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Consider yourself an avid adventurer or keen explorer? From diving to hiking, cycling to kitesurfing, here are the best activities for those that are happiest when in the fresh air. Don’t forget the SPF.
Holidays by the pool with a cocktail in-hand will never get old, but sometimes you just want the kind of getaway that gets your heart pumping, skin glistening and your hair windswept, are we right? A destination that offers beautiful scenery, friendly people, a good climate as well as a lengthy list of activities to do and places to explore. Mauritius is known to most Australians as a golden-hued tropical mecca with beaches to rival those on our own white sand shores, but this diverse island also has countless activities fit for the keenest hiker, diver and surfer.
Start your adventure in the north, where you’ll find a pretty-as-a-picture cycling route that takes you from Cap Malheureux towards Calodyne and Saint Antoine through tiny villages, sugar cane fields, and pine forests with gorgeous views of the outer islets along the way. For a lengthier excursion, keep going to Pamplemousses and witness a live sugar cane-cutting in the Domaine of Beau Plan and learn how to make a cocktail using crushed sugarcane and cane juice (Mauritius has been cultivating and exporting sugarcane for over 350 years).
The north also has the most beautiful dive sites of the island, catering to all levels. The 26-metre-deep Gunner’s Coin is a favourite thanks to the large parrotfish you can see at each dive, but Whale Rock (26 to 38 meters deep) is for the real thrill-seekers – there you can come face to face with a hammerhead shark. Trou aux Biches is great for families, while Pointe aux Piments is where to go to swim with the turtles.
For those with more time up their sleeve, sail 560 kilometres north-east of Mauritius to the island of Rodrigues, an 18km by 8km island surrounded by a picture perfect blue lagoon twice its size. A playground for scuba divers, Rodrigues is known for its diverse coral reef, its vibrant sub-aquatic flora and fauna. Rodrigues is also loved by those with an interest in windsurfing, kite-surfing, sailing and fishing.
If you’re an avid hiker, heading inland to the centre of the island of Mauritius is where you’ll find the country’s best landscapes and hiking. At 811 metres high, Le Pouce, the mountain that looks like a thumbs up, is the third highest mountain in Mauritius and part of the beautiful Moka Mountain Range. If hiking Le Pouce isn’t enough to satisfy your athlete sensibility, you can also hike up the 820-metre-high Pieter Both. You can start both hikes from Saint Pierre and Port Louis, and the vista across the island from the top of the mountains is well worth the effort it takes to get there.
The Plateau Route will take you on a journey to the highest plateau in Mauritius, the 600 metre-high Plaine Champagne, which is covered with forests and lakes. At Pétrin you can hike in the Macchabée Forest past the Mare aux Joncs waterfall and walk around the Mare Longue reservoir back to Pétrin. If you want to walk or cycle further and have someone to drive your car, you can also walk down into the Gorges before meeting your driver at Black River. The Plaine Champagne route will also take you to Chamarel, the seven-coloured earth, and to Le Morne. Those even more adventurous can hike and canyon down Seven Waterfalls (with the help of a professional, of course).
On the south west of the island you’ll find the lush Black River Gorges National Park – one of the main “green” attractions in Mauritius with over 16,680 acres, featuring plenty of dedicated walking trails inside the gorges itself and up to the plateau.
Surfing and Kite Surfing
The surf’s always up on the west of the island at Tamarin Bay, and further south at the world famous One Eye at Le Morne, known for having the best waves in Mauritius. Le Morne is also a favourite spot for kite-surfing due to the steady winds that blow in from the south-east and accelerate in this corner of the island almost all year round. Another option is to head north to learn how to kitesurf at Cap Malheureux and Anse la Raie.
Still not done exploring? Find out our other favourite things to do in Mauritius here.