September 1, 2012 – Port Louis - Stunning seascapes and blue and green lagoons, coupled with crystal clear fluid tropical waters, Mauritius is a dream waiting to be discovered by the global holidaymaker or inclined and informed tourist wanting that tropical exotic getaway .The beaches and for that matter the white powder sand that illuminates this “Star and Key of the Indian Ocean”, as locals call the island, a magnificent display of its natural and pristine wonder. From mountains to the seaside, Mauritius is a holiday destination that has everything going for it, peaceful seascapes, glorious mountain ranges and gorgeous beaches that are to be devoured on the tropical island.
A constant serenity and heavenly like atmosphere which is persistently felt when you are on the island ,something a once famous American author and humourist by the name of Mark Twain ,in 1896 ,suggested that “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.” It is certainly the case today as it was then in 1896, with the fact that the very idea and concept of heaven may well just be entrenched into the islands natural and sublime physical features.
The Republic of Mauritius as it is officially known is a French speaking island state, although English is recognized as the official language as well, has been the jewel of the Indian Ocean tropical region for many years now, sitting 800km of the coast of Madagascar and some 2000km of the coast of the continent of Africa, Mauritius is a travel destination that requires some thought before you book your annual holiday.
Mauritius, a superb and often revered natural environment by travel commentators and writers is certainly a “eye opener” to many a holiday maker and visitor alike .It’s all inspiring natural shoreline and beaches for that matter have a sensual feel and romantic ambience attached to them ,as with its minimalist approach in its scenic display meaning “less is more” is displayed whole heartedly throughout the majestical island ,a form of simplicity forms as you see the magnificent beaches and natural wonders that the island has so much to offer and so much not to be forgotten .Mauritius is a pleasure “pack” of white powder beaches and exquisite oceanic scenery coupled with some of the world’s most prestigious hotels .The island enjoys for the most part of any given year over 950,000 tourists per year ,with many holidaymakers mainly coming from Europe, notably France, and regionally in Africa and Asia to see this untouched paradise prevail in front of their own eyes as they step out into its natural pristine beaches and mountains that overlook a delightful prestigious scenery.
Many of the beaches are public beaches are not seldom reserved for the hotel or resort .Anywhere that you travel in Mauritius, whether that be South to North or East to West, you will be stuck by a sense of ore that its beaches are just as they are as you would have seen on your local travel agents brochure or for that matter airline brochure stowed in front of you on the plane on the away to the island. Undoubtedly the island possesses a calm and inherent coolness with its sunny mountains and crystal clear waters surrounding the island which spans a mere 200km .The attractive climate which for the most part of any given year is sunny and clear ,being in the tropics with humid temperatures above 27 Celsius being the norm. The Le Morne beach in the south of Mauritius in the district of Savanne ,is by in far a quite popular beach destination ,nestled in the southern most point of Mauritius ,this long and windy beach has many a tourist on its white sand sunbathing and taking in the Mauritian sun ,being popular as for its mountains close by that meet the sea as well, a nice contrast of natural features quite common in the Southern parts of the island .Close by is the village of Bel Ombre ,a sleepy coastal village that has much more to offer in sandy beaches and beautiful coconut trees overlaying its “untouched” coastal beach .A quiet place to relax and tune out about the worries on your mind as you sip on a local Mauritian beer with the stunning blue and green turquoise waters that lay ahead of you. Le Morne Baie Du Cap point is a stop of as well if you are frequenting the South of Mauritius, it has a lookout point to the sea and one for the mountains that meet the sea as well, it’s a sight to savour as it being so natural and so green and lush on one side of the lookout and blue green as you look out to the seaside. Riambel beach which is only about 10 km heading east from Bel Ombre ,again in the islands south is a tranquil beach where it seems that no one is around all day ,you could just sit there all day and see no more than one or two people passing by ,as this seems to be a beach with little activity ,but makes up in its natural repertoire of quiet and relaxing ,as if it was created by nature to serve its purpose of being this way for the weary traveller looking for a spot in the world that is not “inhabited” by noise and constant movement .
The southern beaches of Mauritius are the most peaceful and relaxing to say the least, here in Mauritius are the beaches you go to when you do not want the “commercial” world to affect you and you do not want any trace of “humankind” to interfere in your relaxation on the beach or with your interaction with your natural environment .If this what you are objectively looking for, that I must say that Mauritius has your solution.
Heading out to the East of the island you can arrive to Roches Noires ,again a coastal village with the gleaming tropical sun on its doorsteps ,with a constant facades of beach houses that are drawn one after the other along the shoreline .This coastal village is mix of sun ,sea ,and splendorous lagoon that shines with a sparkle ,situated in the Riviere Du Rempart region, this place tells you once again you are in the right place of the world .A dreamlike state is there to be seen ,as I step out of my car to witness the glory and sublime sun setting in the Mauritian sky ,beset by the green water and calm rush of waves next to my feet as I watch this display of nature unfold ,you do have to reflect on how intense the colours of this island put you in a trance coupled with the sandy white powder beaches that give Mauritius its fame .It has to be said that Mauritius is a destination of dreams ,not to say that you need to be a dreamer ,but its beaches give you an inner peace ,and in a country where most of the coastal areas are not spoilt by having to many tourists ,the country seems like it is yours personally ,as it influences you through its beaches and white sand that would cost a fortune to export to have in your London ,Paris or New York back yard ..
A common site in the tiny Indian Ocean island is the endless amounts of green trees and coconuts along the beach, a place to lay down in the shade and rest is all but too common here, and to reap the rewards of what nature has provided with free coconuts to break of a tree and quench your thirst. As for the Mauritian local who does this every day and most often they find it normal, the common tourist could not afford to be so blaze, as to take it for granted.
I head out now to the Northern parts of the island to a town called Anse La Raie ,there I find some inlets and bays with some very shallow waters ,not more than 2 metres which would be ideal for snorkelling and various water sports activities .Combined with that warm water and salty wind breeze so synonymous with Mauritius ,this place can be a wonder to the snorkeler who endeavours to discover the inner lagoon here ,and to explore its underwater realm with a visibility of over 10 metres ,rest assured you will not be disappointed .This large bay that I was witnessing was unspoilt and certainly without any man made features ,it was all natural ,this was becoming the status quo of their beaches and natural environment and was a pleasing notion to think about ,as if it all does really full into place in Mauritius when it comes to that paradise hideaway that in some point in our lives dream about and would like to visit one day ,well Mauritius is that place ,and so far I have seen plenty that “heightens” the senses .
Travelling out again to another beach I reached Palmar, a beach well known for its Resorts and hotels ,but all in all you find a perfect place here to spend your well earned money .Palmar is a beach stretching 5 km in length ,and with its clear and vibrant colours stemming out to the eye ,it has a soothing affect just by looking at this effervescent large patch of a beach .A site to savour for the privileged beach lover .And for this place has that typical charm of a Mauritius beach ,that you would know that you can just lie here all day without any care of news or tv or for that matter what’s going on back in your home country ,truly a definition of a tropical beach in all its glory .With so many beaches and so many natural environments to admire in Mauritius ,it has to be said that for an island of its size Mauritius is truly an amazing “spectacle”. One of the many titles that Mauritius has been awarded or gifted to is “the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean”. Well most obvious to me this is quite an appropriate phrase as it is certainly just that when it comes to its colour and vibrancy and not to mention its natural character.
Mauritius enjoys that certain prestige of being in constant adoration and admiration from its natural landscapes that speak wonders to the numerous tourists that visit this lazy and formidable tropical island. It must be noted that a once famous writer by the name of Mark Twain visited these shores in 1896 and stated by his own observations that “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first, and then heaven and that heaven was copied after Mauritius”. This could be said to “seal the argument” ,it’s not far from the truth I must say .A paradise not to be mistaken with any other, Mauritius has that top listing and would be quite hard to notch up a better holiday destination ,not to say there are not any other tropical destinations in the world ,as we all know there a plenty to choose from ,but Mauritius has that “special” feel and natural beauty which would be hard to “knock of its golden perch”. I believe Mark Twain was referring to its natural environment, which may have been left somehow untouched since the 18th century, certainly something to be proud of if you are a Mauritian national.
Apart from the beaches and sand and surf that Mauritius has in its tourism armoury, the island displays some graceful mountains and hilltops, most notably the Black River National Park, starting in the middle of the island and extending all the way towards the South, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place to visit away from the coasts. The mountains are a large formation of old volcanic rock formed over 3 million years ago ,and is often visited by the tourist looking for a “off the beaten track” exploration .You can get lost in its many tracks and pathways ,with plenty of lookout ledges to oversee the many mountains that form part of the national park .As for getting lost in the mountain ,this is virtually not possible as there are many Park rangers to help you along as a guide or to give information on how to get around ,assisted with a map of course .A classical “phenomena is that in a lot of cases the mountains of the south ranges meet the sea at some point and this creates an unbelievable panoramic display ,much of which could not be forgotten in a lifetime when you do see the landscape like this in Mauritius .In statement by the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure “A trip into the mountains will reveal the lush green and unspoilt beauty of this National Park. You may be lucky enough to spot a kestrel or straw-tailed tropic bird as you gaze towards the far-distant ocean and enjoy the calm beauty of the surrounding countryside”.
It can be said that the island has a charm that maybe unrivalled ,and with its enchanting beaches and glamorous natural environment it would leave many a tourist or holidaymaker an unforgettable destination to miss once they have finished their stay here .A contrast of colours ,a vast showcase of natural seascapes and landscapes exist within its shoreline. According to the Mauritian Government body Ministry of Tourism and Leisure of Mauritius in a statement on the beaches “In Mauritius are the pristine white beaches that make the island famous. Surrounded by turquoise seas, a number of stunning resorts dot the coast. This area is also a water sports lover’s paradise”
The Government of Mauritius certainly know the value of their natural beauty, and with this said, certainly when it comes to what holidaymakers want and need .Further more they did state as well “Crystal clear waters and white sand beaches shaded by casuarina and palm trees surround this tiny island which caters for those seeking peace and solitude or the thrills of Para-sailing and other water sports”.
It is clear that everywhere you are in Mauritius there is a sense wellbeing, mainly due to the natural balance which is abundant on its shorelines and mountains, and this may give off a sense of calmness and spirituality to the visitors visiting Mauritius, who of course come for rest and relaxation and to give the mind a break from the bustling sprawling cities of Europe or to wherever they may hail from in the world. It’s like you know that why tourists flock here to find peace ,and you will certainly find it in Mauritius .It is as if Mauritius, with no hint of arrogance I must add was “touched by the hand of God” and over the 3 million years of its geographical formation, as the island become what it is today ,hence it formed a paradise to be overwhelmed by .As Mark Twain suggested in 1896 that the notion of “heaven on earth” in which he probably was insinuating back then was to come more alive and “bigger and better” in regards to beauty and sheer compliance that the island has a pure combination of qualities to give pleasure to the senses. A cluster of chic and elegance is bestowed to the islands natural beauty as well, this is because of the island being virtually untouched in an environmental sense and in comparison to other such destinations that held the “tropical hideaway” tittle for so many years, like that of Bali, Fiji and Hawaii just to name a few .But for the Republic of Mauritius it does sit in its equitable and niche category.
That magic wand which was cast all those 3 million years ago by the “creator” was indeed some powerful wand and to know that the same wand is putting the various nationalities of holidaymakers that visit the island in a spell as well .Exotic and visually pleasing are the main cash cries of this nation ,and there is for the Mauritian a lot to be boasting of when it comes to their natural island .A charismatic and colourful country filled with natural substance as I would phrase it .In a survey recently conducted by Ministry of Tourism and Leisure of Mauritius on tourists staying in Mauritius ,the primary motivational factor in coming to Mauritius island was the “tropical image” and secondly the “beaches” and yes they certainly live up to their reputations .Furthermore the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority has gone to a slogan branding “the best island destination in the world” .With a population of 1.2 million people ,tourism has been built over 35 years as an industry ,which is the pillar of the economy at present .Receiving over 850,000 tourists per year ,and I am sure that figure is likely to grow as years go by ,mainly because of its rich natural beauty and gorgeous beaches .
It is not too much surprise that a favourite pastime by Mauritians themselves and tourists alike is any type of water sports activities this typically meaning yachts ,snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing ,big game fishing and yes you name it the famed glass bottom boat ,for that someone that likes the sun, sea and sand but does not want the “inconveniences” that go with the physical constraints of particular water sports activities .Coincidently it is not much to your own surprise that such water sport activities like snorkelling and scuba diving are the main activities that holidaymakers engage in and yes ,it is easy to know why, with so much lagoon and clear tropical sea why wouldn’t you do so here .The island is spoilt for choice when it comes to its lagoons and seas surrounding it and for this beneath its blue green lagoons and seas, that you may see on the various postcards sold on the islands tourist shops and boutiques, exist a realm under the surface of a warm 29 degrees Celsius water, a unbelievable insight into its colourful and enigmatic corals and tremendousness sea life. Ideally the snorkelling in Mauritius is suited for all ages, being a lot of snorkelling sites are no deeper than 1.5 metres it is quite easy and accessible to get in and out of the water as much as you desire .And for the avid diver looking for a nice and exportable scuba dive, you could not be disappointed on what you would be able see and witness under this blanket of crystal clear Mauritian waters
Without any doubt Mauritian seas and lagoons are just an unbelievable sight to see, the colours and contrasts in the realm of underwater Mauritius, is full of wonder and beauty as far as your eyes can see in blue clear water. The island is surrounded by coral which coincidently protects it from large waves reaching its shores, like ones experienced when sporadic cyclones pass near by the region. All types of coral formations can be found from large to small and from soft to hard formations.
The perfection of its white sand beaches is an end result of the natural process ,through erosion of its barrier reef uniquely constructed by coral formations ,and dead corals that in turn produce such an outstanding world renowned lagoon system that are blessed with constant sun all year around. Of course if you are looking for stereotypical tropical shallow water and various colour contrasts within a sheltered point of an inner bay or inlet in the tropics, Mauritius has that in its “bag of tricks”
Mauritius also displays away from its beaches and mountains a fauna, which I must say is very impressive, of which most of it can be viewed at its Pamplemousses Botanical Garden located in the North of the island .Here a rich diversity of plant life and trees that are largely
endemic to this part of the world, namely the Mascarene region of the Indian Ocean south west, this includes Madagascar, Reunion Island, Comoros, Seychelles Rodrigues and Seychelles islands. Large Water Lilly ‘s can be found there no less than one 1 meter in length ,these giant fauna are pleasing to the eye as they lay in the water beds .With this and over 50 species of endemic origin of plants and trees found at the botanical garden.
To conjure up the island of Mauritius in its natural beauty and “show like” scenery, you have to say this island is like magic powder for those who seek tranquillity within a good and yet presentable little package of an island. Considering that the island is one of a stable political environment and that it seems to be quite safe for the traveller ,especially in a world full of instability in some holiday destinations that is in a social and political sense ,that Mauritius is a destination that brings reassurance in that there are no overwhelming or hindering factors that undermine its “saleability” to overseas holidaymakers ,this may certainly be in its favour as ever year more and more tourists arrive to seek this Indian Ocean “hideaway”.
Dr Karl Moontoosamy, the Director of Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MPTA) said “in addition to our natural friendliness and hospitality we are motivated to reach high standards” referring to the service and natural beauty of the island recently in a Mauritian Embassy in Germany .Provoking the evocative thoughts and perceptions in your own mind might well be what you need ,especially true of your office worker in the cold winters night somewhere in a northern hemisphere winter ,then the starry and elegant beaches, mountains and coasts of Mauritius can ultimately provide a haven for the tired and worn out Parisian, New Yorker and Roman to get out and into that warm summer tropical climate of Mauritius. Mauritius can be overwhelming with its innate natural features, and it would not take much time for you to come under its influence or to feel inundated with feelings of pleasure and happiness as you stroll along that long and winding Palmar or Riambel beach, or a fresh air wonder in the mountains, which serve as a timely reminder why you may have choose this holiday destination over others in the travel brochure.
To say that Mauritius is a “off the shelf” holiday destination ,that with so many rivals within the tropical island destination theme worldwide being so competitive is understatement .The truth be known ,that yes there are numerous alternative destinations that could “compete” with the island state ,but if you are happening to be looking for peace ,tranquillity and serenity with a non-commercialised holiday setting ,with the untouched sandy beaches and sprawling amounts of mountain scenic’ s that are not yet affected by global tourism commercialisation ,then maybe you just cannot go pass Mauritius in the value stakes concerning its natural environmental beauty ,pristine and sublime destination that it already is .Simultaneously with the burgeoning fact that this very natural environment and the aesthetics it possesses in its mountains and lagoons filled with copious amounts of vibrancy and colour ,you would be either mad or ignorant to suggest otherwise .And yes of course bundled in a nice tight “package” of a holiday destination ,Mauritius does have what it takes to give you what you want and when you need it in terms relatively being natural ,colourful and offering that “joie de vivre” with the twist of charisma and charm without the noise and commercial appearance, that many other tropical destination getaways are saturated with .Coupled with the reasoning of the “DIY” (do it yourself) destination that many destinations are tagged with these days ,then Mauritius is certainly not that destination for you .Mauritius is in a niche of its own it seems ,with its natural wonders that is services within its maritime border .
Sometimes it is the very simplicity of the island state that gives it its “cheery on top of the cake” and by this , implying if of you want to sit down and gather your thoughts and then stare out at that blue green turquoise waters with a beer in one hand and a stunning sun amidst a lazy afternoon ,then I need not explain how great it is here holistically .By far and large the treasures to be had are enormous ,seeking that Mauritius sunset may well be what just need to get out of that stormy endless night in a European capital in the height of winter ,and stream on down too the South West Indian Ocean to your island getaway .
© 2012, Jean-Yves Bignoux. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.
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