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Stuart Messham
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Mauritius is a white-beached paradise. An azure water haven. A palm-swaying place of sanctuary and indulgence. An oasis of calm and revitalisation. And a mecca for luxury resorts, exotic food and a deluge of watersports. It’s everything you want from a holiday and so much more – and you can fly there direct from Heathrow.
Let's take a look at some of the best things to do on the island…
Magic kinetic kids' sand or visually-remarkable geological phenomenon? It's actually rather difficult to tell…

Count the Seven Coloured Earths and feed the giant Aldabra turtles

One of the most popular attractions on the island, the Seven Coloured Earths is a rather astounding geological formation in the Chamarel region that is caused by the high concentration of metals in the soil. It’s serves as an incredible backdrop to any social media posts and a reminder of the magic at work in the natural world.

Speaking of which, another rather wonderful excursion is to the La Vanille Nature Park where you can walk among one of the largest ensembles of captive-bred giant Aldabra turtles on the planet. Some of the older ones can tip the scales at over 250kg and are quite the sight to behold. If you arrive in the morning (from 10-11 is best) you can even stroke and feed them plant stems, which are available from the entrance to the turtle pen.

Nature enthusiasts should also note that there is paid feeding of the crocodiles and lemurs available and rare birds and mammals can also be seen, including golden fruit bats from Rodrigues Island, Japanese koi, mongooses, Javanese deer, geckos, crab-eating macaques and echo parrots, of which very few remain in existence.

Hike to the top and gaze at the beaches below. Or loaf in the ocean and watch the others do the work.

Hike the Black River Gorges National Park and explore Table Mountain and the botanical gardens of Pampelmousses

For those of you who can’t relax loafing on the white beaches of Mauritus – we know who you are! – there’s plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs during the days before you hit the loungers.

One such physical excursion is to the River Gorges National Park with its abundance of rare bird species. You can hike up high, breathe the wonderfully crispy air and enjoy some incredible views from the Gorges viewpoint.

Another landmark of the island is Le Morne Brabant Mountain, or Table Mountain as its more commonly referred. You’ll encounter beguiling waterfalls and caves as you ascend on guided or self-guided tours and the view from the top of the Indian Ocean and the sandy beaches of Le Morne really are worth the effort.

More exotic pleasantry awaits at The Botanical Garden, popularly known as Pampelmousses. It’s the oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere with exquisite endemic flora and fauna to enjoy and the scents of lilies and other exotic flowers tickling the air.

Port Louis is wonderfully vibrant town steeped in history that's a joy to explore in between loafing on the loungers.

Go shopping in Port Louis and enjoy the very best of the waterfront whims

Another way to get a taste of Mauritian life – quite literally in some cases – is to visit the bustling markets of its capital, Port Louis. There’s a staggering array of fruits, vegetables, fish and spices available and plenty of hawkers happy to haggle for their wares. Gloriously colourful markets aside, history buffs will gravitate towards the Blue Penny museum and thrill-seekers to the Casela World of Adventures in Cascavelle.

And then there’s the beaches.

The dreamy, white-sand beaches with their vibrant coral and rich marine life. Some of the island’s best – and they are ALL beyond marvellous – include Trou aux Biches, Belle Mare Plage, Blue Bay, Flic en Flac, Le Morne and Île aux Cerfs, which lies in the largest lagoon on the island.

Top available watersports include parasailing, kayaking, water skiing, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing, dolphin-spotting, whale-watching and lazy snorkeling among the abundant and rather wondrous coral reefs.

Of course, all that loafing and larking will enliven your appetite, so it’s good to know that the cuisine of Mauritius is both incredibly varied and totally delicious. Menus across the island are ripe with French, European, Indian and Chinese influences and popular local dishes include: dholl puri, a wheat bread packed with delicious ground peas; and farata, a type of Indian bread that’s unmissable with curries.

It’s like we said at the top, Mauritius is everything you want from a holiday and so much more. Book now via Heathrow and make your own Mauritian masterpiece.