Luxury Holidays to Mauritius
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Mauritius epitomises the perfect tropical island hideaway with an endless list of plus points to suit every potential visitor:
There’s an excellent argument to be made that Mauritius is the perfect Holiday destination for the British market. Right now this is even more true as there are some great offers out there, making the island even better value.
It is a long haul, but at about 12-hours flying time, not excessively so – just enough to give a real sense of getting away from it all – and once Their holidaymakers find a tropical Indian Ocean island with great year round weather.
It has British roots and the fact that the Dutch, French and pirates also had a hand in the creation of today’s nation of Mauritius gives the Destination an additional zing. Its melting pot mix of Indian, African, Chinese and French people have created a truly warm and welcoming environment for visitors and a dedication to hospitality that is amongst the highest in the world.
Having never succumbed to the lure of the mass market, Mauritius has developed an infrastructure of resorts that are stylish – often using echoes of local or Colonial architecture – and broad enough to satisfy the needs of all sectors of the tourism industry.
Couples, honeymooners and special occasion holidays are one of the strongest markets for the island but with kids’ clubs flourishing in most resorts families have taken to Mauritius with a vengeance. A proliferation of quality golf courses over recent years has added golfers to the list of holidaymakers heading off to the island, while the warm Indian Ocean is a welcoming playground for divers, sailors, snorkellers, kite surfers and others seeking fun above and below the water’s surface.
And with three airlines offering quality scheduled non-stop services from the UK, getting there is a breeze as well! Welcome to a tropical island hideaway. Welcome to Mauritius!
Rodrigues Island is located in the Indian Ocean off the northeast coast of Mauritius and prides itself on being one of the most authentic Mascarene Islands. Spread over 42sq miles, its surrounded by exquisite turquoise lagoon and bounded by a coral reef barrier.
Visitor to Rodrigues are sure to be charmed by the friendly, welcoming local people, for whom sharing their paradise island home is second nature. Life here is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace, in sync with the rhythms of nature. This tight- knit community is creole and this can be felt through the rhythm of their music, dancing and cuisine.
Mile upon miles of pristine untouched sandy beaches can be found on the eastern part of the island. One of these beaches, Trou d’Argent, has been names among five of the most beautiful beaches in the Indian Ocean by Trip Advisor. As part of the Rodrigues Islands efforts to promote its credentials as an eco-friendly destination, more than 80% of the activities offers here are nature –based. Thera are nature parks tours and of course lots of water sports.
Mauritius is a blend of diverse cultures and religions. Our population coming from three continents has brought traditions and beliefs from their ancestral countries. Religious festivals are celebrated in a spirit of peace and harmony throughout the year.
December / January / February
This Tamil ceremony takes place between December and February. After ten days of purification, meditation and praying, penitents go to the temple where they walk slowly across a pit of burning coal – said to represent the outstretched sari of Draupadee – before dipping their feet in milk to cool down.
This is an important time for joy and sharing in the Indian calendar. During this frenzied but always good-natured event, men, women and children throw coloured water and powder on each other while wishing one another good fortune.
Signalling the end of Ramadan – the fasting period for people of Muslim faith – Id-El-Fitr sees participants exchanging gifts, giving alms to the poor, and visiting their families and friends to wish them good fortune for the months ahead.
Celebrated in honour of God Muruga, the son of Lord Shiva, Thaipoosum Cavadee is not only the most important festival in the Tamil calendar, but also the most spectacular. After ten days of fasting and prayers in January / February, devotees embark on a pilgrimage to local Kovils (Tamil temples). Throughout the procession, these devotees carry ‘cavadees’: carved, wooden structures decorated with leaves, flowers, fruits and photographs of saints, each designed to honourLord Muruga. The celebration has gained notoriety in recent years because many of the devotees pierce certain parts of their anatomy with fine needles, including their cheeks, backs and chests.
Chinese Spring Festival:
Chinese New Year Day is celebrated each year on a different date because of variations between the lunar and solar calendars. According to Chinese custom, no scissors or knives can be used on the day of the festival. Red – a traditional symbol of happiness – is the dominant colour, and food is offered to attendees to ensure abundance during the year. A wax cake is, for example, customarily shared between relatives and friends. Firecrackers are set off to drive away evil spirits, but the ‘pièce de résistance’ is the famous Dragon Feast – performed a few days into the New Year – when Chinese dancers and musicians take to the roads and perform the traditional Lion dances.
In this festival, thousands of pilgrims, all dressed in white, walk long distances and converge on the sacred lake of Grand Bassin, carrying the ‘Kanwar’ – wooden arches covered with flowers and small mirrors. Maha Shivratree is celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva. Hindu devotees fetch holy water from the lake and ceremonies take place over three to four days. The whole scene is reminiscent of the great rituals that take place on the banks of the Holy Ganges in India.
March / April
12th of March, National Day:
Independence Day is celebrated with great national pride all the way across Mauritius.
This festival celebrates the New Year of the Telegu – an Indian ethnic group – and is characterised by the preparation of elaborate family meals, cultural shows and the distribution of prayers, cakes and sweets between relatives and friends.
August / September
Celebrated by Hindus on of the fourth day of the lunar month in August / September, this festival commemorates the birth of the Hindu God Ganesh. Small replicas of the God, with its elephant head, are taken to the beaches or to riverbanks so they can be immersed before sunset.
Père Laval pilgrimage:
Every 9th September, Mauritians of all faiths walk or drive to Sainte-Croix near Port Louis to visit the tomb of the Blessed Jacques Désiré Laval – the ‘Apostle of the Black People’. The celebration around Père Laval, who is believed to have healing powers, reminds us of the fervour of the Lourdes pilgrimage in France. Interestingly, Father Laval was the first person beatified in the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.
October / November
Celebrated in October / November, Divali marks the victory of Rama over Ravana: of light (truth) over darkness (ignorance). It also commemorates Krishna’s destruction of the demon Narakasuram.
During this festival, small clay lamps are lined up on walls and balconies and in yards. They are lit at sunset and their golden beams – believed to guide the Goddess of wealth and good fortune into the lantern owner’s house – can be seen everywhere across the island.
WHAT TO SEE DURING YOUR
LUXURY HOLIDAY TO MAURITIUS
Mauritius’ busy little capital, set within an amphitheatre of mountains, is a place of character and slightly faded elegance. Named after the French Louis XV, it boasts some fine 18th century French buildings, two cathedrals, a mosque, museums and the fortified Fort Adelaide citadel with splendid views of the town, harbour and racecourse (yes, really! – it was once a French military parade ground). The swirling Central Market – best visited early - will provide a flavour of the island’s exotic ethnic and cultural pedigree. Another ‘must’ is Le Caudan Waterfront, a popular leisure spot.