The one minute summary on Mauritius
This is it: one minute to the best info on Mauritius. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Mauritius, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.
Although known to Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century, Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in the 16th century and subsequently settled by the Dutch – who named it in honor of Prince Maurits van NASSAU – in the 17th century. The French assumed control in 1715, developing the island into an important naval base overseeing Indian Ocean trade, and establishing a plantation economy of sugar cane.
The British captured the island in 1810, during the Napoleonic Wars. Mauritius remained a strategically important British naval base, and later an air station, playing an important role during World War II for anti-submarine and convoy operations, as well as the collection of signals intelligence. Independence from the UK was attained in 1968. A stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record, the country has attracted considerable foreign investment and has earned one of Africa’s highest per capita incomes.
That was it. I promised one minute.
For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.
- Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in Mauritius
- Does my current phone work in Mauritius ? Tips to cell phone usage in Mauritius
- Local food you should try in Mauritius and No miss drinks in Mauritius
Now, cheers to the most Mauritius aware person at the cocktail party.
What are the key history moments for Mauritius?
The island of Mauritius was first discovered by Arab sailors, at some time in the 9th century, the exact date is unknown. At that time the island was uninhabited and covered in a dense forest. The Arab sailors were not interested in settling on the island which they named Dina Arobi or Dinarobin. Diogo Fernandes Pereira, a Portuguese sailor found the island in 1505 and decided to give it the name of Cerne. However, the Portuguese did not settle permanently on the island either. The first to colonise the island were the Dutch. They took possession of the island in 1598.
The Dutch settlers landed on a bay in the south-eastern part of the island which was named Warwyck Haven after the commander VanWarwyck, the bay is now known as Grand Port. Mauritius also got its name during this period; the island was named after the Prince of Holland Mauritz de Nassau. In 1710, the Dutch abandoned the island, leaving behind macaques, the java deer, sugar cane, fugitive slaves and, also, an irreversible damage to the endemic and indigenous flora and fauna of the island – the Dodo was, by then, extinct due to extensive hunting, the bird being very easy to capture, while the once abundant black ebony tree population was almost completely depleted due to over-exploitation for its timber.
The French settled on the island in 1713, also landing at the bay in the south-east. They renamed the bay Port Bourbon and renamed the island Ile de France. They settled on the north-western side of the island and established their main harbour there, Port Louis, the present-day capital of Mauritius. During the French settlement there was a lot of development in the country. Mahé de Labourdonnais , whose statue can be seen across from the harbor in Port Louis, is known as the founder of the capital city and the island prospered under his governance (1735-1746).
In August 1810, the British tried to take over the island but lost after a fierce battle against the French in the famous Battle of Grand Port – the only victory of the French over the British. However, the British came back in December 1810 and successfully defeated the French. From then on, the island was renamed Mauritius and remained under British rule until it attained independence. In 1835, slavery was officially abolished and, as most of the African slaves chose to abandon the agricultural fields and move to small coastal villages, indentured laborers (coolies) were brought in from India (Tamilnadu & Bihar) to work in the growing sugar-cane industry.
On 12 Mar 1968 Mauritius became an independent nation within the Commonwealth led by Prime Minister Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, also known as the “Father of the Nation”, led the island to independence and did a lot to develop the country. A stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record, Mauritius has attracted considerable foreign investment and has one of Africa’s highest per capita incomes. Recent poor weather and declining sugar prices have slowed economic growth leading to some protests over standards of living in the Creole community.
The one minute summary for Mauritius geography
Best places to see in Mauritius
Northern Touristic Zone Please note that the photos included in this section are heavily modified and thus the colors do not accurately represent reality. coin_de_mire alt text Coin de Mire. Grand Bay from offshore Grand Bay was the first area of the island to fully experience the tourist boom. A shopping and leisure paradise, Grand Bay is also where Mauritians go when they want a fun-filled night out (restaurants, bars and discos).
Recently renovated, La Cuvette beach is well worth a visit. Pereybere The wonderful Pereybere public beach is popular because of its shopping facilities, restaurants and pubs. This is one of the best beaches for swimming. Balaclava Ruins Near (a few metres) Baie aux Tortues, which 17th century sailors named after the many tortoises in the area, can be found the ruins of the old Balaclava estate. Visitors can see the sea walls, whose initial foundations were laid down by Mahé de Labourdonnais. The location of the ruins now form part of Maritim Hotel, and public access may not be possible. The Triolet Shivala The longest village on the island, Triolet offers an opportunity to visit the biggest Hindu temple, the Maheswarnath, first built in 1819 in honour of the Gods Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu, Muruga, Brahma and Ganesha. The Labourdonnais Orchards Discover a large variety of tropical fruit trees, and colourful and perfumed exotic flowers. Trips on mountain bikes or hiking are possible.
The Caudan Waterfront The Caudan Waterfront and its surroundings has a great collection of local souvenir shops and other foreign brand materials such as clothes, and spirits. In addition to the harbor of Mauritius, you will also find the movie theater, game arcades, and local restaurants. The Bazaar of Port-Louis Literally translated as “The Market of Port Louis” here you will find a variety of local snacks and tropical fruits, the cheapest food you will find in the capital city.
Numerous shops sell well made traditional crafted objects such as the “goni” basket. Unfortunately you will also find a lot of stalls selling pirate versions of programs, movies and games: they are extremely cheap but still are illegal and do not guarantee quality. You may get a version that is not the original, but created by other than what is stated. Like all crowded areas, be wary of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you.
Food sold on the street may have health issues, but that is, for the most part, rare. If you have any allergies, refrain from eating at these stalls. The SSR Botanical Garden If you want to see some plants originating from Mauritius, then this is the place for you. The SSR botanical garden is the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere. It was founded by Pierre Poivre (1719 1786) in 1770, contains some flora unique to Mauritius and covers an area of around 37 hectares. It also has several animals, being especially famous for its fish, deer and tortoises, as well as an old replica of a sugar mill. Aquarium Situated near Pointe Aux Piments, this aquarium contains a wide variety of fishes and crabs. You can also see some sharks and turtles in a big tank placed in the aquarium.
Stone fish and muray fish can also be seen in the aquarium. Restaurants Don’t hesitate to go to the various local restaurants around the city. Although many of them advertise a specific ethnic cuisine, like everywhere around the world they have their own mix of traditional and local. Fried rice, for example, may be different than your usual experience. East Flacq Market Flacq is one of the most important villages in Mauritius. This meeting point for inhabitants of the East boasts the countrys largest open air market. This extremely colourful market attracts a large number of people. The Waterpark Leisure Village Enjoy sliding on the giant chutes with family or friends. Relaxation and pleasure guaranteed. Ile aux Cerfs A paradise for water sports and has one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius.
You cannot afford to miss this tiny island, delicately poised on the ocean, a real pearl in the Mauritian landscape. Price conscious visitors would be well advised to take ample food and drink, as the only bar and restaurant on the island primarily targets well-heeled tourists. Boats depart regularly from Trou-d’Eau Douce village in the East which has some of the best seafood restaurants on the island. A variety of vessels serve the route including catamarans, yachts and “pirate-ships”. Some serve food (usually barbecue, especially seafood) on board included in the price and tend to take a detour to the Grand River South East waterfalls for a visit.
The island also has a 5-star hotel (Le Touessrok) and a golf course. Beaches The eastern part of the island is known for its long sand bank beaches and famous hotels such as “The Coco Beach Hotel” and the 5-star “Le Touessrok”. South east Dutch Ruins At Vieux Grand Port, the oldest settlement in Mauritius, you can see the ruins of the first Dutch fortifications. Excavation work is under way in a bid to uncover an important part of Mauritian history. Ile aux Aigrettes As a result of the remarkable work accomplished by the Mauritius Wildlife Fund, the island has become an international standard for the protection of natural resources and endangered species. A few of the worlds rarest birds, including the kestrel, can be seen there. You can also see the extremely rare Pink Pigeon, the Green Gecko Phelsuma and the Aldabra giant tortoise. Mahebourg is one of the main fishing villages on the island. Built on the magnificent Grand Port Bay, it was founded in 1804 by the French Governor Charles Decaën.
The Monday markets are among the biggest and best on the island and are held right next to the main bus station. Domaine du Chasseur ? +230 634-5011, (Fax: +230 634-5261). Nestling in the Anse Jonchée hills, the Domaine des Grand Bois has splendid hunting grounds covering an area of 900 hectares. Stags, monkeys and boars live amidst the luxuriant vegetation of the hillside. One can watch a few species of endangered birds, including the kestrel. The Domaine contains four thatched-roof bungalows and a restaurant with a panoramic sea view.
Take an opportunity to enjoy a meal of venison. (The view is great and well worth the visit, but the food can best be described as average. The venison is very chewy.) There is a steep hike up the hill from the car park to the restaurant. The restaurant offers a 4wd taxi service which is free if you eat one of their overpriced meals, but if you only want a cup of tea or desert they will slug you an outrageous 230 Rupee per person, for the 5 minute ride. Souillac A small seaside resort along the rugged coast of the Savanne district. A famous feature is the garden overlooking the sea and named after Dr. Charles Telfair. A popular viewpoint is found at the southern end of the village, right on the cliff top : Gris Gris. Blue Bay Bluest water and most amazing white sand beaches you will ever see… Take the trip across the island from Port Louis and see what this quiet place has to offer. Very busy with the locals on weekends. Try to go during the week. Glass bottom boats are an excellent outing. Part of Blue Bay has been designated a Marine Park, and the snorkeling trips by boat to this area, offered for sale on the main public beach, are well worth trying. Rochester Falls Rochester Falls is a waterfall on the Savanne River located approximately 2.5 km from Souillac.
It is famous among youngsters who often perform dives into the water below. West Tamarin Beach offers white sands and crystal clear waters and both novice to expert surfers visit for some of the best waves on the island. The bay also has its own dolphin pod and dramatic views across to the Montage du Rempart an extinct volcano. It was voted Beach of the Week by luxury online travel magazine Beach Tomato on 29th November Flic en Flac A local fishing village that has expanded to become a popular destination for tourists and expats.
Flic en Flac has a very long white sandy beach stretching down the west coast to Tamarin which is enjoyed by both locals and tourists. Scuba Diving is a major attraction here with excellent diving just a few minutes from the beach. There is a reasonable supermarket and a variety of accommodations and restaurants to suit all budgets. Martello Towers at La Preneuse, Black River, represent the ancient rivalry between old colonial powers and the ingenuity of mankind. They are a milestone in the islands history; they symbolise the end of slavery and the beginning of Indian immigration. Chamarel A winding road leads from Case Noyale village to the coloured earths of Chamarel: an undulating landscape of different and contrasting shades of colours. The different shades of blue, green, red and yellow are apparently the result of the erosion of the volcanic ash. The neighboring waterfalls of Chamarel rise from the moors and the native plant life.
The site possesses a rare beauty. An adventure park has also recently been opened at Chamarel. Much of the sand has been souvenired by locals. It is now sectioned off, but is not that impressive. Salt Pans Owing to the exceptional high level of sunshine the district receives, Tamarin is the heart of salt production in Mauritius. Casela ? +230 452-2828. Situated in the Rivière Noire district, the Casela Nature & Leisure Park stretches over 25 hectares. It contains more than 140 bird species from five continents and is home to many other animals like giant tortoises, zebras, a tiger and ostriches. Activities like walking with lions, Rando Fun (ziplines & hanging bridges), quad, buggy & Segway, a petting farm and many more promise a fun day for the whole family. Yemen Yemen Reserve may not be the largest game reserve on the island, but there is still lots to see.
You will be able to get close to the herds of deer, and admire some splendid species of Mauritian fauna. A few rustic kiosks available in the reserve provide an unobstructed view of the sea. There you can sip a local punch while watching the sun going down. The interior Black River Gorges This national park of 6,574 hectares (16,244 acres) was created in 1994 for the protection of Mauritius remaining native forests. Visitors can enjoy magnificent landscapes, with endemic plants and rare bird species.
A trail leads from the Pétrin information centre to an area of typical plant life and to a conservation area. Eureka ? +230 326-4775, (Fax:+230 326-9732). Is an old Creole residence built in 1830, Eureka is an essential place to visit during your stay in Mauritius if you wish to immerse yourself in tropical sweetness. Includes a tour of the colonial house with the opportunity to purchase overpriced textile products, and a tour of the gardens and a visit to the waterfalls below. Grand Bassin Ganga Talao – Grand Bassin Beyond La Marie and Mare-aux-Vacoas is found one of the two natural lakes of Mauritius. It rests within the crater of an extinct volcano.
Ganga Talao is an important pilgrimage site and many Mauritians of the Hindu faith walk there during the Maha Shivaratri festival or the night fasting dedicated to Shiva. Gigantic eels live in the lake and are fed by the pilgrims. A walk to the top of the mount beside the lake is recommended for beautiful views over the area known as “Plaine Champagne”. LAventure du Sucre ? +230 243 06 60. Daily 9AM-6PM . Visit an interactive and ultra modern exhibition situated at the heart of an ancient sugar mill and discover the fascinating history of Mauritius and its sugarcane adventure exposed over 5,000m². Then, let yourself be tempted by their boutique with its unique gifts, souvenirs and tasting of special unrefined sugars as well as local rum.
Do not miss the opportunity to relish authentic Mauritian cuisine with refined flavours at their restaurant “Le Fangourin”. Free access to the restaurant and the Village Boutique Beau Plan-Pamplemousses.