A nine and a half hours flight from Istanbul, the island of Mauritius is also called the island of sugar, rum and vanilla. No matter how much time you spend here, you’ll want to come back and visit more of this island’s magic.
Mauritius is the right place to come and enjoy the beauty of the beaches and ocean waters. But this isn’t the only thing that attracts tourists here. The island also features mountains with exotic shapes, a magnificent national park with rivers, holy places, and tropical plants.
The island has an area of 60 x 40 km and has a population of 1.3 million. It is a wonderful combination of French, British, Indian and African. The first to discover the island were the Arabs 1,000 years ago but they did not settle there. The Dutch were the first settlers on this island in 1598, and named it after the Dutch Prince Maurice Van Nassau. The Dutch remained here before losing the island to the French, who seized it in 1715 renamed it the island of de France.
Both the French and British brought the people of Mauritius from Africa and India to work in sugar cane plantations, transportation, construction and so on.
The Rum factory in Chamarel
Rum is the traditional brew of the island of Mauritius and there are many distilleries here, but if you want to taste it, you should visit the famous Chamarel rum distillery. It is one of the few permanently active distilleries and offers selected varieties and high quality rum.
Visit the Grand Bassin Lake
For the residents of Mauritius, Lake Ganga Talao (Grand Bassin) is just like the sacred Ganges in India. The lake is located somewhere in a mountainous area in the southwest of the island and is surrounded by Hindu temples and statues of the gods.
It was discovered in the 19th century by a Hindu priest who lived in a village in the north and once dreamed that he saw the sacred lake connected through the Ganges underground underground.
Grand Bassin is a volcanic lake at 550 meters above sea level and about 16 meters deep, and on its beach there is a beautifully designed Hindu temple. Before you reach the lake, you will notice two large statues by the Indian sculptor Ram Shri, representing the god Shiva and Lord Dorja.
Black River Gorges National Park – The Beauty of Nature
Generally speaking, you should undoubtedly visit all the national park you pass by. The situation is not different in Mauritius. The Black River Gorges is one of the island’s most important tourist attractions.
Take a stroll around the place and be amazed by the nature’s beauty. The park stretches over an area of 6574 hectares which covers 3% of the island’s surface. It was opened in 1994 and named after the black rocks found in the nearby river.
Learn new things about sugar at L’Aventure du Sucre
Mauritius relies on three major industries namely tourism, clothing (there are many factories owned by leading international fashion brands here) and cane sugar. Sugar is a basic material in the lives of the locals here, so it is not surprising that they have the L’Aventure du Sucre museum, which was a factory for processing and converting cane sugar.
The original factory was built in 1797 and operated continuously until 1999, so most of the machines and tools are still in place and some of the former workers turned into guides for tourists, explaining them the process in which cane sugar turns into crystals and boxes.
Port Louis – a busy capital with a beautiful harbor
The capital Port Louis must be visited on a cloudy day, when the rain gives it a wonderful cool breeze. There are shops, boutiques, handicrafts, bars and even a huge library here. This is, perhaps, the region that best represents the spirit of Mauritius. Take a stroll along the harbor and have a coffee or a tea outside, in the terrace of one of the many cafes and restaurants.
Port Louis was founded in 1735 and is a very busy city. Its name comes from King Louis XV in France, it is the country’s main financial center and a considered to be a real tax haven.