Day In Paradise
in Mauritius is much more than having an affair with the sun
and sea. Marcellus Baptista discovers its various facets by
spending a day out on this island paradise
you can have a fun-in-the-sun day in Mauritius,
just walking on the white sand of the beach, splashing in
the swimming pool at your resort, drinking Phoenix beer or
Green Island rum, stuffing yourself silly with seafood, and
trying to cash in at the casino.
But do stir yourself from your comfort cocoon, step out and
get into the big picture. Here are some options of where to
go, what to do and why you should, if you happen to have just
one day on this temptation island.
Water, water everywhere, but you are not a water person! Dont
worry, be happy. The land beckons with plenty of down-to-earth
stuff. Sugarcane fields are forever, but there are other sights
too for your eyes and the lens of your camera.
Nothing gets more earthy than Chamarel or coloured earth.
This is a wavy mound in patches of red, yellow, blue and green,
said to be caused by weathering over the years. Nearby is
a waterfall for that cooling effect.
Then there is Grand Bassin, a natural lake that rests in the
crater of an extinct volcano, while Trou aux Cerfs is an extinct
crater 85 m deep and over 200 m wide with a view from the
top of the island, excellent for a snapshot.
Nature lovers will drool at the famed Pamplemousses botanical
gardens with glorious greenery everywhere. The indigenous
and exotic plants include the giant Victoria Amazonica water
lilies and the talipot palm said to flower once every 60 years.
Ground realities should also include driving around the island
to get a feel of the various places and pockets. A pleasant
and picturesque place is Grand Baie with boats bobbing in
the water, yachts on a gentle cruise, and eateries that sparkle
along the coast. This is not only a watersports delight, but
also a shopping spot. The islands main urban centre
of Curepipe is also an eating and shopping pleasure.
Of course, no visit to Mauritius is complete without a ramble
in Port Louis, capital and main port of the Indian Ocean island.
You can feel the character in the colonial buildings and heritage
The rainbow nation comes alive at the market. For modernity
and sophistication, theres Le Caudan waterfront and
Port Louis waterfront, a shoppers paradise and also
a gourmet treat with vibrant eateries and bars.
An alternate for all this movement on land would be to take
to the water for a while. Snorkeling, scuba-diving, deep-sea
fishing and wind-surfing may not be your cup of water. But
you can always take a glass-bottom boat ride to view the corals.
Better still would be to go on a catamaran cruise. The sea
breeze and spray makes for a very refreshing feeling as the
catamaran skims the water creating waves. You are on your
way to Ile aux Cerfs, the island with a powder-white beach,
lagoon and transparent turquoise-blue water.
Your water world for a day would mean a toss-up between the
undersea walk and a submarine ride. The Blue Safari submarine
offers you an airconditioned comfortable descent 35 m down
to view corals, multicoloured fish, the wreck of the Star
Hope and an old anchor.
A better bet would be Capt Nemos undersea walk. The
beauty is that you dont have to know how to swim to
go down into the deep. Your head is dry inside a helmet box
with a glass visor, theres a tube supplying you oxygen,
you go down and then you are on the bed of the lagoon, in
close contact with coral formations, sea urchins and dancing
fish all around. Its truly a touching experience as
you can touch the fish and even feed them morsels of bread
and see the rush of colours unfold before your eyes.
And at night in Mauritius, you can have your chips in the
casino or watch the Sega dancers sizzle on stage, moving their
bodies to African rhythms and Creole lyrics. You understand
their body language alright!
A day out in Mauritius is sure to enchant you, making you
want to come back to its shores time and time again.