Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mauritius! A beautiful tropical island off the coast of Madagascar- an Introduction to our trip

     We never planned on traveling to Mauritius.  Truth be told, we barely heard of it, and only had a general idea of where it was- like in the ocean:-).  But when that little email from Air France popped up telling us we had 24 hours to decide (and we opened it the last hour) we did a quick Google search, and the next thing you know, we are on a 23 hour plane ride:-).

I know- you want to know where Mauritius is:-).  When we first booked,we weren't sure either!  Thank God for Google!  Mauritius is 600 miles east of Madagascar, in the south Indian Ocean, below the equator, so their seasons are opposite ours.  
Here is the map screen from the flight- shows the route we took from Mauritius back to France.  That is a 12 hour flight

( will tell you all about Mauritius.  It was discovered by the Dutch, they left and the French came in, but then the British wanted it.  The official language is English, then French and Creole.  But about 60% of the tourists are French, so more French is spoken.  We often had communication problems as most peoples english was either really good, or almost passable.

But, with the French influence, you know what that also means....CROISSANTS!  Just like in Paris- every breakfast is filled with croissants- all their buttery, flaky delciciousness, with creamy New Zealand butter, and tropical fruit jams- breakfast is the best!  Meals usually consisted of fish or chicken, curry's, brochetes, etc.  All delicious!!
Creole Food!  

And the people who love it!  Rich had fish!

Their largest group of people are Hindu from India, so lots of good curry, and some Chinese, with very good Chinese food, and Africans, with their influence.  Thankfully, they have mixed it all up into a beautiful, kind, and inviting people.  The island is small- about 36 miles by 28 miles, so there are beaches everywhere. 

We were there for 2 weeks, and stayed at 4 different areas of the island.  Our first 5 days were in the north, in Grand Baie (Bay), we stayed at the Merville Beach resort.  Grand Baie is a fairly large town, and the area has very nice beaches, good restaurants, shops, even a Patisserie!  Our second spot was the town of flik-en-Flaq on the west, staying at Klondike.  The town is smaller, but more tourist-oriented.  Our third stay was the south at Le Morne, with its AWESOME peninsula and the second largest monolith (giant rock) in the world, after Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia! And our fourth stay was in the south east at Shandrani at Blue Bay.

The island is well known in Europe, so we met lots of great people from Germany, France and Ireland.  We met no Americans, thank God- you know how they are:-)!  Very few American's come here- none that we know- and the hotel and restaurant staff all say we are a rarity- probably because of the distance.  But that made us an interesting oddity:-) 

The island is noted for water oriented activites- we snorkeled almost every day, took boat rides to some of the very local smaller islands, laid at the beach and pool very often, ate our weight in good food every day, and walked and biked the beaches and trails.  Every day we made sure we were situated to watch the VERY beautiful sunsets!
Typical sunset!  Although every night, they were different- depending on how the light danced on the clouds!
The incredible single thing about Mauritius is the sea- it is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!  It is a green color that you only imagine in a tropical local!  It is the green you only see in travel brochures- and it is REAL!  Beyond the reef, as the water gets deeper, it takes on the more familiar blue color.  But at shore- sea green!

The downside- although the island is surrounded by coral reefs, the damage to these reefs is apparent with every step; broken coral litters the beaches.  VERY sad.  But we have seen amazing coral and an incredible variety of colorful fish!  

The Islands' government is based on English law, so Mauritius is the most prosperous and well run African nation.  The island has almost no crime, and we never felt even a bit uneasy the entire time, even when walking the dark town streets at night.  There are, of course, a few pushy trinket sellers, but most were very friendly and took "no thank you" well.

So here is our trip!  I will be writing a blog entry for each of the 4 areas we visited.

No comments:

Post a Comment