Top 6 activities to enjoy in Mauritius

So, you are off to the beautiful Island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean to indulge in some luxury and pampering, but it doesn’t just have to be about lying on the beach and soaking up the rays. Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation, is known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs. The mountainous interior includes Black River Gorges National Park, with rain-forest, waterfalls, hiking trails and wildlife like the flying fox.

Mauritius

Mauritius also has some fantastic opportunities for exploring the Island and trying out some old or new activities, as well as participating in various sports, or even just spectating. Why not try out these top 6 activities:

Horse racing

Possibly surprisingly for most, horse racing is extremely popular on the island. The sole race-track, known locally as the Champ de Mars, is situated in a prestigious avenue in Port-Louis, the Capital City and is one of the oldest race-courses in the Southern Hemisphere, having a history as far back as 1812.The first race-meeting is around mid-May and the season usually runs into late November. Around 60 horses participate at each meeting with the best running in the fourth race which is considered the main feature race of the day. The quality and standard of racing in Mauritius may not be quite as high as in Europe, U.S. or even Middle East, but the atmosphere during a race-meeting is as good as you will find anywhere in the world! Many holidaymakers have a day at the races when visiting the Island just to experience the atmosphere and there can be tens of thousands of visitors on a race day!

Mauritius Races

For about £150pp, you can even take a VIP package for a day at the races where you will receive free transport to and from your hotel, VIP treatment a selection of hot and cold snacks and soft and alcoholic beverages throughout the afternoon! This is one of the BEST days out I have ever experienced.

Kite surfing

Mauritius is one of the top places in the world to try your hand at kite-surfing.

Southeast trade winds are prevalent from May to October, making the north, east and south coasts a playground filled with the most incredible conditions a kite-boarder could wish for. The Le Morne peninsula, located on the southeast corner offers something for all levels, with trade winds from the left and acres of flat water inside the protective reef 600 yards offshore. In bigger swells the waves can break over the reef, otherwise the reef is very safe and one of the few places in the world where you can have a full range of conditions for all levels of kiter, just minutes from your luxury hotel.

Last year we had the pleasure of being present during the GKA Strapless Wave & Freestyle Competition won by Matchu Lopez of Cape Verde. We even had the pleasure of interviewing some of the competitors including second placed Airton Cozzolino Lopes.

Watersports

Most hotels in Mauritius offer non-motorised watersports and boat trips, with some even included at no extra charge for guests. You can sail, kayak (including sea and even cave kayaking), paddle-board (SUP), and windsurf (depending of course on the wind, and season), Parasail, jet ski, water-ski although some motorised water- sports are prohibited inside the lagoons at certain parts of the island, to help protect the reef.

Stand Up Paddle Board

Deep sea fishing

Another extremely popular sport in Mauritius is deep sea fishing. You can catch blue or black marlin, most types of shark, yellow tuna, Bonitos, emperor, the ‘pélerin’ (type of basking shark), the ‘bécune’ (barracuda) being found. The ocean drops to 70 meters depth about 1km from shore, so you don’t have to go far! Mauritius also holds several deep sea fishing records for the weight and size of their catches, and the most prestigious deep sea fishing competition is the Marlin World Cup which is hosted in December by La Pirogue Hotel.

MRU Game fishing

Golf

Several of the Island’s hotels have excellent golf courses. There are a number of 18 hole courses on the island – Le Paradis at Le Morne, Belle Mare Plage  has two championship courses, the Legends and the Links, and possibly the most famous on the Island (and most photographed) is the one at One&Only – Le Touessrok Golf Course. There are also a number of 5 9 hole courses to be found at Trou aux-Biches, Shandrani (Blue Bay), St Géran (Poste de Flacq), Maritim (Balaclava) and the Sofitel Impérial (Wolmar). Most of these hotels have a club house with a locker rooms and a shop where you can buy supplies as well as hire clubs. There are couple of exclusive courses on the Island, one at the Gymkhana private club in Vacoas and the Four Seasons Golf Club at Anahita, which hosts the Mauritius Golf Masters in December each year. This course also hosted the first AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in May 2016, and the players loved the course, the setting and especially the Mauritian hospitality.

Paradis Golf MRU

Scuba diving

Mauritius is a great place to discover scuba diving. There are large areas of natural coral, full of marine life and great underwater visibility. There are over 100 dive sites to choose from and with depths ranging from 7 meters up to 45 meters, there is something for both the amateur diver, and also those who are PADI certified. Water temperatures are bath-like most of the year, but due to the trade winds, the best time of year to dive is November and May.

Barracuda

As well as ancient wrecks, there are some artificial wrecks spread around the Island, and lots of caves, making for some great dive sites. If you are in search of something more adventurous then there is a drift dive off the Pass St. Jacques where you may encounter grey and white tip reef sharks, bull shark and barracuda.

Kim Robertson is Director at Your Way (Travel) Ltd.

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