Mauritius; A Beautiful Ambiguity.

It’s a shame I only ever get to see the best of the world, a couple of weeks a year but it will happen soon enough, I know it will. People have been banging on about me writing a guide for my little travels and seeing that I visited Mauritius just recently, I thought why not? Why not combine the two things I love, travelling and writing. Now the biggest question is always how a middle income earning Zambian girl like myself could afford to do this. Well,it involved months of planning and saving on my part. No, I don’t have a pot of gold seated in a little corner somewhere. I put in the work in my 8 to 5, just so I can chase what I want most. My 8 to 5 aids dreams of travelling. Hopefully, one day, my 8 to 5 will be travelling and writing.

Ponte Pietra Stone Bridge
Verona

I was in Mauritius a couple of weeks ago and I had the best time. Mauritius is an island off the eastern coast of Africa, with an area of only 2040 sq km (about 1/10th the size of Lusaka City). I came back with glowing skin, melanin recharged and an urge to see more of the world. I was almost tempted to stay longer. It was something my friends and I had been discussing for a while. The options where between Zanzibar and Mauritius, and simply because Zanzibar was close to home we thought for sure the furthest Island. I had done the desert in Abu dhabi (Which I promise to write about too) in march and now I was looking for some beautiful waters and sandy beaches. So after a lengthy debate we settled on Mauritius. We made this decision five months ahead of time and slowly I started working on the costs and the budget.

Kenyan Airways
Kenneth Kaunda International Airport
The Ticket to everywhere

Some chase dreams on the ground, others in the sky but we all get there; I don’t have the biggest budget so when it comes to booking flights, skyscanner ,for me is always the best place to get a flight I can afford. Skyscanner allows you to see on which days you can get the cheapest flights. It is important to check the flights at least a month before your scheduled travel if you want the best deals. The closer it is to the date of travel, the more expensive tickets get. Skyscaner has this amazing feature where you can search for flights to “everywhere” and you get a list of the cheapest flights from your location. Truth is that I have the skyscanner application on my phone and I open it everyday just to see if they are some cheap fares to anywhere really, you just never know where the next big adventure will take you. A return flight to Mauritius cost me 599 USD, from Lusaka, Zambia to Port Louis on Kenyan Airways. Usually, with cheap flights comes long layovers (uuuuhhhggg). I had a 7 hour layover in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA),one of the busiest airports in Africa. So what do you do with yourself for 7 hours? JKIA has a lot to offer from restaurants to spas…Don’t forget to charge your devices as you wait for your flight. After 7 hours of getting lost in everything JKIA had to offer, it was time to take off to the beautiful island of Mauritius.

A total of 14 hours of travel we were there….hangry, sore and icky but we were finally in Mauritius, ready to check into our Airbnb. A room with a view is where the heart is; Awwww Airbnb where have you been all my life? I came across Airbnb when I planned my self discovery trip to Italy, my sister insisted it was amazing, and sure enough it really is. And now every single time when I travel I use Airbnb. I have rented apartments to hotel rooms (yes even hotel rooms are put up on Airbnb for good prices) and I have never been disappointed. I booked my apartment for Mauritius two months before, it was a three bed roomed apartment right in the heart of Grand Baie. I could walk to just about anywhere and the beach was only a stone throw away. I found this beauty all on my Airbnb app. For a period of ten days, for four of us, it cost us 500 USD (if you do the math, that’s 12.50 USD per person per night…WHAT A STEAL). If on my own, I am certain I would have still found a place just as great to fit my budget. My bill out of all of this was 125 USD, for ten days, imagine that. I’m now obsessed with Airbnb because it feels like home away from home. You get a kitchen and you can prepare your own meals rather than go out to eat for every meal, that can get costly really fast.

There is one thing that hits you from the moment you walk out of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Airport, it’s people. The Mauritians; The most amazing humans ever, I did not feel like a foreigner at all, apart from the airport of course, immigration is very thorough, down to contacting your host, so please make sure you have all your details in order. Other than that, I felt part of everyone. The first thing they ask you is French or English and then begin to speak. From the taxi driver to the restaurant waiter , the most kind, most generous people. So accommodating even when they don’t have to be. The island is like a cultural melting pot, it is swamped with people from across the world, most of them there for vacation, but also just people living there. I can positively say the best thing about Mauritius is it’s people.

The best way to experience a place is to immerse yourself in its culture, right? If you want to experience culture, the food is where you want to start. Day 1 and I was ready to get out of our lovely airbnb apartment and go and immerse myself in some delicious, Mauritian culture. I was starving, wanted to look around Grand Baie and see what it had to offer. The food spots in Grand Baie are the best, you will definitely be spoiled for choice. I had the best Australian steak at Les Canisses . Grand Baie has so many great places to eat, and if you’re a sea food person your options are endless. I had prawns nearly everyday. For those of you into the fast food chains (I say this with a heavy heart) there is a McDonalds and KFC at every other corner at least which would cost you way less than 10 USD. For a proper sit and eat place, you would spend an average of 30 USD on a meal.

Australian Steak

The drinks, oh the drinks. If youre a cocktail fanatic this Island is for you. They whip up the most mind boggling, most delicious cocktails ever. They stand firmly by their rum, and it has the perfect kick. In Grand Baie most restaurants have happy hour which runs from 3:30pm to 7:30pm ( Happy 4 hours lol). During this time for every cocktail and beer in some restaurants you get another free. I am not a beer drinker but their phoenix is quite good, probably the best I have tried. Mauritius has a very active night life, if you like to go dancing there is also plenty of places to go dance at, the best for me being Banana Beach Club . They have the most authentic live band and music from across Africa and beyond. The Island is usually very lively Fridays and Saturdays. Other days are very quiet and mellow.

The island has many activities to keep you busy. So much to see, so little time. Mauritius is a beautiful place. If properly planned you can cover the whole island in ten days. I have always wanted to see Port Louis, which is the capital city of the island, so it was first on my agenda. Took the public bus from Grand Baie which cost about 1 dollar, the bus ride is about 25 minutes. Port Louis has a city feel. If cities are your thing, it is the place to be if you’re in Mauritius. It is home to the infamous Le Caudan waterfront. Ships Larger than life, restaurants far and wide, and coconuts to your hearts content. I drink coconut water every chance I get, ever since my beautiful aunt in Abu Dhabi introduced them to me.

Coconut

If you are into history, you will find the Blue Penny Museum housed at the center of the waterfront. There is the most beautiful street art ever, best ones I have seen in a while. My favorite bit of Port Louis is the umbrella street, a little street covered in umbrellas. Along that street is the best henna place if you’re looking to get some body art done. And for the shoppers, of course the central market is for you.

Les Caudan
Waterfront

I am more than certain in my previous life I was a water nymph or something, because while here I discovered my strange love for water. Monday came and there I was waiting by the shore, to spend the whole day on a boat touring an inhabited island. The famous catamaran cruise, nothing in Mauritius for me beats the color of the water as you pull away from the island. How the ocean changes as you draw away. It was the best experience ever. We sailed to Gabrielle island with music and drinks. Mesmerized by the view at every turn. Looked like a beautiful painting. Went snorkeling on the island and swam in the ocean for hours. Took all my bikini pictures and lived to tell the tale🤣. The cruise was amazing, had lunch on deck and sunbathed that was how I knew that I really was out vacationing 😊. We left the main island at 9 in the morning and we were back at 4 in the afternoon. I can safely say it was a day well spent and it cost 33 USD for the cruise with lunch included.

A pair of yellow shorts, canvas and a quad bike. That’s how I remember the visit to the south west. First we visited a factory that makes model ships and I just instantly fell in love with the black pearl. It just stole my heart. The attention to detail was everything. It was being sold at a whopping 325 USD and that price nearly brought me to tears. I was so ready to pay so the truth is that I ran out of the store for fear of spending money 🤣. Literally ran out, I regret making that decision.

The Black Pearl

Just look at that beauty. Doesn’t it just stop your heart. So yes the truth is I ran out and abandoned this beautiful baby. Which I regret to this day by the way.

We the went to Troy aux Cerfs a dormant volcano. The earth will amaze you, it’s funny how the very spot that breathed literal fire at one point in history is now so green with vegetation. I honestly was expecting a huge crater for sure but not green. Makes you think of the human condition. Nothing lasts forever. Things definitely do change over time. The only constant being change. I would suppose that at the time it erupted more than two million years ago it was a scary marvel but now it’s trees and water, calm and sweet. It almost makes the story of a volcano seem like a myth.

Trou aux Cerfs
Volcano
Me looking on 😊

The drive continued to the south, and my next spot was my favorite. Vallée des Couleurs. Coolest nature reserve I have visited so far. Imagine touring a nature reserve on a quad bike. I had the time of my life. I was smiling so hard my face hurt.

Vallée des Couleurs

So first things first grab a quad bike at the nature park and get yourself a guide. Renting the bike cost about 70 usd for two hours around the nature park. Sounds steep huh? If you ask me it is extremely worth it. I loved every moment of it. The moment we got on the track it started to rain and I wasn’t worrying at all, I was having the time of my life. The view are every thing.

😊

I was mad scared when we started but by the time I was getting to five minutes, I can safely say it felt natural 🤣. The tour was everything ended up making an old friend 125 years and still looks better than me.

Kukie and Louis

Yes, I decided to call him Louis😎. They have a pen for turtles and peacocks. But I have to say in all of it the views where everything. To be able to look out to the ocean and just marvel at what could occur so naturally for me was an absolute marvel.

The Indian Ocean

It looks so surreal when you see it. Just like a painting. Like you could reach out and touch it.😊

They also have the zip lining which I just had to do from a water fall! And I just thought why not. It’s safe to say that by the time I was done I nearly landed flat on my face 🤣. But it was definitely an epic moment.

Zip lining

Now, I am not sure what possessed me to try the Nepalese Bridge, 350 meters of walking a piece of plank 70 meters above a think forest. It took me 30 minutes to walk it. The first 10 I was frozen right in the middle of it 🤣. I’ve never been so frightened in my life, even with hooks tied to me. Never been so scared. I could feel the adrenaline rush. All I kept asking myself was why on earth would I want to do this. I couldn’t comprehend it 🤣. And the guys manning the bridge would come and shake it just to put the fear of God in me. But I had the best time.

The Nepalese Bridge
Vallée des Couleurs

As you can see, I was really slowing down the line.

And of course the last thing we saw in the south was the black River gorge. A spectacle if you ask me. I thought it was really beautiful.

Black River Gorge

And then there is me ruining the view. Forgive me 😊

Black River Gorge and me

The excursions at the nature park cost a total of 140 USD for everything for one person. And the travel and tours company found us a driver to take us round all these beautiful places who charged us about 110 USD for four of us and we split the cost. Great day if you ask me, worth every penny.I will say it now, if you’re in Mauritius one bikini is not enough, or monokini in my case. I’m not sure what made me think one was enough but here we are. Take it from me, carry five because most of your activities will be in the water. This little Zambian girl, from a small town went parasailing y’all. Cost about 30 USD to have the shoot hooked to you so you can fly😊.

Parasailing

Truth is that I sang I believe I can fly and just maybe I was in tears. That moment it hit me that I was actually doing it. Living my best life😩😊

Then of course there was the whole walking under the ocean, right on the ocean floor, with an air blob of course. Also cost about 30 usd and it was absolutely worth it.

Below the ocean

I was near panic but we made it 🤣. They really should warn you though that it will blow your mind away.

And of course the last water activity for me was swimming with dolphins 🐬. I still cannot believe I swam with dolphins. In their natural habitat and not in a cage or anything. I enjoyed every moment. And it cost 60USD, for the experience annd the snorkeling was part of the deal too.

Swimming with dolphins

On our way down from the dolphins we stopped by Pamplemousses, the botanical garden. 45 hectares of the worlds plants. Such a lovely garden and honestly considering starting one of my own. It is a really beautiful initiative.

Botanical Garden

So much to tell so little words, this was an experience I would love to do again. Mauritius is such a lovely place. So ambiguous and in that lies it’s beauty. In its strangeness, how it’s people don’t see differences at all, their ability to mix has created the most beautiful mix you cannot take it apart.

The one thing I will say is, I love to travel alone, it really frees your mind. This trip, I did with friends and I really had the best time too. I am grateful for that.

Until the next adventure.

Kukie.

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