The range and diversity of shopping venues have earned Mauritius the label of ‘shopping paradise’. Everywhere you will find numerous markets, shopping centres, specialised shops, handicraft shops, art galleries and stalls, selling high-quality original products at competitive prices. Most of the jewellery shops sell international brand watches at very attractive prices.
Textile products are one of the best souvenirs to take home, with a large number of famous labels produced on the island. After exporting their quota, the manufacturers can sell the remaining products on the local market at very competitive prices. Visitors can thus buy high-quality shirts, trousers, dresses, men’s and ladies’ suits and T-shirts at prices two or three times less than in Europe.
The number of duty-free shops has also greatly increased over the past few years and prices are very attractive. They are meant for tourists, who must produce their passport and return ticket. The articles bought in these shops are delivered to the airport, either at the Customs or the Chamber of Commerce and Industry counter.
Mauritius offers a wide and varied range of handicraft products: basketry, embroidery, pottery, painting, cut stones and recycled glass. A large number of shops across the island sell a multitude of unusual objects.
Invigorate yourself by experiencing the wonderful natural beauty of Mauritius. There are many exciting outdoor activities to enjoy, including mountain climbing, trekking through the island’s vast forests and fields, going down waterfalls and quad biking. Adventure also means fair game culling in the south-east of the island where many stags, does and boars roam freely on grounds of 900 hectares covered with tropical forests.
Golfing: Several of the hotels have excellent golf courses.
There are eight 18-hole courses: * Belle Mare Plage Hotel Golf Course (2 golf courses) * Le Paradis Resort (at the foot of Le Morne) * Le Touessrok Golf Course * Heritage Golf & Spa Resort * Anahita Resort Golf Course * Gymkhana Club * Tamarina Golf Estate and Beach Club
Four nine-hole courses: * Shandrani (BlueBay) * St Géran (Poste de Flacq) * Maritim (Balaclava) * Sofitel Impérial (Wolmar)
Belle Mare Plage Resort has two championship golf courses: Legends and Links.
Most of the hotels have a clubhouse with a locker room for customers’ equipment and a shop. Instructors are available to attend to customers’ needs and to give private tuition. Golf balls, clubs and caddies can be hired.
Mauritius’s most spectacular golf course is probably the One&Only Le Touessrok Golf Course. It is on its very own tropical island, fringed by white sands, with a backdrop of green mountains – truly one of the world’s great golf settings. All 18 holes have views of the ocean. There are nine lakes in all, with a number of holes requiring tee shots across sea inlets to the fairways. Bernhard Langer designed the course to challenge advanced players, while still remaining exciting and playable for recreational golfers.
Hiking: Mauritius has a green heart, with lush green vegetation, remnants of indigenous forests, mountains and lakes, rivers and waterfalls. The best way to discover green Mauritius is to hit the trails.
Quad Biking: Go off the beaten track and discover some of the most romantic spots on the island. Guides will provide interesting information on the spectacular surroundings and introduce visitors to the endemic flora and fauna. Amazing scenery and strings of islets scattered among the coral reefs can all be viewed from fantastic vantage points on these adventures.
Mountain biking: Several hotels have mountain bikes for rent but most are only suitable for cycling. Yemaya Adventures can organise several specialised trips in the different regions of the island. Mountain biking is possible all over the island, particularly in the West at Yemen nature park and in the East at l’Etoile. In the central region, Chalets en Champagne guesthouse, La Vieille Cheminée or Lakaz Chamarel can organise interesting guided trips.
Zip line cable riding: Zip lines are growing in popularity, particularly in places with scenic views. At La Rivière des Galets in St Felix, amidst sugar cane fields and banana plantations, visitors can enjoy a day of zip lines over steep river gorges, waterfalls and lush ravines. The cable is stretched from one side to the other while the passenger is harnessed around the waist and attached. A huge push sends him across, high above a chasm half a mile down and travelling at speeds that top 65 kph.
SSR Botanical Garden: The gardens are known to naturalists world-wide for their large collection of indigenous and exotic plants, including the giant Victoria Amazonica water lilies and many species of palm trees. The 24-hectare garden has 500 different species of plants. Of particular interest are the spice garden and the Talipot Palms, said to flower every 60 years, after which they die. The deer and tortoises are sure to delight the youngsters, while an old French mansion and an old sugar mill conjure up pictures of Mauritius’s rich historical past.
Parc Aventure Chamarel: Discover new outdoor activities in the heart of a unique 12-hectare tropical forest at Parc Aventure Chamarel. Regardless of athletic ability, the young and not so young can roam fromtrees to trees, and path to path, attached to a lifeline (safety equipment). So that guests can enjoy the site’s fabulous views, kiosks have been placed overlooking the ChamarelValley. A lot of the fun of these outdoor activities resides in their ability to give you a fright, without ever putting you in danger.
Deep-sea fishing: Mauritius is a paradise for deep-sea fishing. Species include the blue or black marlin, all types of sharks, yellow tuna, the Bonitos, the ‘emperor’, the ‘pélerin’, the ‘bécune’ or the barracuda. Huge fish like the blue marlin hunt around the island from November to April, and very often until May. The ocean is 70 metres deep just one kilometre from the coast. Mauritius holds several world fishing records. Fishing boats can be hired from almost all hotels. The most prestigious deep-sea fishing competition is the Marlin World Cup, which is hosted in December by La Pirogue Hotel.
Scuba diving: Mauritius is enclosed by a barrier reef that protects it from oceanic waves, thereby creating a thriving habitat for an outstanding number of fish. With a mask, a pair of fins and a snorkel, you can find hard and soft coral species. The local Mauritian Scuba Diving Association regulates over 40 dive centres across the island. All are operated by qualified and experienced dive masters trained to international standards.
The three best dive sites in Mauritius are arguably the Merville Aquarium off the coast at Grand Baie, where you are most likely to see the widest range of marine life, the Colorado outside the reef at Blue Bay, which is as breathtaking as an underwater Grand Canyon and the Rembrant l’Herbe, offshore from Flic-en-Flac and best visited early morning or late evening to view the feeding rush.
Kite-surfing: A relatively new and spectacular activity that involves the use of a power kite and a small surf board. Kite-surfers use the wind and their skills to surf and then climb into the air to reach heights that can exceed 10 metres above sea level. In about four days, you can learn to kite-surf in any one of the professional schools in Mauritius. With its superb lagoons and wonderful weather throughout the year, the island is developing into one of the world’s favourite kite-surfing destinations.
Catamaran cruise: Sailing around the coast is a delightful experience. Most trips include a full day with barbecue lunch, drinks, snacks and snorkelling. The most popular cruise is to Ile-aux-Cerfs on the east coast.
Submarine experiences: In the Blue Safari submarine, guests can expect a superb encounter with marine life and get a chance to see various wrecks dating back to the 17th century. Honeymoon diving, weddings, a romantic lunch for two and training sessions are all available.
Blue Safari underwater subscooter: Accompanied by four other subscooters and by two divers, guests can discover the beauty of the barrier reefs three metres below sea level.
Undersea helmet walk: Wearing an air-filled helmet, visitors can walk along the ocean floor adjacent to the vibrant corals and observe an underwater world that dazzles with colour and life. This unforgettable experience, among a host of host of exotic and friendly fish, lasts around 20 minutes. Non-swimmers and water babies alike will enjoy the undersea walk and you can even wear your glasses if necessary.