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Santosha Guides Vol.1 MAURITIUS & RODRIGUES



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Santosha Guides Vol.1 MAURITIUS & RODRIGUES

  1. 1. Mauritius & Rodrigues Island Volume 01 1
  2. 2. 2
  3. 3. Contents. 06. 01. Introduction Page 4 About the Author The Story of Santosha Guides History of Mauritius & Must-Sees 05. Sailing, diving The Island‘s Surfing Story & deep sea fishing Surfing Legends, Windsurfing & Page 65 Kitesurfing Pioneers Local Surfing Rules & Safety Yachting Clubs, Diving Sites, Deep Sea Fishing 02. Best Beaches 06. A golfer‘s paradise 03. Essential Page 69 information for visitors Mauritius: Page 26 A World-Class Golf Destination History of Golf on the Island Where to Stay & Play How to Get There Where to Buy Golf Property 02. Where to surf Economic Overview & Money Matters Investment Incentives & Tips for Purchasers Page 22 Geography & Climate Population & Culture The West When to Go 07. Local cuisine South West Places of Interest & Getting Around Page 77 The East Tips for Avoiding Potential Problems The North West & North East or Hazards Must-try Mauritian Delicacies Emergency Numbers Markets & Malls Rodrigues Islands Top 10 Tourism Services 08. 04. Language tips Dream weddings Page 60 & honeymoon hotspots Languages Spoken on the Island Page 78 How and Where to Learn & Benefits of Language Learning Learning Tips & Staying Motivated 09. Glossary Page 80 3
  4. 4. 01. Introduction About the author Serge “Sebastien” Staub was born and grew up on his mother‘s family estate, Le Morne, a picturesque village on the southern tip of the island of Mauritius. He quickly grew into a very passionate, tropical islander and active surfer, enjoying life to the full on the ocean waves with his Korom (close group of friends) called the Madgroms “Mad Grommets”. The story of santosha guides Sebastien’s exhilarating surfing adventures, along with a terrifying near death experience, inspired his idea to create a special tourism guide, a longing he‘d harboured since a very young age. Whether it was exploring the mountain façade of his family estates of Le Morne or in the water confronting Mother Nature‘s most powerful south west passes of L‘Ambulante and One Eye, his passion and eagerness to share his exciting escapades never diminished. During his teenage Photo: Serge Sebastien Staub aka sSs years, Sebastien‘s keen eye for adventure also perceived the fast pace of tourism growth, further fuelling his appetite for collaborating with foreigners eager to share their holiday experiences and personal views of the island. This was what motivated him to develop the SANTOSHA GUIDES, for the benefit of all. “A Touch of Local Related to two of Mauritius‘ most famous surfing icons - he is nephew adventurer, as well as a true tourism enthusiast, he has assisted Experience” to the influential Whiteshorts tourists with personal tips and and grandson of Mr. One Eye useful information to make their (Mr. Alan Cambier, owner of Le holiday and surfing experience Morne mountain) - Sebastien memorable and fun since he was advocates increased international old enough to talk. awareness of Mauritius and sister island Rodrigues‘ lagoons, waves He also describes in this guide and surroundings. He encourages how one day he came face-to-face the formation of local lifesaving with death while trying to help a organizations in the most popular father and two children surfing at water sports areas such as Le One Eye… Morne. As a life-long surfer and 4
  5. 5. Mauritius, sadly, has also seen a Rodrigues experience. couple of missing tourists, believed The Santosha Guides Logo/Idea/ to be careless adventurers or Concept has been carefully chosen inexperienced riders who, in to represent ‘A Touch of Local conditions where a little local Experience’ and is illustrated as a knowledge might have saved them, ‘Compass’ which defines the ‘true found themselves in the wrong spot meaning of adventure’, a ‘must-have at the wrong time. This is where tool’ on any chosen journey, hence this guide will come into its own ‘The Internet’ is that tool today. We and prevent others from making the hope you enjoy our contribution to same mistakes. your journey. Please visit As a teenager, Sebastien was involved in and supported local surfing and kitesurfing competitions, You can also follow us on our social mastering not only the lagoons and media sites on Facebook, MySpace the swells but also the locals. His and Twitter: invaluable and extensive knowledge of all the best surfing spots is well described and explained in this guide, a compelling compilation of his personal contributions com and preferences, accumulating all the best local knowledge and And our Blog, which we regularly experiences, places of interests, post new articles on fellow must-try cuisine, the top resorts, Travel & Tourism Partners golf courses and spas, best beaches and sunsets, along with all the exciting entertainment the island has to offer and its many unique We trust you will find our first E-Guidebooks to your standards and will find features and idiosyncrasies. key information within. Looking for a wedding venue or honeymooner hotspot? Look All our partners at SANTOSHA GUIDES are happy to show you our sister no further. All this, complete islands and share you its beauty and secrets. with seductive images carefully Do not forget to purchase a Travel Discount Card – Sun, Sea & Savings selected to enhance your own which will give you access to a series of Discounts and Special deals with personal perception of Mauritius our Travel & Tourism Partners. and Rodrigues. Who wouldn‘t be seduced by this stunning island? Travel Smart and Save with SANTOSHA GUIDES. Sebastien strongly believes in the ‘Santosha principles and practices’ Acknowledgements: meaning: ‘Contentment and Content: Serge Sebastien Staub, Peace, Seeking Joy and Serenity Interview: Louis Paul Maujean, Patrick Desvaux, Laurent Le Bolloch, Nico Kux in a Balanced Life of God‘s Editorial: Liz Lester, Angela Sara West creations’ and this has motivated Photography: MTPA, Pascal Mamet, J. Peerally, Antoine De Maroussem,Yoann the development of the Santosha Derunes, Ludovic Richard,Tungsten, Habit & LeGall Guides travel series that shares Cover Design and Layout: Ludovic Richard / valuable local information with Thanks go to: My Grand Father, Mother and all my friends who all believed sport and adventure tourists and in me and supported me in completing this guide. We hope you will enjoy visitors to the island after a true reading Santosha Guides as much as we did creating it! I dedicate this Guide touch of the local Mauritian and to my dear Grand Father who has been such an inspiration to me. For the ultimate adventure and ride, read our guide! 5
  6. 6. Photo:Tungsten - Creoles on a coconut plantation making fish traps, called kasiers — Rodrigues Islands 6
  7. 7. Mauritius‘ history & must-sees Nestled in the heart of the Indian Ocean, south of Africa and east of Madagascar, this dreamy isle sits ideally between the Tropic of Capricorn and the equator, providing a perfect tropical climate all year round. (20 17 S, 57 33 E). Mauritius is the main island, from which the country derives its name. Of volcanic origin, it‘s almost entirely surrounded by sheltering coral reefs. With hundreds of amazing passes with perfect waves, lefts and rights, short and long barrels and deep to hollow tubes, it‘s a surfer‘s paradise. Mauritius also offers numerous vast lagoons for great sailing, diving and fishing diversity, too. There‘s no shortage of top spots, swells, lagoons or wind, but there has been a distinct lack of information about all these things - until now! This comprehensive guide enables you to experience the range of stunning spots on our beautiful island for yourself. Take the swells and gentle sea breezes, add the impressive Indian Ocean climate, great coral reefs, large Picture: Le Morne lagoon, Bennitier and Le Morne Mountain lagoons and a handful of quality breaks and you have the perfect surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing destination. ‘The Unique Mauritian Culture’ is a blend of Indian, Chinese and Creole sweetness and spices with an influencing European History, in other words ‘amazing local cuisine’. Get a taste for the magical mélange of influences with a warm ‘Dol Pourie’, whether it‘s on a street corner in Port Louis, from a delicious hotel buffet or à la carte at a well-reputed table d‘hôte in Chamarel.You‘ll find specialties everywhere you go, all worth a try. Shop-til-you-drop at Flacq‘s bustling open-air market, a vibrant and colorful marketplace full of fresh local products at great value. The island‘s home to countless bars and restaurants. Check out the iconic Banana Bar in Grand Bay, which hosts both local and international artists, from jazz to soul. In the mood for dancing? The numerous nightclubs offer a great atmosphere where you can boogie the night away to the sounds of House, Dance and R‘n‘B music played by top DJs. 7
  8. 8. Picture:Tamarin Falls The island boasts some of the putting your way through the Moonsamy, aka ‘Mr. Bull’. Deep world‘s most beautiful private and stunning settings that are simply sea fishing is possible off the East, public beaches, fringed by swaying unbeatable. The Mauritius Open North and West coasts and the palms and lapped by crystal-clear PGA attracts international and local best operators are based in Black turquoise waters. Combine that professionals and many a celebrity River and Trou aux Biches. The best with the magnificent, exotic sunsets has been spotted practicing their months are the summer months and tropical vegetation of the swing on the island‘s championship (October to May.) various game reserves, national courses. Mr. Dominique Theveneau offers parks, private hunting estates and Grand Bay is the place to head fly-fishing and casting outings on colonial houses such as St Aubin for catamaran cruises and amazing reefs for individuals or small groups. and Eureka where honeymooners sailing trips to nearby islands such Dominique is your perfect guy can make their dreams come true as Coin De Mire, Ile Plate, Ile au to have the time of your life and and you‘ve got a winning formula. Gabriel. In Black River you will find discover the true mauritian passion Golf fan? Mauritius is fast earning a catamaran trips to Ile aux Benitier, and way of living, hunting estates reputation for being home to some swim with the dolphins and sunset and fishing spots. Not forgetting the of the world‘s most amazing golf cruises to Tamarin Bay while Blue Mauritius Aquarium, home to 100‘s courses. Its fantastic architectural Bay you can cruise to the magical of tropical aquatic life and fish. designs by big names such as Ernie Ile Aux Cerfs. Famous spots for Els and Bernhand Langer offer avid snorkeling and scuba diving include If the sea doesn‘t float your boat, golfers a challenging game. But the famous Silver Star wreck and there are numerous whatever your handicap, you‘ll find the Cathedral underwater cave. land-based pursuits to participate somewhere to suit your needs, Mauritius and Rodrigues offer some in. Choose from inland adventure whether you‘re aiming for a hole in of the world‘s best deep-sea fishing tours, sightseeing in four-wheeled one at one of the top-class hotels with many experienced skippers drives, on mountain bikes or hiking or dodging the water hazards on and fishing boat owners, such as (Yann De Maroussem from www. the new Ile Aux Cerfs, you‘ll love Tamarin local fishing legend, Jerome is a great 8
  9. 9. hiking enthusiast who knows his way around the Central plateau and South-west), along with a wealth of other activities. The adventurous among you should head to Yemen Nature Park for great quad bike riding and abseiling close to the 3 Mamelles Mountains. The game reserve of Domaine Du Chasseur offers fabulous panoramic views and sunsets, while the magnificent Black River Gorges National Park is home to wonderful wildlife, where bird-lovers can spy protected bird species such as the pink pigeon, kestrels and rare forest trees. While in Black River you should also check the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation Picture: Chamarel Seven Coloured Earth (, they are leaders in developing Mauritius 25 hectares of tropical vegetation, Since then, Mauritius has enjoyed Eco-Tourism. Photographers will consisting of a wide variety of palm a stable democracy with regular love snapping away at the Vanilla trees, bamboos, eucalyptus and free elections (every five years). Reserve des Mascareignes, home to colorful exotic flowers such as the Along with a positive human rights Nile Crocodiles. hibiscus and orchids, you‘ll enjoy a record, the country has attracted If gardening‘s your thing, the gorgeously-perfumed day. Walking considerable foreign investment Pamplemousses Garden is one with the lions and cheetah is a first and has earned one of Africa’s of the oldest tropical gardens in in Mauritius, you will experience highest per capita incomes. Due the world, bursting with exotic an adrenaline rush, one on one to poor weather in the last couple flowers and tropical trees. If adventure and unique once in a of years, the declining sugar prices architecture‘s your kick, you won‘t lifetime experience. So, where do have slowed economic growth, be disappointed by the 1830 we all get this amazing history and leading to some protests over Eureka House, Le Chateau de mixed heritage from? Well, it all standards of living in the Creole Labourdonnais, St Aubin Colonial started back in the 10th century community, but tourism, textile House, The Ruins of Balaclava or when the Arab navigators, already and offshore investments are the Martello Tower, illustrating intriguing familiar with Mauritius, gave it the other major economic contributors history from early settlers. name of Dina Arobi but were not and Mauritius is one of the few History buffs shouldn‘t miss the interested in settling. It was only countries which has been resilient modern sugarcane exhibition of rediscovered by the Portuguese in throughout the global recession. L‘Aventure Du Sucre and the Salt 1505, followed by the Dutch, who Pans of Tamarin, for fascinating facts were believed to have caused the about the slavery trade. Animal extinction of the famous Dodo lovers can spend the day with wild which is now the emblem of stags, tigers and monkeys at Casela Mauritius. Then came the French, Bird Park, home to 140 bird species who lost out to the British, before from five other continents. Set in independence was attained in 1968. 9
  10. 10. The island surfing history Surfing arrived in Mauritius in the late 1960s with the first generation of long-board surfers, which included The Paturaus, the De Rosnay, the D‘unnienville, the Henry, the Pougnet and the Koenig brothers and friends. They largely concentrated around the Tamarin Bay area, which at the time, was the only place accessible by car. Those that ventured to other He discovered surfing spots along Madgroms dream of the perfect surfing areas had to hike for hours the South coast of Mauritius and tube. Surfing with him was always through sugarcane fields and bush was instrumental in instilling a code a pleasure and honor. Another land, often on private property, in of respect and manners among well-respected and Quicksilver the hope that when they arrived surfers in the area. Many young sponsored pro surfer is Toyo‘, who the perfect session would await surfers followed Cyril‘s passion and also made us proud while touring them. Often, it would be dark by became true surfing legends, such South Africa with fellow friends the time they arrived, which meant as J.P D‘Hotman, who remains an and team mates Ludovic Henry, a night‘s sleep under filao trees, active pioneer and true defender of Xavier Bechard, Chris Rainer and trying to escapes hungry fleas and surfing rights in Tamarin to this day. Bradley Britter, together with our mosquitoes. After a hard night‘s The most prominent pioneer to beloved friend, Sacha Gachet, who sleep, the lucky pioneers would remember in the Mauritian surfing we all miss. A keen and talented wake up on a deserted white scene is my friend, Ludovic Henry surfer, he tragically lost his life beach to be rewarded with perfect aka Denry, who contributed most while skateboarding Tamarin‘s waves with 4-8ft breaks. Australians by carrying the proud colors of Bitumen Hills. Finally, my favorite then introduced short-boards to Mauritius to the Top 44 in the WSP local rider, son of Tamarin store Mauritius in the 1970s. European Tour back in 2002. He owners, Founky is another true Since these were so difficult was ranked 33rd at the time and local pioneer. Founky always shows to obtain, L.P Maujean began did us all proud. Ludovic is a serious great enthusiasm and dedication reshaping old long-boards and guns surfer who draws more passion to the sport and his surfing spirit into short-boards, ready for use. and satisfaction out of surfing than shines amongst the local community During this time, Cyril Thevenau anything else of Tamarin. If you‘ve damaged your mastered the short-board and in life. board in Tamarin, Founky is the one rose to dominate the surfing scene Pain Pain is another passionate to fix it. in Mauritius. Arguably Mauritius‘ and respected surfer. A great soul My deepest apologies to those most famous surfer, Cyril was surfer, he gave us such a kick with who I‘ve forgotten to mention. For captured on ‘The Forgotten Island a goal to ride as hard as he did. A the record, this spot is very much of Santosha’ movie by L&R Yates. true tube rider who made all of us worshipped by locals, who patiently 10
  11. 11. Picture:Tamarin sunrise wait 6-12 months to get a decent world country and must protect 2-3 hour session when she cranks our island and all those living here up. If you manage to get a ride on and visiting. We hope you enjoy its this mythical world-class wave, you‘ll secrets, the unique cultures and be one of the lucky ones. Tamarin amazing attractions she has to offer. Bay has in itself been a unique wave SANTOSHA (Peace) that brings back the whole local surfing community, the Madgroms and the Whiteshorts together. Today, the increasing migration of South Africans to Tamarin sees a lot of keen riders out on the waves, mixing with locals. The Spot is sacred and protected by a small group of locals who bare long waits for that perfect wave. The last 10 years has seen the wave breaking at its best fewer than 10 times. A tragedy, maybe a curse from Mother Nature, to those who abuse such free passion and won‘t share such a pure enjoyment. All we can say is that we respect the spot, the surfers who mastered the reef and must respect our neighbors and fellow tourists who are our bread and butter in Mauritius. We live in a peaceful third 11
  12. 12. Surfing legends, local surfing rules, windsurfing & kitesurfing pioneers Photo: Mr. A.Cambier aka Mr. Oneye The Legend of One Eye Born in 1921 in Morcellement Cambier, Le Morne, Alan Cambier lost his left eye in a cattle accident The Myth, the Spot and the Mountain are still alive in his early 30‘s, and hence derived the name Mr. One Eye. This impressive, bold white man scared the many pioneers, tourists and ‘whiteshorts’ (aggressive groups of competitive surfers) who dared to trespass on his land en route to Le Morne southern beach. The fear he instilled earned the local surfers’ respect, resulting in the naming of One Eye of this internationally recognized surf spot known for its enormous tubes and amazing kite ride. On the southern façade of Le Morne mountain, you can spot a fascinating feature - a distinctive face profile with an eye. Thus, ‘The Legend of One Eye’ was born and is still very much alive today. Mr. One Eye continues to enjoy his beautiful Picture: Le Morne Mountain,The One Eye Façade, mountain view from his property The Surf Spot & Mr. One Eye, hence the myth with his extended family. Compliment : Jameel Peerally 12
  13. 13. Picture: Compliment HABIT - One of many lagoons that Mauritius and Rodrigues have to offer The Ruling Years of the Whiteshorts One of the consequences of where developers transformed surfing history. We respect your tourism was an influx of foreign and destroyed some of the coast, passion and selfish love of the place surfers who started coming to the dynamiting the lagoons and and wish you all a happy retirement. shores of Mauritius in the mid- damaging the island‘s fragile Many younger surfers have kept the 1970s. These early pioneers not aquatic life. Whiteshort spirit alive and taken only inspired the locals, but also This action resulted in a strong over the flag, but rest assured that discovered and started promoting backlash from some young local they are only verbally abusive, not Mauritius as a top surf destination, surfers, who were angry about the physically like their predecessors. as reflected in the greatest surfing destruction and modification of movie ever made, ‘The Forgotten their beaches and the sudden surge Island of Santosha’. Together with in foreign surfers at their favorite Mark Twain‘s statement ‘God spots. Some banded together to Made Mauritius and then he made form the Whiteshorts, whose Heaven’, this movie defines not just mantra was not to share any surfing the sheer beauty of the island‘s spots with tourists. This group, white-sand beaches, but also its originally aged 25–30 years old, breathtaking reef breaks and other developed a competitive and often unique attractions including surfing, aggressive vibe on the beaches, diving and sailing hotspots. giving Mauritius a rough reputation At the same time, the Mauritian in the international surfing scene. government was actively promoting Most of the Whiteshorts are now tourism, building hotels and in their 50’s and, although they‘re resorts across the island, which now much quieter, they remain part resulted in a reckless boom period of the dark side of the country‘s 13
  14. 14. Picture: A Santosha Secret Wave The movie shows Cyril Thevenau, Joel De Rosnay, L.P Maujean, Boul Rey and others dropping some of the biggest waves ever ridden on Dal, all the way down Tamarin Bay. A true record of the potential that Tamarin has to offer. Surf fans can get a taste of the island‘s shores can by watching ‘The Forgotten Island of Santosha’ (1974) and ‘The Big Day’ (1973), two classic surf movies which capture many unique memories of surfing here on the island. ‘The Big Day’ chronicles how one day, Tamarin villagers were awoken and shaken by the terrifying noise of enormous 10 to 15ft waves. Surfers, of course, embraced the situation, which presented one of the biggest surfing sessions ever surfed and, thankfully, recorded. 14
  15. 15. Picture: Pascal Mamet The Windsurfing & Kitesurfing Pioneers With every sport comes evolution A website you must consult before and the faster and more diverse the your surf trip is www.mauritiusurf. sport becomes, the more interest com. Nico Kux is a pioneer in the there is. Kitesurfing has drawn the sport and will introduce you to most extreme gliding attention spots you‘ve never heard of. His and interest and this revolutionary knowledge of his home town of extreme gliding sport is one of Cap Malheureux—Kuxville, as he the fastest-growing water sports named it, is a true paradise and kite around the globe. It has literally heaven for travelers: taken the world by storm and most surfing, windsurfing pioneers and enthusiasts worldwide and in Mauritius have now converted to kitesurfing, mastering the kiting scene with extreme courage and Nico has a fierce rider reputation. innovative skills. His local lagoon knowledge and We‘re all hungry for some more his time spent on the Northern beach events and wish to see lagoon will be crucial for your safety further international involvement and enjoyment. The Indian Ocean with serious sponsors and support, Surfing Company‘s La Gaulette and not just a couple of bottles Shop is one of the best-equipped and a banner, thank you very much! surf shops in Mauritius.You can New kitesurfing schools have secure all the gear you need from sprung up in all the main spots, from leading brands such as Naish and Belle Mare to Le Morne peninsula, Cabrinah. Stores such as One with its fantastic lagoons, a constant Eye and Santosha Island are also north easterly wind and lovely importers of well-known wind and views of Le Morne and Baie du Cap. kitesurfing brands “order only”, not It‘s a beautiful sauvage (or wild) forgetting Billabong and Habit which area highly recommended for also offer some great gear. It all amateur riders. depends on your budget and taste. 15
  16. 16. Photo: Pascal Mamet - Kitesurfers at Ile aux Flamants “Kiteival 2010” If you‘re worried about weight (of Local gliding pioneer Nico Kux was and local importers of the gear was your gear, that is!), you may have the first to introduce Kitesurfing mastering the sport. With such noticed that most travel agents in Mauritius followed by windsurf dedication and adrenaline rush don‘t tend to offer information to enthusiasts such Jean Francois every week-end came the urge help you. If you‘re a rider visiting Baraux (Son of Beach), Patrick to become the best at the sport. Mauritius for kitesurfing and Desvaux (Habit), Laurent Le Local competition was established diving, you‘ll be pleased to know Bolloch (Legall) and some local with these regular gathering then that you can take 20Kg of gear Tamarin heavy weights Igor, Jean came the masses who all wanted to free with Air Mauritius. Francois Merven, Bruno Coriollis, compete. The potential for growing Windsurfing was introduced Bertrand Staub, Christopher Tyack the local event to an international during the early 1980s tourism (Santosha Island) and the Faydherb event became the golden price to boost by the same surfing brothers were among the first those pioneers. pioneers who were unable to to challenge the coral reef and The Malibu Windsurfing surf as the strong winds made push the sport to its limits. With Competition was the first conditions impossible. Hotels a unique desire to master the windsurfing competition during mid were the first importers of extreme diversity and range of the 1990s. This competition was the windsurfing equipment on the lagoons, they set challenges and start of what would become one of island, providing the tourist with took the sport to a new level. the best International Kitesurfing the standard gear. But those Hence, extreme gliding was born destination in the World. Now same surfing pioneers and a new and the intense adrenaline rush on the KSP World Tour, Mauritius generation were already on top that came with it encouraged OneEye is known as one of the of the scene, experimenting with regular weekend gatherings of most fierce wave and tube, with new techniques, challenging new locals and dedicated enthusiasts massive 10-15ft wave session. Local barrel rides and ordering the supervising each other with the kite pioneer Nico Kux (Kitevial) latest windsurfing equipment in latest equipment and manoeuvres and Christopher Tyack (Le Morne order to perform at a higher level. in the most extreme conditions at Classic) are both keeping the locals Le Morne. and internationals happy with Between themselves and a handful authentic and challenging events of foreign riders, they were the involving the local community. lucky few at the time to have Kitesurfing has taken a greater turn the resources and experience to with many local and international enjoy Mauritius‘ unique lagoons. associations finally seeing the light The sport was very expensive in Mauritius and Rodrigues Islands. and inaccessible to most of the In fact, kitesurfing is so popular here population and only the foreigners now that the drawback is crowded 16
  17. 17. beaches and waters, especially Public Beach of the cosy village mauritius-windsurfing/ at weekends. International kite of Grand Gaube. Tel: 499 37 47, Another great water sports taking clubs Mistral is based around the email: Skype Mauritius by storm is Surfski. island within the resorts‘ water Kite@North, website: http://www. Island shamaal mauritius ocean centers and pro kite teachers are classic 2011 – 3rd edition always available for tips on how to Mauritius Kitesurf competition: International surfski paddling fly higher and how to ride those 1- Kiteival is a yearly international association world series unique barrels and lagoons. event created and organized by Today the generation Y are all two experienced and passionate Mauritius/ocean-classic.html kitesurfers and most are enjoying Mauritians: http://www.blackriver-mauritius. amazing Mauritius amazing Nico Kux, Kiteival’s Technical com/updates/Prg_2009.pdf lagoons and the couple of local Director - Sindbad Ltd - National Useful Links: and international competition. Kite Instructor IKO Certified. Kitesurfing is definitely a true iconic Nico has introduced kite surf in sport and economic booster for Mauritius in 1998 and organized Mauritius Tourism. several kite surf events and forecasts/mauritius/mauritius-wind- Most hotels and kite schools in festivals. He has also successfully chart_7143 Mauritius provide the equipment participated in international kite and lessons, but you are advised to surf events and competitions. bring your own gear and test the Albert d’Unienville, Naïade Resorts water for yourself. Rentals can be Events Manager, who has a solid found at the Club Mistral, based at experience in the organization Most hotels in Mauritius provide the Indian Resort in Le Morne. Club of major international and local the equipment and offer lessons, Mistral is the leading windsurfing (sports) events holidays in but you are advised to bring your club on the island and its team is Mauritius. own gear and test the water for well reputed worldwide for their 2-The Mauritius Kite Surf yourself. Rentals can be found at love for windsurfing and kitesurfing. International held in September the Club Mistral, based at the Indian A true paradise for all wind gurus welcomes international stars Resort in Le Morne. Club Mistral out there. such as the Australian Felix Pivec, is the leading windsurfing club Learn to KiteSurf in Mauritius Martin Vari from Argentina (three on the island and its team is well There are also training centres times world champion), Will James reputed worldwide for their love across the island for a beginner’s (Britain), John Amudson (United for windsurfing. course and in many regions, there States), Bertrand Fleury (France), are places that are calmer for Jaime Herraiz (Spain) to name a Kitesurfing, on the other hand, has initiation courses. few. This is the first year that the taken a greater turn with many local Kitesurfing clubs KSP is hosting its very first leg of and international associations finally Kiteland ltd New school at the the wave world tour, and this will seeing the light in Mauritius and Pavillon hotel Tel: 9313288, email: be held at Le Morne. Rodrigues Islands. In fact, kitesurfing 3-Le Morne Classic is the latest is so popular here now that the Yoaneye Kite Centre, Le Morne addition to the Mauritian Wind & drawback is crowded beaches and - Tel: 737 8296, website: www. Kitesurfing – Christophe Tyack is waters, especially at weekends. Pro the man behind this great event kite teachers are always available for Nomad Kite School, Le Morne - Tel: help in September at Le Morne. tips on how to fly higher and how 757 9854, website: www.ecole- 4- Mauritius One Eye Pro – This to ride those unique barrels and event is the latest Kite surfing lagoons. Son of Kite - email: jcgaley@gmail. event with local partner Patrick com, website: Desvaux (Kite League). http:// A true paradise for all wind gurus Sinbad Ltd, Cap Malheureux - Tel: out there. Learn to Surf in Mauritius 255 1850, email: kuxfamily@intnet. ksp-mauritius Roger Theveneau is one of the mu website: http://www. most influential surf teachers in Kite surf paradise - Tel: 4800849/ Mauritius, offering ‘Learn How 7434299, email: mauritius.kitesurf@ php?option=com_content&task=vie to Surf’ services in Tamarin Bay,, www.mauritius-kitesurf. w&id=4954&Itemid=140 depending on the swell conditions. com /www.stand-up-paddle- Mauritius International Visitors: Roger is always keen to give advice / Another great champion and and share his skills with youngsters Club Mistral and Skyriders, c/o regular visitor to Mauritius is and can be contacted directly: Hotel Indian Resort, Le Morne - Tel: Francisco Goya, his love of the 925 4960, email: mauritius@club- sport and contribution is a website: definitely plus. Please mention Santosha Guides. or www.myskyriders. com franciscogoya Kite@North is located on the 17
  18. 18. Local Surfing Rules The local rules in Mauritius today media, the Madgroms would like are probably not that different than Mauritius to host more events those in Hawaii or Australia - the and be known for the spectacular important thing is to respect them! sporting tourism events the country Here are few do‘s and don‘ts: has to offer, all the while preserving Mauritius‘ unique coastline. If you‘re a traveling surfer, show some consideration for those locals who have been riding and mastering the spots before you. Most Mauritian surfers work during the week and only get a chance to surf at the weekend, so try to appreciate the precious time they have to surf by not getting in their way. Always introduce yourself to those already in the water, don‘t ignore anyone and certainly don‘t overtake anyone on the line-up or start dropping. Talking of which, don‘t be a litterbug - the beaches and lagoons are Mauritius‘ crown jewels but they are in serious danger due to pollution. Plastic bottles and bags are not biodegradable and end up eradicating marine life when thrown in the water so please don‘t pollute.You can do your bit Photo: Antoine De Maroussem to prevent erosion on the beaches by sticking to the proper paths wherever possible. Be aware of the local conditions for each site Facts for Adventurers & Riders - some parts of the coastline can be dangerous if you don‘t have the Many famous professionals visit the island for long periods of up to three right knowledge. months a year to practice for international competitions or to make movies, many of which are available on the market. Most kitesurfing magazines Today‘s new, younger generation of have published articles on the world‘s best riders at One Eye and they all surfers, the Madgroms, which stands describe her as the world‘s most powerful and astounding barrel. She is our for ‘Mad Grommets’, is arguably national pride. friendlier to tourists. The Madgroms Mauritius has been described by many professional riders as ‘HEAVEN FOR were named for their extreme EXTREME GLIDING’. When they are just right, the conditions here are confidence and courage, their desire simply UNBELIEVABLE. But beware, there have already been many who to ride the best waves, showing thought they could have a go but ended up seriously hurt. greater skills and courage than the I recall such an event in 2005, where a Russian kiterider was knocked Whiteshorts at times, taking the unconscious during a low tide session at La Prairie, Le Morne and spent best tubes, creating new and the a couple of days in a coma. Without the local knowledge of the current, best maneuvers and generally having the sharp coral reef and the sand bank formation during low tide, harmful fun and sharing their experiences experiences and even tragedies can easily happen. among local friends and tourists, non-aggressive and cocky alike. Although the Whiteshorts are still active in some areas, there is no doubt that Mauritius is now much more tourist-friendly. Looking for exposure to international contests and challenges, along with the surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing 18
  19. 19. Remember, for your own safety always have someone supervising you wherever you are, whether Safety First riding within the lagoon or outside the lagoon, as there are no Safety must be always your priority while on holiday and it is CRUCIAL that lifeguards onsite and you are on you respect the priority and safety factor. your own. Locals will get very angry if anyone is hurt by an experienced For those challenging Mother Nature‘s lagoons, winds and swells, be sure to rider or show-off. research them first, along with the current, before throwing your windsurf, The kitesurfing map, provided by kite or board in the water. With unknown spots, always take a quick dive to Kite Co Ltd, gives you a detailed scan the seabed to check the depth of the water you‘ll be gliding on. Beware idea of what to expect and hazards of the sharp corals and shallow sections.Once you have identified all the to look out for at each spot. Please potential dangers, then go and give it a try! study the weather conditions before Always look out for the swells, as they tend to rise very quickly, and always jumping in and don‘t be scared to swim with the current if you get stuck in a strong pass. If you are kitesurfing, ask for local advice - it might save be careful when choosing your kite size as the wind speed and direction can your life. Above all, remember you change rapidly. It‘s recommended that you do not venture too far outside should never ride alone.You might the lagoons. never be heard or found. 19
  20. 20. N Rodrigues Cap Malheureux Anse La Raie Grand Gaube Pointe aux Piments Roche Noires Poste La Fayette Belle Mare Palmar Flic en Flac Ile Aux Cerf Tamarin Le Morne Pte d’Esny / Bluebay La Prairie Baie Du Cap Ilot Sancho Surinam 20
  21. 21. Our Partners 21
  22. 22. 02. Where to surf The West 1- The Bay of Tamarin or simply ‘La Baie’ Located at Tamarin Village‘s public beach on the West coast, this beach has many breaks with various peaks left and right. The beach is great for long boards, body boards, short- board amateurs and beginners. Swell direction: South West - West Top conditions: 3-6ft. Mid to high Parents are advised to watch their tides. Surfing hazards: The currents children at all times. Dolphins are a can be very strong. One should frequent sighting in the bay during take special care when crossing the morning sessions. river as it can be very dangerous although it may look small and weak. 2- Dal 3- Black Stone 4- Black River Harbor Dal has often been described in In front of the Sands Resort Located at the Black River Morne international surfing magazines as opposite Tamarin Bay, Black Stone Angler‘s Club (accessed from one of the best spots worldwide. is a long down the line right hander Martello Tower), she is a great tube Left hander that runs for about that is ideal for longboards and mini when she works, with occasional 100 metres over shallow reef, with mals. left and right breaks off the point two main sections. On certain swell It has a few barrel sections but of the right-hand side pass. There‘s directions it can tube, but generally often is hard to get onto with a a very shallow reef and you need is a fast down the line wave, with short board and to get passed the to paddle a long way to get to her, possibility to do some great sections. If you get the right one, so it‘s worth hiring a pirogue for maneuvers. Dal has two dangerous you can get a wave all the way down Rs1000. Swell direction: North/ sections. The first section has a fast to the edge of the bay. North East and steep take-off with a straight-in- Swell direction: South-West the-tube pass. Through the second Top conditions: No more than section, it has the most amazing Top conditions: 4-6ft. High tides. 4ft. Heavy spot Surfing hazards: A barrel and hollow tubes with more Surfing hazards: There are caves and very shallow reef and busy harbor than 15 possible maneuvers. She rocks at the take-off and the area nearby. Recommended surfing level: curves inside the reef and dies is occasionally infested with sea experienced inside the bay. Swell direction: urchins. Also has big currents (accessible by boat only) South-West Recommended surfing level: Intermediate to experienced. Top conditions: 3-10ft. Mid to high tides. Surfing hazards: Watch out for the very shallow and sharp coral reef infested with sea urchins. This area is heavily protected by the locals and the whiteshorts. Recommended surfing level: Useful Link: Intermediate to experienced. Mauritius surf reports : visit 22
  23. 23. The South West 1- Le Morne 3- One Eye 4 - Fine Curl This is the most famous lagoon for The legendary One Eye is found Fine Curl is a 20-minute paddle the most experienced locals and at Le Morne public beach next to from the launching zone of the kites international riders. It‘s important the Berjaya hotel (currently under at Le Morne public beach in front not to wander too far outside the renovation). She has very hollow of La Pointe. In the right conditions, lagoon as there are no coastguards and dangerous left and right reef her right generates some excellent, based here. BE VERY CAUTIOUS. breaks and is unpredictable with powerful waves. Pirogues can be rented from Le dangerous sections. For tube riders, Swell direction: South Morne or La Gaulette. Ask for she‘s a real treat, as she‘s heavy on Top conditions: 3-6ft. Low to mid Picket or Mr. Gerard in Le Morne - the take-off. Swell direction: tide. Safety hazards: Strong current they can secure you a pirogue and Southerly swell. and a deep pass with an infested a guide for the day. Crayfish and Top conditions: 3-6ft. Mid-high tides. shark cave not far away. The wind is local catch-of-the-day BBQs can Safety hazards: Shallow coral reef highly unpredictable - it can be very be arranged on Ile Aux Bennitier infested with sea urchins and ginger strong at times but then suddenly after your session. Pricewise, you‘re reefs. Frequent heavy current. This drop dead. Recommended surfing looking at Rs4500 for the day, area can get very crowded. level: Experienced including your food and soft drinks. Recommended surfing level: Experienced. 2- L‘Ambulante 4- La Prairie and Ti (small) la Prairie 5 - Chameau At Le Morne public beach next to A sand bank that gives great right This spot at Le Morne public the Dina Robin hotel, L‘Ambulante hander for learners that is located beach, to the right of Fine Curl, is a very fast left hander that runs on the inside of a lagoon at Le has recorded some of the biggest over a shallow reef and end in a Morne public beach, right in front of swells of the entire island. With big pass. It is a fun wave in the 3-4ft the Indian Resort pier. waves up to a whopping 15ft, she size, but becomes very serious from Swell direction: South is very powerful and dangerous 4ft and above. Reef is far out and Top conditions: 3-4ft. High tide. and produces both rights and lefts has very heavy rips, so it is a must Safety hazards: Strong currents peaks. Combined with her amazing to have a boat to both access the which makes it hard to get back to hollow tubes and a very heavy spot and to stay with you in case of the beach on an outgoing tide. Boat take-off, she’s definitely the most injury. It is quite fickle as it need the is recommended.Very crowded challenging spot on the entire island. right swell direction combined with with surfers, kitesurfers and Chameau is accessible by boat. the right wind direction, but if you windsurfers. Many locals own pirogues and are get these right you can get amazing Recommended surfing level: happy to take tourists out for the waves. Beginner day. Typically, you can either catch Swell direction: South, South- West Club Mistral‘s learning area for a pirogue from La Gaulette or Le Top conditions: 3-6ft on rising tide. windsurfers and kitesurfers is ideal Morne village. Ask for Ton Pic or Surfing hazards: Extremely strong for beginners, but also offers great Gerard - they‘re both well-known current - do not paddle out; rent winds and rides for intermediate and have comprehensive knowledge a boat from the boat house or a and advanced riders. It‘s a of the lagoons. Swell direction: local from Le Morne or La Gaulette. spectacular lagoon in a beautiful South Top conditions: 3-6ft. High There‘s also sharp coral and the setting affording views of Le Morne tide. Safety hazards: Unpredictable water is infested with sea urchins. mountain and Ile au Fourneau. and dangerous. Recommended Recommended surfing level: surfing level: Experienced Experienced. In general surfing on the weekends is left for locals. 23
  24. 24. 6 - Manawa With a long left with a couple of small sections, you can see her profile from Le Morne public beach, behind Ti La Prairie. Swell direction: North Top conditions: 3-6ft. Mid tides. Surfing hazards: Sharks and Barracudas are often seen in the area. Recommended surfing level: Intermediate or experienced. 7 - Baie Du Cap - Maconde 10- Rivière des Gallets Located at Baie Du Cap, Maconde The beach at Rivière des Gallets is a short left which breaks on the village has a consistent reef break, far right of the pass of Baie du Cap. but it can be very windy during the Depending on the conditions and its winter season. In perfect conditions, size, this wave can be very powerful. her amazing right with heavy barrels Swell direction: North and tube ride that breaks just Top conditions: 3-4ft. Low to meters off the polished stone beach, mid tide. Surfing hazards: Strong make her truly unique. currents and winds and very large Swell direction: South lagoons. Bulldog sharks, Tiger sharks Top conditions: 3-8ft. High tide. and Barracudas can often be seen Surfing Hazards: Stone beach feeding on dead cattle and dogs. with very shallow reef and strong WARNING: Do not surf after raz current. Recommended surfing de maree or heavy rain. level: Beginner, intermediate and Recommended surfing level: experienced. Experienced. 11 - Cemetière (Graveyard) 8 - Ile au Sancho Located at the Rivière des Gallets village in front of the cemetery, Located at Baie du Jacotet, a public she has a tiny pass, is fast and beach near Ile au Sancho is a left is a dangerous ride. It has close break inside the bay.You can take out sections but offers some off from the right-hand side of the outstanding tubes. eroded coral, but this rarely works Swell Direction: North East so you need to be patient when Top conditions: 3-6ft. Mid to high surfing these waves. tide. Surfing hazards: This area has a tiny pass, very strong current and sharp coral. Recommended surfing 9 - Big Sancho level: Experienced. Big Sancho is on the other side of the island and has numerous left peaks from the very far right. Swell direction: North East Surfing hazards: A very shallow reef and strong currents at low tide. Top conditions: 3 to 8ft. High tide. Recommended surfing level: Beginner, intermediate and experienced. 24
  25. 25. The East 1 - Souillac -Telfair Located at the Gris Gris public beach near the pier, this spot has a bad reputation for board breaking and harsh injuries. She has scared many local and foreign surfers with her surging masses of water. Swell direction: South West The NorthWest & NorthEast Top conditions 3-6ft. Rising tides. Surfing hazards: A very shallow coral reef and strong current. Recommended surfing level: Experienced 2 - Iles aux Deux Cocos Located behind Shandrani Hotel/ Blue Bay public beach, it has a short left break, is very fast and can be hollow at times. She has many sections and is a great tube in perfect conditions. The wave breaks just meters off the volcanic rock. Swell direction: South East. Top conditions: 3-8ft. Low to mid tide. Surfing hazards: It‘s a long paddle out from the public beach and there are strong currents during the low tide. Recommended Photo – Santosha Guides surfing level: Experienced One of many reef breaks Mauritius & Rodrigues have to offer. 1 - Balaclava Bay / Pointe aux 3 - Le Goulet Piments Location: North West The right side of this bay, located Surfing hazards: Raz de Marée. in the Bay du Tombeau, has been Recommended surfing level: described by many as like ‘the Jaws Beginner and intermediate of Mauritius‘. It‘s an amazing right- hander with a long barrel. On the 4 - Calamar other side of the bay, the left is also a good spot. For big wave riders, Location: North West it is a ‘must-stop-by’ on heavy Recommended surfing level: days. It‘s also a great lagoon for Beginner and intermediate kitesurfing and windsurfing. Swell We hope this helps you on your direction: North West and West Top way to finding the perfect wave. conditions: Swell up to 10ft. Surfing There are many other passes and hazards: There are strong currents breaks that aren’t described in this in the area. guide and this is where your inner Recommended surfing level: search for the perfect ride comes in. Experienced Our top tip is to be careful - don‘t 2 - Bernache surf alone and always have people on land knowing where you are Location: North East going. Swell direction: North East and East Surfing hazards: Sharp coral reef and Local Tips: Respect the locals and strong current. often will help you out. Recommended surfing level: Experienced 25
  26. 26. 03. Essential information for visitors Country name: Mauritius Conventional long form: Republic of Mauritius Capital: Port Louis Mauritius‘ international airport is the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport based in the South East of the island near the village of Mahebourg and the capital, Port Louis. Several airlines offer international flights to and from Mauritius, including Air Mauritius, Air Europe, Air France, Air Zimbabwe, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Condor, Emirates and South African Airways. Visas and passports Visitors must have a valid passport and a return or onward ticket. Tourist or visitor visas are normally granted for a period of two to four weeks upon arrival. It is recommended that visitors check with their airline, local Mauritian Embassy or their travel agent regarding visa requirements prior to flying to Mauritius. Visas can be extended upon request at the Passport and Immigration Office, Sterling House, 11-19 Lislet Geoffroy Street, Port-Louis, Tel : (230) 210-9312 to 210-9317 Fax (230)210-9322. Economic Overview Since independence in 1968, increased life expectancy, lower more than 9,000 offshore entities, Mauritius has developed from a infant mortality and a much- many aimed at commerce in India low-income, agriculturally-based improved infrastructure. Sugarcane and South Africa, and investment economy to a middle-income is grown on about 90% of the in the banking sector alone has diversified economy with growing cultivated land area and accounts reached over $1 billion. Mauritius, industrial, financial and tourist for 25% of export earnings. The with its strong textile sector, sectors. For most of the period, government’s development strategy has been well poised to take annual growth has been in the centers on expanding local financial advantage of the Africa Growth and order of 5-6%. This remarkable institutions and building a domestic Opportunity Act (AGOA). achievement has been reflected in information telecommunications more equitable income distribution, industry. Mauritius has attracted 26
  27. 27. Companies involved in the sugarcane industry are now turning their assets into IRS/RES (Integrated Resort Scheme/Real Estate Scheme) and commercial developments. Mauritius accounts for a dozen new projects with great ROI (return on investment) for international investors. Industries: Food processing (largely sugar milling), textiles, clothing, chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, nonelectrical machinery, tourism. Agriculture: sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses, cattle, goats, fish. Exports: clothing and textiles, sugar, cut flowers, molasses. Export partners: UK 31.9%, France 20.2%, US 11.4%, Madagascar 6.3%, Italy 5.4%. Imports: manufactured goods, capital equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, chemicals. Import partners: France 11.4%, South Africa 10.8%, India 8.8%, China 5.7%, Finland 5.5%, Bahrain 5.1% and Germany 4.9% Money Matters Mauritius Facts Public Holidays Currency: Full name: The Republic of Mauritius New Year: 1-2 Jan The Rupee, which is divided in 100 Chinese Spring Festival: 22 Jan cents. Notes are in denominations Population: 1.3 million (UN, 2010) Slavery Abolition: 1 Feb of 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and Haipoosam Cavadee: 5 Feb 2000. Coins are 1, 5 and 10 Rs and Capital and largest city: Port Louis Maha Shivaratee: 18 Feb 20 and 50 cent pieces. One US Ugadi: 21 Mar dollar is worth approximately 28 Area: 2,040 sq km (788 sq miles) Labour Day: 1 May Rupees. L’Assomption: 15 Aug Credit Cards: Major languages: English (official), Ganesh Chaturti: 19 Sep Major credit cards are accepted in Arrival of the First Indentured hotels and restaurants. Creole, French, Indian languages Labourers: 2 Nov Traveler‘s cheques in any currency Divali: 12 Nov can be exchanged in Mauritius. Major religions: Hinduism, Eid-Ul-Fitr: 14 or 15 Nov Christianity, Islam (depending on the moon) Christmas: 25 Dec Life expectancy: 68 years (men), 76 years (women) (UN) National holiday Monetary unit: 1 Mauritian rupee=100 cents Independence Day: 12 March (1968) Main exports: Sugar, clothing, tea, jewellery GNI per capita: US $7,240 (World Bank, 2009) Internet domain: .mu International dialling code: +230 27
  28. 28. Government type Parliamentary democracy Administrative divisions: 9 districts and 3 dependencies*; Agalega Islands*, Black River, Cargados Carajos Shoals*, Flacq, Grand Port, Moka, Pamplemousses, Plaines Wilhems, Port Louis, Rivière du Rempart, Rodrigues*, Savanne Constitution Mauritius‘ constitution was signed on 12 March 1968 and amended on 12 March 1992. The legal system is based on the French civil law system with elements of English common law. The country accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations. Customs Terrain Ethnic groups Consists of a small coastal plain Travelers over 18 years of age may Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, rising to discontinuous mountains import the following duty-free Sino-Mauritian 3%, and encircling central plateau (lowest items: Franco-Mauritian 2%. point: Indian Ocean 0m & highest 250 grams of tobacco (including point: Mont Piton 828m). cigars and cigarettes), 1 liter of Tide: Tidal information can be found Religion: spirits, 2 liters of wine, ale or at: beer, 250ml of Eau de Toilette and htm or Hindu 48%, Roman Catholic 23.6%, perfume not exceeding 100 ml. other Christian 8.6%, Muslim 16.6%, The following items require an other 2.5%, unspecified 0.3%, none Import Permit from the Ministry Natural resources 0.4% (2000 census). of Agriculture prior to arrival: Time difference: 4 hours ahead of plants, plant material, including Arable land, fish. Arable land: 49.02%, GMT (UK) in winter and 3 hours cuttings, flowers, bulbs, fresh fruits, permanent crops: 2.94%, other: ahead in summer. Daylight hours vegetables and seeds, imported 48.04%. approximately 0500hrs to 1900hrs animals and animal products. in summer and 0600hrs to 1800hrs For animal related products, a Environmental in winter. health certificate from the country of origin is also required. issues Passengers are not permitted Water pollution, degradation of to bring sugarcane (whole or in coral reefs. part), soil, micro-organisms or invertebrate animals into Mauritius. Drug trafficking is illegal and carries Population very heavy penalties. Firearms and ammunition need 1,294,104 with an age structure import permits and must be 0-14 years: 23.9%, 15-64 years: declared on arrival. 69.5%, 65 years and over: 6.6%. Climate: Tropical, modified by South July 2010 estimate. East trade winds; warm, dry winters (May to November); hot, wet and humid summers (November to May). HIV / AIDS 13,000 people living with aids. 28
  29. 29. The Press - Le Mauricien - daily - L’Express - daily - Le Matinal - daily - 5 Plus - weekly - Mauritius Times - English-language weekly Television & Radio Media - MBC - state-run, operates The constitution guarantees three channels and a service for freedom of expression and of Rodrigues Island the press. State-owned Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) - MBC - state-run, broadcasting in radio and TV generally reflect English, French, Indian languages government thinking. MBC is funded and Chinese. MBC stations include by advertising and a TV licence Radio Maurice 1 and 2, Kool FM, fee. Private radio stations were Taal FM, One World FM and Radio introduced in 2002. Rodrigues. Daily newspapers and weeklies offer balanced coverage in several - Top FM - private FM station, languages. They are often critical Bollywood music and Western pop of both the government and the opposition parties. Two media - Radio One - first private radio groups - Le Mauricien Ltd and La station Sentinelle Ltd - dominate the press scene. Television is the most-popular medium. Multichannel TV is available in Port Louis. Internet access is widely available; by early 2008, nearly 27% of the population had access (ITU). BBC World Service radio is available via a medium wave (AM) relay (1575 kHz). Radio France Internationale is relayed on FM. 29
  30. 30. The geography & climate Mauritius is known for its vast white beaches, rugged volcanic mountains, and its large plateau at 550 to 730 meters above sea level. The island lies 20 degrees south of the equator, just within the Tropic of Capricorn. Mauritius enjoys an equable maritime climate, tropical in summer and subtropical in winter, with an average summer temperature of 27°C and a winter temperature averaging 17°C. The island’s coastline runs over 200 kilometers and is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, clean white sands, and clear lagoons full The population of tropical fish. The nearest Asian neighbor of Mauritius in the Indian The population of the Republic Ocean is Sri Lanka: Colombo is of Mauritius is growing at a rate 3,200 kilometers from Port Louis, of 0.5 % since mid-2009 and was the capital of Mauritius. Both Aden estimated at 1,281,200 as at 1st July in Yemen and Cape Town in South 2010. The people are descendents Africa are 3,680 kilometers from of European colonists, African slaves, Mauritius. Indians and Chinese merchants. In addition to the island of Mauritius Today the island is a melting pot of and the small island of Rodrigues, all these cultures. the state of Mauritius includes two The Mauritian population consists tiny dependencies laying to the of Indian descent represents north—Agalega Islands (70 square 69% of the population. Creoles kilometers) and the Carajoas Shoals the descendants of the African (1.3 square kilometers), which are slaves represents 25% of the virtually unpopulated. There are also population, Christian Europeans the five small islands off the northwest minority represents only 3%. The coast of Mauritius, and the Chagos religious beliefs of the population Archipelago lies midway between of Mauritius are as manifold as Mauritius and Sri Lanka. This their ethnic background - 52% archipelago was long a dependency are Hindus, 30% Christians, 10% of Mauritius. Muslims and 2% Buddhists. 30
  31. 31. The culture If you would enjoy a vacation where The languages of Mauritius are a way of life which is both exciting you can learn about and experience also a beautiful blend of its people. and serene. When you choose different cultures, a Mauritius If you are not familiar with the this lovely island as your vacation vacation is the trip for you! This Creole language, it is in itself a destination, you will have the island has a rich history; but fascinating blend of language that chance to experience it all first- whether or not you are a history you simply must hear in order to hand. Whether you are a modern buff, you will delight in the blended fully appreciate. French and English person who is most interested in culture that is Mauritius today. What are also widely used on Mauritius. how a different lifestyle is today, or is culture about that makes it so From traditional dance to modern one who loves the rich traditions fascinating to so many people? It is surfing, you will find many activities which have resulted from different about people from different places; which will be of interest to you cultures throughout history, this is it is about traditions and ways that during your Mauritius vacation. the vacation spot that will suit you they brought with them from the Whether your preference is for more than any other! As soon as past; and it is about how all of these participating or being a spectator, you have your very first taste of this factors come together to influence the island has much to offer. Even island, you will be glad you chose the lifestyle in modern times. On your shopping sprees will be an Mauritius! the island of Mauritius, you will experience in culture, as you can find much important evidence of find traditional artwork and many blended cultures. The influences other reasonably-priced treats, all can be seen in the tasty varieties with the special flavor of Mauritius. of food, heard in the language On Mauritius, the old and the new and music, and experienced in and the peoples of many different the activities that are popular on backgrounds all come together in Mauritius. The beautiful, exciting Photo – Yoann Derunes sense of style that is exhibited in all of these factors will make your Mauritius vacation an adventure in culture. When the Chinese, Dutch, Indian, French, and other cultures have all had their place in the history of Mauritius, one of the most delightful results is in the island’s foods. Indian curry, Chinese noodles, beans and rice, and Creole fare are all widely popular. The American influence has made its way to the island, however, as you will see with some of the same fast-foods that are well-known in the United States. Whether you prefer to dine in a stylish, sophisticated restaurant, or to grab a quick bite to eat during your active day, you will find both the unique and the familiar foods. There is something for your every whim and taste! 31
  32. 32. Le Morne mountain A world heritage site From a legend of lemuria to a monument to freedom A story by a friend and great activist of freedom of speech - Jameel Peerally Le Morne mountain has been Le Morne as a world heritage site. my point of focus for the last six In the southwest of Mauritius, years. I’ve spent this time getting overlooking the coast of Black River, to know Le Morne village and its the Morne Brabant mountain rears wonderful people, the mountain in its massive and weather-beaten all its angles and shades of light and head for all to see. This great rock colour. My photos I hope reflect which towers to some 240 metres the greatness of Le Morne as a is much more than a distinctive Mauritian symbol of freedom. After landmark. It bears witness, like all we all came from somewhere nothing can, to a very painful else and made this island our period in the island‘s history. But home. Some of us came as slaves, it also carries an undying message. others as indentured labourers A message of man‘s unquenchable to serve the colonial powers that thirst for freedom. had settled upon the island. As a It used to be a refuge for runaway professional photographer, this is slaves, who escaped the cruelty my contribution, to support and miseries inflicted upon them by their masters. Le Morne , a reminder of the dark days of slavery, now stands, over and above everything else, as a natural monument to freedom. UNESCO is expected to declare Le Morne a World Heritage Site. Le Morne also forms part of the Lemurian origins of the island… ‘Un pays qui n‘a plus de légendes se condamne à mourir de froid.. Mais un peuple qui n‘aurait plus de mythe court vers la mort.’ ‘A country that has no more legends is set to die of cold.. But a nation without a myth runs towards death.’ - Dumézil Goerges 32
  33. 33. Legend has it that… Once upon a time a colony of giants inhabited the great crescent of Lemuria. One day they set out in search of the land of Paradise. They searched east, they searched west; they searched north, they searched south, but Paradise was The following Story of Le Morne is never in sight. Then one day on much closer to reality their return journey to their native land, while they were roaming over Ton Maxime was born and raised in huge boulders, a large number of the Tropic of Capricorn, they found the shadow of Le Morne in full sight skulls and bones lay scattered at the a magnificent island freshly forged of the sea. Everything in his world foot of the towering cliff. The place from the depths of the sea by had a function – the winds and the was as silent as a graveyard. He was Vulcan, the blacksmith magician of clouds, the currents and the surf, filled with terror and started to run the Gods. The Lemurians decided to the rocks, trees and mountains. They as fast as his legs could carry him. remain on the island. were his friends and his constant When he reached home he told his companions. He depended on them father what he had seen. This is how Mauritius was first for his daily bread. They helped and ‘Tell me father’, ‘he asked’, ‘is Le discovered and settled… guided him in his daily struggle for Morne inhabited by man-eating survival. This is why Le Morne stood demons? I‘m very frightened. I‘ll This race of Titans were master- so high and rugged and stretched so never go near Le Morne again.’ builders. With their chisels and far out into the sea. In all weathers, After a long silence, his father said: their hammers they sculpted, over on hot sunny days as well as in rain ‘My son, you must not be afraid of the years, the quaint shapes of the and storm, Le Morne was always Le Morne. Listen to me carefully. mountains. One was in the form of there, above the waves, holding its I‘m going to tell you something that a reclining lion, another was like a old, grey head so high that it could will fill your heart with sadness. But Lemurian head, yet another was in be seen for miles around. It guided it is important for you to know the shape of a titanic thumb. The the fishermen to their favourite the truth. Many years ago, a long Lemurians lived on the island for mooring grounds. It led them back time before you were born, many many millions of years. Then one home by day and by night well of our people were stolen by force day, they left for some unknown clear of the reefs and treacherous from their homes in lands very far reason. But before they left, headlands to the safety of the bay. away beyond the sea. They were they placed sentinels at different But Le Morne was much more than brought to this country to work strategic peaks, wrote down their a useful landmark. It guarded the as slaves on the sugar plantations. prophecy and gave life to these fishing bays of the entire Black River They were sold to different masters. mountains. coast. It was always there, watching Some were good masters, but many This is how the Morne mountain over them as it had watched over were very cruel. When some of our came to be posted at the extreme and given shelter to the last of the people could not bear it anymore western point to guard the entire runaway slaves. they ran away and hid in the forests. western coast of the island. The Many years ago, when he was still My father worked for a captain in flattened summit served the a boy, Ton Maxime liked to go far the army. He was forced to help his purpose of an altar from where into the woods and mountains to master hunt down the slaves that the Lemurians could gaze at the hunt for deer, wild pig and hare. had run away. One day he could translucent sea right to its bottom. One day he had followed a wild not bear it any longer. There were It is from there that they implored pig to the foot of Le Morne. He thirteen captured ‘esclaves marrons’ the Lord of the sea to accept their broke through the thick bushes and in chains. offerings. The above belongs to the suddenly he saw a sight that froze world of myth and legend. his blood in his veins. Among the 33
  34. 34. They were going to be severely punished the next day. At night, my father freed the prisoners and escaped with them to the top of Le Morne mountain. This place was at that time very densely forested and changes had taken place on the deaths hundreds of feet below. I was the most inaccessible place in the island. Slavery had been abolished the only survivor. whole of the island. The mountain of and all the slaves had been set Le Morne free. But we were cut off from the ‘I wish I had died along with the became their home. In the course rest of the island and we didn‘t others. But I now realise that I had of time, the small group was joined know. Soldiers were sent out to been saved so that I could tell the by other slaves who had run away the forests and mountains, not to story of our people to you, so that from their masters. My father fell hunt down and capture the escaped you could tell it to your children, in love with a beautiful girl called slaves but to tell them that they so that they could know that our Reka. They were married in a simple were free. But we didn‘t know.’ people did not die in vain.’ ceremony on top of the mountain. I was born shortly afterwards. One day, some soldiers found a ‘Now you know, my son, those ‘We were all living happily together. path to the top of the Morne. They bones you saw at the foot of the We worked together and helped had guns and long knives and they mountain are the bones of our each other. We hunted deer, wild were shouting in a strange language. people.You can be proud of them. pig, monkeys and tenrecs. We also We all thought they had come to Rather than live as slaves, they fished in the lagoon and had plenty capture us and to take us back to preferred to die as free men.You of seafood. We had all the wood work on the plantations. We could see, my son, you have no reason and the fronds we wanted for our not bear to be separated from each to be afraid of Le Morne. It is your houses. We made mats and bed other and to be made to work like friend as it was a long time ago to covers from Vacoas leaves. We grew slaves. All of us - men, women and your people. It was their last refuge our own vegetables in places hidden children – grouped together on top on earth as well as their tomb.’ on the mountain.’ of the mountain on the edge of the In the evenings, we came together cliff. As the soldiers advanced on The next day, Ton Maxime and his round a small fire and exchanged us, my father and I threw ourselves father woke up before the sun and sanspek and sirandane and we sang at them, waving our knives. They went to that unknown clearing at and danced. We made our own started firing at us. My father was the foot of Le Morne. There they ravanes, maravanes and triangles. We killed instantly and I was knocked buried the bones in a secret place. were very happy to be free. down. At the same moment, all our ‘The years passed. Meanwhile many people hurled themselves to their 34
  35. 35. If you‘re a surfer, during the winter season (May to November), which is the time with the most consistent swells, you must either catch an early morning session or wait for a When to go late afternoon session to beat the wind. It usually drops between 6am- Mauritius and Rodrigues are 9am and 5pm-7pm. situated in the path of many tropical During the summer season storms and cyclones and have (November to May), which is the only two distinctive seasons - ‘The best time to sunbathe, swim, sail, Endless Summer’ and ‘The Wild snorkel and dive all around the Winter’. Both seasons can generate island, my personal recommendation extreme heatwaves and cold fronts would be Grand Bay in the north respectively, from which torrential of the island where you can catch rains and devastating cyclones are some great catamaran trips to Flat born. Island and Le Coin de Mire. At Both islands have a variable this time of year, unique turquoise humid summer season and waters and very active aquatic life experience very wet winters with are a real treat.You‘ll also have the heavy, tropical rainfalls. These chance to catch some good swells two very different seasons have on the South West and South East their downfalls as well as their coasts, along with perfect wind advantages. The major downfall of conditions for windsurfing and a warm summer is the abundance kitesurfing. of flies (both by day and by night) The West coast is very dead during while, in wintertime, you may the summer period, but again it find yourself dodging the invading depends on the weather conditions colonies of mosquitoes. Both types and can sometimes be a pleasant of insect can be annoying so be surprise. So, keep your eye out on prepared with the right repellant. the Internet and monitor the local You have been warned. weather channel. Picture:The Catholic Cross placed by Mr. A Cambier on Le Morne Mountain as a sign of freedom and of God‘s blessing 35