Mauritius: A jewel in the Indian Ocean

Mauritius: A jewel in the Indian Ocean

Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2016-09-17 11:23 We had been planning to travel to Victoria Falls in August 2016 to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary. Alas, God had other plans. He wanted us to see, appreciate and be a part of his wonderful and bewitching creations. So instead of Zimbabwe, we flew to Sir S Ramgoolam International Airport on Aug 23 by an Air Mauritius flight for a 7-day stay in Mauritius.   It was about an hour-and-a-half drive from the airport to our hotel. As the drive started, two things struck me: one, the surroundings were spic and span without any garbage. Two, the law of the land was respected by everyone. The island has no autos at all and roads are the only means of transportation within the island. It was pleasant to see horns not being overused despite the density of traffic on their well-maintained roads.   Our stay was at a beachside 4-star resort, which had all the luxuries one could ask for: clean, sandy beach, nice restaurant with international fare, kayaks, glass-bottomed boats, speedboats, snorkeling, beach volleyball, peddle boats, a well-stocked bar among other things. The service was always done with a smile.   The clean, unpolluted air gave us the rare opportunity of having the company of hundreds of sparrows, which were fearless and so friendly that they ate from our breakfast while chirping away musically. It was such a pleasant departure from Bengaluru which has lost its sparrows to the ever increasing urban pollution. The calm ocean and the squeaky clean water added to the joys of swimming.   There were three guided tours of the island. The first was the south island tour, which included visits to the extinct crater of Trou aux Cerfs at Curepipe, the well-kept lake of Ganga Talao, also known as Grand Bassin, which has an old, Hindu temple and a 108-ft statue of Mangal Mahadev, seven-coloured earth at Chamarel culminating with a visit to the startlingly beautiful waterfalls. The day was well spent, and we headed straight to the ocean for a dip once we returned to the hotel.   The visit to the capital city of Port Louis in the north via the Citadel and the Champ de Mars, one of the world’s oldest race courses built in 1812, was astounding. The water front at Port Louis, dedicated to the Father of Mauritius late Sir S Ramgoolam, with around 170 shops of all hues, including a casino, is still etched in the memory for its artistic buildings, well-kept public places, simplicity of design and disciplined locals, which is a feature throughout Mauritius. Mrs GB Athri  Wg Cdr GB Athri (retd) The icing on the cake was a trip to the Aux Cerf Island on a speedboat. The island has a beautiful beach with clear turquoise water. The view of the waterfall from the speedboat was simply exquisite, while the ride was exhilarating.   But the prize for the most luxurious experience belongs to the one-day Catamaran Cruise. While the ride itself was like floating on water, there was plenty of beverages and food on the cruise. There was also foot-tapping music on board. The experience of lying down on the catamaran, enjoying the best of food, liquor, and music surrounded by clear blue sky and deep blue water was magical. The excursion was so captivating that none on the catamaran was willing to return to the hotel in the evening. For the interested, there were other water sports such as parasailing, scuba and sky diving, dolphin cruise, whale interaction and so on. There are safaris too. The trip was one of our most cherished holiday experiences. The economy of island nation is driven mainly by sugarcane farming and tourism. As of today 2 INR will fetch one MUR. The standard of living is high and there is dignity of labour. The locals take pride in their jobs and respect laws irrespective of their social standing. Every public place was maintained to international standards. It was really a paisa vasool trip. Mauritius, filled with resorts and hotel to suit every kind of budget, is an ideal destination for those looking for a leisurely holiday.