Taking a plane for a new travelling adventure has always its charm. No matter how many times you have experienced it, each journey has always something different to look forward to. I will be visiting three jewels of the Indian Ocean during this trip: Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues.
I have recently launched a new tour which introduces Reunion to our portfolio, combined with popular Mauritius and wild Madagascar. A quite unusual combination but very diverse.
The arrival in Mauritius has been very welcoming. I love people’s humour here, they are genuinely happy and very friendly. This little paradise of 65 by 45 kilometres is so unique with its variety of cultures: Hindu, Creole (mixture of African with European) Muslim, European and Chinese to top it up. Your choice of which language to speak as they are fluent!
A country map is a must for me when I travel. It gives good orientation and helps memorising the journey. I’m heading from Plaine Magnien towards Belle Hombre, along the south west coast to reach Lux Tamassa Resort, a winner in our portfolio. Lovely set up and fantastic management. I really hope to meet some of our guests on holiday there. I always find it very interesting to have a chat with them; they have so many stories to tell and ideas to consider.
Today I am heading north along the west coast and visiting some of the main attractions of the area. The landscape is characterised by vast plantations of sugar canes and enchanting beaches where crystal clear waters are a guarantee. It’s inevitable to stop at one of their famous rum distilleries, followed by a visit to their sugar museum. This is a real walk through the history and culture of this island, which I find very fascinating.
The journey continues towards North reaching the main city of Port Louis. A walk through the local market took me back to India for a few minutes. So colourful, with spices and Indian textiles everywhere. Suddenly I could taste a bit of Africa with the fresh vanilla smell, their wonderful crafts and the waterfront of Port Luis resembling very much Cape Town’s seafront. What a nice bonding of cultures, a real world of tolerance!
Time to fly to Rodrigues, the most unspoiled of the three islands. Despite its remoteness, Rodrigues offers indisputable cultural wealth, from traditional songs and dances that reflect an authentic national identity, to the work of young painters and sculptors who express the vibrant soul of the nation. The ‘saga tambour’ is a common traditional dance among all three islands. Hilly green cow fields contrast with wonderful coral reef and turquoise waters. A real hidden gem in the Indian Ocean.
Landing in Reunion has highlighted a real contrast. Not only do they drive on the right side, being French territory, but the landscape has something outstandingly unique and different from Mauritius or anywhere else I have been so far. Mountains dominate the entire island and with their particular volcanic formation create unusual shapes and peaks. The active volcano is the only dry mountain, resembling Mars in my imagination. The rest is a combination of lush and spectacular greens with countless waterfalls spread around. Their Creole heritage is more predominant in this island, with colonial wooden buildings everywhere, very similar to the typical Louisiana or Caribbean houses: colourful wooden structures, with balcony frames carefully carved and decorated and gorgeous gardens full of a great variety of flowers and fruit trees.