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Photograph: Shutterstock

The 13 best things to do in Mauritius

It may be a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, but there are so many things to do in Mauritius, from adventure to serenity

Written by
Anna Tobin
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It may be a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, but Mauritius is going to surprise you. Sure, it has the ‘tropical island’ part nailed down, but there's much more to this place than meets the eye. For a trip you’ll never forget, you've got to check out Mauritius. 

The best things to do in Mauritius cover plenty of ground, from a collection of thrilling activities to some of the best hotels you’ll come across, bookended by botanic gardens, nature reserves and restaurants that will have foodies in raptures. Throw in the icing-sugar-fine golden sands of its plentiful beaches and you have a very special destination indeed. 

RECOMMENDED:
🏨 The best hotels in Mauritius
🏖️ The best beaches in the world
🏘️ The coolest neighbourhoods in the world

At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelinesThis guide includes affiliate links, which have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines

Best things to do in Mauritius

The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden
Photograph: Shutterstock

1. The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden

What is it? One of the world’s best botanical gardens.

Why go? These beautiful gardens are often compared to Kew Gardens in London. At Kew, however, you have to go inside giant glasshouses to see and smell some of the world’s most fantastical tropical plants. Here in the Pamplemousses area of Mauritius, you see them growing in an outdoor garden in a setting often not too dissimilar to their natural habitat.

If you want to find the tree that helps cure flatulence and learn about how the water lilies that emerge white amongst the vast Amazonica lily pads close red a day later, book a private guided tour.

Bel Ombre Nature Reserve
Photograph: Bhengrang Irfan

2. Bel Ombre Nature Reserve

What is it? A 1,300-hectare nature reserve run by the local Heritage hotel group.

Why go? The literal highs and lows of the diverse landscape of the Bel Ombre Nature Reserve are best explored by quad bike. Steer through sugar cane fields, be mesmerised by the spectacular view over the Domaine de Bel Ombre and seek out waterfalls, rock pools and endemic bird species such as the Pink Pigeon, the Mauritius Black Bulbul and the Mauritius Kestrel.

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Le Morne Brabant Mountain
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Ocean/Corbis

3. Le Morne Brabant Mountain

What is it? Le Morne Brabant Mountain is found on the Le Morne peninsula on the southwestern edge of the island.

Why go? This rugged mountain full of hidden caves was used as a shelter by runaway slaves and has become a symbol of freedom and a Unesco world heritage site as a result. To learn about the flora and fauna and wildlife that you spot en route and to ensure that you climb safely, it’s recommended that you book a guide.

Chez Tante Athalie
Photograph: Courtesy Chez Tante Athalie

4. Chez Tante Athalie

What is it? An authentic restaurant that will bring you the true taste of Mauritius.

Why go? Mauritius was first discovered by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, it was subsequently occupied by the Dutch, the French and the Brits. Now an independent state, the food of Mauritius has been influenced by the tastes of its former occupiers and that of migrant workers who have settled on the island from Indian, China and Africa. As a result, the food is a tantalising blend of European, Indian, Chinese and Creole-inspired dishes. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the menu of Chez Tante Athalie. Dine overlooking the grounds, which are eccentrically dotted with vintage cars and always full of brightly coloured birds flitting about.

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L’aventure Sucre
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Yannick974

5. L’aventure Sucre

What is it? L'aventure Sucre tells the story of sugarcane, which has been the main crop in Mauritius ever since the Dutch introduced it in the seventeenth century.

Why go? Close to the Botanical Gardens and situated in an old factory on the Beau Plan Sugar Estate, this museum tour begins with an interactive exhibition that reveals how sugar cane is processed and ends with a tasting of different sugars and rums. There is a rather good restaurant on the estate too. Le Fangourin serves local delicacies and tasty desserts with a hint of local sugar and it also has a fantastic rum-focused cocktail menu.

Black River Gorges National Park
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/J. Philipp Krone

6. Black River Gorges National Park

What is it? A 16,680-acre national park in the southwest of the island that is left pretty much as nature intended.

Why go? To get back to nature and experience a truly unspoilt patch of the island where endangered native plants and animals still manage to survive. Here there are around 311 species of native and endemic flowering plants and nine species of birds that can only be found in Mauritius. Follow the trails along the gorges, but take your own supplies, you won’t find a shop here.

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Fun Adventure Mauritius
Photograph: Courtesy Fun Adventure Mauritius

7. Fun Adventure Mauritius

What is it? Mauritius is a haven for water sports lovers, everything from water-skiing to scuba-diving, kite-surfing to sea-karting is on offer. You can find them all at Fun Adventure

Why go? The warm waters that surround the island make it an ideal environment for water sports and most of the large resort hotels offer a range of non-motorised water sports at an all-inclusive price, so you have nothing to lose from giving them ago. Sea-karting is currently unique to Mauritius, pilot one of these speedboat carts for a novel way to explore the coastline.

Port Louis
Photograph: Shutterstock

8. Port Louis

What is it? On the northwest coast, Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius and a world away from the small villages and coastal resorts that make up much of the island.

Why go? It’s a chance to see what everyday urban life is like in Mauritius. Enjoy the French colonial-inspired architecture of the old city and the relaxed shopping and dining area at the Caudan Waterfront. You will have to wade past the big international brand stores, but there are some hidden local retail gems hidden between these. Chinatown is a fun place to visit too.

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Casela Nature Park Zip Line
Photograph: Courtesy Casela Nature Park

9. Casela Nature Park Zip Line

What is it? An extra-long zip line that flies you over Casela Nature Park, a mix of safari and adventure park.

Why go? Not for the faint-hearted, this scenic and often hair-raising thrill ride will have you zipping over canyons, sweeping over the incredible scenery and splashing into the water. Some of the lines are singles, some doubles and some quadruples where four people link up for the ride.

Ganga Talao
Photograph: Shutterstock

10. Ganga Talao

What is it? In the south of the island Ganga Talao, or Grand Bassin as it’s more often called, is a crater lake situated in the secluded mountain region of Savanne.

Why go? At the very heart of the country, this beautiful tranquil lake is about 1800 feet above sea level and the banks are dotted with Hindu temples and gods. During the festival of Shivaratri, between the end of February and the beginning of March, many Hindu pilgrims in Mauritius walk bare feet from their homes to the lake and celebrate on arrival. Guests are welcome to share the spectacle, but out of respect to the worshippers, you should dress modestly. At quieter times of the year, it’s also a lovely place to walk and spot monkeys playing in the wild.

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