Generally speaking, a holiday to the lush, beach fringed island of Mauritius, floating serenely in the Indian Ocean, is an open invitation from the Universe to do absolutely nothing beyond laze in the sun with elaborate fruity drinks. And we’re not about to suggest there’s anything wrong with lying back and letting the island’s charms lull you – what with its beautiful climate, fertile interior, cove-scattered coastline, delicious melting-pot cuisine and warm, friendly people, Mauritius is almost unfairly blessed among a strong field of paradise islands in the region.
But, let’s just say you do fancy a little activity to compliment the pro-level lounging? Here are three things to tempt you from your poolside daybed during a superlative stay on Mauritius.
1. Take a catamaran trip to Île aux Cerfs
When it comes rousing yourself to action on Mauritius there is such a thing as not warming up properly. That’s why this catamaran day trip to the small but perfectly formed east coast islet of Île aux Cerfs is ideal. With the supremely blue Indian Ocean skimming away beneath you, and a soft breeze cutting the heat in a very pleasant way, sitting on the deck of a catamaran is a great way to ease yourself into action. Well, you are moving, right?
Not active enough for you? No problem. Once you disembark on the Île aux Cerfs, you don’t have to just make beeline for the nearest glittering sandbar or one of this bijou island’s three restaurants. For such a modestly sized place, Deer Island (that’s the translation and, these days, only a name) has a good variety of water sports on offer. So resist the lilting motion of the swaying palms, and try your hand at snorkelling, parasailing, windsurfing, waterskiing or kayaking. You can also just hop in a glass-bottom boat and watch sea life being busy instead. That works, too…
2. Play golf
Here’s a fun fact: did you know that Mauritius was the third place in the world after the UK and India where golf was played? It’s true. Established in 1902 by members of the Royal Navy, the Mauritius Gymkhana Golf Club is still going strong – making it not only the oldest golf club in the Southern Hemisphere, but the fourth oldest in the world. If that’s not ample reason to vacate your beach towel and grab a bag of clubs we don’t know what is.
Now that we’ve established Mauritius’s golf heritage, it’s only fair to say that the island hasn’t been resting on its laurels when it comes to creating breathtaking and challenging courses. In fact, Île aux Cerfs is a great place to start with a beautiful course designed by legend Berhard Langer. Elsewhere you have the Ernie Els designed Anahita Course with its meandering stream, fragments of dry stone wall and potentially distracting ocean views, plus the appropriately named Legend Course at Belle Mare Plage. Designed by South African golf champion Hugh Baiocchi, the Legend is set on a wooded former hunting reserve, and features tree-lined fairways and some incredible views (not least from the tricky green of the 17th hole).
3. Mountain biking in Black River Gorge
So you’ve mustered up the energy to take a catamaran to Île aux Cerfs, and played a whole 18 holes of golf on one of the most arrestingly beautiful courses in the world. Now it’s time to really break a sweat and get those endorphins spiking with some mountain biking around Black River Gorge. Mauritius’s only National Park is crisscrossed with trails of differing lengths and difficulties. Some are perfect for trekking, others superb for riding, but they all have one thing in common – they offer glimpses of some of the island’s diverse (and in some cases rare) flora and fauna along with some magnificent views. So while you ride or walk here, be sure to stop once in a while to look out for monkeys, Mauritius Echo Parakeets, Pink Pigeons – much more glam than their UK cousins – Mauritius Cuckoo Shrikes and the curious Tambalacoque or Dodo Tree..
In fact, Mauritius’s commitment to protecting and nurturing its incredible natural wealth makes a visit to the Black River Gorge National Park an unforgettable experience, whether you strap on a bike helmet, walking boots, or simply find a flawless vista and let this remarkable island work its magic on you.
To make any of these experiences part of your holiday in Mauritius, speak with your Virgin Holidays Concierge who’ll be delighted to help you out.