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Mauritius Airport Guide

Port Louis

Capital and main port of Mauritius, the city was founded by the French Governor, Mah? de Labourdonnais, in 1735. The harbour is sheltered by a semicircle of mountains. The city has plenty of character, and, in some quarters, signs of its past elegance are still evident. Off the main square, the palm-lined Place d'Armes, there are some particularly fine French colonial buildings, especially Government House (built in 1738) and the Municipal Theatre, built around the same time. There are two cathedrals, one Protestant and one Catholic, a fine Supreme Court Building, some 18th-century barracks and the Natural History Museum (exhibiting Mauritius's most famous bird, the extinct Dodo). On the outskirts of the city, at the foot of the mountains, is the Champ de Mars, originally laid out by the French for military parades, and now a racecourse. The splendid Edward VII Avenue and Fort Adelaide, a citadel fortified in the time of William IV, offer the best views of the racecourse, city and harbour. South of Port Louis is Le R?duit, the French colonial residence of the President of Mauritius, set in magnificent gardens. Other places of interest include the Jummah Mosque in Royal Street and the Chinese Pagoda.


The island's main residential town provides good shops and restaurants. Between Curepipe and Floreal lies Trou aux Cerfs, a dramatic, extinct crater 85m (280ft) deep and more than 180m (600ft) wide, which offers extensive views of the island from its rim.

Pamplemousses Gardens

To the north of Port Louis are the Pamplemousses Gardens. These, created at the end of the eighteenth century, are known to naturalists throughout the world for their large collection of indigenous and exotic plants, including the giant Victoria regia water lilies and many species of palm trees. Of particular interest is the talipot palm, which is said to flower once, after 60 years, and then die. There are also tortoises here, some of them over 100 years old.

Domaine Les Pailles

This nature park nestling at the foot of the Moka mountain range covers an area of 3000 acres. Among the attractions are a natural spring, a spice garden, a replica of a sugar mill and an old rum distillery. Trips through the park in four-wheel-drive vehicles, horse-drawn carriages or trains are also possible.


Facing the calm water of the lagoon between Pointe aux Piments and Trou aux Biches is the Aquarium populated by 200 species of fish, invertebrates, live coral and sponges, all originating from the waters around the island. An open-circuit sea-water cycle of one million litres runs through the 36 tanks every day. The Aquarium offers a unique opportunity to admire the colourful treasures of the Indian Ocean.

Domaine des Grands Bois

On the 2000 acres of this magnificent park visitors can watch the rich fauna in a lush exotic setting. Ebony, eucalyptus, palm trees and wild orchids provide the backdrop for stags, deer, monkeys and other wildlife.

La Vanille Crocodile Park

Near Rivi?re des Anguilles, in the wild south, this is a farm breeding Nile crocodiles imported from Madagascar. The site offers a vast park with a nature walk through luxuriant forest studded with freshwater springs. A small zoo of animals found in the wild in Mauritius is also located here.

Rochester Falls

Water cascades over spectacular rock formations. Spectacular joints have been formed by the contraction of lava due to sudden cooling. The falls are near Souillac and can be reached by a road which crosses a sugar plantation that is open to visitors.

Grand Bassin

Within a short distance of Mare Longue, Grand Bassin rests in the crater of an extinct volcano, this is one of the island's two natural lakes. It is a place of pilgrimage for a large number of Mauritians of the Hindu faith.

Plaine Champagne

To the southwest lies Plaine Champagne, the highest part of the central plateau (740m/2430ft), from where there is a superb view of the Rivi?re Noire (Black River) Mountains and the sea lining the horizon. The forest-clad slopes contain some fine specimens of indigenous timber and interesting plants peculiar to the island. For the keen birdwatcher, the mountains are the habitat of most of the remaining indigenous species.

Casela Bird Park

Open daily, Casela Bird Park is set in the district of the Rivi?re Noire, stretches over 20 acres of land and contains more than 140 varieties, amounting to 2500 birds. Specimens from the five continents may be seen there, but the main attraction is the Mauritian Pink Pigeon, which is one of the rarest birds in the world. Other attractions are the fish ponds, tortoises, monkeys and orchids (seasonal). Trees, streams and small cascades all add to the remarkably peaceful atmosphere.


A twisting, tarred road leads from Case Noyale village to Chamarel. This is an area of undulating land of seven contrasting layers of coloured dunes: blue, green, red and yellow earth, believed to be the result of weathering. The nearby Chamarel Waterfall emerges from the moors and the primeval vegetation and is very beautiful.

Rodrigues Island

Situated 550km (340 miles) north-east of Mauritius, this tiny, rugged, volcanic island nevertheless offers many of the same facilities as Mauritius.


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