Hello Guest

Author Topic: Memorable Maurice  (Read 4011 times)

Offline dashillol

  • Trusted Member
  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 2125
  • Learner by Choice
Memorable Maurice
« on: April 01, 2014, 05:44:27 PM »
It all started around two months back, the day my son?s board exam schedule was published. We decided the destination some time back, actually my wife chose it and then I swung into action. His exam was to be over on 15th March, so we fixed the date of our travel on 17th March ? the ?Holi? day. After searching flight schedule of different airlines, we zeroed in to Emirates Air. Then we started searching for a decent hotel accommodation. After going through several hotel booking websites and review websites like Tripadvisor etc., we decided the hotel also. But everything was hush hush, kept away from my son, lest he becomes excited and messes up his all-important board exams.

On returning home, after my son?s last exam we broke him the news. We are going to Ile Maurice, i.e, Mauritius. He jumped, shouted and rolled on the floor in joy. Then we had our suitcases, bags packed.

Mauritius is an island nation, amidst Indian Ocean, in African continent having a total land area of around 2000 square km. Total population is approximately 13 lakhs. Port Louis is the capital and Curepipe (pronounced as Kewrpip) is another big city in the small country.  A large section of the population is Hindu and of Indian origin, whose forefathers had migrated from India, mainly from Bihar as sugarcane planters or so called slaves. The language spoken is Creole, which is very close to French but people can understand or speak broken Hindi, also they have working knowledge of English. Mauritian currency is also called rupee and the present exchange rate is 1 MUR = 2.1 INR (or 1 Euro = 40.9 MUR). Dutch settlers first came to Mauritius in 1638, when the island had no inhabitant. They left the land in 1705 followed by the arrival of French in 1710. During French time they brought people from India and many African nations for plantation of sugarcane and developed the island as a land of human activities and other development. From 1810, British took over and were there till Mauritius gained independence on 12 March 1968. Though British ruled the country for larger span of time or were the latest rulers, influence of French is much more till today. Majority, rather almost everything, except sugar, is imported in Mauritius as there are very few local produce. Apart from people of Indian origin, we found large presence of 4 Indian things ? State Bank of India, Indian Oil retail outlets, Bank of Baroda and LIC. Being in the southern hemisphere, November to April is summer there and followed by winter from May to October, but mean temp hovers between 23 to 28 deg C throughout the year.   

Day ? 0
We had an Emirates flight from Mumbai at 10.20 pm to Dubai and from Dubai to Mauritius at 03.55 am (Dubai local time). Mumbai ? Dubai and Dubai ? Mauritius flying times are 3 hours and 6 and half hours respectively. Air Mauritius also has a direct service daily from Mumbai which takes nearly 7 hours but costs around Rs. 4k per head more than Emirates. On 17th March, in the evening, at 5.30 pm we started our journey. It was Holi on that day, so roads to airport were almost empty and it was a smooth sail. Newly inaugurated T2 terminal in Mumbai Airport added more joy to our vacation. Mauritius grants Visa on arrival to the holidayers so passing through immigration counters was also no hassle. After having some quick bite, we waited and finally boarded the aircraft. Within three hours we were in Dubai. Watching grandeurs of Dubai airport, we easily spent next 2 hours there. Though I passed through that airport earlier few times, but with wife and son tagged along it was another level of pleasure. We started second leg of our journey also in time, now it was Airbus 380 ? largest passenger carrier ? my son was more excited.

Day ? 1
Good morning Mauritius, we landed at Sir Seewsagur Ramgoolam International Airport in time. In the immigration counter they wanted to see our return tickets and hotel booking receipt. Immediately Visa was granted, and it was free. After retrieving our luggage, we came to the arrival lounge and took a taxi from the counter to go to our hotel. The airport is located at the South-East corner of the nation, while we needed to go to the northern tip. Distance was approximately 85 km and we were charged MUR 2100. Once outside the airport, and later everywhere we found roads are very good, clean, absolutely clean. Pollution is very minimal, hence deep blue sky all over the country, which is very rare compared to what we see in dust laden Indian cities. Both sides of the roads are lush green, covered with mostly sugarcane fields. After about one and half hours journey we reached our hotel called Pereyb?r? (pronounced as peyreybare) Hotel and Apartments. We searched and found this hotel through internet and booked directly for 7 nights. We are allotted, at the time of booking an apartment suite, though regular rooms are also available. The hotel had all amenities like swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, travel desk, money exchange etc. but we got the comfort of an apartment. Once reached, Ramjeet welcomed us with cool towels and refreshing fruit juice, also showed the hotel around. Then we were led to our suite ? it had two rooms with attached toilets and bathtubs; big desk; few chairs and tea-table; two cupboards, electronic safe; a dining table with four chairs; a small kitchenette with big refrigerator, cooking range, microwave oven, electric kettle, coffee maker, bread toaster, enough utensils ? both cooking and serving, a fully automatic washing machine, an iron and iron-board and other necessary items. The hotel was located just opposite to Pereyb?r? beach, and there were quite a few restaurants nearby. It is an idyllic and quiet place wit spectacular beauty. Ramjeet informed us that just 100m away there is a superstore called Winners, from where we can buy the foodstuff and groceries, if we wish to prepare and have food in our suite. After taking bath and freshening up we had our lunch in the restaurant downstairs and took a nap. In the evening we went to Winners, it was a huge superstore and bought some food items for next few days? breakfasts. Weather was warm and slightly humid but not much of discomfort.

Day ? 2
After having late but heavy breakfast, we took a car through Sameer, the friendly travel desk fellow to go to Port Louis and nearby Grand Baie (pronounced as Bay). Port Louis is 27 km from our place and is a bustling city with tall buildings, heavy traffic and usual crowd of a city. Our driver told us that he would take us to waterfront. Once reached there we realized that it a sprawling mall on the Port Louis waterfront and called Caudon Waterfront. It was nice place and we spent some time there and then headed to Grand Baie. Grand Baie is just 3.5 km from Pereyb?r? and has a small but picturesque beach. It was the first popularized and inhabited beach resort having many food joints, shopping complexes and small shops which sell stuff to tourists, e.g. clothing, mementos, souvenirs, handicrafts etc. Everywhere sea water is very clean and clear. Water looks azure blue or turquoise blue up to the horizon, just like what we see in the magazine photos. Close to the shore there were several yatches, boats, catamarans in the water, which I felt added to the beauty. We spent some time there absorbing the beauty of the picturesque place, had some light refreshments and coffee in one of the many beach side small food joints and then we headed back to our hotel.

Day ? 3
This day was fun-filled. We got up early in the morning and got ready for the day-long excursion to famous Ile Aux Cerf island. Sameer booked this trip for three of us at 1500 MUR per head and advised us well in advance that we should carry towel, extra set of clothes and suncream.

At 8 am a small van picked us up from the hotel, filled with other travellers and proceeded to a place called Trou d?Eau Douce. We reached there about an hour later, as the place is at almost diagonally opposite shore from where we started. There we boarded one speed boat keeping all our footwears in basket provided by them. The speed boat took us to a nearby water fall called Great River Waterfall. Then we proceeded to a catamaran in the high sea. It was a covered vessel with toilet and spacious cabin with plenty of space in the open deck. We were served simple breakfast there. It started journey to Ile Aux Cerf. In the catamaran, apart from us three, all other tourists were westerners. Everybody was up with minimal and very basic clothing, including two very old ladies, you know what I mean. We three were fully clothed and different. One crew member started barbequing chickens on board in the rear side of the catamaran.  After travelling sometime with greenish blue sea below and the dark blue sky with occasional blobs of white clouds above, we stopped at a place where water is shallow. It was the snorkelling time. Crew members provided feet flaps, water-goggle and snorkelling pipe to everyone. My son and I changed into swimming trunks and got down. It was a real fun. In the cool water of Indian Ocean, we could see corals. Those who do not want to see coral on the sea-bed or swim a little, dipping the body in the sea water was no less enjoyment. After about 30-45 minutes, everyone came up onto the vessel, dried themselves with towels. Majority stayed on the deck to take sunbath. Then we were served drinks, both hard and soft followed by lunch consisting of pasta, saffron rice, potato salad, grilled fish, chicken sausage, barbequed chicken and desert. Plenty of drinks including water were available. By the time we completed lunch, we reached the island, Ile Aux Cerf. While getting down in the jetty, we were handed our footwears. It is an island like picture postcard. Silvery fine sands, clear azure blue water, casurina fringed pristine shoreline made this a picture perfect place. We roamed along the beaches for some time, then had coffee in one of the few restaurants and enjoyed the beauty of the spectacular place. At 3 pm we left the place in the same catamaran. On our way back, two girl crew members in typical attire danced in the tune of Creol songs on the deck and invited everyone to dance along with them. At around 4.30 pm we reached at the jetty from where we started our journey in water in the morning and boarded the waiting bus. About an hour later, we reached our hotel.

There is option to visit Ile Aux Cerf by speedboat, which costs MUR 800 per head. But in that trip they don?t serve any food, drink or even snorkelling is not there. Moreover it is open under the sun.

Day ? 4
It was a day for touring various spots in a hired car. We started at 10 am and first went to famous Sugar Factory Museum. Entry fee was MUR 350 per head. A large sugar factory is converted into a museum. It was very nicely maintained and quite sprawling, I must say. There the history of island and that of sugar industry in that country is very well described though many photos, posters and audio-visual aids. At the end there was a boutique shop for the visitors, where various types of sugars, differently flavoured rums made out of sugar molasses, other handicrafts of the island were available for sale. By the time we completed seeing the place, there was torrential rain outside. We waited for some time and then one lady staff of the museum escorted us with three large umbrellas to our car, but we got half-drenched.

Due to the heavy rain, we changed our programme a bit. Next, we went to a big mall, Bagatelle. We had our lunch there in ubiquitous KFC outlet. After that we went to a glass factory, where at an entry fee of MUR 50 per head we saw how the glass is blown to make various artefacts. 

Thereafter our destination was Mauritius Aquarium. Nice place with lot of exotic fishes, shark, giant turtles, very large tiger fish are on display. Entry fee was MUR 100 per head. En route we saw Pointe Aux Piments beach, stopped and spent some there. After visiting the aquarium we came back to our hotel.

Day ? 5
Due to overcast sky and general bad weather, Sameer suggested us not to take the local tour that day. So we decided to take rest and spend time in Pereyb?r? beach just opposite to our hotel. Till lunch time we sat under the tree shade on the bench there and filled up our heart with the splendour of that amazing beach, ocean water and sky above.

In the afternoon, we decided to go to Grand Baie again. This time we took a local bus ride to Grand Baie. Hotel staff told us that bus fare is 18 MUR per head. So I gave 55 MUR to the lady conductor for three, expecting that she would return me 1 MUR. To my surprise, when we were about to reach Grand Baie, she gave me back a 20 MUR coin, but no ticket. Corruption!!!!! We walked around the place, in the different shopping plazas, on the beach, on the adjacent roads and came back spending around 2 hours there.

Day ? 6
Since we had lot of places to see, we started that day early. Sharp at 9 am we started from the hotel. Weather was nice again, mostly sunny, sometimes little cloudy. Our first destination was Trou Aux Cerf. It was a very deep crater created by volcanic activities millions of years ago. Few hundred feet down, we could see the water. And we were told below the water surface depth is huge. Amazing sight!!!

Next we went to Grand Bassein and Ganga Talao. A very wide road leading to a temple complex, where Hindus of Mauritius throng for all religious activities. All major deities are present there. A talao or pond, filled with water to the brim is considered very holy, and its water as holy as river Ganga. A very large statue of Lord Shiva greets the people. A wide, fenced pavement, as wide as the main road, raised my curiosity. Upon asking I was told this pavement is used by revellers during Shivaratri, when they come on foot to that place. A group of ISKCON devotees came singing to the temple.

Then we proceeded to Black River Gorge National Park. En route we saw and stopped at the largest sweet water reservoir of Mauritius, Mare Aux Vacoas. Once in the national park we saw Alexandra Waterfall and Black River Gorge Waterfall.

Thereafter we went to Chamarel. Millions of years ago, due to volcanic activities a dune was formed. The soil in the dune contained iron and aluminium. Years of geo-climatic reactions, and leaching of chemicals helped the earth assume seven different colours. That seven-colour earth dune is carefully preserved by the Government and is a major tourist attraction. Entry fee is MUR 175 per head. In the vicinity there was another huge waterfall, as tall as Statue of Liberty called Cascade Waterfall or Chamarel Waterfall.

We then went to Casela Nature Park. Entry Fee is MUR 350 per head and entry needed to be booked in advance. Lot of birds, some caged and some in open can be seen here. The sprawling park has animal patting facilities. We spent some time with barking deers, spotted dears, peacocks, black swans, turkeys etc. Since it was Sunday, lion patting was closed that day. We had some light refreshments there in their restaurant before leaving the park.

From Casela we drove to another very famous, wide and longest beach in Mauritius, Flic En Flacq. It was crowded by the holiday crowd, but still empty in our standard. Tired us, wanted to come back to the hotel, where we reached at 7 pm.

Day ? 7
It was a spare day. I declared it would be my day. Most part of the morning I spent in the Pereyb?r? beach. Around 12 noon, I and my son went for a swim. Cool and clear water took away our all tiredness. After about an hour in the water, came back to our room. At 5 pm again went to Pereyb?r? beach to watch the sunset. When complete darkness descended we left the beach.

Day ? 8
From the morning we were feeling heavy at heart. We needed to leave the country for the homeland that day. In the morning we packed our bags, had heavy breakfast, took bath and got ready. Then went to Pereyb?r? beach for one last time to bid goodbye and spent couple of hours there. At 2.30 pm, after partaking light lunch we finally started for the airport. From the airport, those usual rituals followed, we reached Dubai and then Mumbai on the next day at 8.30 am. Home sweet home!

Vinay, our car driver, a 23 year old young man made our road travel in Mauritius up to the dropping at Airport extremely comfortable. People, irrespective of race and religion are extremely courteous and friendly. All the establishments, except only restaurants, in the tiny island nation get closed at 5-5.30 in the afternoon. Credit cards are widely accepted and withdrawing money from ATM through VISA Debit/ATM Card is very easy. We did brief cooking on some days to make our meals, buying stuffs from Winners Superstore, where plenty of items, mostly non-veg are available. Cost of living is bit high there, I felt.

Needless to say, no amount of words or even photos are sufficient to describe the spectacular beauty of the place. Somewhere there I saw a quote of Mark Twain, it goes like this ? ?Before heaven, the God created Mauritius. After completion, the God copied it to create heaven?. I do not know how the heaven looks like, but we got heavenly feeling visiting this extra-ordinarily beautiful place. My wife kept on saying that the entire nation is like a painting.  I took many photos, which are being processed and getting readied, which I will share you in batches sequentially, as I have seen those places. For any information, I am always available and would be happy to share with you.   
« Last Edit: April 06, 2014, 11:17:21 PM by dashillol »
A Nikon lover with few glasses, Nikon and Yongnuo speedlights, Benro tripod with ball-head and a few Hoya/Nikon/Marumi/Griffin filters

Offline Subhadip

  • Trusted Member
  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 696
    • My Website
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2014, 06:41:46 PM »
Superb report, i felt as if i was there all along the journey. In fact this trip made me to think about going to this destination. Thanks a lot for sharing. Please post the photos also along with the report (if possible).  :like:
Mad about Nikon... :)

Offline PixelHunter

  • Trusted Member
  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 797
  • Learning something new everyday..
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2014, 07:14:01 PM »
Brilliant write up.. really liked the narrative style. Please post some photos to go with it.
"The best camera is the one that's with you" Chase Jarvis

Offline dashillol

  • Trusted Member
  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 2125
  • Learner by Choice
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2014, 11:20:05 PM »
Superb report, i felt as if i was there all along the journey. In fact this trip made me to think about going to this destination. Thanks a lot for sharing. Please post the photos also along with the report (if possible).  :like:

Thank you Subhadip for your appreciation. I will post the photos soon in batches.
A Nikon lover with few glasses, Nikon and Yongnuo speedlights, Benro tripod with ball-head and a few Hoya/Nikon/Marumi/Griffin filters

Offline dashillol

  • Trusted Member
  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 2125
  • Learner by Choice
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2014, 11:21:54 PM »
Brilliant write up.. really liked the narrative style. Please post some photos to go with it.

Thanks a lot. Will post photos in batches. Actually this time I captured all photos in RAW and converting those into JPEG is taking lot of time.
A Nikon lover with few glasses, Nikon and Yongnuo speedlights, Benro tripod with ball-head and a few Hoya/Nikon/Marumi/Griffin filters

Offline Hot Shoe

  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 1469
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2014, 11:24:32 PM »
Nice narration of your vacation. Good information provided about the places you visited. A good reference post for anyone who wishes to visit Mauritius. Now will look forward to the pictures.

Awarding you a Clap.  :like:
Nikon D7000   /// Nikkor 35mm 1.8G  50mm 1.8D   55-300mm  // Tamron 17-50 f2.8  90mm f2.8 Macro  // Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6  /// Yongnuo 460 II  560 III  /// Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT // Rollei Pro BH611

Offline PixelHunter

  • Trusted Member
  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 797
  • Learning something new everyday..
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2014, 11:25:45 PM »
Brilliant write up.. really liked the narrative style. Please post some photos to go with it.

Thanks a lot. Will post photos in batches. Actually this time I captured all photos in RAW and converting those into JPEG is taking lot of time.

Quite understandable. Please take your time..
"The best camera is the one that's with you" Chase Jarvis

Offline Jasii

  • Trusted Member
  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 3203
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2014, 12:12:23 PM »
Nicely and patiently written tour report Hillol ji.

Would appreciate if you could edit the same and add pricing of Airfare and Apartments and some generic idea of food priicing and what was the financials for the entire trip? along with any important contact nos that you think are relevant. This would add value to the report. Also if you were to go again, what would you do diffrently?

Waiting patiently for the icing on the cake (the pics)  :)

Cheers and some Karma your way my good friend.

+1
A Year young with my DSLR and loving it.........
Gear: Canon 600d + 18-55, +55-250

Offline theqca

  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 2221
    • Framed For Life
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2014, 02:14:25 PM »
liked the write up a lot...

look forward to seeing the pics being added :)
Nikon FM(black), Nikon FG, Nikon D700, Nikon FM(silver), Nikon FM10, Pentax Spotmatic, Zenith TTL, Minox Wetzlar, Agfa Optima III, Yashica & Rollei rangefinders etc

28mm 2.8, 70-300vr, 200mm f4, 50mm 1.4, 55mm 2.8 macro, 50mm 1.8, 16mm 2.8, 70-210 f4 macro, Lensbaby, Helios 44 f2, 90mm macro, etc

Offline Prabir

  • Trusted Member
  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 810
  • There is more to it than the eyes can see.
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2014, 03:18:30 PM »
Wonderful travel report Hillol! Liked it very much.
Now the turn for the pics. When are you adding the pics?

One question. Mauritius has 2 languages mainly, Creole and Hindi, if I am correct. How was your experience about use of language?
That would be very helpful.

Thanks for sharing the experience.
 
Prabir K. Bhattacharyya

[Canon 5DM2 & 7DM2, a few glass pieces, sun glasses and a lot of friends...

Offline hvdatar

  • Manic
  • *
  • Posts: 405
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2014, 10:53:26 AM »
superb write up.. snaps are awaited...
Some Canon Gears

Offline sammy_boy81

  • Rookie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2014, 11:25:33 AM »
Hillol sir... very well written...hv copied and stored it as the itinerary for mauritius whenever i travel... also being a vegetarian(jain; that means no egg too) do u think there is enuf options for food for ppl like us??

Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk


Offline Ramstrong

  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 1025
  • I'm Still Learning!
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2014, 09:24:38 PM »
Wonderful travel report, Hillol! :) :like:

Looking forward to the pictures soon.
NikonD810+D700+D7000+MB-D10&11+Some Nikon Glasses+Helios81N 50mmF2 Lens+Vanguard AP263AT+GH100+SB600+SB400+YN560II+YN560+YN622Nx2.

Canon EOS5D MkII+EOS650D+EF24-105mmF4 L Lens+EF40mmF2.8STM+Tammy SP70-300mmVC+Fujinon55mmF1.8 MF Lens+Nissin Di866Mk2Pro1+YN603Cx4.

Offline dashillol

  • Trusted Member
  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 2125
  • Learner by Choice
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2014, 10:43:59 PM »
Nice narration of your vacation. Good information provided about the places you visited. A good reference post for anyone who wishes to visit Mauritius. Now will look forward to the pictures.

Awarding you a Clap.  :like:

Thank you Vinodji. :)
A Nikon lover with few glasses, Nikon and Yongnuo speedlights, Benro tripod with ball-head and a few Hoya/Nikon/Marumi/Griffin filters

Offline dashillol

  • Trusted Member
  • Hero
  • *
  • Posts: 2125
  • Learner by Choice
Re: Memorable Maurice
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2014, 10:45:01 PM »
Brilliant write up.. really liked the narrative style. Please post some photos to go with it.

Thanks a lot. Will post photos in batches. Actually this time I captured all photos in RAW and converting those into JPEG is taking lot of time.

Quite understandable. Please take your time..

Thank you for your understanding. :)
A Nikon lover with few glasses, Nikon and Yongnuo speedlights, Benro tripod with ball-head and a few Hoya/Nikon/Marumi/Griffin filters