In the NORTH…
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Gardens, formerly known as the Royal
Botanic Garden and more commonly referred to as the Pamplemousses, is
one of the island’s most popular attractions. The garden covers
60 acres and is located just 11km north east of Port Louis. Most hotels
offer tours to the garden. Have a chat with the concierge who will gladly
make arrangements for you. Alternatively catch a bus from any one of the
coastal towns in the North. They will drop you on the main road and the
garden is a short five-minute walk away. The garden boasts an impressive
array of 800 plant species, 80 of which are palms and 25 are indigenous
to the Mascarene Islands. Highlights include the impressive giant water
lilies, which only flower for two days a year - each day the flower is
a different colour and emits a different fragrance.
Entrance fee: Free
A good map of the area or a guided tour will make the experience more
worthwhile. Official guides – look for their badges – offer
comprehensive and interesting tours at a cost of Rs50 per person and Rs40
per person for groups of more than four people.
In the EAST…
Domaine de l’Ylang Ylang is off the road to Domaine du
Chasser. This estate is, not surprisingly, best known for its cultivation
and production of Ylang Ylang essential oils and perfumes. Eucalyptus,
lemon grass and other specialist crops are also grown for their essential
oils. Well worth a visit.
In the SOUTH…
Ile aux Aigrettes is a nature reserve off the southeast coast of the island
where the local wildlife foundation has set about replacing alien flora
with indigenous varieties. For plant lovers this is a fascinating place
to visit and there is a good chance of seeing the giant Aldabra tortoises.
The Mahébourg Naval & Historical Museum just outside the town
of Mahébourg contains some great stories and relics of battles
and shipwrecks off the coast of Mauritius. History and naval buffs will
enjoy this journey into the island’s somewhat turbulent early history.
In the WEST…
Casela Bird Park is exactly that, a bird park, but it’s the number
and variety of species, which make this an important and impressive stop
for bird lovers. There are reported to be 150 different species and over
1500 birds in the park.
In the CENTRE…
The Mauritius Glass Factory and the Botanical Gardens in Curepipe, which
are a considerably smaller version of the Pamplemousses, are both worth
visiting if you are staying in the area. While you are in Curepipe take
a trip up to the crater at Trou aux Cerfs, one of the supposedly extinct
volcanoes on the island.
Port Louis is the best place to start your shopping excursion. The capital
city has become something of a shopping Mecca with a host of special deals
and duty free shops to choose from. The Caudan Waterfront complex offers
an impressive array of shops including local arts and crafts, imported
and locally manufactured carpets, textiles, genuine and not-so-genuine
designer clothes, the latest electronic goods and duty free jewellery.
The duty free shops will invariably require proof that you are a visitor
and will ask for your passport and return air ticket.
Don’t be afraid to bargain if you feel that the price on an item
you like is too high. That said, you are more likely to negotiate a discount
on unmarked goods than those with price tags.
Once you have an idea of what’s on offer, the markets are a great
place to look for better deals. They provide a far better sense of Mauritian
culture than one is likely to experience in Port Louis or at the large
The markets are held in Port Louis, Mahébourg, Centre de Flacq,
Curepipe and one or two smaller villages.