As I’ve said time and time again over this Mauritius series – going to Mauritius was a dream come true for me. I remember when I was a young teen, probably about twelve or thirteen, my mom said that along with family friends of our, we would go to Mauritius for this amazing combined family holiday when I was 18 years old. It’s crazy how a something spoken in the present can dramatically alter your outlook of the future. And it did. I was so pumped for this true blue island holiday that it set a huge smile upon my face and that was that. I put it on hold for the next few years. I was going to Mauritius. One of the closest tropical paradise that South Africans can enjoy.
But life happened. Not great things. And suffice to say, the trip never happened (and this is one of the reasons why I am so insistent that people live their lives now) and that was that. Life continued to take shape, to twist and turn and the idea of Mauritius fell out of my memory.
Fast forward a few years and many many good things later – I got an email inviting our blog to MAURITIUS. Exciting much? Memories flooding back much? YES.
So the million dollar question is, “was it as good as thought it would be?” [Spoiler Alert…]
HELL YEAH IT WAS
Mauritius isn’t just one of the closest tropical paradises to South Africa, it is one of the most beautiful tropical islands out there. And after living on Koh Samui, and having the good fortune to have spent time on many incredible islands around the world, I think i’m qualified enough to make the judgement.
It’s also really easy to access. From Johannesburg it’s just a three and something hour flight. And from Cape Town it’s something like 5.5 hours direct with Air Mauritius. Which is fantastic!
I know that media and marketing and all those things can sometimes dull the idea of a destination for you. (i.e, if you’re South African, you’ve heard about Mauritius you’re whole life and you wonder whether it may be a more exotic option to head further out, in search of further afield destinations) but don’t let that be the reason you don’t visit Mauritius. There is nothing dull about it.
This became immediately apparent the first time I laid eyes on the island from above. LUSH greens of every shade fill the interior, the rolling vegetation engulfs the mountains and hills and runs into a wall of coconut tree forests as it makes it way towards the warm turquoise waters that completely surround the island, but not before white sands, coral reefs and a million tropical fish separate the two.
Also: Mauritan people.
It began on the flight for me, thanks to Air Mauritius‘ brilliant staff, but I quickly realised that Mauritians are a very special and very diverse people. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was met with friendly, fun and highly educated locals. The island has great infrastructure and amenities. And the french sound of Mauritian creole is absolutely intoxicating.
The music, the dancing, the wine, scenery and delicious food, fresh fruit add to the entire experience and leave you feeling fulfilled in every way.
Our team of bloggers from around the world were up against a serious task – we had a week to attempt to unlock the island. And I really felt like we tried hard and unlocked many secrets, but I wish we had few weeks more!
And that’s really the sentiment I left Mauritius with. The strong desire to return. Whenever I go away and truly fall in love with a place, my strongest urge is to share it with my family. In fact, and this is something I have never disclosed on the blog, but when I really really love a place, I have the weirdest urge to share it with my mom and sister. In other words, I want them to be there, to experience what i’m experiencing. And that’s what I felt more than once in Mauritius.
I love the fact that the island has something for everyone. Yes, like every country it is becoming more and more developed, but there are pockets of raw rustic island bliss, if that’s what you are after. And similarly, there are pockets dedicated to the family traveller, where you can rest assured your kids have plenty to keep themselves entertained while you take some seriously well earned rest beside the pool, or at the beach.
And there is a also a huge variety of accommodation to suit your budget. Right from the super luxurious to the more affordable.
There are plenty of activities and adventures around the island to keep you entertained should you feel like it. And there is almost always someone friendly to ask questions and directions of.
Overall, I can’t wait to go back, not for work but for a real family holiday, filled with laughter and fun times.