Mauritius was once the only known home of the dodo, in the days when the island was a stop off for traders sailing to the Orient; the last one was killed in 1681. After the last dodo disappeared, Portuguese, Dutch, French and English colonists all left a remarkable legacy of historic sights and cultural diversity on the island – Mauritius is far more than ‘just’ a beach destination.
A jewel of the Indian Ocean, the island of Mauritius is the epitome of tropical luxury and exotic extravagance. Encircled by a broken ring of mountains, varying in from 300–800 m above sea level, Mauritius’ was formed in the heart of a volcano and – though it’s now dormant – streams and rivers gush down the cracks created by lava flows. The warmth of the tropical weather is equalled and exceeded by the party spirit of the locals.
The beaches of Mauritius are spectacular. The island is surrounded by more than 150 km (93 miles) of white sandy beaches, with tranquil lagoons protected by the world’s third largest coral reef. And nearly 50 uninhabited islands and islets lie just off shore – some of which are used as natural reserves.
If you can tear yourself away from the water, there’s bustle of the mercantile capital Port Louis (Africa’s wealthiest city) to discover, the busy markets of Quatre Bornes and Curepipe in the Central Plateau to browse and barter in, or even the dramatic virgin forests of Black River Gorges National Park to explore.
Located around 1,250 miles off the southeast coast of the Africa, there are direct flights to Mauritius from five UK airports. And there are even more options if you want to stopover and combine a holiday in Mauritius with a safari in Africa, for example. Either way, a tropical villa retreat in Mauritius is guaranteed to be a slice of paradise.
For hundreds of years, Mauritius has been a melting pot of European, African and Asian cultures – which is deliciously represented in Mauritian cuisine. Leading chefs such as Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse and the Troisgros brothers have visited the island and developed menus with local chefs – you can always guarantee a good meal at your villa or resort!
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