The plane dipped through the clouds as we started our decent to Johannesburg, South Africa I was almost home.  After the past whirlwind week I was grateful for the prospect of sleeping in my own bed again.  I leaned my head back into the headrest of the seat and yawned as thoughts of Mauritius crowded my mind.  We did not sleep much and it was catching up to me.  There had been so much to see and even more to do… I would have to go back to discover the areas our educational trip did not cover.  I never did go kite surfing…

Two weeks before I had gotten a phone call from Lizzie – my partner in travel crimes – saying there was a Mauritius trip coming up and my ticket was booked if I wanted to go.  I honestly didn’t know if I wanted to… Mauritius is for honeymooners, right?  Wel, it’s a trip and it is free, I had to be out of my mind to say no to that. So without much thought about it I left for Mauritius to see what the fuss was about.  I was nicely surprised. Sure, it is a great destination for a honeymoon, but it is also a great destination for a family holiday, an exploration holiday, adventure seeking trip or a lay-on-the-beach-and-relax trip.

With only two hours time difference from South Africa and a short 4 hour flight it is the perfect solution for a vacation dilemma.  The weather is warm and sunny with occasional short rain showers to cool the tropical island down.  The beaches are beautiful and the water crystal clear.

We landed at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport and took a short drive to Jalsa beach hotel and spa on the North Eastern side of the island.

Jalsa Beach resort & spa entrance
View of the resort from our room
Beach at Jalsa Beach Resort & Spa

The resort has a beautiful view of the lagoon and the huge swimming pool.  There is a bar inside the pool and we were treated to an hour of aqua gym which worked every muscle I forgot I had.  We had a buffet dinner or richly flavoured food and made up for the exercise of the afternoon by digging into the ice cream chest, scooping cones full of delicious cold treats before heading to bed for a few hours sleep.  In the morning we were taken on a glass bottom boat ride.

 

The resort offers a variety of water sports and is ideal for traveler wanting to spend more time exploring than lounge around the resort.

I smiled as the memories of Maritim Crystals 4* resort came to mind.  The resort was one of my favourites.

 

We were welcomed to the hotel with drinks and escorted to a sugar workshop where we were given a fun lesson on rum and sugar.  This may be a 4* resort but it is up to a 5* standard in my book – they have exceptional rooms with a sea view or a garden view depending on your booking.  We spent some time on the beach, lounging in chairs and tanning in the sun.

 

It is an idilic place with a big white beach and vivid blue water. The resort boasts 2 swimming pools and a kids club.  It is extremely family friendly with lots to do.  The resort also offers water sport and entertainment.  We were treated to lesson in a local dance named sega – it is not as easy as it looks!  The dancers were magnificent. We dined at a fine dining restaurant where the food was well presented and delicious.  The resort has a shop where you can buy swimwear and souvenirs from friendly and attentive staff.  Although it is not an adult only resort like some of the other hotels, it has a young vibe to it that is exciting but also relaxing.

IMG_0741.jpgTamarina golf resort is a paradise for golfers.  The Tamarina hotel sits on the beach with the golf course a short distance away and a free shuttle service transport guests between the two locations. Casela adventure park is close to resort and your entry is free if you stay at there resort.  There  you can do lion walks and tobogan rides down the slope of the mountain – it had us screaming like little girls as we shot through the jungle and around bends at high speeds.

We had lunch at golf course and stared at the beautiful view of the mountains.  The par 72 golf course was designed by architect Rodney White and is a championship 18 hole course with breathtaking views of the Rempart mountain and Tamarin bay.  Your green fees are included in the hotel price, so there is no reason not to be on the lush green grass for at least one round of golf. The hotel has 4 restaurants and 3 bars.

It is family friendly, it has 3 beautiful pools and a wide range of activities from surfing at the surf school to a dolphin sanctuary.

We were served dinner on the beach while musicians entertained us and hotel staff built a big bonfire for a party deep into the night.

 

We came specifically for a workshop on the isle des deux cocos so we took a glass bottom boat to the beautiful island only 3.9. km South East from the mainland.  It has a magnificent villa that was built in 1920 by the British Governor of Mauritius and has been restored.  It has a shaded Moroccan styled courtyard with a garden full of bougainvillea and can  be rented for weddings and functions.  It is an ideal day trip to take when staying at nearby resorts but also worth a night spent in the old wonder of a small island if you choose to book accommodation there.  The island has some great scuba diving sites for licensed divers so keep it in mind if you love breathing under water.  Hamburgers and skewers were on the menu for lunch while a dj made some music.  It seems that everywhere we went there was music.  I loved that about Mauritius.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0565.JPGLux* Le Morne 5* resort takes luxury to whole new level.  It has a beautiful white beach with crystal clear water and looks like something from a postcard.  The resort gave us kaftans to wear and it was no surprise to learn that they employ a wellness concierge. The resort has more to do than any of the other resorts we visited.  It has 2 swimming pools and a world class spa.

You can have a dolphin experience or go kite surfing, horseback riding on the beach or if you like hiking Mount le Morne is definitely something you will want to do.

The resort has a wishing tree – it is something I have not seen before.  Every guest is given a note on which they can write a wish. It is put on a tree and every year they pick one person to win a one week vacation.

IMG_0766They also have a phone home service – it is a red phone booth with a free call for each guest to anywhere in the world!

We went on a boat outing to crystal rock known for dolphin sightings and had a great view of le Morne Brabant – a mountain that is now a world heritage site due to a legend tied to it.  The legend tells the tale of runaway slaves and maroons who took refuge near the mountain.  When slavery was abolished on 1 February 1835 some police officers were sent to the mountain to tell the former slaves that they were now free men and women.  The arrival of the police was misinterpreted by the slaves who had fled to the top of the mountain and they feared they would be arrested.  Some of them jumped from the mountain and committed suicide in the ocean below rather than to be brought back into slavery again.  Since 1987 the Creoles commemorate this day as the abolition of slavery.

Lux* le Morne is known for great bubbly and I was given the opportunity to pop a champaign bottle with a sword!

At the junk art studio you can buy or build your own souvenir made from beach junk – a brilliant initiative to keep the beach and ocean clean and to up cycle any trash that would otherwise contaminate the sea.

One of the best meals can be had at the Thai restaurant with Chef Suksan.  His meals will have you going for second and third helpings!  After eating too much for dinner we enjoyed a brilliant band doing cover songs.  This resort will definitely cater to anyone’s needs.

Our archery lesson at Maritim resort and spa made for great fun as we competed against each other for the title of Robin Hood or William Tell.  Leon – our tour leader – walked away as the winner but I am not convinced I would put an apple on my head for him- especially not after our coconut welcoming drinks.

We had a buffet lunch at an Asian restaurant before going on a horseback ride one the beach. This 5* resort is extremely animal conscious.  It has a rescue dog program where you can adopt a dog for the day or week, taking it for walks and cheat on your labrador at home with it.

The equestrian centre offers horseback rides to guests.  The horses are rehabilitated race horses from the USA, Australia and South Africa and the animals are in a healthy condition.  If you are in the mood for diving you can check in at the dive centre and explore the waters. 622de9b0-04c0-4064-b970-7a72e0ee9577There are HUGE tortoises to be seen at the tortoise kids club close to the beach – children can also enjoy a small animal farm.  Regular golf and mini golf is available to all guests.

There are hiking trails and pools for swimming on the estate and once a year a big party is held in the abandoned sugar mill ruins.

A horse rider with a South Africa flag escorted us out of resort.  Our host Anteesh Ramburn did an amazing job to present the estate to us.  I am in awe of all they are doing there.

IMG_0929Shopping in Mauritius can come in different options.  The local market or the regular shopping mall. At local market you get handmade crafts and souvenirs for those interested in bringing something back from their trip as well as local food while you can buy all the normal necessities at the mall if you are looking for something more familiar.

The wind blew kite surfers high up into the sky at Riu le Morne resort.  Palm tries bent in the wind and swayed as the adventurers tested their skills in the air and sea.  The stunning beach beckoned us and the blue water contrasted agains the white sand and provided the perfect place to kayak, snorkel or paddle surf.  The resort is for adults only.  It has 4 restaurants with 24 hour service and 5 bars as well as a night club. We listened to local dance music and ate at a  Japanese restaurant. Riu Creole is right next door and the family friendly side of the beach.

We enjoyed a theatre production of Grease with local performers doing a fine job!  I went to bed at 3h00 and  had to get up at 4h00 to catch my flight back to South Africa – no wonder I was yawning.  What a trip!

As we disembarked I thought about the plane.  Air Mauritius did a fine job.  The food was good, the plane was clean and the hostesses very friendly and helpful. With Mauritius being only 4 hours away it is a great option for family holidays – especially since kids under 12 stay free at most resorts.  It felt like I had only touched the tip of the ice berg.  There were so much more to do at the end of the windy roads with it’s beautiful views.  I remember seeing a sign for a submarine excursion in one place and sea bottom walking in another… Mauritius you will see me again…

If you have developed a taste for Mauritius after reading this blog – let us know and we will book your dream holiday for you.  Email us at gallivant@easygroup.co.za or call us at (+27)176345799

Love,
Manda