What to see on Mauritius East Coast

The east coast of Mauritius is my favourite coast. From the quiet creeks of Roches Noires in the north, past the wind swept beaches of Poste Lafayette to the mangroves and down to Belle Mare’s soft sandy beaches there is a surprise at every turn of the coastal road. The public beach of Palmar offers a wide expanse of rock and sand, a great place to take the kids for a picnic enroute. Down in the south east is the quiet sleepy village of Trou d’aux Douce with its friendly inhabitants and the wonderful off shore island of Ile Aux Cerfs. Here are highlights of spots to visit on the east coast or within driving distance.

 

Flacq marketFlacq Market
Flacq is one of the most important villages in Mauritius. This meeting point for inhabitants of the East boasts the country’s largest open air market. The extremely colourful market attracts a large number of people.

 

waterparkThe Waterpark Leisure Village
Enjoy unforgettable moments sliding on the giant chutes, with family or friends. Relaxation and pleasure guaranteed.

 

ile aux cerfsIle aux Cerfs
Ile aux Cerfs is a paradise for water sports and has the most beautiful beach in Mauritius. You cannot afford to miss this tiny island, delicately poised on the ocean, a real pearl in the Mauritian landscape.

 

eureka  mauritiusEureka
Although not technically in the east but the centre of Mauritius in Moka, I have included the drive from the east through to the heart of old colonial Mauritius which can easily be taken in along with a visit to the markets at Quatre Bornes. An old Creole residence built in 1830, Eureka is an essential place to visit during your stay in Mauritius if you wish to immerse yourself in the past.

Situated at Moka, in the fresh and lush climate of central Mauritius, the famous residence “Eureka” was built during the French colonial period and once belonged to a very well known Mauritian family. The main part of the estate has been turned into a museum, and they offer guided tours through this magnificent colonial house, its lush gardens and down to the cascading river.

It is their aim to have their guests experience an extended glimpse of history and they offer three self catering guesthouses on the premises; situated in the vicinity of the main own residence in a quiet corner of the vast gardens and “off the beaten track”.

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed our guide of what to see on the Mauritius East Coast!

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What to see on Mauritius North Coast

Grand Bay

Grand Bay was the first area of the island to fully experience the tourist boom. A fishing village twenty years ago, this sheltered bay bobbing with boats is now the main tourism hub of the island. Nicknamed ‘Le Trop’ for its hot shopping and après-sol entertainment, it has plenty of excursions, attractions and beaches nearby. Kids will love the Aquarium (www.mauritiusaquarium.com) in the north, with the chance to feed fish and eyeball a shark. A shopping and leisure paradise, Grand Bay also happens to be the area where Mauritians head for when they want a fun-filled night out (restaurants, bars and discos). Recently renovated, La Cuvette beach is well worth a visit.

Grand Bay

Pereybère

The wonderful Pereybere public beach is popular because of its shopping facilities, restaurants and pubs.

Pereybere Beach

Balaclava Ruins
A few metres away from Baie aux Tortues, which 17th century sailors named after the many tortoises in the area, can be found the ruins of the old Balaclava estate. Visitors will be able to see the sea walls, whose initial foundations were laid down by Mahé de Labourdonnais.

The Triolet Shivala
The longest village on the island, Triolet offers an opportunity to visit the biggest Hindu temple, the Maheswarnath, first built in 1819 in honour of the Gods Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu, Muruga, Brahma and Ganesha.

The Labourdonnais Orchards
Discover a large variety of tropical fruit trees, colourful and perfumed exotic flowers. Trips on mountain bikes or hiking are possible.

L’Aventure du Sucre
Visit an interactive and ultra modern exhibition situated at the heart of an ancient sugarmill and discover the fascinating history of Mauritius and its sugarcane adventure exposed over 5000 sq meters! Then, let yourself be tempted by our tropical boutik with its unique gifts, souvenirs and tasting of special unrefined sugars as well as local rum. Do not miss the opportunity to relish authentic Mauritian cuisine with refined flavours at our restaurant “Le Fangourin”.
Open 7 days a week from 09h00 to 18h00 – Free access to the restaurant and the Village Boutik
Beau Plan-Pamplemousses http://www.aventuredusucre.com/

Port Louis

The capital of Mauritius and the commercial heart. The Blue Penny Museum is home to the world’s first colonial stamp and you can see an ancient dodo skeleton, on the first floor of The Natural History Museum. Get a sense of multi faith Mauritius here by gazing over churches, mosques, and Chinese and Indian temples from the citadel or join the locals and ex-pats on a late afternoon stroll up Signal Mountain – named after the antennae on top – to see the city at sunset.

The picturesque Port-Louis central market continues to be a meeting point for Mauritians looking for a «cari» (curry) or «dithé» (tea). Here you will find all the ingredients that help to create the charm of Mauritius: local crafts, vegetables, famous «dholl purris» as well as herbal tea sellers. Built in 1844 the market is being renovated.

Central Market Port Louis

Enjoy a picturesque and affordable visit to Port-Louis’ Chinatown. The sellers of boiled «chow mein» and fish balls form part of the picturesque scene in an area where you can find almost anything at an affordable price.

ChinatownDuring the past years the Caudan Waterfront has become an unavoidable route for those who wish to have a taste of the best of Mauritius. Offering more than just rows of shops and restaurants Caudan Waterfront also enables you to discover Mauritian expertise in all fields, as you stroll around the area. Fast food or gourmet cooking, jewellery and local crafts, everything to suit all tastes.

Nestling in the Pailles Valley, Domaine les Pailles takes a trip back in time through the history of Mauritius and offers a unique culinary experience. This typical Mauritian estate inflames your imagination with its harmonious combination of history, culture and nature

Pamplemousse Gardens

The gardens are known to naturalists throughout the world for their large collection of indigenous and exotic plants.The 60-acre garden boasts 500 different species of plants, of which 80 are palms. Of particular interest are the giant water lilies, a spice garden and the Talipot Palms, said to flower every 60 years after which they die. The deers and tortoises are sure to delight the youngsters, whilst an old French mansion, Château Mon Plaisir, and an old sugar mill conjure up pictures of Mauritius’ rich historical past.

PamplemousseEureka 

This French colonial mansion once owned by the island’s biggest sugar baron is a feat of engineering, with 109 doors and a complete wrap around balcony to keep residents cool in the tropical heat. Its turreted rooftop windows look particularly pretty against the backdrop of the Moka Mountains. Take the track from the beautiful garden with ebony and bamboo, to a swimming hole beneath a waterfall, as next door neighbour Pierre Poivre once did.
Address: Moka, West Mauritius www.maisoneureka.com

eureka  mauritiusThere’s even more to explore and discover for yourself!

Top 10 Mauritius Luxury Villas of 2012

Reflecting on 2012 we have seen some interesting developments. Whilst there are still some firm favourites making the top 10 we have seen a large increase in family groups looking for a traditional yet trendy villa holiday. This year has been hugely successful for several of the villas on this trend in Mauritius. These spacious architect-designed pool villas with often 5+ bedrooms, offer a real home from home with their own local staff to take away those domestic chores.

2012 has also seen the opening of more luxury oceanfront apartments with very positive client feedback. Wedding parties blocking whole complexes were very popular this year, especially for those with guests from the southern and northern hemispheres meeting half way.

Mauritius continues to attract the villa client who can enjoy a tropical home from home, with homemade cooking, hot sandy beaches and the usual warm welcome of the Mauritius people.

Luxury Beach Apartments

 

Cape Point Apartments – Cap Malheureux (North Coast Mauritius)

 

Cape Point is a fantastic seafront property in North Mauritius just 5 minutes from Grand Bay. This year has seen a flurry of wedding groups with guests from all around the globe. Weddings can be held at Cape Point or at other romantic locations nearby. Cape Point has four spacious 3 bedroom apartments and a 4 bedroom penthouse offering a high level of comfort and stunning views over the lagoon and the northern islands. The swimming pool has a large wooden decking area and a pool bar.

 

Leora Beach Apartments – Tamarin, Black River (West Coast Mauritius) 

Leora opened late 2011 and was the first luxury apartments for rental on the west coast. An instant hit with our guests, it will soon be joined in April 2013 by another similar property L’Espanade. Leora Beachfront Apartments are in a stunning location with amazing sea views. There are 12 apartments and 2 penthouses of 3 bedrooms each set in four stylish blocks. Nearby are top-rated golf courses, sports clubs and commercial centres with shops and restaurants. The opening of such apartments are ideal for families, couples and groups of friends.

Traditional & Trendy Luxury Villas

 

Villa Athénée – Poste Lafayette (East Coast Mauritius)

As always, Villa Athénée is a firm favourite every year, this 5 bedroom beachfront thatched villa is traditonal yet stylish. A real home from home, the guests appreciate the ambiance of the villa, deck, pool and lovely soft sand of the beach as well as the delicious cooking provided by Marie-Josee. Excellent choice for a group of friends or large family.

Villa Hermes

 

Villas Hermes – Belle Mare (East Coast Mauritius)

One of our favourites and with fantastic staff, this villa brings family and golfing groups back year after year. Villas Hermes 2 with its 5 bedrooms can be rented along with Villa Hermes 1 with 4 bedrooms. A much sought-after villa which shares the finest beach of Belle Mare with the One&Only St Géran. All bedrooms are en-suite and air-conditioned. The outside covered terrace leads to a spacious lawn overlooking the powder beach and quiet bay. In our opinion you can’t beat both its location and its dedicated staff . A truly authentic Mauritius holiday experience.

La Boiserie – Trou Aux Biches/Mont Choisy (North Coast Mauritius)

On a gorgeous sandy beach, this well positioned  4-bedroom villa with a guest cottage sleeps up to 8 adults and 2 children. Days are spent sunbathing in the beautifully maintained front garden, laid out lawn and sand or dining under the covered wooden gazebo overlooking the stunning bay. Its location is great for sea sports enthusiasts with the  Blue Water Diving Centre and the Big Game Fishing Centre just 75 metres away. This villa has been very popular for large family groups with small children.

Villa K

 

Villa K – Pointe Aux Canonniers   (North Coast Mauritius)

This brand new exclusive villa lies on the beach overlooking the islands off the North coast. It is designed in tropical contemporary style and consists of 4 air-conditioned and ventilated en suite bedrooms sleeping up to 8 guests.

Villa Thalie

 

Villa Thalie – Domaine de Belle Riviere (South Coast Mauritius)

Located in the south west of Mauritius at Bel Ombre is Domaine de Belle Riviere, one of the most exclusive estates in Mauritius comprising some exclusive luxury private villas and the Sofitel So Mauritius five star luxurious hotel and spa. Villa Thalie has 7 bedrooms (4 suites and 3 doubles) and can sleep up to 18. Excellently managed and with complimentary access to the neighbouring Sofitel So Mauritius beach, kids club, restaurants and spa this has been a big hit with our discerning family groups. Ideal location for a very private and sophisticated wedding.

Villa d'Eden

 

Villa d’Eden – Poste Lafayette (East Coast Mauritius)

A traditional thatched and stone villa with pool and a very attentive housekeeper and cook. With 4 bedrooms Villa d’Eden offers a comfortable relaxing stay whether as a couple or with the family.

Tropical Cove

 

Tropical Cove (East Coast Mauritius)

A popular favourite this beautiful 4-bedroom villa is situated in a tropical garden overlooking the tranquil beach of Roches Noires, in a cove well protected from the wind. It is the ideal location for sports lovers who want to kite surf, use championship golf courses and jog along the coast. Ideal for families sleeping 6 adults and 2 children.

Lunea Villas

 

Lunea Villas – Anahita (East Coast Mauritius)

Ideal for golfing groups and family get togethers, Lunea Villas are nestled in the heart of a 213 acre estate of Anahita with views across to the famous Ile aux Cerfs. The estate also includes the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius and the 18 hole Championship golf course designed by Ernie Els.

Hope you’ve had a wonderful year in 2012, we know we have with the Olympics and Paralympics in the United Kingdom to be excited about amongst all the rest that is happening in Mauritius.

We look forward to welcoming you to some of these beautiful locations in 2013 which is already just round the corner!

Subscootering, Mauritius

Many of our party thought we would never do any Scuba diving, let alone something called Subscootering. From afar it seems like an odd choice for an underwater experience with so many other things on offer on the island. With Blue Safari, we were welcomed and briefed on our morning schedule.

From a jetty we were taken by boat out to a Subscootering Platform beyond the lagoon. Wet suits were given out and there were changing rooms, toilets and showers on board. All dressed and ready to go, you put on some of their plastic shoes to protect our feet. There are two people per scooter, one driving the scooter and another having more of an observational experience. The word scooter suggests a high speed experience, whereas it is a fairly slow moving vehicle and there is plenty of time to observe your surroundings.

You climb aboard the vehicle, are shown how to drive and practice the hand signals for different communications for when underwater, as the diver guiding you can obviously not hear. However, you can communicate with ease with your partner in the scooter, from your anxieties to your observations which our party found a valuable part of the experience. If you would like to record your experiences underwater you must ensure you have an underwater camera as on the vehicle you are not able to photograph with a regular camera.

At first it was a shock, but as none of our party had ever done any diving before, this could possibly account for it. Not long after popping our ears and getting deeper into the water, we encountered shoals of different fish; below us we could see coral as we floated past.

Our guide left to return to the surface for a second and returned with bread, all the fish around us ran towards him. He gestured for us to give him our hand and he passed us a lump of bread so we could feed the fish ourselves. Muchlike any animal feeding experience, it was strange, it tickled and yet we all enjoyed it.

On coming to the surface, we felt very heavy as the wetsuits were filled with water and we’d been used to the lightness in the water but we all had smiles on our faces. Once you’d peeled off the wet suits, you were welcomed with a drink of your choice once you were dry. Definitely a great experience for anyone who is interested in scuba diving but either doesn’t have the confidence or has problems with swimming. You will definitely always remember this experience!

C Beach Club, Heritage Resorts

Overview
Whilst staying at the Heritage Villas, you are welcome at the trendy C Beach Club where you can have a social dip in the pool, do water sports at the Boathouse and be served food and drink whilst you relax on the beach. It also houses the V.I. Teens Club, which organises events throughout the day, every day, tailor-made to the teenagers attending.

Food & Drink on the beach
On the beach we were offered a menu from the restaurant which was filled with various cocktails, pizzas and paninis. We tried four different pizzas; Seafood, Mediterranean, Four Cheeses and Rocket & Parma Ham. Out of all four, the seafood pizza was the best, full of flavour. To drink we ordered all four of the Mocktails (Non-alcoholic Cocktails), these went really well with our pizzas.

The Boathouse
We couldn’t resist hiring equipment from the Boathouse after seeing others enjoying the water sports. There are Laser boats, Kayaks and Pedalos, as well as Wind surfing, Water Skiing and other sports. With Pedalos and Kayaks you are able to explore right up the beach to Awali within designated zones.

V.I. Teens Club
Some of our party were very interested in the teens club, immediately they were encouraged by the ‘V.I. Teens Animator’ to get involved with a beach volleyball match during which several other teenagers from other parts of the resort joined. The atmosphere made it easy for everyone to make friends which were especially interesting as they came from all over the world. The ‘Animator’ took suggestions for activities for the following day and followed up with the teenagers schedule at the next breakfast.


http://www.cbeachclub.mu

Heritage In-villa Dining BBQ

One of the best experiences for everyone at Heritage was the In-Villa Dining BBQ. Chefs and waiters come to your villa and prepare the food. Whilst you start your dinner you can see the chef barbequing the meat infront of you; the smells are just as much part of the taste of the meal.

First crudités and salad with freshly prepared dressings decorated the table. First coming of the main course the beef steaks which melted in your mouth like butter. Then, accompanied by a special Barbeque sauce, came the Lamb Shanks which were equally tender and delicious. After this was the culinary pinacle and final main dish, the giant Indian Ocean Prawns were fluffy and generously flavoursome.

The dessert was a beautiful trio of Chocolate Mousse with Citrus Curd, Tiramisu and Tropical Fruit Kebab. Once we had had our coffees to finish, we met the chefs and applauded them enthusiastically as we had a fantastic meal.

Heritage Villas Stay

On arriving at Heritage Villas you are welcomed at the Chateau, where you are asked whether you want to have the formalities conducted inside the chateau or in the villa. We were led to our villa and given a complimentary cocktail and cold towel, shown around and were asked when and where we wanted dinner as we were with the Dining Around Package where you are expected to try the different restaurants on the resort.

Having stayed already at Heritage villas previously, our party were interested in the differences and similarities between the villas. The previous villa had been all on the ground floor but this villa had a stunning upstairs Master Bedroom with a view of the sea. Each villa has a different personality due to having different owners, so it’s very unique and intimate in comparison to a hotel experience.

Despite it being winter in Mauritius, some of our party tried out the pool and there was plenty of seating outside around the pool for others to join in whilst staying dry. The art and décor of the villa was tasteful in using delicate neutral colours, perfect for everyone.

From the villa we were able to explore all that Heritage had to offer at Awali, Le Tel Fair, C Beach Club and the Golf Club as the villa comes with a golf buggy which offers you that freedom.

http://www.villasdemaitre.com/hotelinfo.asp?SupplierID=1689 

A Journey Somewhere in Time… (Colonial Dream Beach House)

Colonial Dream is not just a wonderful beach house; it is a journey somewhere in time.

This villa is the very last colonial home on the Northern coast of Mauritius. It is also the very first beach home that was built in Pointe aux Canonniers by a prominent figure of the island back then as his “campement” seaside home. The campement at that time was used only one to two months a year, during what was called “la saison”, i.e. when wealthy families gathered to spend the winter months on the coast.

The villa is built in stone with numerous thatched roofs that keep the house cool at all times. The rooms display the white and fresh tones of authentic colonial homes. The furniture is mainly “Compagnie des Indes”, carved in purple palissandre 200 years ago in India, or authentic Mauritian creole furniture made with the sought after local mahogany called “macaque”, now almost extinct in the wild. In the entrance, an XVIIth century baroque altar greets the guests. A bunch of flowers stands on an early XIXth century centre table leading to the endless view towards the reef. A 2000sqft outdoor living area with broad verandahs and a huge deck overlooks the Indian Ocean. The main façade is North oriented, therefore the sun pours in all day long towards the pool whose colours match those of the sea.

The Villa size is 5000sqft (3000 inside + 2000 verandahs and deck) and comprises four bedrooms, four bathrooms (3 en-suite, one adjacent, all with double basins). All the bedrooms display priceless antique furniture including: XIXth century colonial mahogany basin stands, old carved tables and stately four poster beds. The interior is bright and airy, with white linen curtains blowing in the sea breeze, immaculate handmade bed covers and superb Egyptian cotton bed sheets. An authentic modern colonial atmosphere.

Outside, the 10 meters long thatched dining room overlooks the pool and sea and has its own small kitchen area with a sink and a fridge. It faces a huge thatched day bed in white with soft pillows to relax and enjoy the view.

Or maybe you will choose a sun lounger on the deck.

Another favourite spot is in the shade under the veranda in one of the old planters’ armchairs. Colonial bliss.

The white sand beach is exceptionally quiet: you are usually all alone all day long.

The extensive living and dining room houses the authentic Compagnie des Indes furniture sideboard, centre table and pair of Indo-Portuguese influenced liquor chests on pedestal, French dessert sideboard, Mahogany creole table with twisted legs, old Chinese portraits, beautiful caned colonial settee and modern white couch.

Heirlooms included: Compagnie des Indes table, caned XIXth century armchair, antique inlaid European desk, XIXth cent ivory and ebony  inlaid dressing table, British colonial chair coming from the Colonial Assembly, antique chinese chest, early 18th cent local Armoire Normande (one of 3 in Mauritius, one being in the Mahebourg museum) as well as  old style “larder” in beautiful oak with hand painted glass and mirrors.

http://www.villasdemaitre.com/hotelinfo.asp?SupplierID=1786


Exploring Mauritius East Coast

We headed off from Grand Bay across the flat north countryside with views all around of the coast and the remote islands. It was September and we came across some sugar cane fields being burnt before they were harvested.

Then we came across some planters harvesting their potatoes.

We passed the entrance to one of the large sugar estates Mon Loisir just before Riviere de Rempart.

We stopped at Poudre d’Or, the place where Bernardin de Saint Pierre’s fictional heroine Virginie lost her life in the (real) disaster of the vessel Saint Geran that sank during a cyclone. A much visited monument reminds us still of this long bygone tragedy. A group of ladies were having an outing in a bus and were enjoying the simplicity of this quiet corner of the island.

We found the Poudre d’Or hospital built in 1864 as a chest hospital.

The coastal road on the east coast makes a lovely scenic drive.

Roches Noires is a residential area with magnificent villas. There are many little coves with sandy bays and black rocks.

As we turn we come to the closest part of the coast to the reef. The wind blows and the waves crash on the reef; it’s dangerous to bathe here.
Fishermen often stand on the rock here and come to the villas to sell their fresh catch.

In the south of Poste Lafayette the reef is further away. A lovely quiet sandy beach stretches for miles.


You can drive along the coast for miles. We stopped a moment at Palmar to look at the remote quiet beach.

After Trou D’Eau Douce we head towards Bel Ombre and see the mountains of Montagne Blanche.

At Anahita we visit the coast by boat. We see the mangroves growing on part of Ile Aux Cerf.

Finally we land on Ile Aux Cerf and visit the beautiful sandy beach. Every day many visitors come by boat to visit and many golfers come to play golf on this special island.

Mauritius South West’s Unspoilt Coast

The south west coast of Mauritius is unspoilt and beautiful. I love the simplicity of the natural forms of the coast, its empty beaches and the expanse of the ocean heading south with next stop Antarctica. The different colours of the blue ocean are mesmerizing and the warm breeze is invigorating.


We stopped to take in the view and refresh ourselves on the sweet local pineapples. The happy vendor chatted away as he skillfully prepared a pineapple to eat like a toffee apple. We were also tempted by the delicious papayas and watched a passerby have a coconut opened for a refreshing drink.

At Case Noyale we came across the most magnificent banyan tree and wondered at the various directions the branches had taken over the many years.

Le Morne is a UNESCO world Heritage site and this magnificent rock is the backdrop of Villas Paille en Queue. The mountain was used as a shelter by runaway slaves, maroons, through the 18th and early years of the 19th centuries. Protected by the mountain’s isolated, wooded and almost inaccessible cliffs, the escaped slaves formed small settlements in the caves and on the summit of Le Morne. The oral traditions associated with the maroons, have made Le Morne a symbol of the slaves’ fight for freedom, their suffering, and their sacrifice, all of which have relevance to the countries from which the slaves came – the African mainland, Madagascar, India, and South-east Asia.

Like many of the coasts the sea is rising and on one part of the coast we found these wonderful shapes of tree stumps washed by the sea.

I enjoy the sight of the filoas trees which line most of the coast and the wind sings in their branches.

Along the coast there are plenty of places to pull up and relax in the sun and have a picnic.

We delighted at watching a colourfully-dressed ladies outing arriving by bus and taking their picnic onto the beach. We thought of all the weeks of excitement – choosing the best sari to wear and what to prepare to eat.  We could imagine the afternoon’s warmth, laughter and friendship by the shore.

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