In selecting a holiday destination, we are confronted with the dilemma of returning to an old favourite or venturing somewhere new. I recently returned to one of my “old favourites”, the tropical island of Mauritius. The difference was that I was travelling with a group of friends who had travelled from around the world to visit for the first time. Experiencing the island through the eyes of “first timers” made me realise just how much we take for granted by returning to the same destination. Not to mention just what a wonderful holiday destination Mauritius really is.

Situated 2000kms off the southeast coast of the continent of Africa, near the Tropic of Capricorn, the island has a tropical climate with very little variant between winter and summer temperatures. It is almost a year-round destination boasting 150kms of white sandy beaches which are protected from the open sea by the world’s third largest coral reef. The island itself was created through volcanic action some eight million years ago. Today it is encircled by a ring of broken mountain ranges housing streams and rivers that formed in the cracks created by the lava flows.

“It is a gentle nation of people who warmly welcome her visitors and ensure they have a good time.”

A rich history of Portuguese, Arab, Dutch, French and British sailors has the left the island with a multi-ethnic, multicultural, multilingual and diversely religious people.

Complementing the scenic beauty and wide range of attractions and activities is a large selection of professionally run accommodation options and a reliable infrastructure. It is clean, it is safe and the shopping, by the way, is fabulous! That is if you can drag yourself off the beach into one of the colourful markets or little designer boutiques.

At the end of the day it was the friendly taxi driver who sat patiently under the Filao trees while we shopped for cashmere, the boat man who purchased extra masks and snorkels without being asked, the Chinese restaurant owner who drove us home after dinner in his restaurant, the delightful Creole chap who chuckled as we nibbled a chilly filled dhah puri…always a warm smile and a friendly hand.

Mauritius is one of the world’s top luxury tourism destinations and it is not hard to see why. Every one of us will be returning – what about you?

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