Mauritian moments

May 19, 2023

PhotographyHelen Janneson Bense


Where to staySands Suites Resort and Spa | Paradis Beachcomber Golf resort | The Oberoi Beach Resort

What to do

SEE – Visit Château de Bel Ombre and Nature reserve | Visit Seven Coloured earth and waterfall in Chamarel | Stroll along the beach at Paradis and take in the grand views of the basaltic monolith Le Morne | Visit Château De Labourdonnais | Visit the Sacred Lake Hindu Temple in Grand Bassin/Ganga Talao

EAT – Enjoy local food at Escale Creole | Dinner at Umami at Dinarobin Resort | Lunch at La Table Du Château

EXPERIENCE – Snorkel and swim with wild turtles and dolphins at the Oberoi | | Take a seaplane from La Prairie beach over the underwater waterfall illusion | Rum tasting at the La Rhumerie de Chamarel | Take a catamaran from Blue Bay Marine Park to Ile aux Cerfs | Scenic helicopter tour with Air Mauritius

Get ready for a sensory journey with a vibrancy you can see, feel, hear and taste. Feel the island energy of Mauritius. Enjoy vivid sunrises, sunsets, make sure to take in a traditional Sega performance and indulge in the incredible array of flavours in their local cuisine. It also wouldn’t be a trip to Mauritius without a rum tasting or two.

It was hard to believe that this was winter in Mauritius. The days were hot and sunny, with balmy nights perfect for summer dresses and poolside cocktails. I traveled with Air Mauritius, direct from Perth, making it easier than ever to enjoy this island paradise and trade the beanies for bikinis.

Mauritius is quite a small island nation off the East African coastline, approximately 60km in length and 45km wide. I was first struck by the breathtaking scenery, a mix of volcanic landscape, covered in lush greenery, surrounded by postcard perfect beaches. It’s a melting pot of many diverse cultures and religions, Indian, African, European and Chinese, coming together to create a rich tapestry of experience. They mostly speak French based Mauritian Creole and English is widely understood and spoken.

Hinduism is the primary religion of Mauritius and a visit to the Sacred water temple in Grand Bassin/Ganga Talao is a rite of passage as you immerse yourself into Mauritius life. An Indian Hindu priest dreamt of this sacred place many years before he traveled here. Once he arrived and recognised it from his dream, it became one of the biggest temples in Mauritius and outside of India. Many pilgrimages are made here each year.

I stayed in three different resorts in Mauritius exploring the surrounding areas of each place. My journey began in Flic en Flac in the Black River region at the Sands Suites resort and spa. An absolutely wonderful resort with impeccable service and amenities. The mountainous views over the pool were an incredible sight to wake up to. We ventured further south to Paradis Beachcomber Golf resort, located on the south western tip with majestic views of Le Morne Brabant. It had the the best white sand beach and turquoise water of the trip. It was however a very large resort, so the service was busy and did feel impersonal at times. The last resort stay was The Oberoi Beach resort, which had an incredibly high level of service, the most outstanding rooms, and the best snorkelling I experienced on the trip. The corals were healthy and colourful, and I even managed to spot a couple of unicorn fish and a sneaky octopus that I only saw on my go pro footage afterwards. You can book wild dolphin and turtle swims from the boat house, along with many other ocean based activities. The food was excellent at all three resorts and especially at the Paradis sister resort, Dinarobin. The restaurant was called Umami and for good reason. The flavour combinations, taste sensations and textures were on point. I experienced delicious plant based food everywhere I went. Heart of palm is commonly used in the local cuisine, and naturally plant based, so it appeared in many of my dishes. Its sustainability as a food source is questionable depending on how it’s harvested and has been a substantial contributor to deforestation when not grown the right way.

My favourite highlight experience of all was a visit to a Resto, a home restaurant, called Escale Creole. This was the off the beaten path experience I was craving. A truly local experience. Hearing owner Marie-Christine share her passion, her journey, her love of family, food and heritage was beyond inspirational. The food speaks for itself. It was sensational. The best vegan Creole food I’ve ever had. This is definitely an experience beyond lunch, and one not to be missed on your next Mauritius trip.

I visited some exquisite chateaus on this trip. Le Château de Bel Ombre is a refined and romantic space, steeped in old world charm. It would make a beautiful stay for couples celebrating a special milestone. Château De Labourdonnais, built in 1856, is a jewel of Mauritian heritage. After viewing the beautiful architectural and design details you can enjoy lunch and rum tasting on the grounds at La Table Du Château.

There were many amazing experiences on my itinerary for this trip. I went zip lining and quad biking in Casela’s beautiful grounds, though quad biking while feeding Zebras definitely didn’t sit right for me and was ethically questionable. The zip lining was exhilarating, an absolute rush. The suspension bridge walk to get there was terrifying. If you want to face your height fears I wouldn’t recommend this. If you love heights, then this is for you. I visited Chamarel’s Seven coloured Earth Geopark and waterfall, which was an otherworldly experience. I snorkelled at the beautiful Blue Bay marine park, an absolute turquoise haven. You can even take a full day catamaran tour from here to Ile aux Cerfs. You’ll get to swim, snorkel and visit a waterfall and I will definitely be doing this next time round. Blue bay was teeming with fish and a combination of beautiful healthy and bleached corals. Sadly like many islands these days, there was a lot of plastic pollution.

My one most important travel tip would be to pack travel sickness medication. The roads are winding and mountainous and they drive quite fast so if you’re even slightly prone to motion sickness get ahead of it. I haven’t had motion sickness for many years and it was intense, especially through Chamarel.

For me Mauritius was all about the slow, yet fleeting moments. Rainbows after soft rain showers, sunset swims, witnessing an engagement on the beach, diving into the underwater world, swaying in a beach hammock, local market shopping in the mountains, and sunset cocktails in the pool with the lovely women I had the privilege of traveling with. These are the moments I’ll remember most, and will live on in my heart when I think of Mauritius.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx


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