Mauritius Beyond Its Beaches
Mauritius is a great place to golf. It has eight 18-hole golf courses and five nine-hole golf courses, most of which are built around exotic palm trees, bougainvilleas, and lakes. From Le Tousseok to the sprawling grounds of Beachcombers Le Paradis Hotel and Golf Club in the shadow of the looming Morne Mountains, there are plenty of choices. Since Mauritius is a tropical island, the rain tends to last an hour or so and then stop, so you can still golf pretty much any day. In the centre of the island, is the Gymkhana club with an 18-hole golf course, it’s the oldest in the southern hemisphere.
Get a bird’s eye view of the island
Fort Adelaide or La Citadelle, in the capital of Port Louis, was built by the British and sits high on a hill overlooking the harbour. To counter a probable invasion by the French and to keep a rein on local settlers who were opposed to the abolition of slavery, the British constructed this sturdy black basalt structure. Today, it’s a great place for panoramic views of the capital, the Moka mountain range, the historic Champs de Mar horse racing track and the harbour. The old barracks are now swish boutiques where you can spend an afternoon shopping.
Enjoy foodie delights
The cultural diversity of Mauritius is reflected in its food. Try the typical local street food dholl puri, a chapatti filled with beans and chilli, as well as drinks like alouda, made from milk and jelly. Chinese dim sums and fried noodles as well as the local version of spring rolls called hakien are also staples along with Creole specialties like cari, rougaille, eggplant fritters, and a chili paste called mazavaroo. For dessert, try a coconut gateaux or sweet potato fritters.
Visit a miniature ship-building factory
Building intricate model ships based on actual plans with attention to the tiniest details is an island tradition brought by sailors who visited the islands. Visit Le Port Ship Factory in Zone Industrielle to see scale reproductions of historic ships made from actual blueprints, which are crafted from teak wood in the traditional plank-on-frame method. Craftsmen forge small fittings meticulously from metal and wood, and cotton cloth is dyed in tea to make authentic sail cloth. In the final stages it is painted and polished. You can also see models of local fishing boats called pirogues as well as the classic ship-in-a-bottle. Models of great historical ships like Astrolabe and Cutty Sark come with a printed history as well.
Tour a Creole house
Maison Eureka in the south-west of the island is a restored Creole mansion dating back to 1860 with 109 doors, turrets and a wrap-around balcony. The family has restored and converted it into a museum with each room following a theme, furnished with exquisite carved furniture shipped from across the world by the East India Company. Take a peek into the rooms with blue pottery plates, an old fashioned shower, cinnamon wood cabinets and Limoges china. Walk through the extensive gardens with its mango and palm trees. The kitchen still has a functional wood-fire stove and the house serves delicious Creole food.