Mauritius, The Indian Ocean From an African Point of View

It wasn’t a tough decision to pick Mauritius as our beach destination for the year 2014. We’ve had enough of Asia and Europe was never an option in October. And so Africa it was! IMG_3620 Hearing and reading about the rich and mixed cultures in Mauritius got me to paint colorful images of blue beaches, green roads and multicolored gowns in my head. My expectations revolved around colors and bright mornings. I wasn’t disappointed and the beauty that we met the moment we stepped outside the airport was greener and bluer that expected. We made the right decision by choosing to stay in Dubai (for connection flight) for 8 hours just to arrive to Mauritius during the day and not after sunset. It was an unforgettable one hour ride to our hotel where we didn’t spot any sign of modern living. Fluffy clouds, endless green fields and some traditional colorful houses. That was all we’ve seen. IMG_3621 IMG_3622 IMG_3623 We were welcomed warmly to our hotel with some refreshing Mango ice cream that was a perfect thing to have after our long journey.  Le Touessrok was recommended by the travel agent and reviewed and rated as one of the best resorts in Mauritius in many travel websites. It was our second option (after the Oberoi which was fully booked) and we were sure, after all what we’ve heard, that it would be the right place to be. We had a great time and a memorable holiday, but the hotel was far from being perfect. IMG_3624 IMG_3625 IMG_3626 IMG_3629 IMG_3630 IMG_3634 We booked two Junior Suits and the rooms were spacious with all the essential facilities available. I appreciate big bathrooms and i thought that this was one of the most practical hotel/resort bathrooms i’ve ever seen. My favourite part was the balcony with its beautiful tropical view. Getting to the room from the reception area was a long yet enjoyable walk. Walking to breakfast every morning while viewing green trees and plants on my right and some narrow exits to the beach on my left was a very fresh start to my mornings. IMG_3635 IMG_3636 IMG_3637 IMG_3638 IMG_3640 IMG_3950 IMG_3951 IMG_3952 IMG_3953 The beach where our rooms were located was busy with people kayaking and fighting the tiny waves on paddle boats. It wasn’t an ideal spot for reading or relaxing. There was a quieter beach on the other side of the resort where i enjoyed my book while tanning. The pool next to it was my favourite hangout in the resort. It was refreshing and the temperature of the water was just perfect. I couldn’t have enough of it. IMG_3649 IMG_3667 IMG_3672 IMG_3675 IMG_3645IMG_3678  IMG_3696 IMG_3701 IMG_3719  IMG_3836 IMG_3845IMG_3683 IMG_3800 To my surprise, the food was extremely delicious. The breakfast buffet was huge and all kinds of food were served. I was impressed with how the bread and cold dishes were covered with net to keep the bugs away. There was a dinner buffet every night at the same restaurant. It was very busy with the same faces that we saw every morning over breakfast.  IMG_3668 Barlen’s was an elegant seafood restaurant and a good option for a quiet dinner. Each dish we ordered tasted heavenly and looked gorgeous. I loved how my fish was stamped with a Mauritian touch: Tamarind sauce. IMG_3729 The best dinner experience was at the modern Indian restaurant Safran. It was truly one of the finest Indian restaurants i’ve ever been to and the contemporary dishes were very unique and tasteful.  We all agreed that the Tandoori Salmon was the highlight of the meal. IMG_3853 IMG_3858 IMG_3860 Sega Bar was a fun place to hang out at after dinner for tea. Theme nights were organized there such as Jazz night, 80’s night and Mauritian night around the main pool. We planned our tours with the hotel upon arrival as follows: 1) Horse riding & zip lining: The plan was to spend two hours horse riding and two hours zip lining with a lunch break in between. Both activities were done at one resort but we didn’t have the flexibility to change or shorten the time since zip lining was done with a group. After one hour of horse riding around the resort, we felt that the scenery was getting repeated and that we better save our energy for the next adventure. And after three hours of waiting to start zip lining, my friend was not able to fit in the gear (they never informed us that this might be a problem) and i changed my mind after seeing the height and length of the zip line to avoid a vertigo that could easily be triggered by this and ruin the rest of my trip. Horse riding was a beautiful experience but other than that it was a waste of time. We reached the hotel shortly before sunset. IMG_3762 IMG_3763 IMG_3764 IMG_3766 IMG_3765 IMG_3770 IMG_3781 IMG_3782 2) Botanical Garden, Sugar Factory, Local Market and Bagatelle Mall: This was a fun tour that introduced us to Mauritius on a different level. The sweet driver was telling us facts and stories while driving from a place to the other. It was very interesting to smell the spices and plants as we walked around the very green Botanical Garden. The Sugar Factory visit was very informative and shopping for different kinds of sugar was very enjoyable. The handmade colorful baskets that were sold in the local market were all over the place. They were the most suitable Mauritian gifts to take back home to family and friends. Of course, bargaining is an essential part of the experience. The market was small and other than the baskets and souvenirs there wasn’t much to buy. I enjoyed shopping at Bagatelle Mall, particularly in a big shop that was selling local products: clothes, soaps, etc. The mall was located at Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius. We were hoping to have a local Mauritian lunch, but we ended up in a French-looking restaurant that didn’t serve French food! IMG_3872 IMG_3868 IMG_3887 IMG_3895 IMG_3896 IMG_3898   IMG_3900 IMG_3901 IMG_3912 IMG_3913 IMG_3914 We enjoyed our time in Mauritius despite the disappointments that were mainly caused by miscommunication. The hotel failed to deliver some information to us as i mentioned on Tripadvisor. maur Mauritius is a great option for a beach holiday or a family vacation. Emirates Air is the only airline that flies there in the region and the price of the ticket is high. To avoid wasting your time, plan your days ahead and investigate about every single detail that comes to mind. Most importantly, go without expectations..

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