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