Mauritius is an island nation, which means technically you are visiting a paradise island and you can cross off another “country visited” from your bucket list. This island is located just off the southeast coast of the African continent, right in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius is very beautiful, but there is more to the island than just the paradise part. Let me explain.
Whenever I was thinking about Mauritius, I usually had a picture similar to the one above in my mind. Beautiful beaches, boats, sun, palm trees and turquoise ocean wherever I looked. And this is exactly what I got when I arrived on the island. And don’t get me wrong: I wanted to experience this tranquility. Combined with some cocktails at the beach bar, what could you possibly want more?
Well, actually the first hotel even had a small jetty that looked great during sunrise for shots like the one below. And since I started on the east coast of the island I had to be patient to get the famous sundowner shots. But it also meant that I could go to one of the many smaller islands around Mauritius from the hotel jetty to enjoy even more beaches. Or take a catamaran tour to see more of the beautiful coast. The category “beach holiday” is really versatile in Mauritius.
But travelling to Mauritius to only see the paradise beaches wouldn’t do this island justice. My second stop on the island was in the north-western part, close to Mon Choisy. Of course there were beautiful beaches there too (see image below), but from there you can visit the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, which is also called the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden. And because this just rolls of the tongue, people actually refer to it as the “SSRBG”. And from Mon Choisy the capital city Port Louis is also easily reachable. Even though the botanical garden was not nearly as exciting nor beautiful as expected (or as claimed by many travel guides), the bus ride to the garden most certainly was. Public transport is an adventure that I would highly recommend to do in Mauritius. And it is very cheap. Just be prepared to be flexible in terms of comfort.
So I also decided to go to Port Louis by bus. The city itself is buzzing but most interesting – especially for photographers – is the central market and the area around it. Roughly 150 000 people live in Port Louis, but with all the busses and traffic it feels larger than that. The image below shows a shop at Farquhar Street, more or less next to the central market. Lot’s of street photography opportunities. And good street food for little money. I had some of the best Samosa right there at a street corner.
The Central Market was built while the country was still under British Empire rule at La Corderie Street. In 2004 there was a major refurbishment and the market is considered a true historical gem on the island. You can eat there and enjoy local food – usually for good prices. Only the newer sections with souvenirs are usually rather expensive. If you are into haggling – this might be for you.
For the last segment of the trip I went to the south-western part of Mauritius, close to Tamarin. Beautiful beaches? Of course. But also different landscape. And the possibility to visit some of the major tourist spots and to chase some waterfalls. The shot below was taken at the Chamarel 7 Coloured Earth Geopark in south-western Mauritius. It’s an area of sand dunes comprising sand of seven distinct colours. It is a very nice area and certainly worth a visit when on Mauritius. The Geopark also has the Chamarel Waterfall and you can trek down to the base of waterfall. I didn’t do that because I already had a different waterfall in mind. And there is a rum distillery near by – but you should go there by car. So maybe decide on the designated driver beforehand.
The next excursion that I did in the south-western part of the island was my personal highlight of the whole trip: A hike to the 7 cascades waterfall near Tamarin. The image below shows the first sight of the first of the 7 cascades. I only hiked the upper 4 cascades and if you are not an experienced hiker (seriously!) I would recommend to hire a local guide. They will find you as soon as you park your car. Check the internet for the hike, I will also link a description at the end. Some parts of the hike are very steep and it can get quite slippery – the Indiana Jones feeling comes for free though. And before you ask: Yes, you can actually swim in the pool seen below. But be warned: The water is “fresh”.
So, is Mauritius a paradise island? Yes. But also a very versatile place for photographers. I would recommend to visit this island at least once in your lifetime. And try some local Samosas!
- Mauritius Government
- Official Website of the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden (SSRBG)
- SSRBG on Wikipedia
- Chamarel 7 Coloured Earth Geopark
- La Rhumerie de Chamarel
- 7 Cascade Waterfall hiking route suggestion from Alltrails