Mauritius: Five Reasons To Love Or Hate This Island

Where Mauritius matched our expectations or even excelled them and where it became short on fulfilling the promises of blogs and tourist brochures of being the tropical island paradise of every bodies dreams.

Beautiful beaches, tropical temperatures, hiking in Black River National Park, delicious food and lovely people. That's tropical paradise, isn't it?

English  |  Deutsch  To be honest: It’s not all paradise but a lot of it is. Before our visit we read up on Mauritius on several blogs. Most of them described Mauritius as beautiful, like cut out of a promotional leaflet of the tourist office. It’s not quite like that! However, since then I’ve been back two further times.

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1. Five Reasons To Love Mauritius

1. Direct Flights To Tropical Temperatures

You can catch a direct flight from most major cities of Europe to Mauritius for a reasonable price. And, what is just wonderful! There is not much of a time lag either. In consequence, we were able to enjoy our stay from the first day of our arrival without jet lag.

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2. Beautiful Beaches And Plenty Activities To Choose From

My three sojourns on Mauritius brought me to different places. First I stayed with my daughter in a luxury hotel in Flic en Flac directly at the beach. Following that George and I spent a few days at Trou aux Biches in a self-catering unit and almost a month in a bed & breakfast again in Flic en Flac. We rented a car and explored the whole island to bathe and snorkel at several different places. The coast of Flic en Flac was our favorite.

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This coastline is protected. Coral can recover, which make for excitable snorkeling experiences. We snorkeled most of our time and observed wildlife under water with great pleasure.

3. Hiking On Mauritius

Mauritius is a volcanic island with a lot of weird shaped mountains and fertile nature. Several summits offer breathtaking views over valleys and white sandy beaches. Take a local guide to explore Black River Gorges National Park several trails lead to beautiful waterfalls and viewpoints.

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4. Melting Pot Of Cultural Beauty

If it’s for the food or the friendly people, we’d be back in Mauritius in a flash. Indian food is predominant as is the share of Indians in the population of Mauritius. Nonetheless there are other influences from Africa, Asia and Europe.

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The women’s dresses are as colourful as the tropical gardens which are a pleasure to the eye.  Families live together and care for each other. Maybe at small space, but seemingly happy anyway. Noticeably the islanders practice their various religions peacefully next to each other.

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5. Peaceful and safe

We did feel safe in Mauritius. Even in the evenings we strolled along the beach to enjoy the sunset and admire the stars. Crime rate is low and annoying hawkers are seldom. The few hawkers we met, left us in peace if we didn’t want to buy anything (not so in Tanzania or Kenya!).

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We took taxis, buses and hired a car. All was very easy! We didn’t have any issues at all and it is a perfect place to lay-back and enjoy a relaxed time.


 

2. Five Reasons To Hate Mauritius

1. Densely Populated Mauritius Island

Mauritius is among the ten countries having the highest population density in the world. An average of 623 persons are living per square kilometer on the small island of  2’030 square kilometers land area. Most of them, 30% of Mauritius’s population, live in the capital Port Louis and the adjacent district of Plaines Wilhems in the heart of the island around the plateau towns of Beau Bassin, Rose Hill, Quatre Bornes, Phoenix, Vacoas, Floréal and Curepipe.

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Besides most surprising for a developed country like Mauritius is, that the median age of Mauritians is only 36 years!

2. Mono-culture dominates Mauritius fields

With exception of the south part of Mauritius, where the last pocket of extended forest remains in the Black Forest National Park, we had the impression to drive through one extended town without interruption but for some sugarcane fields.

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Sugarcane is cultivated on 85% of the arable land in Mauritius – plantations, green equality without trees, shrubs or bushes for wildlife. It is beyond understanding why there are still voices calling for the lowering of production costs and aiming for more productivity per unit as the revenue dwindled during the past few years. (read this article in Le Mauricien).

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Instead, reading the signs for more sustainable farming and a healthier environment in unison with nature would be more advisable, don’t you think?

3. Too Small National Park And Not Enough Nature Reserves

Little is done to preserve the few wild places which are left on Mauritius. Black River Gorges National Park is mentioned proudly in almost any tourist brochure as a haven of natural beauty and wildlife. It is important to know though, that the National Park is actually the last stand of Mauritian forests and many native species.

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Black River Gorge National Park only covers 67 square kilometers of the island. Only 2% is left of native forest on Mauritius! The Mauritian giant tortoises are extinct, as is the famous Dodo, a flightless bird endemic to the island. More species are bound to follow this sad fate.

4. Poorly Treated And Killed Street Dogs

Government and Non-Governmental-Organizations made several attempts to “get rid of” street dogs on the streets and beaches of Mauritius. It caused a moderate out-cry on social media, when pictures and videos showed that “officials” threw dogs into vans and strangled them cruelly in masses, clearly visible to their buddies which were next in line to be killed.

 

There is a program in place to neuter strays. Not much seen or heard of this during our stay on Mauritius, as hundreds of stray dogs populate the less touristy places of the island. The posh resorts have their own ways to get rid of animals on their properties. You won’t even see many insects and in consequence birds, as hotels spray pesticides weekly to enable a pleasant stay for the spoiled tourist without mosquitoes.

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5. Mauritius Joining Other African Countries In Corruption Scandals

Famous for its reputation as Africa’s least corrupt country, Mauritius was up to last year a figurehead. Unfortunately the latest developments show that even the island of Mauritius isn’t safe of graft and nepotism.

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There where power and money wipes out democratic processes, the downfall of equality and freedom begins. 

Hopefully the residence of Mauritius will throw a stick in the wheel of these unfortunate developments.


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Apart from all the merely unison positive “soup” of reviews, I hope that this post adds some flavour and allows to get a more realistic vision of Mauritius. Paradises are long gone in this world.

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Seven Colored Earths, Black River Gorge National Park

Mauritius needs tourists (and residents), who speak-up their mind and ask for responsible tourism, quasi untouched national parks and nature reserves above AND below the water.

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Mauritius must protect more coastline and should ban motorboats to save the coral. It isn’t enough to confine protection almost exclusively to tiny reserves and islands like Ile aux Aigrettes close to the mainland or Black River Gorge National Park.

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And maybe, if the government cares more about its own people, animals and environment, Mauritius can be a trailblazer among the African countries again.

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Beautiful beaches, tropical temperatures, hiking in Black River National Park, delicious food and lovely people. That's tropical paradise, isn't it?Beautiful beaches, tropical temperatures, hiking in Black River National Park, delicious food and lovely people. That's tropical paradise, isn't it?

 

 

 

Have you been in Mauritius? Please let us know what you think of our post and leave a comment. We’ll be happy to hear your opinion.  

 

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Author: Marcelle Simone Heller

I’m searching for natural beauty and wilderness, while I’m travelling relentlessly to find delightful places and encounters with wildlife. I try to capture the thrill of the moments in photography and words, hoping to inspire others with the love for animals and nature.

14 thoughts on “Mauritius: Five Reasons To Love Or Hate This Island”

  1. Your post got me thinking since Mauritius’ situation sounds a lot like the one in Caribbean countries more than a 100 years ago. Many islands (including Puerto Rico) lived on sugarcane. Once that was gone, economic crises where everywhere. SO, I get what you are saying about the economy of the country. The stray dogs and poor management of natural reserves / parks are about the same in Latin America. Not sure what can be done about these issues (since they have been years in the making). #feetdotravel

  2. A nicely balanced post highlighting how the negatives will eventually affect the positives. Thanks for bringing to our attention the 5 “not to like” reasons. For those of us who haven’t been to Mauritius, it puts things into perspective and provides info to consider when finally booking to go.

  3. It’s good to know the bad, even when there is so much good in a place. If you truly know what to expect, then you can adjust your expectations accordingly. I’d still love to visit Mauritius!

  4. What a great warts and all post and you are right, if governments want to protect the future of its countries then protection of the animals, marine life and land needs to be initiated. Long term sustainability is the only way forward before paradises around the world are lost so good on you for speaking out about the downside of this beautiful country as well as it’s plus points. #feetdotravel

  5. It’s good to see honest reviews as there is normally some bad that accompanies the good. Still would love to visit Mauritius! #feetdotravel

  6. I was wondering how you might hate Mauritius when i’ts such a beautiful place, and now I understand. I didn’t imagine that it would be so densely populated and the killing of dogs is incredibly sad! #FeetDoTravel

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