Mauritius New Year 2001 & Summer 2005
Mauritius Travel Blog› entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
New Year - spectacular, hang out in Port Louis or find your own secluded beach...
Locals celebrate by letting of fireworks in the street (slightly nauseating experience the first time - everyone lobbing them off their roofs and letting them off from their hands - was shit scared) with their family and neighbours, all of them drinking, and dancing to hip hop, ragga (even the oldie's love it) and of course segga. All night thing - noone goes to bed and I realised why, you can't... chinese firecrackers all night long the noise is deafening.
Food & Culture
Get stuck in with locals I've eaten at all the 5* hotels and they're damn good but you can't beat the street food in Mauritius (or the home cooked if you're lucky enough) - for breakfast - Samosa's or Dhal Puri (thin bread wrap made from lentils) with shrimp paste, lentils & a sort of veg curry and chilli, it sounds like a lot of stuff in one piece of bread but trust me it works.. it's gorgeous. Lunch you can't beat the fish ball soup cart a legend situated outside the main park in Port Louis though be aware you have to eat standing at the cart and return your bowl asap for the next lucky punter (they wash them don't worry they just don't have that many) - (they also have a few Giant Tortoises in this park at certain times of the year) Grab a drink from the store across the rd - though unless you're in your posh hotel check around the rim of bottles before you dive in, ants love those sweet drinks urgh, nuff said on that one. Dinner - if you can ever find it Alim/Alum? a spicy lamb stew with lentils eaten with crusty bread, you'd think it's too hot out there to enjoy this kind of food but it's not and it's heaven in a bowl.
Avoid the meat market in Port Louis if you're squeamish, if you wander in and think that's not too bad, then your in the new part... you'll know when you've found the old meat market just across the rd. Oh yes you will...
Most Mauritians speak English, if you speak french then Creole is easy to pick up (enough to be polite and get by)
Mauritius on a budget...
Although it's a tiny island - I can honestly say there is more than 2 weeks worth of sights to be seen and things to be tried. You also have the neighbouring Reunion Islands to explore, which I'm told although close is a vastly different place in every way.
It's a really safe place - please venture out of your hotel and not just with a tour guide. As in any country always beware of pickpockets - I've never had any trouble mind. Other crime is really minimal, the safest place I think I've ever been...
I've been lucky enough to stay at my ex's uncle and aunts house when I've visited and indulged in some luxury for a couple of nights each time in some of the best hotels on the island, but there are quite a few guest houses (although it's difficult to book in advance - hardly any are on the net, you'll only find expensive villas) Though I wouldn't like to risk it myself... having spent £1000 flying there.
Staying with that family was the most amazing experience ever, everyone in Mauritius is nice and not fake "tourist nice" really, really nice... except the police lol we've been pulled over a number of times my ex being young and Mauritian and driving a nice (rental) car, they seemed to like pulling us over, and boy they would look scary, and start yelling, but as soon as he opened his mouth and spoke english the policeman smiled sweetly, thanked us for our time and sent us on our way. (My BF spoke fluent Creole, but luckily knew when not to use it, trust me that story could have ended differently, we didn't have the correct papers on us)
The house we stayed in was full of people, bodies everywhere on makeshift mattresses on the floor, they would always insist on giving up their beds, you say no, but in Mauritius you will learn there are some things they just wont have any other way, they would give you their clothes off their backs. The other thing is food and drink, if you are ever at a mauritians house even if you pop in out of the blue with a dozen people in tow, no matter how poor, enough chairs suddenly appear from nowhere, and by the time everyone is sat down there are fresh hot samosa's and chilli sauce on the table and whisky on ice is being poured all round, this trust me is another time where "no" just doesn't wash, you can't just say a quick hello, they will make a night of it, amazing people.
Amazing home cooked food, loads and loads (far too much) whisky... (always a good gift for a local.) Pheonix beer, Ice Cold, probably the best in the world - and in huge bottles, far too easy to drink. Buy it from a Tabage (tobacconist) the supermarkets are rip off and built purely for tourists and the very rich on the Island... most goods are imported from far away, so really expensive. Everything you buy on the street/in the market is local and really cheap...
Airfare's aren't cheap £600 - £1100 depending on the time of the year - I recommend Air Mauritius, 13 hours but a really enjoyable flight. Even really decent food on the plane (I usually have red snapper), and a fresh cocktail! BA is shit - you will probably get DVT!!!
- Black River Gorge
- Chamarel Sands
- Iles Aux Cerfs
- La Souffle
- Casela Wildlife Park
- Grand Bassin
- Caudan Waterfront
- Victoria Falls (the 1 of 2 times I will ever say this about Mautitius please take a tour to the falls as they are free and unofficiated so some of the locals do try and scam a little)
Watch out for the locals here as even if you know your way to the falls and it doesn't matter if you're on foot or in a car they will stop you and point you the way and then probably ask you for money in return, or they will usher you into a imaginary parking space (bear in mind here we are parking in the middle of a sugar cane field and we are the only car lol) there are no parking spaces, it's a case of drive as far up as you can then you just swich off the f-in engine! and he wants to charge you because he jumped behind your car and made manic "car parking arms" at you after you'd already switched your engine off with one foot out of the car already.... but no, he showed you the space so he wants a little somethin' somethin' in return. Last but not least - if there are any young locals jumping from the falls don't take a picture (they try and railroad you into taking a picture) and then tell you they jumped for you and you asked then try and charge you.
- Pamplemousse Botanic Gds - Check out the Giant lilies/lilys sp?.. Time number 2 - Also double check here about the carpark if driving as last time we were here it was free (and unofficiated) and some locals set up their plastic chairs for the day and tried to charge us.
- Port Louis Market
- THE RESTAURANT OF ALL RESTAURANTS - DOMAINE ANNA, A chinois/creole style restaurant. FLIC EN FLAQ So off the beaten track it's not even funny, down an unlit lane in the middle of a huge sugar cane field, the first time we went it took us ages to find and we still missed it when we went back. The most romantic and visually beautiful restaurant I have visited in Mauritius and the food is the finest I have ever had the pleasure of trying, Save up - because it's quite expensive (but deservedly so) Lobster, Crab, Langoustine, Any seafood - leave the meat alone (if there even is any on the menu??? I've never looked.) Probably about £70 - £100 per head with drinks if you splash out on lobster. Cocktails are really expensive.
Mauritius - My Top Hotels
- Oberoi - You have to get a private garden and pool, if you're staying here go all out...
- Le Tousserok
- One & Only Saint Gerrant
- Beau Rivage - bit more Mauritian than the others - decor wise, not my first choice but service, facilities and food is faultless...
Please tip good staff - they really don't get paid a lot, not terribly, but it's doesn't match up to the cost of living, driven high by tourist trade and wealthy businessman that have re-settled. I'm really not saying that because I have it to give, I was 19 and had hardly anything but it made a big difference to them.
If you're going you will have an amazing time.