Choosing a Honeymoon destination can be very overwhelming at first. But you have to ask yourself…what do you want from your honeymoon? For me, I wanted a place that had a “beachy” vibe as well as a little bit of adventure. I didn’t want to travel far, but I wanted the Rand to go far. After researching a few places, we decided on Mauritius. It wasn’t too far (2 hours from Cape town to Johannesburg and then another 4 hours to Mauritius). South Africans can enter Mauritius without a visa (the little green books wins for once!).
We traveled with Air Mauritius. The plane is quite pre-historic – for lack of a better word. I won’t dwell on the Air Mauritius in-flight experience (or lack thereof). Upon arrival ,we had to clear through customs and the health check point. The Health check point is basically where you submit a pre-completed green form where you swear that you not sick (Honesty is the best policy).
We were greeted by a young man holding a greeting sign with my new surname in big bold letters (which made me very excited of course) and we proceeded to travel to our hotel. The hotel we booked at is called the Le Mauricia Hotel which is part of the beachcomber Group. This meant that we could enjoy all inclusive deals at their sister hotels (Le Canonnier) as well. The package we bought was all inclusive. This meant that you received the following as part of the package:
|* Full American buffet breakfast|
|* Choice of restaurants for lunch|
|* Choice of restaurants for dinner|
|* Unlimited selected house wine and drinks, per selection, during lunch and dinner|
|* Unlimited selected drinks from the bar list between 09h00 and 23h00, including a selection of local beers, cocktails, house wine, local spirits as well as tea, coffee and soft drinks (drinks in the nightclub are not included)|
|* Baguettes at the bar between 10h00 and 16h00|
|* Pancakes between 16h00 and 18h00|
|* Picnic baskets|
|* Tea and coffee in rooms|
|* Mini bar (replenished once a day)|
If you are a honeymooner (like we were) in addition to the above you also received a honeymoon gift from the hotel, a small bottle of French Champagne (we had sparkling juice) , welcome fruit platter and a romantic candlelight dinner.
The check-in process was quick and soon we were shown our hotel room. Our bed was covered in rose petals – how adorable. As promised, a fruit platter (pineapple and coconut) and sparkling juice was waiting for us. The room was average and housed basic essentials such as towels, soap, and a hair-dryer. You would think for such a fancy 4-star hotel, they would maybe spoil their guests. The nice thing about the room was that it had its own little private garden that opened up to a view of the beach. From that perspective it was amazing. All in all, the room was average.
The location of the hotel is perfect as its located on the northern coast of Mauritius. The resort is within walking distance of the lively village of Grand Baie – one of Mauritius’ main tourists’ hubs. The town provided us with a choice of restaurants, bars, clubs and boutiques. I did a bit of research and the North to North west side of the Island has the best beaches and weather. Another side worth staying on (that’s a bit cheaper) is hotels located on the South East side of the island.
There is an amazing spa at the hotel and if we booked before 2pm we received 20% off. Taking advantage of the discount we decided to try out the aromatherapy massage. It’s a bit expensive but totally worth it! I tried to make another booking but they were fully booked. I suggest making a booking at the spa when you check in.
Every night there are themes to the evenings. We experienced a Chinese , Mauritian and Indian evenings where the food was prepared in-line with the traditional food of that country. After dinner there would be evening entertainment which consisted of fire dancers, bands playing or singers. There was always something to watch. Just below the bar area near the pool there is a night club that stays open till 2am everyday. I only found that out on my last day there.
I decided to summarise my top ten things to do while in Mauritius:
1. Laze on the beach.
Mauritius has some amazing beaches and its definitely worth the days spent on them.
2. Take a walk to Grand Baie town
Walk along the beach till you enter the town of Grand Baie. Here you will find a few shops as well as the Grand Baie Bazaar where you can buy some locally produced items for a “bargain” (if you are good at negotiating). I would say that whatever price they say, divide by 2 and offer that. It does get tiring after while and eventually you just end up drinking mocktails at the bar located in the square around the bazaar.
3.Swim ( “chase”) wild dolphins
We chose this activity because I needed to scratch this one off the bucket list. We decided to book though the beachcomber tours which is actually not the best idea as they charge tours at a premium. I would recommend booking directly with the company online or walking around Grand Baie and booking with the local tour operators. It’s much cheaper! The tour was booked with a company called Dolswim.
They are located on the South side of the island. We had to take a shuttle from the North side to the South side. This is approximate almost 2 hours of driving considering everyone drives the speed limit of 80km/ per hour. Once we arrived (after a snooze in the van), we were greeted and escorted to the speedboat. There was about +-8 of us on the boat. We received free drinks (soft drinks) which was wasted as the drinks were warm. Who wants to drink warm coke? Anyway, we sped around for a while till we spotted a group of Spinner Dolphins.
They gave us life jackets, flippers and a snorkel. We could jump in 2 or 3 at a time. As I floated on the surface of the deep blue I could see them at a distance. Eventually the guides told me to go under and as I went under the water I saw a whole group of them beneath me. It was really magical to see. I got a glimpse of about +-30 dolphins swimming effortlessly beneath me. They are quite fast and I ended up swimming frantically towards them every time. They kept moving further and further away. My thoughts of friendly dolphins coming to greet me was just that – A thought.
After getting the opportunity to jump in 3 times, I must say, the experience was amazing except for the fact that the slogan “swimming with the dolphins” is quite misleading as its more like “chasing dolphins”(!!). The biggest critique I have about the company we used is that the drinks were warm, there was no shelter from the sun, there was not enough life jackets and flippers for everyone and I ended up waiting most of the time. Would I recommend this company? Probably not. I recommend doing some research on TripAdvisor before booking the tour. I’ve heard that a lot of their operators over-charge and you don’t even end up jumping in with the dolphins.
4.Zipline through the forest
Once again we booked though the agent. We ended up using a company called “Chazal”
You can actually book this online. It will probably be way cheaper. Chazal is once again on the south side of the island and approximately 2 hours from where we were. A snooze later, we ended up driving through corn fields almost up a mountain. The drive was actually beautiful. Eventually we got there and was welcomed by “Baba” and some other guy (can’t remember his name). The location was beautiful. We were put in harnesses and got in the back of a bakkie to be transported to our first Zipline. There are 6 ziplines – with the last one being the highest and longest! Before you reach the last zipline , you walk through a forest and reach a beautiful waterfall where you can relax and swim for a bit before heading off to the last zipline. Please take mosquito repellent with as I was chowed in the forest! Once everything was done we were taken back to home base and treated to an authentic Mauritian meal which consisted of : Chicken curry, beans or lentils, vegetables, steamed rice, farattas and tomato chutney. They served dessert as well. Please note that drinks are not included in your meal and you will pay separately for that.
We were done at about 12pm and our driver said he would be there at 2pm. I was quite upset about this as he was supposed to wait for us. “Baba” was so helpful and offered to drive us to the waiting point as they were going to close for the day. So off we went at the back of the bakkie to a waiting point in the middle of nowhere (with no cellphone). Being quite paranoid we asked “Baba” to wait with us and so he did even though his lift drove off. Eventually a driver came (an hour later) and we asked him if he could drop “Baba” off as we were going his way. He refused! I was so shocked at the lack of decency in the drivers sent by the beachcomber tours. You would think that after leaving there customers stranded they would at least do something nice for the person that kept their customers safe. This was when I made the decision to not use beachcomber tours for any excursions on the island when I return to Mauritius.
5.Take a glass boat tour and snorkel
Taking a glass boat tour is free through the hotel. Just remember to book! However, I went snorkeling as part of a day tour (read number 6) and included in the day tour was a glass boat tour and snorkeling. This was definitely one of my highlights as snorkeling in clear blue water with thousands of colorful fish swimming around you is absolutely amazing.
6.Visit Ile aux Cerfs
This visit was part of a full day tour we booked through beachcomber tours. It was a full day tour by Speedboat. The tour included the following:
- Visit to the oldest lighthouse on Fouquets Island
- Snorkelling and glass boat tour
- Visiting the island of Ile Aux Cerfs
- Lunch on the island
- Visit to a waterfall (can’t remember the name)
Visiting the lighthouse was ok if you into that type of thing. The snorkeling and glass boat tour was amazing. The lunch on the island was definitely worth it as they served fresh prawns, chicken, fish with a salad and bread. All the proteins came off the fire and it was absolutely amazing. After lunch was done, we took the speedboat to Ile Aux Cerfs and I must admit that if there was a paradise on earth – this little island would be it. The island has a restaurant, bar and a market you can buy trinkets, etc. (Take some cash with you). We spent about just over an hour on the island and I did feel like it wasn’t enough.
I would suggest that you arrange a taxi boat to the island and stay there for the whole day instead of being limited in terms of time with a tour.
Unfortunately, I never had the time to indulge in this little activity. Reading a few other blogs it appears to be something very popular to do when in Mauritius. Visit this blog for some more information on the underwater walk.
8.Visit a few tea plantations
Mauritius is well-known for their tea plantations. When we were driving from the airport to the North side of the island, we could see the vast amount of tea plantations. Thus if you are a tea enthusiast I would definitely recommend doing a plantation tour. Its absolutely magical. Try and go on a “coolish day” as you don’t want to get stuck in the heated sun on a beach day.
Chamarel is a village in Mauritius located in the Riviere Noire District ( South – West part of Mauritius). One travels here for the most amazing landmark called the Seven Coloured Earths.The sands of the earth and the colours are formed from the decomposition of volcanic rock. The different shades of colour are believed to be a consequence of the molten volcanic rock cooling down at different external temperatures. Its just beautiful!
Apart from the buffets served at the hotel, I would highly recommend trying the street food in Mauritius. Mauritius has an incredibly rich and diverse food culture, infused with influences from its variety of inhabitants (Creole, French, Chinese and Indian people).
Easily available is fresh coconut water, chopped fruit covered in chilli and sugar, hot curries topped with chilli and pickles wrapped in buttery breads, and Chinese fried noodles. A few of the must haves are:
Dholl pori – This is a paratha ( Like an indian flat bread – but stuffed with ground yellow split peas and served in a pair with bean curry, atchar and chutney)
Black Vanilla Tea – If you are a tea lover then you must have this tea. Its absolutely amazing! I couldn’t get enough.
Seafood – Mauritian cuisine pretty much revolves around seafood – whether its curries, stews, Chinese dishes or Indian. Mauritius = pescatarian heaven.
Mazavaroo- If you are a lover of anything spicy , then this is for you! Mazavaroo is chopped chilli or chilli paste that goes well with practically everything! Not for the faint hearted.
Rougaille – This is a very popular Creole dish – a kind of tomato stew – made with meat or fish, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and thyme.
Roti chaud – (hot roti). This is a roti served with various curries, chutneys and pickles.
We hope this blog post was helpful and if you need any more info, feel free to drop us an email.
– XOXO Jee
Pictures self taken with iphone and google images