Along with the Seychelles, Comoros, Maldives and Reunion, Mauritius is one of those tropical getaways that sit just beyond the beach dreams of our imagination.
Located in the Indian Ocean off the East Coast of Madagascar, the French/Creole speaking island-nation has over 100 resorts, white sand beaches, impossibly turquoise water, and a range of unusual activities on offer.
Segway with zebras, visit the seven-coloured soils of Chamarel, stand beneath the 108ft-high statue of Shiva in Grand Bassin, eat fresh-caught urchin on a boat cruise, or catch the legendary Blue Marlin. Now that’s only some of the cool things you could do and see in Mauritius.
Here’s my take on the top bucket list worthy things on this magnificent island:
1. Big game fishing – Catch a Blue Marlin!
Big game fishing is synonymous with Mauritius, and the island nation can boast with a plethora of world fishing records (IGFA), such as mako shark of 1115 pounds, the blue shark of 400 pounds, a bonito of 41.5 pounds, a white tuna of 224 pounds and a “bécune” of 125 pounds.
While there’s a vast number of great species bound to be on most sports fishermen’s bucket list here in Mauritius, the crown jewel among them is the blue marlin. The blue marlin is a notoriously difficult fish to catch, due to its immense size, strength and endurance, coupled with the fact that it’s a “loner” fish. Overall, that means there’s first a big challenge to ever hook it, and then the tough task of reeling it in — a battle that can take hours. The longest fight in Mauritius was twenty-six hours before the line broke!
Besides the blue marlin, where else can you expect to strike any six of the seven billfish such as Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, Spearfish, Swordfish, Sailfish and possibly also catch shark, Wahoo, Dorado, Tuna, and Bonito, all on the same day?
The prime spot for fishing in Mauritius is on the south-west side of the island, near the Black River. This is due to a 3,000-meter drop off the coast that pushes cold water and nutrients upwards for smaller fish, which again leads the bigger, “bader” fish to arrive the scene. That being said though, fishing is good all over the island, and many fishing trips depart on the north-side from Grand Bay.
- Boat sizes generally vary from 40 to 50 feet.
- Some trips include breakfast/lunch.
- Choose between half day or full day, and private or shared trip. Shared trips are usually half the price.
- Be sure to book in advance, we learned this the hard way.
- Some, such as this activity also include snorkelling activities.
- Expect at least 180 dollars per person.
2. Swim with wild dolphins
Come on, sure you could go to SeaWorld and elsewhere to get a close-up encounter with dolphins. But swimming with these magnificent creatures in the wild — in their natural habitat — now that’s much better. And that is probably the business you ought to give your hard-earned money to instead of endorsing captivity and all that it often entails.
So enjoy the beautiful turquoise water and amazing scenery with the amazing grey Bottlenose Dolphin and the dark grey Spinner Dolphin. You owe it to yourself.
- Most such trips last for a few hours and often include a minor breakfast or lunch. The time devoted to swimming with the dolphins is normally around 2 hours, such as this activity.
- Book this in advance as it’s a popular activity.
- There’s a very high likelihood of seeing dolphins, but it’s not 100 % guaranteed. However, you’ll usually get a second trip for free if you don’t encounter any dolphins.
- Price around 45 dollars, but may depend on duration, season and more.
3. The Seven Coloured Earths (Terres des Sept Couleurs)
Located near the town Chamarel, on the south-west side of the Island, lies the Seven Coloured Earths.
This small area of strikingly bare landscape is located within a large, dense forest. It is an amazing area of sand dunes formed by the decomposition of volcanic rock. Colours are observed in horizontal ridges known as “Les Cotes de Melon” (“The Melon’s Slices”) caused mainly by traces of iron (red) and aluminium (blue/purple) that repel each other.
Very close nearby you’ll also find the Chamarel waterfall on the River du Cap, which can boast with a 100-meter drop.
If you’re a fan of vivid and colourful places like me, then this is a place you have to visit! Just like I also have to visit the Rainbow Mountains of Peru one day!
- Go during the morning hours as the sun rays and the dew mingle bring out the best of its colours.
- Also, there is a small petting farm where you can see and pet Giant Turtles which found their home at the park.
- Supposedly abseiling from the huge vertical cliff nearby can be organised. Check it out!
4. Enjoy a Lunch in an Underwater Submarine
There’s plenty of submarine-related experiences in Mauritius! In fact, you can go all the way down to 35 meters below sea level in a submarine that can seat 10 people.
But if your wallet allows it, why not book the highlight of your holiday to Mauritius – book a unique lunch for two served 35 metres under the waters of the Indian Ocean. Enjoy delicious meals and wines while marvelling at the show right outside the panoramic windows.
Travelling with your significant other and want to take it a step further? Then perhaps a wedding under the sea or a champagne dive would float your boat (pun intended).
- The exclusive lunch costs 69,000 included VAT.
- Alternatively one could opt for the standard 35 meter dive, which costs around 5,000 Rs for adults and around 3,000 Rs for children.
- Remember, fish and other sea life are completely wild, so there’s no guarantee on what you’ll see on your trip.
5. Subscooter Trip
What do you get by combining a submarine Andy a scooter? Well, duh, you get a sub scooter of course! You breathe naturally under water through a bubble which gives you a 360-degree view through the glass.
Enjoy watching the colourful fish as you move along a few metres under the Indian Ocean. Travelling at a leisurely 3km per hour you will be able to take in all the wonderful marine life.
You can ride solo or two seated together (twice the fun!?)
6. Hike through the Tamarin Falls
The Tamarin Falls, also known as the “Seven Waterfalls” is located deep in the indigenous forests in the South West of Mauritius. Situated on the central plateau, near the small village of Henrietta, the Tamarind Falls hike is one of Mauritius’s canyons which you really should not miss. With its 11 (not seven!) waterfalls, multiple jumps, deep ponds and lush green vegetation; Tamarind falls is one of the most beautiful places on the island.
While you’re there you can go for a swim and have a dive from one of the falls! Perhaps “take a shower in the waterfall” (which I accomplished on my bucket list there!), and enjoy the great views.
- The trail to the falls is not obvious nor easy to spot, so get a local guide to take you. Just be careful not go get ripped off as the guides are likely to ask for an unreasonable high price at first. We got a guide for 800 rupees for two people — which is quite good.
- The trail will get slippery if it rains.
- Climbing shoes would be recommended, but normal sports shoes would do fine.
- The hike is quite challenging in some places, so the trip is not for everyone.
- TripAdvisor’s article about the Tamarin Falls could prove helpful.
7. Enjoy the Sunset in Mauritius (& Go for a Swim)
Just do a quick Google search on “Mauritius sunset” and you’ll get what I’m talking about. Sunsets are obviously not exclusive to Mauritius, but boy are they beautiful! Enough said.
8. The Casela Zoo
Casela World of Adventures is the most visited attraction in Mauritius and the Indian Ocean, and has been welcoming locals and tourists of all ages since 1979.
Today, the Casela zoo is packed with animals and things to see.
What about seeing giant tortoises, beautiful peacocks, have a tiger encounter or a daring live interaction with lions and cubs? If you’re a big cat lover then this is a must-experience!
Or what about going on an African segway or quad safari?!
Or perhaps feed their giraffes, their colourful lorikeets or even their pygmy hippos?
Or else, you can explore the park’s rugged terrain on horseback or through their exclusive camel ride, and more.
I told you they had a lot to offer.
- TripAdvisor’s article about Casela Zoo could give you a more profound understanding of this place.
- Importantly, the zoo is run ethically with no “canned hunting”, no drugged animals and no abusive or exploitative behaviour by the keepers.
Hope you enjoyed this article. Now go book a trip to this wonderful place and bookmark this article for your visit.
Was there any unique Mauritius experience or sight you think I forgot to mention, then let me know in the comments!