Trip Report: Mauritius

**Background:**

Hello, Reddit! I’m a 26M American traveling around Southern Africa and the Middle East this summer. My Father and I finally went on our long-delayed trip to South Africa, whereupon I parted off on my own for the next month and a half. This is the first major solo trip I’ve embarked on since before pandemic.

**Budget:**

Due to my larger travel plan this summer, my flights were booked as refundable one ways and thus were probably more expensive than a round trip itinerary. From Cape Town to MRU and then outbound to Dubai would have been about $1K in coach, I paid $1.3K for business to DXB. Luckily my Airbnb was much cheaper at $450 for the entire stay. Basic car rental was also relatively inexpensive at $300 for a little automatic I10. Petrol on the other hand was more expensive at about $70 for two fill ups. Since I ate out all the time in South Africa, I decided to cook more since I had a kitchen available. Roughly $70 for about 4-5 days’ worth of groceries including alcohol. That said I fast regularly, so take that with a grain of salt. About $15 – $40 for a full meal for the sit-down restaurants that I went to , again including booze. All the beaches are free to use, and the public parks are as well.

**Trip Length:**

10.5 days in total. Probably could have scratched off one day, but it certainly didn’t bother me.

**Destination :**

Primarily the Southwestern corner of the Island by La Gaulette with day trips to the western and northern parts of the Island

**Accommodation:**

My Airbnb was essentially a 1-bedroom apartment with a kitchen, perfect for just me. La Gaulette was small, quiet, but safe and only 10 minutes away from the beautiful Le Morne beach and mountain. Close to Black Gorges National Park as well.

**Activities:**

Hiking: Black Gorges Park, so many trails to choose from. Le Morne mountain, beautiful ocean/island views and a surprisingly decent scramble up the last 1KM. All sorts of little beach trails through the woods, especially on the south side of the island.

Diving: Most of the dive outfitters are on the north side, although all sides of the island have different experiences under the ocean. I ended up using Sundivers in Flic en Flac, excellent experience with the team despite the challenges .

So many beaches.

Mahebourg had the much more interesting Market and Waterfront. The Dutch/French past shows.

Ganga Talao – Grand Bassin: Very interesting Hindu pilgrimage site. Beautiful statues, big and small. Tourists are welcome. Eating/drinking/bathing at the site is strictly forbidden and offensive. Shoes have to be taken off in certain areas.

**What Went Right:**

Language barrier was no issue. I went in not fully understanding what the situation was here but was surprised and interested by what I found. Mauritians use a French based Creole as a linguistic language, but English as a written language and when dealing with the government. Regular French is also very common as French tourists are by far the most frequent visitors to the island and French media/food/culture is frequently visible. Consequently, virtually everyone I encountered was tri/bilingual enough to communicate with. English speakers, with a little French, should have few issues getting by.

Beautiful beaches and the stunning ocean colors. Cool to see the waves break on the reef barriers in the distance. Generally, a very clean island as well.

I’m fairly introverted already, and I was pushed harder than usual to be more social in SA. La Galuette was perfect to recharge my batteries but still have stuff to do.

Weather topside was pretty close to perfect, 23 – 26C with the occasional gust of wind. A some rain clouds passed by the last few days but nothing too serious.

**What Went Wrong:**

Driving was more stressful than anticipated, and not because of the left-hand side. The roads can get very narrow at times which can make passing the various road obstacles frustrating and hairy. In the Port Louis area specifically, traffic can get sweatingly chaotic. The south side of the island was somewhat better, but plan accordingly.

The supposedly beautiful B103 road through the Black Gorges was closed, something about a mudslide.

In hindsight what I really should have done, accommodation wise, was rented in La Gaulette for 4-5 days then rented in another part of the island for the rest. This wasn’t a mistake *per se*, but it did increase the driving times needed to get places. Mauritius isn’t that big, but it’s easy to underestimate the times needed to get places , and they do get considerable traffic especially in the Port Louis area.

Port Louis was…… fine. Other than the Central Bazar and the waterfront there wasn’t much else to do outside of taking in the culture/city life, which was good for a morning but not much else. Citadelle has great views of the city but overall was frankly disappointing. IDK, I feel like people’s mileage here could go either way.

I was very unlucky with diving. Underneath the waves, the currents were decently strong, and visibility was limited, especially on the first dive. When I went back a few days later, the visibility was somewhat better, but the currents were still the same. Additionally, the diving I did was about 30-35m in depth making the issue worse. The divemaster said it had been like this the whole time I was here unfortunately. For me a dive is 95% of the time better than no dive, but still disappointing.

Got a blister on the Le Morne hike. Considering that I was hiking for two weeks in South Africa, I’m surprised that it did not happen sooner.

**Recommendations:**

Most of the tourists here I observed, seemed to fall into two camps: People like me in rented accommodations, and those at the many resorts. A lot of those at the resorts often rented a taxi with a driver for the day to get around and see different places and do the various hikes. This could be a decent compromise option to get around if staying at one of these places. For everyone else I’d still say renting a car is the best option to get around quickly, despite my difficulties. Finding parking was rarely ever an issue. You can get to just about everywhere in Mauritius via the many bus services, but they are often slow and not always frequent. Port Louis, Quatre Bones, and the North may be an exception to that, however.

Nightlife is mostly nonexistent; the resorts *may* be different. Plan accordingly, but overall I’d say Mauritius is pretty family friendly.

Always check open hours of places in advance. Some were often closed during the middle of the week.

When it did rain, the trails got very muddy. Nothing became impassable, but very slick and slippery. Luckily, I had hiking boots for support, most of my fellow hikers did not and it showed. Everyone was sliding all over the ground, down hillsides, even I had a close call coming down Macchabee Peak. Hiking boots are recommended, especially for Black Gorges.

**Final Verdict:**

Despite some hiccups, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Mauritius and would recommend it for anyone looking for a more relaxing experience as an extension to a Southern Africa trip. The hiking was the unexpected standout. The Mauritians are a friendly, welcoming, and very culturally/linguistically interesting people! If I did come back, I would tie in a trip to Rodrigues and/or Reunion if I had two weeks to spare.

$ = USD

Trip Report: Mauritius