens and ancient buildings from the colonial era can be visited. For the adventurers, the island offers the opportunity to swim with dolphins, to drive Seakart or take a break in the Casela Park for hiking, climbing, quad biking, going on a safari tours or encounter wild animals.
Below, we list the attractions of the island. Beginning in the northwest of the island around Port Louis, the highlights in the north and east are shown before the southern region of the island is presented afterwards.
Hiking: Le Pouce und Pieter Both north west
A hiking trip on the mountain Le Pouce is a popular amusement amongst the Mauritian population. Thus, the pathway which is relatively easy to walk has to be shared with a lot of excursionists on the weekend. But who climbs the 812m of the mountain will be rewarded with a fantastic view on Port Louis and its surroundings.
The mountain Pieter Both can be climbed too. For this purpose experience in climbing and climbing equipment are needed. The mountain is crowned distinctively by a boulder on its peak.
La Maison Creole “Eureka” in Moka north west
In the villa Eureka the visitor can dive into the Mauritian past. The elegant colonial villa was built by English settlers in 1830. The colonial furnishing with chandeliers, heavy wooden furniture, old musical instruments and historical maps make the visitor sense what life must have been like for a plantation owner in the 19th century. In the garden of the villa a small waterfall can be discovered. A restaurant and a souvenir shop complete the destination. [www.maisoneureka.com
Port Louis north west
Port Louis is the capital and the commercial and administrative centre of the island. A visit should be part of a holiday in Mauritius. In the Central Market fruits and vegetables pile up in large pyramids, salesmen court the customer’s attention and people merchandise in all languages. Here you have a large selection of souvenirs. On the Corderie Street you will find numerous garment material transactions. You can get high-quality materials for on low prices. In the large shopping centre at the harbor, the Caudan Waterfront, you will find many boutiques and restaurants and there is also a market for handicrafts, which is recommended.
In the capital you will find various museums. The Blue Penny Museum is dedicated solely to the history of the Blue Mauritius, while more stamps, post office boxes and franking machines will be exhibited at the nearby Postal Museum. In the Natural History Museum, which is located in a pretty yellow colonial villa next to the park Jardin de la Compagnie, you can admire, among other exhibits, the skeleton of a Dodo and learn more about the history of the heraldic animal of the island. In the Worldwide Mask Museum tribal masks will be exhibited from around the world that are sometimes brought to life by colourful presentations.
Other buildings that you should visit are the Government Palace, built in 1740, the impressive City Theatre, St. Louis Cathedral, the imposing Chinese Thien Thane Pagoda and the Jummah Mosque, which gives a touch of Arabian Nights in the Mauritian capital.
The old British Fort Adelaide from 1840 offers a wonderful panoramic view over the capital. Here you can overlook the harbor and the entire city. It features the horse racing track "Champ de Mars" particularly. It is the oldest racecourse in the southern hemisphere and even the second oldest of the world after Turkey. Take the opportunity and be one of the approximately 20,000 visitors on the racecourse and try to make the big money while betting.
Domaine les Pailles north west
At a distance of only 5km from Port Louis lies a special recreation area: Domaine les Pailles, an open-air museum which depicts the history of Mauritius vividly. The area can be explored by mini train or in a horse-drawn carriage. The main attraction of the park is an old sugar mill, in which sugar production is demonstrated. In the distillery the visitor learns how rum is produced. In the casino, which is to be found in an old colonial building gamblers will find their joy. You shouldn’t miss a dinner in one of the gourmet restaurants, where you can enjoy Creole, Chinese or Indian cuisine. [www.domainelespailles.net
Botanic Garden of Pamplemousses north
The Botanic Garden of Pamplemousses is one of the main tourist attractions in Mauritius. A visit shouldn’t be missed out. In 1736 first gardens with plants from Asia and Europe were created and expanded over the years. Currently, the park measures 37 hectare and displays around 600 plant species from all over the world. The visitor can stroll on palm tree avenues and intricate pathways through banyan trees with their impressing aerial roots. His way leads him along fishponds, a bawn with giant tortoises and a deer park.
The most famous spot of the park is the lake with giant water lilies whose leaves are supposed to be able to carry the weight of a baby. Another star of the park is the talipot palm tree. To see it in full splendor the visitor has to be very lucky: only once after about 40 years the tree blossoms miraculously and then dies. Furthermore, an old sugar mill and a white colonial villa with a photo exhibition on the history of the Mauritian independence can be visited. Thus the visitor can spend a whole day in the Botanic Garden of Pamplemousses and will be enthusiastic about all the wonderful impressions he was able to gather there.
L’Aventure du Sucre in Beau Plan north
In an old sugar refinery in Beau Plan, at about 300m from Pamplemousses, a museum has found its home which presents the Mauritian history and its relation to the history of sugar production. This is presented vividly with pictures and films. In addition, the visitor is able to view the old production machines. Thus the visitor gets to know the importance of sugar production for the island of Mauritius and its development. [www.aventuredusucre.com
Hindu Temple in Triolet north
On the end of Triolet, near Trou aux Biches, the biggest Hindu temple of Mauritius is to be found. The temple Maheswarnath Shiv Mandir was built in 1891 in honor of the gods Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu, Muruga, Brahma and Ganesha. A temple servant will be happy to show you around and explain the importance of the different statues in the temple for a little donation.
Aquarium in Pointe aux Piments north west coast
The only aquarium of Mauritius is located in Pointe aux Piments. If you don't want to dive or to snorkel you should take the advantage to take a look at the colourful underwater world of the Indian Ocean in this aquarium. [www.mauritiusaquarium.com
Grand Baie north coast
Grand Baie is the tourist center of Mauritius. Here you will find numerous shops and all kind of entertainment. The voyageur can stroll down the Sunset Boulevard and buy some beautiful clothes and souvenirs here. Afterwards he can take his dinner in one of the numerous restaurants with Chinese, French, Creole or Italian cuisine. In the evening Grand Baie is the hotspot of the Mauritian nightlife. Bars and discotheques await their visitors.
Cap Malheureux north coast
Cap Malheureux is the northernmost point of the island. The “Cape of bad luck” owes his name to an historic event of the year 1810, when the British wrest the power over the island from the French. Today Cap Malheureux is a popular place of excursions. From here you have a wonderful view on the island Coin de Mire offshore. Her form reminds of a seal who puts his nose out of the water. Furthermore the little, red-roofed church Notre-Dame Auxilatrice is worth taking a picture. Inside the church you can admire impressing woodworks and a holy water basin made out of a giant shell.
Goodlands north east
The little town Goodlands is visited by tourists mainly due to its factory for ship models Historic Marine. This is the biggest factory on the island. Mauritius is well-known for the manufacturing of ship models which are exported to the whole world. In the factory the visitor can marvel at these masterpieces and in the workshop he can watch the artists at work.
Paul et Virginie in Poudre d’Or north east coast
In old documents and maps the small fishermen’s village Poudre d’Or appears regularly as a possible hiding place for pirates treasures. Thus it was in the 50ies that a farmer came across a suitcase full of gold coins while working on his field. Ever since treasure hunters from all over the world come to the little village. Poudre d’Or has also been the setting for a dramatic maritime disaster, the sinking of the boat Saint Géran in 1744. This disaster inspired the poet Bernardin de Saint-Pierre to create his romantic novel “Paul et Virginie”. Today a memorial reminds of the catastrophe.
Water Park Belle-Mare north east coast
The Water Park in Belle-Mare is the family destination. Waterslides, big swimming-pools, wave pools, Jacuzzis and a lot more ensure a good time for kids and parents.
Île aux Cerfs north east coast
A small paradise is found on Île aux Cerfs. This Island can be reached by motorboat. The journey itself through dense mangroves is worth a trip. Once arrived on the island, you will find yourself at a wonderful beach. Next to Île aux Cerfs there is another little island, Île de l’Est which can be reached by swimming or walking trough a canal. Due to the current precautions have to be taken and crossing the channel is not advisable if you are not a good swimmer. On Île aux Cerfs you can enjoy the kilometers of sandy beaches, you can do every water sport your heart desires or you can savour a dinner in the outstanding restaurant.
Kestrel Valley and Domaine de l'Ylang-Ylang at Vieux Grand Port south east coast
For nature lovers Kestrel Valley is the perfect destination. You will find yourself in an area of 1500 hectares with the vegetation of a jungle. You can either do trekking tours, hiking or simply a promenade to enjoy nature. Hunting trips in the Domaine or fishing trips in the Indian Ocean are also offered. Even the visitor that doesn’t hunt will surely meet some of the java deer which live in the forest. The restaurant Panoramour on the plateau offers a spectacular view on the surroundings. Here there are mainly homemade products served. In Domaine de l'Ylang-Ylang the flagrant ylang-ylang flowers grow. The visitor can watch how perfume is produced from their blossoms. The area is also popular amongst hikers.
Le Val Nature Park south east
Le Val Nature Park is a popular destination amongst Mauritians and tourists. A lot of Mauritian families spend their week-ends here, relaxing at the small streams and waterfalls or enjoying a trip on the lake with a paddle boat. The fish that you catch while fun-fishing may be taken home. Many attractions elate especially to kids: horse riding, a small train, giant tortoises, deer, sheep and colorful birds.
Mahébourg south east coast
Mahébourg is a modern and at the same time historic town. Here the visitor can admire the neo-gothic cathedral Notre Dame d’Anges. The most popular sightseeing spot is the Naval Museum. Here you can admire the ship bell of Saint Géran, maps of the 16th century, model ships, swords, pistols and canons. Just opposite of the museum there is the colorful Hindu temple Maha Kaliammen Kovil. Here the dreadful goddess Kali reigns, who has put here foot victoriously upon the chest of a killed and who pokes her tongue out furiously.
Île aux Aigrettes south east coast
On Île aux Aigrettes the visitor will be able to admire a piece of original Mauritian nature. In yearlong hard labour a nature reserve was created here which is ought to show the flora and fauna how it was like in Mauritius before human exploitation. Thus you will find rare orchids, ebony trees, bottle palms and many other endemic plants on Île aux Aigrettes. Tours on the island are guided by conservationists. The star of the island is the pink pigeon, a bird that was in danger of extinction for a long time. Its population was strengthened on Île aux Aigrettes. [www.ile-aux-aigrettes.com
Blue Bay Marine Park and Île des deux Cocos south east coast
At the Marine Park in Blue Bay you can take a look at the breathtaking underwater world of Mauritius: five-meter-deep water, 50 different species of coral and many colourful fishes. The snorkelling makes just as much fun as enjoying the view on the surface. The bay of Blue Bay is located in the south east of Mauritius. Only a few meters away from the coast there is the beautiful green private island Île des deux Cocos, which contrasts to the blue sky and bright turquoise water of the Indian Ocean.
Le Souffleur and Le Pont Naturel south coast
The one who wants to experience the rough forces of the Indian Ocean should do a trip to Le Souffleur or Le Pont Naturel. No reef protects the shore of the power of the sea, and waves crash on the rocky coast. Le Souffleur, the “blow tube”, owes his name a very special spectacle: when swell is heavy water masses shot through a tunnel out into the air and form fascinating fountains. At Pont Naturel you can observe a similar spectacle.
La Vanille Crocodile Park and Nature Reserve south
Near the river Rivière des Anguilles you find yourself in an aboriginal jungle-like environment. On the terrain of a former vanilla plantation a crocodile reserve has been established. The crocodiles have been imported from Madagascar. It is especially exciting to watch the feeding of the animals. The visitor will also meet other animals, such as chameleons, snakes, giant tortoises, boars and monkeys. Furthermore a restaurant offers the possibility to take a nice dinner and for the more adventurous ones even a dinner made from crocodile meat. [www.lavanille-reserve.com
Souillac south coast
Souillac is a small fishermen’s village in which time seems to stand still. Lazily boats sway upon the sea and some old men are sitting with a cool beer in the shadow of the trees. But in the village some interesting buildings from colonial times can be visited: the post office, a church and the impressive court. Furthermore, the former residence of the Mauritian poet Robert Edward Hart is to be found in Souillac. His books on the Mauritian society also were a great success in England and France at their time. Today his residence has been turned into a museum which informs the visitor about the poet’s life and works.
Le Gris Gris south coast
Not far from Souillac the beach Le Gris Gris is to be found. Swimming is not possible as the current is too dangerous. Thus, Le Gris Gris is a popular spot for a pick-nick and to enjoy the sight of the rough sea.
Rochester Falls south
The Rochester Falls are to be found at about 3km from Souillac. You can enjoy a spectacular view on the waterfall: due to volcanic activities geological formations of different heights came into existence and the water flows down the waterfall in a cascade. You may even take a dip in the water basin. The Mauritian youth tries to earn a little pocket money by showing courageous jumps off the cliffs.
La Vallée des 23 colours nature park in Mare Anguilles south highlands
This nature park offers an interesting spectacle of nature: coloured earth. In addition, you'll find waterfalls and many endemic plants. A trip to enjoy between flora and fauna. [www.lavalleedescouleurs.com
Tea factory Bois Chéri south highlands
Tea time! Amidst green tea plantations you will find the tea factory and museum Bois Chéri. In Bois Chéri approx. 75% of the Mauritian tea is produced. In the morning you can watch the tea pickers at work. During a tour through the museum the visitor can learn about the manufacturing of tea. In the little museum you can find an old steam engine and other instruments of tea manufacturing. Furthermore greenhouses with vanilla plants and red-blossomed anthurias can be visited. Of course, a cup of tea completes the visit at Bois Chéri.
Grand Bassin south highlands
The lake Grand Bassin is the center of Hindu belief in Mauritius. Around the lake one can find numerous temples with statues and shrines. In order to visit all of them, you should plan enough of time. According to a legend Grand Bassin was created during a trip of the god Shiva and his wife Parvati. During their trip around the world they also landed in Mauritius. Shiva was carrying the river Ganges on his head to save the world from floods. But as the landing in Mauritius was a bit rough, Shiva spilled some of the water, which fell into an old crater. That’s how Grand Bassin was created and that’s why its water is regarded as holy by the Hindu population of Mauritius. They pilgrimage here to celebrate their belief especially on holidays and weekends.
Black River Gorges National Park south highlands
The nature reserve Black River Gorges National Park with its area of 6574 hectares is the biggest nature reserve in Mauritius and covers 3.5 percent of the island’s terrain. There are about 50km of hiking trails which lead through the jungle-like nature with rivers and waterfalls. There are trails for easy promenades and for exhausting trekking tours with height differences of up to 400m. These lead for example to the Alexandra Falls, a magnificent waterfall. With a bit of luck one can meet some monkeys or exotic birds during the trip. The adventurous visitor will be attracted by the highest mountain of Mauritius, the Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire. It takes only 1-2 hours to climb it, as its peak is at only 828m. The Black River National Park: the highlight for the nature lover!
Baie du Cap south coast
On the spectacular drive along the costal road in the South of Mauritius Baie du Cap is surely the most breathtaking spot. Solidified lava has built a headland here that reaches far out into the sea. On its peak there is a hairpin bend that has to driven with some care. On the tightest spot of the hairpin bend you will find a viewpoint which can be scaled: a magnificent view!
Le Morne Brabant south coast
Le Morne Brabant is one of the most striking mountains of Mauritius. A sad story from the times of slavery is connected to it: some fled slaves hid on the mountain to escape their owners. When in 1835 some police men climbed the mountain to announce the abolition of slavery the slaves were so afraid that they jumped off the mountain and died. Today the mountain may only be climbed with an official permission. For those who don’t climb it, it still offers a breathtaking view, for example from the beach of Le Morne.
Seven colored earth in Chamarel south west
Chamarel is famous for its colored earth. When you enter the park you will first enjoy a fantastic view on the waterfall Cascade Chamarel which flows over 127m. In the park you can enjoy the magnificent play of colors of the earth. On a small hill the earth shows itself in colors ranging from red, yellow and brown to orange, lilac and blue. This phenomenon can be best seen in sunlight. Scientists explain this play of colour with the erosion of the volcanic earth. There are also some giant tortoises who have found their home in the park.
Tamarind Falls – Sept Cascades in Henrietta west
Literally, this means "Seven Waterfalls". It is one of the most spectacular natural areas of the island with several waterfalls. Guided trekking and hiking tours are offered and you can try archery, take kayak tours and enjoy the nature. Viewing platforms with breathtaking panoramic views are waiting for you. [www.7cascades.com
See Dolphins and drive Seakarts in Tamarin west coast
At the west coast near Tamarin you may observe many wild dolphins in the morning. Tours by speedboat or by catamaran are offered, so you have the possibility to jump into the water and swim with the dolphins. These are usually full day tours that include a visit to the island Île aux Benitiers. A beautiful unspoilt island, which is situated in the south west of Mauritius. Here you can also see the famous Crystal Rock and snorkel in the chest-high water.
Another highlight is to drive Seakarts. Small carts for two people with which you can speed across the water surface. [www.fun-adventure.mu
Furthermore you can visit the sea-salt systems in Tamarin, the pools are located right on the coastal road.
Casela Nature & Leisure Park west
The Casela Bird Park stretches out on an area of about 20 hectares. The most famous star of the park is the pink pigeon which was in danger of extinction for a long time. The park is also the home to about 120 other bird species. Furthermore, you can watch tigers, monkeys and other animals. A trip to the small streams which flow down the mountain shouldn’t be missed out. You can also go on a quad tour in the park. Casela Bird Park: a paradise for fans of adventure and nature.
Extinct volcano Trou aux Cerf in Curepipe west highland
On the mountain plateau of Mauritius Curepipe is worth a trip. The town offers a milder climate than the coastal regions and was mainly inhabited by the British in former times. A day without a bit of rain is rare and an umbrella should be taken along during a stroll in the city.
In Curepipe the holidaymaker can admire some beautiful colonial villas, especially near Sir John Pope Hennessy Street. The town hall with its four corner towers and the impressive perron is also worth a visit. In the park across the street one can take a look at the bronze statue of Paul and Virginie, which reminds of the famous novel by Bernadin de Saint-Pierre. The Casino de Maurice is always busy and makes the gambler’s heart beat faster. On the market the visitor is able to take colorful pictures of fruits and vegetables. Another popular destination is the botanical garden, which can’t be compared to the one in Pamplemousses, but still invites for a promenade. The most famous sightseeing spot of Curepipe is the volcanic crater Trou aux Cerfs. From the edge of the crater you can enjoy a fantastic view on the Mauritian mountains.
Floréal west highland
Only some minutes away from Curepipe the suburb Floréal invites for a visit. Here you can find a textile museum and a big shopping center. Loads of boutiques, factory shops and tax-free shopping will rejoice shopping-fans.