Sometimes travel writers actually go on holiday but still they can’t resist documenting stuff. Here’s some jpegs fresh out the camera:
1. Domaine Anna – a beautiful setting for a restaurant amid the sugar cane fields near Flic-En-Flac. Cocktails for around 150 rupees (about £3). Food is seafood often with a Chinese or French slant. Mains for a very reasonable £6-10. If you go, order the scallops (gratin style) for starter – little slivers of heaven. Also book ahead for one of the huts and go at night for something a little bit magical.
2. Giant tortoises everywhere – this one was amongst a family of them at Domaine Anna.
3. The Royal Botanical Gardens at Pamplemousses were particularly lovely. There are guides at the entrance for an extra 50 rupees but we used the map provided to see all the sights so don’t let them hound you into it if you prefer an independent stroll.
4. Chamarel has two attractions for the price of one: a 100m-drop waterfall in a stunning lost world type setting and also a patch of rather amazing coloured earth.
5. Best sight to see (that I saw): the Mauritiuseswarnath Shiv Jyothir Lingum Temple on Grand Bassin. Giant Lord Shiva statues, mirror lake, colourful temple and statues, Hindu pilgrims, fish eating coconuts, abundant fish, holy eels, monkeys, cool mountain air…
6. Flic-En-Flac – a great sunset beach on the west coast, which apparently gets all the sunshine. Some strange vibes there – many of the holiday apartments were empty in the week week giving it a ghost town feel. Also there were some safety issues – I was told by a Flic-En-Flac resident that there is a (hard) drug problem here and to only get taxis back at night. And yes we did have a run in with some shady types (as well as rip-off cabbie types charging four times the going rate.) Security seems an issue for the residents too with many of the compounds surrounded by spiky fences and barbed wire. Still, in the daytime, what a beautiful beach – with minimal hassle from hawkers. Had some great snorkelling here too: no great corals but I did spot lionfish, porcupine fish, moray eel, zebra fish and Picasso triggerfish.
Would be interested to hear other people’s views of Mauritius. It was a beautiful tropical island but generally prices seemed on a par with the UK,with little bargaining room, plus there was that particularly weird vibe at Flic-En-Flac. On the plus side, it’s one of the least hassley places I’ve ever been for tourists/travellers and the Mauritian people I met were hospitable and friendly.
Verdict: I am mostly recommending it, but probably not enough for me to book a return visit.