Jaunt around Mauritius

  • 2 Weeks

This itinerary takes you from the stunning coast of Mauritius' southeast to the dramatic mountain landscapes of the interior and far southwest. En route you’ll visit some of the country’s prettiest offshore islands, explore the stunning botanical gardens of Pamplemousses and go canyoning in Black River Gorges National Park.

Start along the stunning sands of Pointe d'Esny. Snorkel the sparkling azure lagoon at Blue Bay, eco-explore Île aux Aigrettes, then slip up to sleepy Mahébourg for the Monday market.

Drive north along the coast. Embrace the fisherfolk lifestyle in Trou d'Eau Douce, then glide through the crystal lagoon to Île aux Cerfs. Pass through the sky-reaching sugar cane before emerging at gorgeous Cap Malheureux. In Grand Baie hop on a catamaran bound for the scenic northern islands, then treat yourself to a meal in lively Trou aux Biches. A day-trip loop could then take in the botanical gardens and sugar factory at Pamplemousses and lovely Chateau Labourdonnais.

Emerge on the west coast for a spot of diving in Flic en Flac, then base yourself around Black River. From here you could try hiking in Black River Gorges National Park, cycling in Chamarel or climbing the iconic Le Morne Brabant.

Southern Mauritius

  • 1 Week

The south of Mauritius offers the perfect combination of outstanding beaches and glorious natural scenery.

Blue Bay is everything its name suggests, and its proximity to a host of postcard-pretty landscapes makes it the perfect base for the island's southeast. Don't miss the excursion to Île aux Aigrettes, where you can spy pink pigeons and giant tortoises. Just north, Vieux Grand Port is where Mauritius' human story began centuries ago. There's an untouched feel to the nearby forests of Vallée de Ferney, home to the iconic Mauritius kestrel, which you can see being fed most mornings. Lion Mountain is a challenging but extremely rewarding hike. From your Blue Bay base, consider a day trip inland to Eureka in Moka, high on the Central Plateau.

Now head west, pausing at La Vanille in Rivière des Anguilles, then in Souillac and Bel Ombre to enjoy the pretty coast. Continue on to World Heritage–listed Le Morne, where dramatic hiking trails await. Climb into the hills to Chamarel, with its terrific eating scene and rum distillery – it's the perfect base for scenic drives and hikes through Black River Gorges National Park.

Rodrigues – The Other Mauritius

  • 1 Week

A week is ample time to discover the delights of this small, mountainous island. You can pass the days walking, diving and taking boat trips to nearby islands, as well as kicking back on the beach and indulging in seafood feasts at Rodrigues’ great family-run restaurants.

First, spend half a day strolling the streets of Port Mathurin – make sure you come on a Saturday, when the island's endearingly sleepy 'capital' springs into life and it seems the entire population descends on the weekly market. Devote another day to two of the island's not-to-be-missed sights: the giant tortoises at François Leguat Reserve and the caves at Caverne Patate. Another day could be taken up by the classic coastal hike from Graviers to St François, passing en route a gem of a beach at Trou d'Argent – this is perhaps our favourite coastal walk anywhere in Mauritius. Linger over lunch at one of In St François' excellent restaurants, then walk back the way you came or take a bus to Port Mathurin. Another day should be dedicated to the boat excursion to Île aux Cocos, with its quiet beaches and lively seabird colonies. Set aside a couple of hours on the same day for a hike in search of endangered species in the Grande Montagne Nature Reserve.

You're spoilt for choice when it comes to diving. Start your Rodrigues diving experience by exploring the channel off St François, La Passe St François, on the edge of the lagoon, with more options beyond the reefs. Follow up the diving with the good snorkelling around the little-visited Île aux Chats and Île Hermitage off the south coast – it's a bit less exciting than the dive, but a marvellous day trip nonetheless,.

And of course, along the way you'll want to dedicate as much time as you can to simply kicking back on the beach for hours at a stretch and indulging in seafood feasts at the island's family-run restaurants scattered around the island. Perhaps reserve your spot at Graviers' La Belle Rodriguaise for lunch on your final day – it's an excellent choice to round off your week on Rodrigues.