Port Louis, ‘Por Loowee’, is Mauritius’s capital and its largest city. The beauty of Port Louis lay not only in her serene views or majestic structures but also in her storied past which is still evident in fortifications like Fort Adelaide or La Citadelle, built in 1835 by the British. Here, you are blessed with attractions like Port Louis Bazaar, Caudan Waterfront, Police Barracks, the old Port Louis theatre and the Mauritian Chinatown. Also, Port Louis has three museums; the Blue Penny Museum, which is the home to the world’s first Colonial Stamp, the Mauritius Stamp Museum and the Mauritius National History Museum. Take a stroll up Signal Mountain on a late afternoon to see the beauty of the city at sunset or get a feel of Multi-faith Mauritius by gazing over churches, mosques, and Indian and Chinese temples from the citadel. Also, in Port Louis is the biggest and oldest Post Office in Mauritius found near the Caudan Waterfront.
Port Louis was constructed in 1735 by the noted French Governor, Mahe de Labourdonnais. This perhaps explains the French styled buildings at the centre, which only adds to the charm of Port Louis.
Île aux Cerfs
Île aux Cerfs Island, also known as the Deer Island, is an island located off the East Coast of Mauritius. The over 100 hectares of land famous for its beautiful white sandy beaches, palm trees, beautiful lagoon and a selection of activities and facilities is a place where you are bound to have a day of relaxation and fun, from snorkelling to enjoying a swim in the lagoon to enjoying a barbecue, golfing at the Bernard Langer golf course, and going parasailing to enjoy a gorgeous aerial view of this pristine Isle. No doubt, the picture-postcard lagoon makes you feel like you’re on a Treasure Island, but sadly, there are no more Deer on the island to complete this fairy-tale look. Needless to say, these are some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and therefore, it is a place to visit in Mauritius.
Mauritius Botanical Garden
Mauritius Botanical Garden, also known as Pamplemousses Garden and Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mauritius and it is easy to see why. With over 59 acres of land and a number of varieties of Mauritius trademark palm trees from Central America, Africa, Asia and the islands around the Indian Ocean, the garden features distinct giant lily ponds with tadpoles and frogs, spice gardens, fruit bat trees, lakes with giant turtles and fishes. Not to forget the trees planted by the famous figures like Nelson Mandela and Indira Gandhi.
It is the oldest garden in the Southern Hemisphere and was built by Pierre Poivre in 1767.
La Vanille Park
Kids especially take an instant liking to the La Vanille Crocodile Park, so if you are headed there with your kids, it should be at the top of your list to of places to visit. And one would be incorrect to say adults won’t have a swell time in the park- that would be an incorrect conclusion This animal breeding park sculpted among lush foliage, features creatures including giant bats, giant turtles, iguanas, huge insect collection and monkeys; although, the star of the show here is undoubted the crocodile. Also, take a walk through the jungle while observing the fauna and flora, whilst also learning about the endangered animal species in Mauritius. Its insectarium is one of the world’s largest private collections of butterflies and other insects. You must surely end your visit to this animal breeding ground by visiting its restaurant and have a taste of the crocodile Curry on its menu.
Black River Gorges National Park
Black River Gorges National Park is a national park in the South-Western part of Mauritius and it is Mauritius’s only National Park. It stretches to about an area of 6,574 hectares and was constructed to save the natural vegetation of the island. It is home to many species of endemic wild animals and birds like the Mauritian flying fox, Mauritius Kestrel, Mauritian Parakeet, the Pink Pigeon and much more. The Black River Peak is the highest point on the island and there are facilities in place for visitors to the information centres, picnic areas and 60 kilometres of trails.
Trou aux Cerfs
Trou aux Cerfs is an extinct 605m high volcano located in Curepipe, Mauritius. The volcano is widely considered as dormant as it has not been active until 600,000 to 700,000 years ago. The crater has been described as 85 meters deep and 300 meters in diameter. There is a small lake in the centre of the crater.
These are just some of the main attractions of Mauritius, there are several other notable mentions like the Gabriel Island; a protected natural reserve famous for its beautiful unspoiled beaches and crystal clear water, Eureka House; a Creole house built in 1830 and is reputed as one of the largest houses on the island with 109 doors and windows, and not to forget the Flacq Market which is the market center for Flacq (an important village in Mauritius) and it boasts the largest open-air market in the country.
No doubt Mauritius is popular for its beaches, waterfalls and islands; these are some of the most famous Waterfalls in Mauritius,
- Alexandra waterfalls
- Chamarel waterfalls
- Rochester waterfalls
- Exil waterfalls
- Tamarind waterfalls
Mauritius is one of the preferred destinations for avid divers and fans of underwater discoveries. It is hard to not see the reason why.
Due to the cultural diversity that exists on the island of Mauritius, it is no surprise that the people enjoy so many colourful festivals.
There are many colourful spectacular festivals happening on the island of Mauritius all year round, from the Cavadee to Chinese Spring Festival, Holi, Easter, Eid-ul-Fitr, Ganesh Chathurti, Christmas, Divali, and Maha Shivaratree.
Cavadee is usually celebrated in January/February. There are so many attractions during the festival but the fire-walking and sword-climbing ceremonies are perhaps the most spectacular of this event.
The Spring Festival is also known as the Chinese New Year is also celebrated in January/February depending on the changes to lunar days. Red which is the symbol of happiness is the dormant colour and food is piled up to ensure abundance throughout the year. Firecrackers are lit and the traditional wax cake is distributed to friends and family.
Divali; the most jovial of all traditional Hindu festivals, is celebrated by placing oil lamps in front of every home, therefore, turning the island into a fairytale land of flickering lights; these have however been replaced by decorative electric lights.
Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated during the Muslim holy month of fasting to mark the end of Ramadhan.
Ganesh Chaturthi which marks the birthday of Ganesha, the God of wisdom and remover of all obstacles according to Hindu mythology is celebrated sometime in September.
Holi which marks the beginning of spring is the festival of colours.
Maha Shivaratree is the biggest Hindu Pilgrimage outside of India. During the Maha Shivaratree, Hindu devotees, clad in spotless white, carry the “Kanwar” – wooden arches covered with flowers – on a pilgrimage to Grand Bassin, to fetch holy water from the lake. Maha Shivaratree is celebrated in honour of the Hindu God.
Let’s not forget the Sega Music Show; a Mauritius music and dance recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); usually sung in Creole and played with traditional instruments such as the “Ravanne”, “Triangle”, the “Maravanne” and the traditional guitar which are still being used.