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Culture, cuisine and countryside: Why visiting Mauritius is about more than just sandy beaches

Mauritius boasts many beautiful waterfalls
Mauritius boasts many beautiful waterfalls Copyright Visit Mauritius
Copyright Visit Mauritius
By Ally Wybrew
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Mixing postcard-perfect landscapes with luxury accommodation and outdoor adventures, Mauritius is the golden holiday ticket for travellers in 2024.


Who doesn’t love long, sandy beaches, coral blue waters and the soft susurration of palm fronds? The island of Mauritius, sitting just off the east coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, offers all these things and more.

But it’s far from the only island with these credentials. In the pantheon of desert island idylls - the Seychelles, the Maldives, the Caribbean islands - it can be hard to stand out. Mauritius however, does just that thanks to a distinctive blend of culture, cuisine and outdoor adventures that rival many of its beachy counterparts.

Here’s why travellers looking for that undiscovered island destination should head to Mauritius for their next trip.

The island of Mauritius lies off the east coast of Madagascar
The island of Mauritius lies off the east coast of MadagascarVisit Mauritius

Is Mauritius worth travelling to?

By any sun-drenched destination standards, Mauritius is worth a visit. Composed of a vast 2,000 sq km volcanic mass, the island is adorned with beaches, agricultural land and local towns in the north, and the lush slopes of La Morne Mountain and Black River Gorges National Park in the south. Unique flora carpets the island, including over 200 variations of palm tree and a rare ebony.

These natural assets make it a veritable playground for adventure-lovers. Scuba diving, kite surfing, e-biking and hiking are all easily available, while those looking to tee off can pick from a wealth of championship golf courses (start with the Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club, an 18-hole course on its own island just off Mauritius’ largest lagoon).

An absolute must-do for any visitor however, is a helicopter flight over the ‘underwater waterfall’ on the south west coast. This unique trick of the eye makes it seem as if a huge waterfall is falling into the ocean’s depths from beneath the surface.

There are plenty of real, land-based waterfalls too. Head to the Tamarind Nature Reserve and embark on a day-long hike through Tamarind Canyon, home to 11 watery cascades (remember to pack your swimsuit for a refreshing dip in the pools).

As for where to stay, Mauritius offers stays for every budget, ranging from luxury hotels with spas and private beaches to eco-lodges and glamping.

Mauritian cuisine is a blend of Creole, French and Indian
Mauritian cuisine is a blend of Creole, French and IndianVisit Mauritius

What makes Mauritius different?

One of Mauritius’ most distinctive traits is its culture. Mauritians hail from a range of countries and continents - Europe, India, Africa - culminating in a distinctive local experience and cuisine.

Arvind Bundhun, Director of Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, sees Mauritian culture as one of the destinations’ most appealing aspects. “I believe our people make the difference. There are very few countries in the world where people come from different continents and live together harmoniously,” he says. “[Mauritius is] a melting pot of culture, tradition, religion, festivities and gastronomy.”

Dining in Mauritius constitutes a delicious blend of Indian, Creole and French cuisine. Traditional dishes include meatball boulettes, dholl puri (split pea flatbread) and Mauritian Biryani - while palm heart infuses almost everything. Fresh fish and seafood also play a significant role, and any morning trips taken along the coastline will reveal fishermen bringing in their haul fresh from the ocean.

Kite surfing is just one of many popular activities in Mauritius
Kite surfing is just one of many popular activities in MauritiusVisit Mauritius

Why 2024 is a good time to visit Mauritius

Those seeking sunshine in 2024 won’t be disappointed with Mauritius. Average temperatures rarely drop below 21 degrees, with most sitting comfortably around 25/26. The island’s rainy season is also pleasingly short (between December and April).

As for where to bed down? In preparation for the new year, hospitality on the island took a step up in 2023. A spate of refurbishments have taken place across the island, seeing a range of resorts including the InterContinental Resort Mauritius, LUX Belle Mare, Veranda Palmar and Sand Suites Resort & Spa undergoing extensive renovations.

The island also expects to have 19 new hotels in the pipeline over the next five years, so options for visitors are only going to expand.

Some hotels are already evolving. At the five-star Shangri-La, dining experiences have taken on a new twist. Guests can now enjoy a luxury meal inside crystalline hypedomes, accompanied by Veuve Clicquot and panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.

Golf lovers also have a treat in store: a brand new course at the Heritage Golf Club on the south of the island opens this December. Lying alongside a UNESCO biosphere reserve, La Reserve Golf Links is co-designed by Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen in sympathy with its surroundings. It’s due to be the only contemporary links course in the Indian Ocean.

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