Asha Wahi, lives in Sunnyvale, California but makes a trip back to her native Mauritius every year with her two kids, 5 year old Anika and 3 year old Eishan. Momaboard is thrilled to reveal her inside tips on living and loving Mauritius with your family! Asha says:
Mauritius is truly one of the world’s most kid friendly destinations with beautiful white sandy beaches, luxurious hotel resorts, nature hikes with waterfalls views, unique volcanic colored earth, and so much else. The island is a racial potpourri of Creole, French, Indian and Chinese; so mosques, pagodas and Hindu temples are scattered around making it a great way to introduce your kids to different cultures!
Getting to Mauritius:
The most practical way to access Mauritius is by plane. For a small island it is well connected by air routes with Air Mauritius (the national airline) as well as international airlines like Emirates, Air France, Virgin Airlines, British Airways all flying from major cities in Asia, Europe and Australia. You can fly directly from Heathrow and CDG and also from other main European airports (less frequently). You can also fly directly from Dubai, Hong Kong or via South Africa. From North America unfortunately there is no easy way to get there and it take about 23 hours of flying time, excluding layovers!
While most boats arriving in the port are cargo vessels, you can catch a few Indian Ocean cruises that will land you in Mauritius. To find out if you need a visa for Mauritius check here (most developed countries do not). For more information on how to get to Mauritius, read on here.
Where to Stay in Mauritius with Kids:
Normally, when traveling, I prefer to book apartment hotels since it’s easier with 2 little kids, but this logic does not apply to Mauritius. The hotel resorts are the way to go to enjoy your stay. Apartment hotels are not as luxurious and usually are not beachfront properties. Any 4 to 5 star hotel will have prime beaches with facilities such as kids clubs, evening babysitter services, evening entertainments, and incredible selection at dinner buffets (think Las Vegas buffet but better!). Mauritius is a favorite destination for both honeymooners and young families. Find a hotel that appeals to you and your family’s preferences.
Dining in Mauritius with Kids:
The local cuisine is a mix of Creole, Chinese, European, African and Indian. The hotel resorts offer a Mauritian buffet at least once a week. Although Mauritius was a British colony for a long time, it has retained a lot of the French culture in its cuisine. You will find locals eating chicken curry with French baguettes, and enjoying their British tea time in the afternoon! Rice with lentils and vegetables, non-spicy chicken and meat dishes with a tomato based sauce, grilled food especially seafood, and pastas are the norm, so food will not be an issue with the kids. Eating, specially when french chocolate crepes are available for breakfast, is my daughter’s favorite thing to do (2nd to swimming, of course)!
Some of our favorite restaurants:
Le Domaine Anna – Kid-friendly particularly because of its outdoor garden where the kids are free to roam.
Varangue sur Morne – Since it is situated on the base of the gorges it’s tough to let the kids wander around by themselves here, but it’s still a beautiful location.
La Clef des Champs – Get a babysitter and go here for date night. Not appropriate for kids.
Where to Find Baby Products in Mauritius:
Franchise grocery stores (supermarkets as Mauritians would say) are common as are local grocery stores; French, British and South African products are available. Pampers and Huggies, baby jar foods, Nestle baby formula, Johnson & Johnson toiletries can be found easily. Naturally, it doesn’t have the variety you would find in Target, but it’s more than enough to get by with. Warning: I have not found Cheerios yet!
Shopping in Mauritius with Kids:
There are a few local designer kids clothing lines that are just adorable, with bright colors and interesting designs like Geckos!
Le Caudan Waterfront is a great place to do some shopping. The central market of Port Louis is a tourist magnet, but worth a visit. Be ready to get ripped off especially if you are blond with blue eyes, so keep your bargaining powers sharp! Local handicrafts products of a wide array can be found there. My daughter loves her “sega” dress from the market, and the locally made t-shirts.
Things to do with Kids in Mauritius:
The island has so much to offer apart from the beaches so attempt to get your kids off the shore and check out some of these fun, family-friendly activities. You can book a tour from your hotel , rent a taxi for the day or get adventurous and drive yourself. Note: Although driving in Mauritius is not as disorganized as in India, beware road courtesy does not really exist! Car seats are not compulsory in Mauritius.. Further, it can be quite expensive to rent a car while your hotel can book you a reliable taxi at a reasonable rate.
Here are some places to check out:
– Casela Nature & Leisure Park
and Domaine Les Pailles to get up, close and personal with nature and Mauritian wildlife.
– The world famous Pamplemousses Garden
– Take a boat ride to Ile aux Cerfs (on the East coast) or up a river to a waterfall
– Non strenuous hiking at Black River gorges and Le Pouce Mountain
– Visit a sugar cane factory
– Visit a tea factory
– Enjoy other beaches around the island, each unique and try your hand at water sports!
Mauritius is a rare place that combines culture with relaxation, in addition to an extremely warm and welcoming people. It’s definitely worth a visit, for you and the kids.