Hidden gem of Africa
Mauritius, about 3000 km from the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean, is paradise island with a soul. An exotic potpourri of Indian, Chinese, African, French and the odd Englishman. Here you’ll find Hindu temples, Chinese pagodas, churches and mosques tucked away alongside groves of coconut trees.
Going down the coast towards the direction of Roches Noires, constructions get scarce and waves come crashing on reefs close to beaches reflecting the wilderness of this coast. Further South, at Poste Lafayette, the rustic landscape dotted with volcanic rocks and mangroves trees are worth a visit.
„As my local driver during that week so happily explained: We are here on the island only for love and peace.“
Grand Baie is a charming coastal town and port located in the north west of Mauritius. It’s bustling with shops and waterfront cafés and is well worth a little visit. Tucked behind the main road is a great little market selling local wares and souvenirs and if you visit around 5pm you’ll see the daily fish market on the waterfront. The selection of tropical fish is amazing and watching the locals make their selections is a great sight.
Next we visited Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, the largest city and the economic and administrative centre of the island. Right off the main square one can stroll besides the palm-lined Place d’Armes and see wonderful French colonial buildings, especially the Government House and the Municipal Theatre.
A cultural melting pot
I understood the spirit of Mauritius far better in a single afternoon from the balcony of my cosy, minimalist studio in La Gaulette, than I did over a week of fancy resort living. In the mornings, vegetable sellers drove their modified vans through narrow neighborhood streets, playing upbeat reggae music, as locals – a mix of Hindus, Christians and Muslims – stepped out of their homes, exchanged neighbourhood gossip and bought fresh veggies for the day.
By evening, fishermen came home from work, and caught up on the day’s affairs and the European Championship in the lone village pub.