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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Holiday travel- Mauritius, Paradise on Earth

Mauritius is famous throughout the world for its beautiful beaches, coral reefs, golf courses, fishing and as the perfect venue for weddings and holidays. IF there is heaven on Earth, Mauritius fits the bill. It is an oasis of peace and tranquility where you will enjoy a multitude of colours and tastes while treating yourself to the finest food, music and miles of turquoise sea.

You will be assured of warm personal attention wherever you go on this gem of an island, situated in the Indian Ocean, 2,400km off the southeast coast of Africa. The island, of volcanic origin, is mostly surrounded by coral reefs.

Here, time stands still as you put yourselves in the hands of experts who will work magic in bringing you to another level of peace and relaxation.

There is never a dull moment as there is plenty for you to do — from deep sea fishing, golfing, shopping, deer hunting, land and sea safari, sightseeing to visiting historical sites, extinct volcanic craters and the unique seven-coloured earth in Charmarel.

If you love fishing, you will find the oceans filled with various species, including marlins, wahoo, sailfish, yellow fin tuna and dorado.

With ocean depths of more than 70 metres, Mauritius has hosted prestigious fishing competitions like the Marlin World Cup in December.

For a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, you must make it a point to visit the enchanting spas on the island. The island offers an assortment of wedding and honeymoon packages. Couples do not have to lift a finger as experts help them to organise every detail of the wedding ceremony. They can spend their special moments under the blue skies or have an intimate, private occasion indoors.

If golfing makes your vacation perfect, then prepare to tee off in an absolutely stunning setting at the Le Paradis at Le Morne, the two 18-hole golf courses at Belle Mare Plage hotel, the One&Only Le Touessrok Golf Course or the Chateau du Golf at Bel Ombre.

The most spectacular is probably the One&Only Le Touessrok Golf Course which is located on its very own tropical island at Iles aux Cerfs, fringed by white sands with a backdrop of green mountains. All the 18-hole golf courses have views of the ocean, while there are nine lakes in all, with a number of holes requiring tee shots across sea inlets to the fairways.

For shopping, check out “tourists only” duty-free shops where passports and air tickets must be shown. Here, prices are very reasonable and you can get a variety of items, including models of old ships, textiles, branded shirts, trousers, suits and dresses and diamonds from Africa set in Mauritius.

Basketwork, embroidery, pottery and recycled glass are also available. Have some space in your baggage for chillies and other types of spices and pickles and the famous Mauritian Vanilla Tea.

Having good food and wine is a must, too. Among the popular restaurants are the La Bonne Marmit, Black Steer and Le Cafe Du Vieux Conseil in Port Louis.

Other favourite spots on the island include the Grand Bay which is a shopping and leisure paradise where you can experience the undersea walk and get onboard the Blue Safari Submarine. Mauritians head for the Grand Bay when they want a fun-filled night out at restaurants, bars and discos.

The wonderful Pereybere public beach is also popular because of its shopping facilities, restaurants and pubs, while other hot spots include the Balaclava Ruins.

The Triolet Shivala, which is the longest village on the island, and the Pamplemousses Gardens are where you can discover a large variety of tropical fruit trees and colourful and perfumed exotic flowers. Apart from being a world-renowned leisure destination for the rich and famous, Mauritius is fast becoming an important business hub in the Indian Ocean and a gateway to Africa and Europe.

Hotels on the island include the Movenpick Resort and Spa, Hilton Mauritius, Le Merville Beach Hotel, The Residence, Legends, Sugar Beach, Le Coco Beach, The Indian Resort, La Plantation, The Veranda Hotel and Beau Rivage. All hotels and resorts offer free water sports facilities, except for motorised sports.