Mark Twain was right in saying that, ‘Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.’ The tiny Indian Ocean island is situated east of Madagascar, and is twice the size of Hong Kong, but has just one million residents.
The Government of Mauritius recently agreed with the Government of Ghana to waive visa requirement for holders of each others National passport. The agreement allows all Ghanaians, including holders of ordinary Ghanaian passports to enter into Mauritius without any visa restrictions. The same courtesies will be extended to Mauritius nationals coming to Ghana.
Talking about Mauritius, there are activities for every kind of traveller in this natural paradise. Honeymooners often like to soak up the sun on the beach or have a night out at the local bar or tavern. Families are often to be found hiking in the jungle interior, snorkelling in the clear waters or swimming with the dolphins. Backpackers often stop off here on an around-the-world trip. With all the activities available, Mauritius will surely impress even the most cynical visitor.
Mauritian cuisine is one of the most diverse in the world, with influences from French, Indian, African and Asian kitchens coming together to create its unique flavours. Be sure to scan restaurant menus for daube, fish vindaye, chicken or fish kalia (mixed with vegetables), mutton halim (a soup), a classic tomato-based chicken stew and a local take on Indian vindaloo. You can also try Mauritian snacks such as dhal puri, a traditional flatbread filled with spicy ground split peas and served with chutney. Or try the island’s famous babonne, a fleshy white fish similar to red snapper.
Mauritius has over four centuries of history with sugar cane, and the sweet crop is still the island’s major export, vital to its economy and lifestyle. You can explore the island’s old sugar mill and sample unrefined sugars, as well as learning about sugar’s history and its production through interactive exhibits. You can visit the rum distilleries at Chamarel, St Aubin Rum Estate or L’Aventure du Sucre, where you will find different types of local sugar (vanilla and cinnamon).
If you are seeking adrenaline-boosting activities or bored of the sun-lounger, head out to explore the lush Domaine de l’Étoile reserve via quad bike or buggy, by horseback, on mountain bike or on foot. You can go zip lining or hiking through the rainforest, try canyoning in the waterfalls or take to the water and explore every kind of ocean-based sport available. You can also try kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing, paddle boarding or sailing, which are available at various hotels and resorts around the island.
Coloured Layers of Sand
Chamarel is a small village in Mauritius and a major tourist draw. What makes this place unique is the coloured layers of sand that can be observed here. The soil is marked by vibrant swirls and stripes of red, green, yellow, indigo and violet. You can easily climb up the observation deck and marvel at the array of colours. Some say these were formed by volcanic lava cooling at different speeds, while others believe it is the due to the presence of various metal oxides. You can buy test tubes filled with the seven coloured sands of Chamarel as a souvenir to take back home.
You can take a ferry or catamaran ride to many of the islands around Mauritius, including Ile aux Cerfs, Ile aux Aigrettes, Ilot Gabriel, Ile d’Ambre, Ile au Ronde, Ile Benetiers, Ile de deux Cocos, Coin de Mire and Flat island. The package usually includes lunch, dancing and music, with visits to white sand coves, golf courses, ideal spots for sunbathing and snorkelling and breathtaking views of waterfalls.