Mauritius off the Beaten Path.
The beautiful island of Mauritius, a “tiny” drop off Africa in the Indian Ocean is a favourite of coffee-table glossy travel magazines and honeymooners. Famous for its sparkling clear waters, luxurious all inclusive resorts, never-ending infinity pools, beautiful beaches and warm people, Mauritius is well and truly established as a ready-made luxurious beach escape.
But beyond the perfectly arranged sun-loungers, there’s more to Mauritius than initially meets the eye. A trip here doesn’t need to confine you to your resort (or sun-lounger), as we found out with some help from Mauritius Conscious.
For an island that may look small on the map (it’s actually much bigger than it looks at 790 square miles) Mauritius packs in a lot of culture and adventure. The French, Dutch, British, Indian, Chinese as well as different African countries have all had an influence on Mauritian culture that make it what it is today. This beautiful diversity can clearly be seen on the island – in the friendly people, the food, the diversity of religions (you’ll find as many Hindu temples as churches or mosques here), as well as in the language.
Ecotourism in Mauritius.
Despite receiving in excess of a million tourists every year, Mauritius still has 47% of its poorest communities living in iron-roofed shacks. The top-dollar rates paid by guests in 5* hotels don’t necessarily reach Mauritians at all.
Mauritius also has the 6th biggest carbon footprint per person in Africa – a staggering figure if you think of the Island’s size. A substantial amount of that carbon, comes from indulgent use of resources by – you guessed it – many luxury resorts.
The good news is that ecotourism is on the rise in Mauritius: the Island has stunning nature which is perfect for hiking, kayaking, abseiling, surfing, and other outdoor pursuits. We found Mauritius Conscious offers many eco-friendly self-catering apartments, eco lodges and homestays options. They specialize in sustainable tourism in Mauritius that gives back to the locals while preserving the environment, so allowing travellers to visit Mauritius in a more conscious and fun way.
Things to do in Mauritius – Beyond the Beaches.
There’s much more to Mauritius than its beaches – here are a few of our favourite ways to get off the beaten track:
1. Cruise the rivers of Mauritius… by stand up paddle. The beautiful west of Mauritius is home to dramatic mountain ranges and rivers that cut in from the ocean, making this part of the island breathtakingly beautiful. Get up early and SUP along the Tamarin river and finish with a cleanup of the beach, as a way of saying thank you to nature. You can even give kayaking in Mauritius a try.
2. Fall asleep at a Mountain Lodge… with views out to the ocean. This glamping experience (luxury tents on wooden frames) is as eco-friendly and low impact as it is beautiful. All water and power used here comes from natural resources. We stayed in Otentic river lodge in 2015 and loved the experience of sleeping under canvas, with outdoor rain-showers and soft beds included!
3. Experience the best of Mauritian Cuisine… on an Organic Farm. This is an opportunity to visit one of Mauritius’s most innovative farm and learn first hand about sustainable techniques from local farmers, gather crops, and finish up the experience by learning to cook (and eat!) a traditional meal with the farm-to-table ingredients.
4. Immerse yourself in Sega Tipik. Sega is the vibrant performing art of Mauritius, which includes music with traditional instruments, singing and dancing. Learn more about this Creole tradition and to play the Ravanne for a completely different view into Mauritian culture.
5. Watch whales consciously. During Mauritius winters the west coast is home to migratory humpbacks and sperm whales who come to the island’s warm waters from the Indian Ocean to breed. Mauritius Conscious runs trips to see these beautiful creatures respectfully, without disturbing their life cycle.
6. Hike through the lava tubes to the pristine beaches and turquoise waters of Roches Noires, located in eastern Mauritius. Your guide will lead you through beautiful scenery and the trip includes an optional clean-up kit – perfect for giving back to nature along the way!
7. Explore Mauritius on two wheels. A fun activity for the whole family, go on a e-bike or mountain bike tour into the wild for the chance to spot wild boar, deer and other animals, or just take in the beauty of the surrounding lush countryside.
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Feel inspired to unleash your wild side in Mauritius or get off the beaten path? You can experience Mauritius sustainably on a tailor made trip with Mauritius Conscious.
A Londoner by birth Ellie has lived in the UK, Netherlands, India and now Canada. Prior to blogging, she worked for 12 years in hospitality and online travel. Ellie started this blog during a sabbatical trip in 2015 around South Asia, to help conscious travellers find the best inspiration for their next sustainable trip. When not travelling, she is happiest with wine, pasta and a good (travel) book. Ellie is also Founder of Soul Travel Consulting which helps travel brands communicate their sustainability initiatives.