Get up from your deckchair and go and explore the island! Far from the fine sand and closer to local life, you’ll discover the authentic and creative Mauritius we love.
The beach is nice, but the rest of Mauritius is amazing! Put on your mobile slippers (traditional Mauritian flip flops), arm yourself with a good hat and come with us to enjoy the best of this mosaic-like island.
On the island, if the queue is long, it is an indication that you can trust the quality of the product sold in the trolley or behind the counter!
Take the ‘bis’ and speak Creole
Azordi, mo fer letour lil! Today I’m touring the island!
If you’re on the coastal road (often called the ‘Royal Road’), a bis (bus) stop is bound to be nearby. The Mauritian bis constitutes our island’s daily life. During the week, it transports the population to and from their workplace. But the weekend is another story. Filling it up, especially at the end of the day, we dance and sing on board as we come back from the beach. This is where you will see the real Mauritius. So take out your ti kas (small coins) and buy a ticket. The trip is also an opportunity to speak Creole with the sofer (the driver), pronounced ‘sofeur’.
Bonzour, ki manier? Hello, how are you? // Korek How are you?
Komie pou al Trou d´Eau Douce? How much is it to go to Trou d´Eau Douce?
Ou kapav montré mwa kot pou desann? Could you tell me where to get off?
Eat dumplings at Trou d’Eau Douce
You should indeed get off at Trou d´Eau Douce. Here on the east coast, time stands still and the locals are very relaxed. This fishing village, with its small colourful shops, is particularly charming, as is Noël, a famous manzé-rapid (fast food) whose dumplings are the best on the island. No inhabitant of Trou d´Eau Douce will tell you otherwise! Order a bowl of noodles accompanied by sao-maï, dumplings in a broth. Or, with chouchou (choko, or mango squash) dumplings, pork or vegetable-filled sao-maï, or others featuring fish, meat or cheese… Chouchou and sao-maï are always the best sellers, though.
Now assise sit down. An old television set sizzles; the cook watches out of the corner of her eye as a Mexican telenovela plays on MBC, the national channel. In the evening, it’ll be a Bollywood movie.
Ki ler-la? What time is it?
Orevwar, mo bizen ale Goodbye, I have to go
Shopping at the bazaar and tobacco shop
We continue our journey further south, towards the small town of Mahébourg. There is soul here too, a story. The scene of many mythical naval battles, Mahébourg makes an ideal setting for strolls by the sea. Along the port, young couples embrace each other, hidden below their parasols… between kisses, they gaze at the horizon.
Bonzour, mo pe rod bazaar Mahébourg Hello, I’m looking for the Mahébourg bazaar
Mahébourg’s market acts as a meeting place for Mauritian families. Make like the locals, buying your groceries for the week from fruit and vegetable stalls bursting with colour. Fill your basket with a giraumon (pumpkin), some chouchous and a few herbs – about enough to make a good gratin! Then enter the tabagie (tobacco shop) or boutik (corner shop), a real staple of island life. Found on almost every street corner, these small, typically Mauritian stores sell absolutely everything. After a good, fresh Coke and some gato pima (split-pea fritters), it’s time for your return journey on the bis!
Climb Le Morne and walk in the Black River Gorges
After a good night’s sleep, you’ll be ready for a great hike. Yes, Mauritius offers exceptional walks deep in natural landscapes. Your direction is Le Morne and its legends. A UNESCO World Heritage Site whose history remains tragically associated with the period of slavery, Le Morne ranks as a popular ascent for Mauritians.
Don’t forget to bring water, as shade is scarce here. You’ll also have to start walking before 9am if you want to avoid sunstroke at the top. The first part of the climb is simple. The second is more complicated, involving rocks and steep slopes, but certainly not insurmountable. Then you are at the top! You might need to pinch yourself, because the view is breathtaking. Further north, you will see lots of green on the horizon. These are the Black River Gorges, the largest native forest on the island, in which 309 plant species and nine endemic bird species call home. Along the 70 kilometres of trails, Mauritian hikers and naturalists like to meet on weekends. We come back down to earth. It’s kas enn poz (rest) time, because tonight we’re celebrating!
Discover the new Mauritian wave at La Demeure St Antoine
Each year La Demeure St Antoine, a majestic colonial house in the island’s north, changes its style and dresses to the colours of ‘Dreamers’. At this regular meeting, enthusiasts of new musical trends in Mauritius set down their suitcases full of beautiful discoveries in this historic site’s garden. Expect a bucolic family vibe, with attendees of all backgrounds, trendy local music and even some live painting. Welcome to ‘Dreamers – The Garden Party’!
So stretch out in the grass, a Ti-Punch rum cocktail in your hand, and listen to the poetic blues of local icon Zulu. The atmosphere is building, new friends are being made, and the bars are opening. You are living a moment of Mauritian cultural life, one that moves to the beat. Serye! Cool!