It is easy to see why Dutch, French and English colonists spent hundreds of years tripping over themselves, and each other, to settle on the previously uninhabited Mascarene Islands.

Alexandra Richards, author of Mauritius: The Bradt Guide

Plenty of holiday destinations offer stunning beaches, tropical warmth and fancy hotels but there are a few things that set Mauritius apart from its competitors.

Firstly, and importantly during this era of increased threat to the global security environment, Mauritius is a comparatively safe destination. It is a relatively stable democracy with little serious crime and few health risks. Secondly, the service in the hospitality industry is exceptional; even mid-range hotels boast levels of service you would be lucky to find in a five-star hotel elsewhere.

An immensely rich culture is another standout feature, the result of those eager European colonists bringing a cocktail of African and Indian people to the island, as well as Chinese migration. The blend of cultures is reflected in the fabulous cuisine, and memorable meals are to be had both in the island’s world-class restaurants and at roadside food stalls selling cheap samoussas and curries.

While it may be tempting to stay within the confines of your luxury resort and make the most of the facilities, the real Mauritius lies right outside its gates and is easy to explore. Flamboyant temples and grand colonial mansions stand as monuments to the island’s colourful past and present. A working tea plantation, sugar factories and rum distilleries are open to the public and make for fascinating, and tasty, excursions. Some of the large rural estates (or domains) have opened to the public and offer activities such as horseriding, canyoning and quad biking. Mauritius was the home of the dodo before it became extinct and, while I don’t like your chances of spotting one of those in the wild, there is plenty of interest for nature lovers, such as tours of Île aux Aigrettes nature reserve and hiking in the Black River Gorges National Park.

However you choose to spend your time on Mauritius, your journey to this beautiful African island promises to be a truly unforgettable experience.

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