The beautiful island nation of Mauritius is located off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, a paradise-like setting that has become an idyllic location for enjoying a luxury getaway. The white sandy beaches and luxury hotels populating the coast attract travelers from around the globe, and you’ll find plenty of things to do and experience beyond the resorts. The island is chock full of historic sites, scenic geographic landscapes, and boasts a variety of activities for all types of travelers. It is the most developed of all the Mascarene Islands and while it does get very busy during the tourist season, you’ll find plenty of places to escape the crowds and enjoy some outdoor adventures. Mauritus is a very small, multicultural island and also controls Rodrigues Island, Agalega Island, and Cargados Garayos Island.
The history of Mauritius dates back to the 9th century when it was first discovered by Arab sailors. The island was fairly uninhabited at the time and mostly covered by dense forest areas. The Arab sailors, however, were not interested in settling on the island itself. When the island was later discovered by Portuguese sailor Fernandez Pereira in 1505, it still remained uninhabited. The Dutch were the first people to colonize the island and they officially took possession of Mauritius in 1598. The Dutch settlers ended up landing on the bay in the southeastern part of the island and the bay is now known as Grand Port. The island was officially named Mauritius after the Prince of Holland Mauritz de Nassau in the late 16th century.
The Dutch did end up abandoning the island in 1710 and left behind some fugitive slaves, java deer, and sugar cane plantations. The Dodo bird had become instinct by this time and the black ebony tree population had been completely destroyed because of an over-exploitation of timber.
In 1713, the French had settled on the island and renamed the island, Ile de France. Most of the settlers chose to settle on the northwestern side of the island and established a harbor there. A lot of development took place under French rule, and it soon became more of a city. The British tried to take over the island in 1810 but lost the Battle of Grand Port. They did come back and defeated the French, renaming the island Mauritius. The island remained under British rule until it attained independence. Slavery was abolished in 1835 and indentured laborers were brought from India to support the rapidly-growing sugar-cane industry here. It wasn’t until 1968 that Mauritius became an independent nation within the Commonwealth.
Today, the island of Mauritius and its neighboring islands have become an attractive destination for travelers who want to enjoy the luxury lifestyle and explore some of the tropical jungle paradise. Most of Mauritius is fairly developed and you’ll find several upscale dining destinations, shopping venues, and other sites to explore throughout the region. Whether you’re island-hopping around the Seychelles or just looking for a new tropical destination to explore, make plans to visit the beautiful island of Mauritius.
Mauritius Weather and Best Time to Visit
Like many other islands in the region, the island of Mauritius has a tropical climate tha tis modified by southeast trade winds. The island experiences very warm and dry winters that run from May through November, and very hot, wet, and humid summers that run from November through May. This region does encounter some tropical cyclones from November through April, but the majority of cyclones take place from the end of December through March. There really are only two major seasons in Mauritius; winter and summer.
You’ll find that it’s usually a lot cooler in the central region of the island than around the costal sites. The windiest areas are along the East coast, while the hottest destinations are located on the west coast. The coolest months of the year are actually during the typical summer from June through August. This can be a great time to travel when you want to escape the heat from other destinations around the globe. You can also take advantage of the warmer weather when traveling to Mauritius during the holiday season and winter months.
Whether you’re exploring the mercantile capital of Port Louis, the myriad of towns scattered around the Central Plateau, or planning an adventure vacation around Black River Gorges National Park, you’ll find a wealth of things to do and unique places to explore throughout your visit. Mauritius offers the best of both worlds and is literally loaded with historic sites, limitless activities, and several cultural attractions. You’ll have the chance to sample French and African cuisine at some of the area’s best restaurants, listen to “sega” music, party it up with the locals during festival season, or head off on a hiking adventure around Black River Gorges National Park.
Port Louis is the mercantile capital of Mauritius and is currently the wealthiest city in Africa. The port is located beneath the mountain peaks of Le Pouce and Pieter Both, and also serves as the main economic hub in the country. It is also one of the more modern areas of the island and is home to several great restaurants, tourist attractions, and trendy shops. You’ll find a range of museums, an official Chinatown district, and several upscale hotels around this region. This is a prime location for luxury travelers looking for upscale Western-style amenities and a more modern vibe.
Central Plateau towns like Quatre Bornes are part of the garment district on the island. Here you’ll find twice-weekly clothes markets, and high-quality garments at very low prices. You’ll also find an internet center on the second floor of the Orchard Centre here.
From the natural attractions to the bustling city district, Mauritius is home to several tourist hubs, unique cities and towns, and nature preserves that are ripe for exploring. Take some time to learn about the different sites and attractions around the island to map out your visit and make the most of your trip to this beautiful destination.