Located approximately 1,200 miles off the southeast coast of Africa, Mauritius possesses a rich history and swoon-worthy scenery. Landed by the Portuguese in the 1500s and later by the Dutch, French and British, the island has received many cultural imprints over the centuries. Today the independent nation has a diverse population blending Indian, African, Chinese, and European influences. Best known for pristine beaches with untouched coral reefs, it also contains striking inland areas, parkland, gardens and biosphere reserves. Add in some fascinating wildlife, warm and welcoming local communities and a vibrant culinary scene influenced by the island’s multicultural heritage, and you have a captivating bucket list destination. To help you make the most of your time on the paradise island, Here’s our guide to visiting Mauritius.
How to get there
Direct flights into Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Mauritius depart from London and take just under 12 hours. British Airways, Tui and Air Mauritius operate from Gatwick Airport. Those travellers living elsewhere in the UK will need to arrange travel to the capital or can take connecting flights from major international airports in Europe (KLM and Air France) or the Middle East (Emirates). Most hotels and resorts will offer airport transfers upon your arrival on the island, or you can use taxis and car rental services to complete your journey.
When to visit
This will depend on whether your priority is optimum weather or fewer crowds. The Mauritian summer runs from November to April, with February and March being especially hot and humid, seeing highs of around 27 C and downpours. This tropical intensity won’t be to everyone’s liking, but it does tend to proffer the best visibility and proliferation of marine life, so is a popular time for divers. July is the coolest month, with temperatures in the low 20s. and the trade winds blow during British summertime, creating choppier seas, but quieter resorts. As a result, autumn and spring tend to be the most sought-after visiting times, with dry and sunny days. But do keep in mind that the island has its own microclimate which differs from coast to coast, so you may do well to time your visit according to your location, or vice versa. Opt for the east if you’re departing during the UK winter and the northwest if travelling during our summer.
Le Château De Bel Ombre
Set within a 19th-century plantation house on the grounds of Le Chateau Golf Course, this former family home surrounds its diners with period elegance. Wood-panelled walls, cornicing, crystal chandeliers, gilt mirrors and antique wooden tables with intricate carvings are paired with linen tablecloths, and plush upholstered cream chairs to ensure patrons are sufficiently comfortable to savour many courses in true French fine dining style. The cooking follows a farm-to-plate philosophy and delivers the flavours of Mauritius. A dinner service is provided daily from 7 pm, with lunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and if you want to stay overnight you can even book a night in the first suite, with its canopy bed and butler service to complete this extraordinary and not to be missed experience on the island.
Set within the stunning Anahita Golf and Spa Resort, Signature Restaurant is more than just a restaurant, it’s an innovative dining concept. Merging cutting-edge 3D visual technology, image mapping, and experiential props with fine dining, the culinary experience becomes a feast for all the senses. The menu and the story change in accordance with the theme of the ‘show’ but one thing is for sure guests are guaranteed an unforgettable experience in this intimate and highly unique restaurant. Dress code is smart casual.
Peruvian food may not be what you’d expected on arrival in Mauritius, but an abundance of fresh fish and southern hemisphere vegetables ensures its suitability for this part of the globe. Based within the Lux Resort, Inti offers a dinner service (every day except Sunday) by Chef Pedro Burgos. If you’re staying here, do be aware that Inti is not part of the half, full board or all-inclusive packages, but it is discounted for guests and well worth an additional spend. Begin your meal with an aperitif and aperitivo such as empanadas; then feast on South American tapas, skewers and ceviche; followed by a rib-eye steak, huge langoustines, or a green risotto; and finally a portion of churros.
The word umami is Japanese for a ‘pleasant, savoury taste’ and is part of the five established basic tastes. But it’s fair to say that the food you’ll encounter here is far more than pleasant. Rather it’s exquisite, offering lunch and dinner in contemporary surroundings (its illuminated blue bar makes for an eye-catching centrepiece). On the menu are sashimi, nigiri and maki, Kobe beef and Australian lamb cooked on the in-house robata grill, and teppanyaki dishes heated in the show kitchen over a dramatic flame. Do pair your food with some saké — there are at least 30 types in the cellar, along with a wealth of Japanese whiskeys.
Gaze past the palm trees to the sea, as you await your poached lobster at Gin’ja. It’s part of the Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort, serving a sophisticated Pan-Asian menu nightly. Dishes like sushi, pad Thai, flaming lobster and nasi goreng can be ordered, along with champagne by the glass. A top tip here to elevate your meal to another level is to book your table to coincide with sunset; the views are the best in the complex, making it a romantic spot for a proposal or special occasion.
La Reserve Golf Links & Le Chateau
The island paints the quintessential picture of paradise itself, but it’s also a paradise for golfers with world-leading facilities. The newest of these is La Réserve Golf Links at Heritage Golf Club, a contemporary course unlike any other in the Indian Ocean, that launched in December 2023. Set on a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it was co-designed by Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and played host to the DP World Tour 2023 Mauritius Open. The Club’s other course, Le Chateau, has hosted many editions of the same event. Set within the French-style manicured grounds of a 19th-century chateau (in which you can dine by candlelight), its 18 holes and practice range are populated by lakes, streams, and a grand centenary tree.
Bel Ombre Nature Reserve Excursion
Venture into the wild terrain of the Bel Ombre Nature Reserve for a day, where you can explore a protected territory of 1,300 hectares. There are many ways and means to experience the UNESCO biosphere; 4×4 rides, quad bike and buggy tours, picnics, guided hikes by botanists, waterfall walks and swims, and sunset wildlife safaris are all popular excursions that can be completed in a matter of hours, or over a full day.
Ile aux Cerfs Golf
An isle all of its own, this Golf Club a little off Mauritius’ “mainland”, is reached by boat or helicopter, creating a sense of exclusivity from the outset. Designed by the championship golfer Bernhard Langer, its 18 holes — all of which have ocean views or glimpses — span the entirety of Ile aux Cerfs’ 38 hectares. The course is made up of volcanic rock outcrops, lakes, gullies and tropical fauna and was given the prized first place on the list of Top-20 Golf Courses to play once in your lifetime by Golf World magazine. Post-game, golfers can recline beneath a parasol on a beach sunbed with cocktails or enjoy some local seafood specialties at the Langer’s Bar & Grill.
Black River Gorges National Park
Located in the southwest, this is the largest national park on the island. Founded in the 1990s, it’s characterised by lush greenery, dense forests, rolling hills and dramatic landscapes, providing a stark contrast to the island’s renowned white sandy beaches — notable landmarks include Alexandra Falls and the Black River Peak, the highest point in Mauritius. The biodiverse park serves as a vital sanctuary for endemic plant and animal species, including endangered birds like the Mauritius kestrel and the echo parakeet. Well-maintained hiking trails vary in difficulty, making the park accessible to both casual walkers and avid hikers. Peaceful and serene, Black River Gorges National Park shows Mauritian commitment to preserving unique and fragile ecosystems.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden
Established in 1735, this is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Southern Hemisphere and is widely revered as one of the best in the world. Named after the first Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, it spans 37 hectares and is a piece of history — an exhibition within the Château de Mon Plaisir (an old French colonial mansion within the grounds) tells its story. The collection of tropical and subtropical plants includes palms, spices, medicinal plants and aquatic flora. SSR’s most significant attractions are the giant Victoria Amazonica water lilies, known for their enormous floating leaves and The Talipot Palm, which is said to bloom every 60 to 100 years. The garden’s central location in the Pamplemousses district makes it easily accessible for both locals and tourists.
World of Seashells
If you’d like to learn about nature’s jewels of the ocean, visit World of Seashells in Bel Ombre Mauritius, where the largest collection of seashells in Africa can be seen. It is home to 8,000 specimens of 1500 species and 150 families. The collection showcases an unbelievable range of shell shapes, colours and sizes and there is plenty of useful information to keep amateurs to expert collectors well informed.
L’Aventure du Sucre
Translated as The Sugar Adventure, this museum/attraction is comprised of a former sugar mill and the colonial-era Beau Plan estate. The engaging and educational immersive experience takes visitors on a journey through the island’s colonial past, to modern-day sugar production, with the opportunity to taste its fruits. It encompasses the cultivation of sugar cane, the evolution of technology in sugar production and the economic and social impact of the sugar industry. Displays, multimedia presentations, and artifacts provide insights into the labour-intensive practices of the plantations and address the issues of slavery in the industry. A restaurant and a boutique for the purchase of products and souvenirs are also found onsite.
See the island’s landscapes, coral reefs, and turquoise waters from a different perspective. Several companies offer helicopter tours, providing a bird’s-eye view of Mauritius’ diverse geography — some offer private charters, allowing you to customise your itinerary or enjoy a more intimate experience suiting a special occasion. The duration of flights can vary, ranging from short tours of around 15 minutes to more extended excursions lasting an hour or more. They are also weather-dependent, so it’s worth considering the time of year for viability (you can find out more about seasonal changes further along in our guide).
Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort
A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, this stunning 2500-acre estate takes its cues from the French plantations of old, emulating their refined grandeur, while weaving in a contemporary, barefoot chic feel. On the grounds, you’ll find the Seven Colours Spa, two 18-hole championship golf courses including the new La Reserve Links course, sports and games facilities, alfresco movie screenings and four restaurants. Those staying here can also make use of the amenities at sister hotel, the Heritage Awali. Part of UNESCO-protected forests and coastlines, Heritage Le Telfair is an unspoilt paradise, with all-suite accommodation making it the perfect choice for a luxury holiday in Mauritius.
Anahita Golf & Spa Resort
Anahita Golf & Spa Resort located in Grande Rivière Sud Est, Beau Champ, on the east coast of Mauritius, offers guests both luxurious accommodations and an experience of authentic Mauritian charm. The resort is set amongst 213 hectares of beautiful tropical gardens, and presents a range of accommodations, from Junior suites to three to five-bedroom deluxe villas, all featuring spacious living areas and fully equipped kitchens. The suites and villas provide stunning views and are designed with a blend of luxury and comfort. The resort is well known for its two exceptional 18-hole championship golf courses, designed by Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer, offering guests a premium golfing experience. Other amenities include a well-equipped fitness centre, the Anahita Spa by Thémaé Paris with a range of relaxing and reviving treatments, and for the young ones there are kids’ clubs and outdoor play equipment. Anahita Golf & Spa Resort is also home to two beaches: the Beach Resort located near the bar and restaurants, and an exclusive beach at Ile aux Cerfs, in front of the resort, accessible by a free boat shuttle every 30 minutes. Located approximately 12.6 miles from The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport the resort is a convenient choice for travellers.
Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort
A UNESCO nature reserve, beside a sandy beach and preserved lagoon, is the setting for Heritage Awali. This creates a stunning backdrop for Le Château, an 18-hole championship golf course, the only 9-hole with Par-3s and footgolf course on the island and the new La Réserve Golf Links, exclusive to guests. The grounds are also home to the Seven Colours Spa, built in the style of an African village, a beach club and bar and the main hotel, a 19th-century plantation-style house. There are 163 bedrooms in total, including coastal villas with pools, jacuzzis and butlers on hand to elevate your stay. Heritage Awali’s all-inclusive package provides access to many onsite restaurants, offering Italian, Indian, BBQ, locavore concept and buffet fare. Read our spotlight on about the Heritage Awali Hotel.
Ideal Holiday Types
The ideal holiday type in Mauritius can vary enormously depending on your interests and preferences, but here are some popular options (do bear in mind you can combine several of these)…
Choose a five-star resort or a beachfront villa to take advantage of some of the world’s finest coastline. Popular areas include Flic en Flac, Bel Mare and Le Morne.
Explore the vibrant marine life of the coral reefs by engaging in water activities like snorkelling, scuba diving and glass-bottom boat tours. Or plan a hiking, climbing, or self-drive itinerary with some off-road experiences in the more rugged terrain.
Golf and Spa Breaks
Mauritius is home to ultra-luxurious spa and golf resorts with world-class facilities, so you can stay and play, or stay and spa.
Many resorts here cater specifically to families. Enjoy water parks, family-friendly beaches, wildlife nature parks and attractions for all ages.
Candlelit dinners for two barefoot on the beach, sunset cruises, picnics in secret coves and intimate adult-only resorts designed with lovers in mind, Mauritius is an obvious choice for your honeymoon, anniversary or romantic escape.