We went to Mauritius for Christmas with friends. They are Mauritian, but I know them from London. I knew that we were going to get a completely different experience from our friends who have stayed in resorts there as we stayed at the family home in Pereybere, just outside of Grand Baie. I was right!
The next morning we went to the public beach around the corner from the house – there would be no private beaches for us as they are owned by the resorts. I wondered what it would be like. It was nice, but I could definitely see a big difference from the private resort beaches that I have had access to on holidays such as the Maldives. That said, we swam out (I kinda paddled and hauled myself around) and I really enjoyed spending time in the sea. I tried in vain to jump up and then touch the bottom with my toes after taking the biggest breath in history but I couldn’t do it! The sea was so salty it felt impossible to sink (which is reassuring for a non-swimmer like myself)
Christmas dinner was held on Christmas Eve and there were over 20 people there. We had bbq lobster tails and they were so yummy. A million miles away from the roast dinner that I would have cooked myself, but I really enjoyed it. It was so nice to be in a family environment at Christmas, especially as this was our first one away from our own families. I can only thank our hosts for being so generous, and I got the best gift ever in the form of a sarong that also had a towelled side. Practical and pretty – perfect for me. I hate useless gifts or things that won’t be used often (no expensive jewellery for me, much to Rob’s relief). I’ll use this all the time – thanks Chris and Sarah!
We went on 2 great boat trips – one on a catamaran to a paradise beach where we chilled and then had a bbq lunch onboard the boat, and one where we went game fishing at sea. The game fishing trip was the most chilled out thing that I have ever done – I was very sleepy as I was dosed up on antihistamines due to being eaten alive by mosquitoes (seriously, this island shouldn’t be known for the dodo, it should be for the mosquito) so I slept for most of the day, lulled by the waves, safe in the knowledge that I had also taken a motion sickness tablet. The boys pulled in 7 fish, but we couldn’t believe it when we got back to the dock and one of the other boats had caught an absolutely huge marlin, and the other boat had caught 100 fish!!! Needless to say, our boat shoved us onto the jetty and promptly sailed off into the sun in a hurried, embarrassed way! We saw dolphins whilst we were out on both trips so that was very special
We went to Chamerel, in the mountains, and saw the Seven Coloured Earths and a beautiful waterfall. It was raining but that didn’t spoil it one little bit. There were giant tortoises there. I really wanted to ride on one but apparently that is frowned upon. Prudes
On the way there I stopped to have some street food – dholl puri from a cart on the side of the street. It was so delicious and cost about 20 pence sterling!
Rob got to surf at Tamarin Beach. We were both
relieved pleased that he could tick Mauritius off his list of places he has surfed in the World
We also went to the botanical gardens, which were really beautiful. After the botanical gardens we went to an awesome restaurant called Chez Tante Athalie. It was fantastic. It was open fronted, and outside on the grass it was like a vintage car show room. There were around 20 classic cars parked randomly around. There was even an airplane there! It was cool to check out all of the old cars, and the food was outstanding – the banana flambe in particular is something I will crave now that I am back
The other restaurant of note that we dined at was in Grand Baie. We had been eating at small local places and having take aways a lot and fancied going to a nice restaurant. We found La Toque Blanche on Tripadvisor. It had great reviews so we thought we would give it a bash. Our Mauritian friend advised against it as he said it was in a bad part of town, but we thought it couldnt be worse than some parts of Joburg so we went along anyway. It was great! I actually didn’t take my camera with me (sometimes I like to give Rob a break from the incessant picture taking for a blog post experience) but wish that I had as the food was great. It is mainly sea food on the menu . Don’t worry about the area either – it is close to the main road, well lit, and they have their own security outside. You can park at the window front so can see your car from the table
I had not heard of the poverty in Mauritius, but there were shacks aplenty, just like the townships in Joburg. The difference between Joburg and Mauritius is that in Mauritius these shacks are right next door to lovely houses and then there will be another shack. Obviously this is not all over the island, but in certain parts. I’m sure it is probably not right next to the 5 star resorts!
One day we drove past salt pans as far as the eye could see . I had never given any thought to how salt was actually produced/harvested but they literally pump sea water into these pans, wait for it to dry out and then collect the salt. Pretty cool!
Mauritius is a beautiful place and we ate some really lovely food there. I would have really liked to spend more time doing touristy things, but it was Christmas so understandably everything was fully booked. The thing that really surprised me is that everything was open almost the whole time we were there, and yet still in Joburg there are restaurants and shops closed for the holidays
I must thank the Albert family for having us. They were great hosts and we really enjoyed ourselves
I was really upset that I didn’t get to take any shots of the sunset – timings just didn’t work out for us, but on my last night I walked into the back yard to be greeted with this beautiful sky. I took it as a sign that the trip home would be uneventful and apart from a 1 hour flight delay I was right. Thank goodness, as we were hosting our New Years Eve Party just a couple of hours later!
**I will add more of my pictures of Mauritius to my facebook album tonight www.facebook.com/martinainjozi**