Set in the Indian Ocean just east of Africa and Madagascar, lies Mauritius, considered by many as paradise on earth – and we couldn’t agree more. The peaceful island nation is a fascinating hodge-podge of cultures and home to a multitude of natural wonders.
While there are plenty of typically touristy things to do here, such as historical museums and shopping centres filled with souvenirs, if you’re looking for a trip you won’t soon forget, we’ve put together a list of unique experiences that you can’t miss out on during your visit.
Get a Bird’s-eye View of the Underwater Waterfalls
For a spectacular view that you won’t get anywhere else, hop on a helicopter to get unparalleled panoramas of the Underwater Waterfalls.
Found off the coast of Le Morne Mountain on the island’s southwestern tip, this stunning attraction is not actually a waterfall, but rather an optical illusion created by Mother Nature herself. Ocean currents manipulate the sand and silt on the ocean floor to make it look like a dramatic waterfall under the sea.
Marvel at the Striking Hues of Seven Coloured Earths
Located in the plains of Chamarel, Seven Coloured Earths is an eye-catching geological formation consisting of sand dunes that come in seven distinct colours.
Its red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow sands naturally settle in layers, giving the dunes a striped appearance that looks like it came right out of a painting. The different shades of earth are believed to be a result of the molten volcanic rock cooling down at different temperatures.
Hike Through the Wondrous Wilderness of Black River Gorges National Park
Are you into hiking and trekking? Then this gorgeous national park is worth a full day of exploration.
The park’s trails cut through lush forests and marshy heaths, brimming with endemic species, such as Mauritian flying fox, Mauritius kestrel and Mauritius parakeet. A favourite viewpoint for visitors is at the top of Alexandra Falls, offering iconic views all the way down to the southern coast of the island. Best of all, there are no entrance fees.
Explore the Pristine Coral Reefs in a Submarine
Thanks to its clear waters and coral reefs teeming with marine life, snorkelling and scuba diving are must-do activities. But if you’d rather stay dry while observing the wonders of the sea, you can book a tour in a small submarine that can seat up to 10 people.
In this memorable experience, you’ll be taken to depths up to 35 metres, where you’ll get close enough to see colourful fishes and other creatures darting about. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even opt to try the subscooter, which can take you down three metres underwater, but you’ll get a more up-close experience.
Swim with Wild Dolphins off Flic en Flac Beach
How many of us can say that we’ve swum with dolphins? It might sound like something out of a movie, but no, you really can swim with wild dolphins off the coast of Flic en Flac village.
Best seen at the break of dawn, the two species you’ll likely encounter are the Bottlenose dolphin and the Spinner dolphin, both intelligent and friendly species. However, they’re still wild, so do adhere to any instructions given by your tour operator.
Take a Leisurely Stroll Through Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens
Officially known as Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden, these beautiful gardens are the oldest botanical gardens in the southern hemisphere and are right on par with London’s Kew Gardens.
You’ll fall in love with the quaintly Instagramable lily pond, filled with giant Victoria amazonica water lilies that are native to South America. Additionally, you’ll get the opportunity to come across giant tortoises – as one of the oldest species still in existence today, giant tortoises are about as close as you’ll get to walking among dinosaurs (and luckily, they won’t try to eat you).
Soak Up the Sun on the Beaches of Îlot Gabriel and Île Plate
Mauritius has sandy white beaches surrounded by idyllic turquoise waters aplenty, but if you’re here during the peak tourist season, they can get pretty crowded.
The best way to avoid crowds is to head to any of the many uninhabited beaches located a stone’s throw away. The islands of Îlot Gabriel and Île Plate are top picks for us, as they encapsulate the picture-perfect vision of Mauritius that’s known around the world.
At these tranquil beaches, you won’t hear much else other than the roar and hiss of the waves on the surf, so you can happily spend the day chilling out. Now that’s our idea of the perfect holiday.
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