Marvelous Mauritius


Saudi Gazette

With the launch of a direct flight thrice a week between Saudi Arabia and Mauritius last September, a new tourism destination has opened for Saudi travelers.

“The number of visitors from Saudi Arabia to Mauritius has increased manifold with direct connectivity,” Tourism Promotion Officer at the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) Ashwin Cahoolessur told Saudi Gazette over lunch at a glitzy restaurant in Port Luis.

An island in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius boasts of pristine beaches, azure water of the Indian Ocean, forests and rolling hills and valleys mostly covered with sugarcane plantations.

Yet Mauritius has more than what an island offers. It is a place not only for relaxation but also for recreation.

Its beachfront resorts are a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

We experienced all of these when we toured the length and breadth of the island nation at the invitation of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA).

We drove 48 km from Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Plaine Magnien to Lux Belle Mare resort along the sea.

The resort has spacious rooms and suites with patios facing the sea. It has a Chinese restaurant and an Indian restaurant run by a Michelin Star chef, a cafe, and a beachfront eatery.

“We receive guests from mostly European countries and China. But of late we have been privileged to welcome some guests from Saudi Arabia also. We are looking forward to receiving more visitors from Saudi Arabia,” said Cluster Public Relations Manager at Lux group of hotels Elvis Follet.

After a relaxing night, we drove to Trou-D’eau-Douce village from where we took a boat ride to Île aux Cerfs (Deer Island). The island has an 18-par golf course and offers a unique opportunity to stay in its bubble lodge facing the sea.

From the beachfront we moved to the sylvan solitude of the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden near Port Luis. Famous for its pond of giant water lilies, the garden, spread on an area of 37 hectares, has a variety of palms and other plantations. We saw plaques in front of trees bearing the names of Princess Margaret, Indira Gandhi, François Mitterrand, Robert Mugabe, etc.

Back to the windy village of Belle Mare at The Residence hotel. The colonial-style hotel has three luxury restaurants, an ocean-side grill option, spa and, of course, long white sand beaches.

“We have rooms and suites for honeymoon couples as well as for families keeping their privacy in mind,” said Business Development Manager at The Residence hotel Pierrot Barbe.

For those looking to mix relaxation with adventure, the best place is Casela World of Adventures. The best part of this adventure is the walk with the lions.

It’s worth experiencing the charm of walking with the big cats, touching them, taking snaps with them.

Jim, a ranger and our guide at Casela World of Adventures, said that more than the lions, they are concerned about the behavior of visitors. “We know how lions behave, but we don’t know how visitors will react when walking with the lions. That’s always a cause for concern at the back of our minds,” said Jim.

Visitors can feed the giraffes and watch many animals in natural habitat on a safari ride.

Jennifer Berthelot, Communications and PR Executive at Casela World of Adventures, said the park’s Tulawaka 800m coaster ride from the peak of a mountain is also a popular tourist attraction.

The adventure does not end here. The real fun begins at La Vallée des Couleurs, a scenic park famous for its 23-color soil landscape. It has the world’s third largest zip line of 1.5 km starting from the peak of a high mountain. Quad biking on the rough and steep mountain terrain is a thrilling experience and so is the walk on a 350-meter-long Nepalese Bridge suspended about 80 to 100 meters above the forest canopy.

For those visiting Mauritius just for relaxation, the Beachcomber group of hotels offers the best and most luxurious stay.

Its Le Paradis and Dina Robin resorts on the southwestern tip of the island are set against the backdrop of the iconic Le Morne mountain.

“We have beachfront rooms, suites and luxurious villas. We have a well-maintained golf course. We also offer many sea activities,” said Beachcomber MICE and Market Sales Manager Bruno Bosquet.