Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre
The Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre is a joint venture between Mauritius and India for the popularisation of science and technology to the young. Arousing curiosity and interest in this field is initiated through special programmes and practical activities. Visitors can embark on a journey to the frontiers of modern technology, in such fields as medicine, biotechnology, textile or marine technology. All these are explained through a participatory approach and exhibitions encourage hands-on activities.
L’Aventure du Sucre
If you want to discover the origins of the Mauritian cosmopolitan culture and the soul of the Mauritian people, try a visit to L’Aventure du Sucre. This ancient sugar factory, converted into an extraordinary and ultra modern exhibition space, shows the construction and evolution of the island, with a permanent link to the sugarcane industry over nearly four centuries…not forgetting the history about sugar manufacturing, explained with images and old machinery. The Fangourin restaurant/ tearoom welcomes you in its luxuriant park with its delicate flavours and aromatic cuisine that will surely tickle your taste buds. Homemade pastries, pancakes and snacks are available all day. At the end of your visit, experience a free tasting of tempting special sugars and the local rum at the ‘Village Boutik’. A variety of authentic and original souvenirs with ‘ L’Aventure du Sucre’ brand name are also available. Guided visits (about 90 minutes) are available free of charge in English and French at 11h00 and 14h30. An entrance fee is applicable.
It is imperative for visitors coming to Mauritius to taste all the different local menus. The local cuisine originates from the 3 continents just as the origin of its inhabitants. Visitors have the opportunity to taste a variety of foods, Indian, Chinese, Creole and European sitting at one table. Mauritian cooking is in a class of its own: it is a combination of flavours nurtured through its people of different cultural heritages and cooking traditions. Mauritians are adventurous with food, mixing various styles in a menu and happy to try out recipes from Creole, European, Chinese, Indian or Muslim cuisine. Mauritian cuisine is proud of its past but has also gained the finest reputation in the contemporary world. A few leading chefs such as Paul Bocuse, Trois Gros brothers and Alain Ducasse have visited the island and contributed to boost this top-quality cuisine. The local chefs show positive creativity and 'savoir-faire' in recipes of their own, where traditional and local ingredients are used boldly, for a perfect blend, found in the most famous hotels. However, one can choose to experience the pleasure and taste of local fare, at typical 'table d’hôte' or in various specialized restaurants. Do not hesitate to try the local favourite snacks: dholl purri (wheat pancakes stuffed with dholl and served with curry and tomato sauce), faratas, gateaux piments (chilly bites) or samousas.
Adventure Park of Chamarel
The Adventure Park of Chamarel, in the heart of the sub-tropical forest spanning 12 hectares, offers a novel array of sporting activities tailored to all levels. You will travel from tree top to tree top, from track to track equipped with a harness linked to a life line. Yemaya Adventures, specialize in kayaking in the lagoon around Ile aux Benitiers and Ile d’Ambre, with its mangrove that opens on to discreet little beaches.
La Vanille Reserve des Mascareignes
La Vanille Reserve des Mascareignes was opened in 1985 in the south of Mauritius. This part of the island has, more than any part, kept a feeling of “old Mauritius”, whether it be the manner of the people, their traditions or even the unspoilt scenery. Our guides will take you on unforgettable walks, and you will stroll through luxuriant greenery where banana trees, palm tree and giant bamboos provide shade for the thousands of Nile Crocodile which are reared in this park, and which you can visit in perfect safety. There is also a live exhibition of geckos, monkeys and snakes. The main attraction of the insectarium’s 20,000 species must be the marvellous butterflies whose colours are simply breathtaking. A special Jungle Adventure playground is available for the kids.
Sub Scooter ride
What a wonderful experience to cruise underwater by 3m depth on board of it’s own twin submarine, and thus in full safety! This unique submarine in the world, called “Sub Scooter”. The riders sit one behind the other as on a scooter, with their head covered by a transparent dome providing a panoramic view of the reef and all the important air to breathe naturally, without the need of a regulator in the mouth. Riders can therefore express their instant delight to each other underwater. A dive will take about 30 minutes, led and supervised by two qualified dive guide. Available for anyone over 12 years old, even non swimmers, but in good physical condition.
SSR Botanical Garden
Naturalists throughout the world know the garden for its large collection of indigenous and exotic plants, including the giant Victoria Amazonica water lilies and many species of palm trees. The 60-acre garden boasts of 500 different species of plants, of which 80 are palms. Of particular interest is the Talipot Palm, which dies after a one and only flowering. Deer and tortoises will delight children, while an old French mansion, the Chateau Mon Plaisir, and the old sugar mill pictures the rich historical past of Mauritius.
Valriche Nature Reserve
Adjoining the Black River Gorges National Park, Valriche features many hidden treasures: the ruins of a traditional factory chimney from the early days of Mauritius’ sugar estates, vast plains where stags majestically roam, and a spectacular waterfall which cascades through a rich, fertile forest. Valriche is home to many beautiful birds and animals, and benefits from the expertise and guidance of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.
The Gymkhana Club, set in the highlands at Vacoas, was initially reserved for the high-ranking members of the colonial service until independence in 1968 when the locals took over. It was until 1994, the only 18 hole golf course on the island. With the tourism boom, Belle Mare Plage Resort & Spa, belonging to the Constance Hotels Group, opened the first seaside golf course. Since then, the greats of the golfing world-professionals as well as amateurs-have walked these links. Le Paradis, of the Beachcomber Group, laid out its 18 hole at the foot of Le Morne, in the south west whilst One & Only’s Touessrok, chose the picture postcard island of Ile aux Cerfs. In the south, Bel Ombre’s 18 hole stretches between the sea and the hills, in an idyllic landscape. Five other hotels offer 9 hole courses: Shandrani (south east), Maritim and Trou aux Biches Village (north west), Sofitel (West) and the St. Geran (East).
Aquarium Mauritius is situated at Pointe aux Piments, a coastal and charming village in the north of the island. The aquarium has adopted a new ecological system of operation and a circuit of tanks will guide you to the depth of the ocean. Our largest tank, “The Deep”, over 15m long, holds a variety of sea creatures, which can be seen at close quarters. Our numerous tanks and pools, in five buildings contain a rich aquatic life found on and around our tropical island. A “touch pool” allows our younger visitors to interact with a variety of marine species. Whether young or old, enjoy a unique experience “without the fear of being eaten”. Enjoy a light snack or drink while taking in the stunning view of the natural sea cove at Pointe aux Piments and take home a souvenir to share with others from our shop.
Events, Festivals or Annual Events
Mauritius is a blend of diverse cultures and religions. Our population coming from three continents has brought traditions and beliefs from their ancestral countries. Religious festivals are celebrated in a spirit of peace and harmony throughout the year.
There are 15 public holidays in Mauritius every year. Seven of them are fixed holidays: 1st and 2nd January, 1st February, 12th March, 1st May, 2nd November and 25th December. The remaining public holidays are religious festivals with dates which vary from year to year.
Thaipoosum Cavadee – Tamil Devotees have their tongue and cheeks pierced with pins.
In a trance they show penitence by carrying the ‘Cavadee’ a wooden arch, covered with flowers and a pot of milk at each end.
Chinese Spring Festival – Chinese New Year’s Day (January/February) is celebrated each year on a different date, because of the adjustment of lunar days to solar days. According to Chinese customs no scissors or knives are used on the day of the festival. Red, the symbol of happiness, is the dominant colour. Food is offered to ensure abundance during the year and the traditional wax cake is shared with relatives and friends. Firecrackers are set off to drive away evil spirits. The Spring Festival ends up with the Dragon Feast a few days later. Chinese dancers and musicians take to the roads and perform the traditional Lion dance.
Maha Shivratree – Thousands of pilgrims, all dressed in white, walk long distances and converge to the sacred lake of Grand-Bassin, carrying the ‘Kanwar’– wooden arches covered with flowers and small mirrors. Maha Shivratree is celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva. Hindu devotees fetch holy water from the lake, and ceremonies take place over three to four days. The whole scene is reminiscent of the great ritual on the banks of the Holy Ganges in India.
12th of March, National Day – On this same date, Mauritian got its independence in 1968 and became a Republic in 1992. Do not miss the National Cultural Show that occurs annually where all the religious communities of Mauritius join hands to celebrate their patriotism.
Ougadi – Ougadi is the Telegu’s celebration of New Year.
Ganesh Chaturthi – Celebrated by Hindus on the 4th day of the lunar month in August/September, it commemorates the birth of God Ganesh. Small replicas of the God with the elephant head are taken to the beaches or to the riverbanks to be immersed before sunset.
9th September – Every September 9, Mauritians of all faiths walk or drive to Ste-Croix near, Port-Louis to visit the tomb of the Blessed Jacques Désiré Laval, the ‘Apostle of the Black People’. The celebration around Père Laval, who is believed to have healing powers, reminds us of the fervour of the Lourdes pilgrimage in France. Father Laval was the first person beatified by Pope John Paul II after the latter became Pope.
Diwali – Diwali is the most jovial of all Hindu festivals. Celebrated in October/November, it marks the victory of Rama over Ravana, of light (truth) over darkness (ignorance). It also commemorates Krishna’s destruction of the demon Narakasuram. Small clay lamps line up walls, balconies and yards. They are lit at sunset. Their golden light, which is believed to guide the Goddess of wealth and good fortune into the houses, can be seen everywhere. Diwali, is a celebration of pure joy, happiness and for many Mauritians, a time for sharing.
December – February
Fire Walking – This Tamil ceremony takes place between December and February. After ten days of purification, meditation and praying, penitents go to the temple where they walk slowly across a pit of burning coal and then dip their feet in milk to cool them down.
Holi – This is a time for joy and sharing. Men , women and children smear each other with coloured water and powder and wish one another good fortune.
Id-el-Fitr – The Id-El-Fitr festival signals the end of Ramadan- the fasting period for people of Moslem faith. They exchange gifts, give to charity, visit the family and wish the best to each other.
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