Mauritius’ must-try experiences

by Kim on June 17, 2013

Heading off on holiday to Mauritius means sun, sea and sand, but instead of just lying on the beach be sure to truly experience this island paradise. Immerse yourself in its natural environment, taste its food and dance to the same beat as the locals.

Here are a few things that a trip to Mauritius would not be complete without. Tick them off during your stay or use them as a starting point for exploring the island yourself.

Ganga Talao Lake

Visiting the Ganga Talao Lake in a crater at 1,800 feet above sea level is a spiritual experience. This unique spot is the most sacred place in the whole of Mauritius for Hindus. Each year they make a pilgrimage from their homes, walking barefoot to immerse themselves in its waters.

Close by there is a temple that has been constructed to honour Lord Shiva as well as Lakshmi and Hanuman. Visitors can also make the journey to this beautiful site, but it is important to maintain the peace and tranquillity that pervades it.

There is no fishing at the lake, despite the fact that it is full of eels and fish, as its religious significance prevents such a practice.

The Pamplemousses Royal Botanical Gardens

Officially known as the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens after it was renamed following the death of a former prime minister, this expansive estate is still referred to by locals using its previous name.  Here you will find 60 acres of plants from Mauritius and beyond, surrounded by wrought iron railings that won a prize at the international exhibition at Crystal Palace in London in 1862.

It is open each day from 9am to 6pm and visitors can wonder at the huge collection of palm, ebony and mahogany trees as well as a vast pond filled with giant Amazon water lilies. You will also be overcome with the fragrant perfume emanating from some of the most exotic species on display.

Taste the seafood

As an island in the Indian Ocean there is a huge abundance of fresh seafood on offer to tourists. Make sure you try all the different varieties, especially the millionaire’s salad, which is a particular speciality on Mauritius.

It tends to be prepared with oysters, shrimps, crayfish, crab and prawns, as well as heart of palm – the centre part of the palm tree. With such a vast quantity of seafood it is easy to see where the dish got its name.

Experience sega music

The people of Mauritius still listen to the traditional sega music that is played on a goatskin drum known as a ravann, a triangle and a maravann. Dancing to the sega beat is seen as the perfect way to express oneself and joining in will really help you to feel like you have had an authentic Mauritian experience.

Take a dip in the Indian Ocean

Holidaying on the island would not be complete without heading to the beach and taking a dip in the Indian Ocean, which tends to stay at a constant warm temperature. But instead of just going for a swim be sure to take some snorkelling gear with you too.

This will allow you to catch a glimpse of the colourful world that lurks below the waves. Hundreds of varieties of fish have made their home in the coral surrounding Mauritius and snorkelling is a great way to see some of them.