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Magnificent Mauritius

By Joy Wanja Muraya | January 18th 2015 at 08:30:00 GMT +0300

Located in the South East of Mauritius is the  towards the Grand River the view of this spectacular waterfall is accessed by a speed boat.

Beauty is God’s handwriting.

This is best seen in the Indian Ocean Island of Mauritius whose scenic view, treasures on land and beneath the sea and its beautiful people excited my heart.

Mauritius is blessed with varied coastal views, tastes and culture that gave me and a group of friends an unforgettable one-week experience in December.

But not before a snaking experience on Mombasa Road as our taxi driver tried to beat the mid-morning Nairobi traffic jam on this last Saturday before Christmas for a 1.15pm Air Mauritius flight 534 from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

We were eight friends.

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At the check-in counters, we all assembled and excitement was already showing on our faces.

Our excitement could also be seen in our form of clothing — sandals and shorts, dresses for the ladies and shorts for the children.

The four-hour flight is comfortable, and we were kept busy by the three little ones in our group.

At the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Port Louis at 8pm, we are hit by humid air, a pleasant break from the unpredictable Nairobi weather. We were attracted by a manual pager bearing a wrongly spelt name of one of us.

The driver of our van informed us that the trip to our residence at Garden Retreat apartments in Grand Bay area would take two hours.

 The roads are narrow, but there is minimal traffic, and it seems there is no social life at all.

At the Grand Retreat apartments, we settled in our respective apartments and enjoyed the cool night breeze as we prepared dinner.

We were glad we had chosen the self-catering option.

After breakfast on Sunday morning, Kurreeman Toula from the Grand Bay Travel and Tours came to give us the details of a four-day excursion that would take us to the North, South East and West of Mauritius and open our eyes and hearts to its beauty and warmth.

The public beach was a bit busy so we decided to swim on the beachfront of Hotel Recif Attitude which is 30 minutes from where we were staying.

The best stretch of coral sands and clearest waters by this hotel side got us hooked, and we frolicked in the warm salty waters.

Our fun was cut short a few minutes to 6 pm so that we could hire taxis back to our apartments.

It was harder to get means after sunset, and we realised that it was also expensive.

On Monday, we set out for the South of Mauritius. Our itinerary began with a morning drive to a dormant volcano, where we enjoyed a panoramic view of the Plaines Wilhems from the top of Trou aux Cerfs.

Our next stop was the Sacred Lake locally known as Ganga Talao, the pilgrimage site dedicated to Hinduism’s Lord Shiva.

The lake is considered the most sacred Hindu shrine in Mauritius.

The Black River Gorges which is a wild forested area  with 60 kilometres of nature trails did not disappoint especially with the bird chirps and the undergrowth providing a quiet and peaceful walk.

We were excited when we saw the seven coloured Earth of Chamarel soil formations comprising dunes in seven different colours. This is a restricted area.

We paid 200 Mauritian rupees per person for the Chamarel experience though we did not get to see the famed turtles.

Our tour guide informed us that though they look like soft-soil, it is actually layers of lava that hardened over hundreds of years and that is they assumed different colours.

On Monday, we went to the South East, to the Grand River where we saw experienced spectacular waterfalls.After the waterfall experience, it was time to challenge my fear of heights by parasailing.

Also known as parascending or parakiting, it involves a glide through the air wearing an open parachute while being towed by a motorboat.

We received simple three-minute instructions from the launch crew and we we then harnessed  onto the Para-Sail. We were airborne in a short while.

The scenery was breathtaking, the beautiful view of the blue sea portrayed the serenity and beauty of the Indian Ocean.

Parasailing done, it was time for lunch — which comprised fish fillet, roast chicken and roast bananas — at a nearby island as one of the residents played tunes on his guitar and sang in Creole.

On Christmas Eve, we boarded a cruise ship to three islands of Flat, Snake and Gabrielle where we had lunch on a flat island before swimming for three or so hours.

Out of the water, we decided to shake a leg.

We danced to the local music known as sega and participated in a dancing competition with other tourists on board the cruise ship on our journey back to our apartments.

We spent Christmas Day in the apartments, and made chapatis and chicken for lunch. Later, we took to the swimming pool.

On Boxing Day, we visited other islands and ended up trying out snorkeling, and saw the beautiful under sea coral formations and sea-life.

Our Last Supper that evening was a bitter-sweet moment as we relieved our experiences of the last five days in the beautiful land.

Even then, we went to bed early as we had to be up by four, to prepare and be in time for the 8.40am flight from Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport to Nairobi.

The two-hour drive to the airport was quiet as we slept throughout the journey.

The flight was uneventful, and we landed at JKIA at 1pm.

We were glad to be home, but we immediately started missing our home in Grand Bay, in Magnificent Mauritius.

Indian Ocean Mauritius adventure
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