Honeymoons are supposed to be fantastic, wonderful, a trip of a lifetime. I was lucky enough to spend mine in Thailand. However, a year before our honeymoon we visited Mauritius for 2 weeks and were asked repeatedly if we were newlyweds.
Mauritius IS and IS NOT what I expected from this small island located in the Indian Ocean. The things I expected we found in abundance – palm trees, the soft white sand, the cocktails served to you by a very friendly waiter, the clear waters lapping at your ankles as you stroll hand in hand – you get my point. Mauritius is perfect for honeymooners who want nothing more than to relax after the stress and excitement of their wedding whilst eating nice food in 5* hotel surroundings. Now don't get me wrong we all need downtime and I am no exception and indulged in plenty of it on my own honeymoon but not here…..here I wanted more, I wanted to explore this island which is in fact only a bit bigger than Central London.
So I set about finding out what more was on offer outside of the all-inclusive hotel that we were staying at and I was and still am amazed at the array of activities, trips, sights to be seen on this island. Here are my top 5.
MAURITIUS TOP 5
1. Walking with Lions
This is actually the pinnacle of what, in my opinion, is a great day out at the 'Casela Nature Park, World of Adventures'. Here you can spend the day walking through the bird park and giant tortoise enclosure together with quad biking (I LOVE quad biking) through 'Safari Kingdom' which allows you to view a range of animals up close and personal from the comfort of your quad. So the lions…..the lions are beautiful graceful creatures and walking with them is a memory I will cherish forever. The guide gives you the full do's and don'ts run down. Then off you go – a full hour wandering around with them leading the way. There are photo opportunities along the way so you have a lasting memento of your trip. I'd like to think that these animals have been trained well and no drugs have been used to subdue them. I will say they all look very healthy and very happy so I doubt it very much.
2. Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
Officially called Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, named after the first Prime Minister of Mauritius. It is located very close to Port Louis, maybe you could combine a trip to both on the same day? It is possibly the most beautiful botanical garden I have ever been too. Obviously plants, trees and greenery need to float your boat otherwise you may not be as impressed with this place as I was. It was first constructed in 1770 making it the oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere, and it covers an area of around 37 hectares. It is now a plush, well grown, mature garden that is a pleasure to spend a few hours walking around. The giant water lilies on the lake in the middle of the gardens are beautiful. It was also here that I first ever saw a Banyan Tree too (an actual Banyan Tree not the luxury hotel chain).
3. Port Louis
Is the capital of Mauritius and is very different to everywhere else on the island and is home to the island's only port. The city is very modern with a number of bars and restaurants built in the Caudan Waterfront area including a 'traditional English pub' – the Keg & Marlin where we enjoyed a couple of cold ones overlooking the marina. Port Louis also boasts shopping centres, food markets, casinos, lovely boutique shops and museums including the Blue Penny Museum and the Mauritius Postal Museum. A nice place to grab some lunch and wander around for half a day or so. It's very modern but probably the smallest capital city I have ever been to.
4. Boat Trip
I'll be honest the Indian Ocean is my favourite ocean in the world and any opportunity I get to dip my toe in it or sail on it I grab. So taking a catamaran ride was up there on my things to do. Beautiful weather, beautiful catamaran, beautiful company = perfect day trip. Plus the added bonus of free booze swung it even more for me! There are plenty of companies that will take you out to chill out, sunbathe, swim, snorkel, dive – whatever takes your fancy. There are a number of tiny islands off the coast of Mauritius and they can be accessed via a catamaran or boat trip. We were joined for the ride by a pod of dolphins who happily swam next to the catamaran for over an hour giving us plenty of opportunity to take snaps of them.
Is a tiny village in the southern-west part of the Island with a population of less than 1000 people. Chamarel is popular today for its range of nature attractions including":-
Seven Coloured Earths – a small area of sand dunes which are made up of seven different colours (red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow).
Chaparral Falls – the most famous and most recognisable waterfalls on the island at a height of 83m (272ft). You can view from an upper or lower viewing deck or even go swimming in the shallow water at the bottom.
Black Rivers Gorges National Park – this area of lush greenery became a national park in June 1994. This is the perfect place if you are interested in hiking or bird watching. So if you had the picture perfect imagine in your head of what Mauritius is like…..then you're not wrong! But if you allow yourself to step outside of your hotel you will also find so much more to do and see on this beautiful little island. Ideal for honeymoon or adventure!