“Bonzour!” Do you want a second slice of sun? Here it is with the 2d post about my trip in Mauritius with Vacances Transat. Put on your sunglasses, it’s gonna be very colorful!
First let me explain to you why this title “Smile, you’re in Mauritius !”.
We haven’t been very lucky with the weather, it was cloudy and sometimes even raining. It seems that February isn’t the best moment to visit Mauritius, November is. However it was hot and taking pictures with the sun shining isn’t easy anyway (let’s see the bright side).
Our bus driver who was also our guide during the travel was amazing : nice, smiling, helpful, patient and cultivated. At one point we were talking about the forecast in Mauritius when he told us this sentence that I will always remember because it’s a good sum up of Mauritian mentality: “In Mauritus, the sun isn’t always in the sky but also and above all in the smiles of people.“I think that there is not better way to describe Mauritians who are always smiling enough to soothe your soul!
After making you visit the beautiful Ravenala Attitude Hotel where we stayed, here are the activities we did during this trip because don’t worry, we didn’t stay at the hotel the whole trip!
Tour of Pamplemousses garden :
Let starts with my favorite part of the program: the visit of Pamplemousses Garden (it is now named after the name of the former prime minister Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, but it is less poetic and far more difficult to pronounce it hi hi). No need to expect grapefruit trees (“pamplemousse” means “grapefruit” in French) it’s just the name of the district where the garden is located. Isn’t it a cute name? Most of the names of the cities in Mauritius are as cute (ex: “Bois Chéri”=”beloved wood”, “Ile aux Cerfs” = the island of deers”…).
This garden is the 1st tropical botany garden created and it’s considered as the 3rd most beautiful tropical botany garden in the world! It extends on 37 hectares and is a paradise of plant species from all around the world. When you stroll in the garden you are caressed by the scents of jasmine, mango trees and spices like cinnamon. It’s a real visual and olfactory journey! Absolutely wonderful!
On the picture above you can admire palm trees called “bottle palm trees” because of the shape of their trunk and when you knock on them it sounds hollow (it’s the only information I could remember so I had to find a way of saying it!).
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam botanical garden – Pamplemousses – MAURICE
L’Aventure du Sucre :
Let’s stay in the plant world with the visit of L’Aventure du sucre (litterally “the sugar adventure”) and its sugar canes plantations.
L’Aventure du sucre is an interactive museum about the history of Mauritius and sugar canes located in an old sugar factory. Unfortunately we didn’t had time to visit it but we met a former “sugar cane cutter” who explained to us his former job and who invited us to try to cut some sugar canes. Let me tell you that it’s not that easy but we laughed a lot! Then he pressed the sugar canes in a machine to extract the juice and we made homemade mojitos with it. Cheers!
picture taken by Hana
We finished the visit by a taste of different kinds of sugars and then we had lunch in the museum restaurant called Faugourin. We didn’t expect anything from this restaurant because usually museum restaurants are not that good but this one was amazing!
A cruise in catamaran:
The day of the cruise in catamaran it was raining cats and dogs when I woke up. By the time I took my shower and got ready, the sun was shining! How lucky we were because it was the day the weather was the best and it is also was the day we needed it the most (it was a 5h cruise). The departure of the boat was from the beach of Zilwa Attitude Hotel which is a hotel from the same hotel group of the one we stayed in. Look at this amazing view we had when you arrive at the hotel!!!
The hotel was as well decorated as the Ravenala, so it’s a 2nd beautiful spot to stay in Mauritius.
We boarded on the boat with 20 other passengers. We did a bit of snorkelling and then we ate on the boat. We had several sorts of meats and fishes barbecued directly on the boat, it was so good! For inner ear deficient people like me don’t worry, the boat stopped where the water is calm so no worries!
We docked nearby a small wild island called Bourrache island where we swam for a few hours.
Look at the wonderful pictures my friend Hana took! This girl is so talented that everything she takes a picture of becomes wonderful! Sorry if I sound narcissic because they are pictures of me but they are so beautiful that for once I’m not ashamed of seeing myself on pictures.
The way back has been less heavenly because the sky became suddenly dark and a storm raged above our heads with violent downpours! Thankfully the crew was really fun so they gave us rum and made us dance to make us forget about the weather. We had so much fun after all! I can’t resist to show you this picture to give you a better idea. :)
A stroll in Port Louis market :
We didn’t see much of the capital, we just went to the market but for me markets are the best way to become immersed in the culture of a country (remember that I’ve already told you that when I was in Korea here).
In this market you can find a big diveristy of tropical fishes and vegetables without mentioning food shops from all over the world. The market of Port Louis is an explosion of colors, fragrances, tastes, textures and words in every languages.
We finished by tasting drinks called “aloudas”, a typical Mauritian drink made of condensed milk, milk, vanilla ice cream, agar-agar (a gelatinous substance derived from seaweed) and Tukmaria (Indian basil seeds). You’ll find the best ones at the Pillay shop inside the market.
Discovery of an Hindu temple:
I may be an ignorant but I wasn’t expecting Mauritius cultured to be permeated by Indian culture. Did you know that 68% of the population in Mauritius is Indian origin? Isn’t crazy?! Mauritius is an important cultural melting pot on a religion, etchnical and linguistic basis. Even though English is the official language, everyone speaks Mauritian Creole and a big majority also speaks French because of its colonization by the French.
In a few words, Indian culture is reflected in the food but also in religious temples. Therefore, you’ll find a lot of temples with bright colors and rich decorations like this temple we visited in Grand Baie: Tamil Surya Oudaya Sangam Temple. What a scenery!
Voilà this Mauritian trip is over, time for me to thanks Vacances Transat for organizing this amazing trip, the airplane company Air Austral for the return in premium class (the journey was so much better) and a special thanks to Laure et Emeline for their good spirit and their sense of resourcefulness even in crisis! Thank you to the Ravanela hotel for their warm welcome and for my great travel buddies Hana, Osmany and Camille.
And thank you Mauritius for being so wonderful, I’ll be back! “Babye”!