Home away from home. But with a tinge of foreign flavour. Mauritius is an excitement seeker’s paradise.india Updated: Dec 08, 2009 20:17 IST
Mauritius is a tiny island country off the coast of Madagascar, politically and geographically a part of Africa. However, ethnically and culturally it is much more Indian and French, than African.
When I asked my husband to gift me something that would make me miss him all the time, he gifted me a holiday in Mauritius. At first I was a little iffy going all by myself, but once there I realised that it was he who was missing all the fun. The country is a treasure trove of adventures and a great place to be on one’s own. A seven-and-a-half-hour flight from Delhi, I was in Port Louis. The drive to my Tamassa Resorts was brilliant, and I fell in love the place with the moment I entered it.
WALKING WITH THE LIONS
The next morning, a guide and a safari jeep took us to the Casela Nature Park. Originally created as a bird park, it now hosts other animals such as Mauritian Macaques, tigers, lemurs, ostriches, giant tortoises etc. Lions here are a big attraction, as one gets to see them in their natural habitat, lounging under trees and climbing atop for meat (fairly unusual, I must say). Like all cats, lions use their claws to scale tree trunks, however their size often makes it a challenge. Interestingly, you can only do this in three places in the world and hence this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. After lunch, we headed to the beach at the Tamassa and chilled out until it was time for a sumptuous Creole dinner and local Sega dance at The Show restaurant.
The next day I went for a catamaran trip to the north islands. It was a cool little boat, about 30 m long with a bar in the middle. At the bow where I sat, there were two sections of netting where you could sit out and see the sea beneath you. Most people jumped in for snorkelling (me with the lifejacket). There was endless corals of all types and fish like parrots, trumpets, lions, trigger of varying sizes, soldier fish, angelfish, Picassoes, barracudas and loads of little colourful ones. But the best were the Stingrays. We headed for the beach and chilled out on the Island until it was lunch time.
CHAMAREL AND ZIPLINE RIDE
The pristine ocean rimming the roadways to Chamarel is exquisite. But what makes this tiny hamlet a must-see are the breathtakingly colourful volcanic sand dunes in red, brown, violet, green, blue, yellow and purple. An incredible fact is that the dunes never erode under torrential downpours and adverse climatic conditions. I also bought a small bottle in which the coloured sand is arranged in attractive patterns. Enroute to Chamarel I stopped by to see the Chamarel Falls, a 83 metre high waterfall. I later went to Saint Felix sugar estate for the ride of my life. The Zip line ride is a 2 km journey along 11 swift ‘zip-lines’ at a height of around 30 metres, taking one over stunning views of sugar cane fields, banana plantations, verdant forest and waterfalls.
All adventures later, I spent my last two days in Mauritius chilling out and going in for some spa treatments. Mark Twain rightly said, “Heaven must have copied this paradise”.