Mauritius has been a whirlwind of beaches, waterfalls, mountains… and a death-defying transportation system. Yes, the sights here absolutely beautiful. The beaches are white, the ocean is a shade of turquoise that is usually only seen in postcards, and mountains that seem to rise out of nowhere make our current location look like the set of LOST. But the driving here? It’s like one big game of chicken. Buses, scooters, cars, pedestrians, you name it, if they are not going fast enough, they are getting passed immediately. It doen’t matter if a bus is coming the opposite direction. Almost everywhere is a one-lane highway and Mauritians drive on the left-hand side of the road, like the British. That makes getting from point A to point B even more exciting. I’m sure we will see many more ridiculous examples of transit in some of our other places we visit, but this one is our current titleholder.
The beaches here are really fantastic, although harder to find than we thought as most are behind the gates of the most exclusive hotels in Mauritius. A small island named Ile aux Cerf, a 15 minute boat ride off the main island, provided some of the most beautiful beach scenery we’ve seen all week. The dramatic mountain backgrounds are what really make it special. Everyone in Mauritius is unfailingly polite, unless it involves shopping. While not rude or loud, local merchants are overbearing. The vast majority of Mauritians are of Indian descent, something we didn’t expect, and while English is the official language, French is most commonly spoken amongst locals. We also met our first friends of the trip, a very nice couple from Switzerland named Domenik and Bridgette. Having already travelled to many of the places we plan on reaching later on in our trip, their advice was very much appreciated. We may be seeing them again in a few months when we return to Europe.
Our last tour of the week was in the southern region of the island to get a view of Mauritius from high up in the mountains. The views from Black River Gorge National Park and of the Chamarel waterfall were absolutely gorgeous. The Chamarel region also had a interesting geological feature called “The Seven Colored Earth.” Some of the soil on the island has different metal compositions that washed away many years ago, leaving iron and aluminum in different levels that create an almost iridescent color to the Earth.
We hope you enjoyed our posts on Mauritius, now it’s off to Madagascar for twelve of the most exciting and interesting days of the entire world tour. This mysterious island holds some of the most unique landscapes and wildlife in the world, and we hope to share it with you soon.