July 22, 2011

Port Louis- The Island Capital...!!

Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius is quite different from other parts of the country. From the tranquil beaches, Port Louis is poles apart, with the serenity changing to tall buildings and traffic jams. It can well be defined as a modern city with all the requirements like shopping malls, sports cars, fashionable people and crowded streets.

The most important landmark and the biggest tourist attraction of Port Louis is The Citadel. It is situated at a higher altitude and gives fabulous views of the tall structures, the beautiful port and the numerous houses scattered all over.

Champ De Mars race course is situated besides the citadel. From the entrance of the citadel you get a fabulous panoramic view of the race course with the beautiful mountains in the background. This is the second oldest race course in the Southern Hemisphere and was inaugarated in the year 1812 AD.

The Citadel which was a jail for the slaves years ago, is now taken care by the government and is showcased as a tourist attraction. The citadel occupies a large space and offers beautiful views of the city.

Caudon waterfront is the most happening place in Port Louis. Situated next to a waterfront and in the middle of the city, this mall is a shopper's paradise. With more than 170 shops, this is one of the biggest attractions of Port Louis. It also boasts of wonderful restaurants, a casino, cafeterias and a whole lot of shopping options. I also happened to see a live band perform on the pathway. Being a weekend the place was swarming with tourists and the local crowd. A lot of observation made me conclude that this is indeed the most preferred place of the young generation. This is an ideal place to spend a day with absolutely doing nothing other than lazying around.

I also explored a couple of streets of Port Louis. The one nearest to the Caudon waterfront was crowded and seemed like the local market which sold fruits, spices, articrafts, clothings, accessories etc. The place was phenomenonly crowded and the people did not seem very tourist friendly.

Port Louis is a lovely city where you can rush to if you are tired of seeing the serene beaches (Which am sure you would never be). The malls, pubs, cafes and casionos will definitely make the modern human being feel comfortable with what he is used to.

Signing Note: When in Mauritius, Port Louis is the best option to get back to civilization.

July 15, 2011

Ile Aux Cerfs- The Island of Deer...!!

Ile Aux Cerfs in French translates to Island of Deer in English. Situated off the main island of Mauritius, Ile Aux Cerfs is an exotic island with white sands and blue waters everywhere. In contrast to its name this island does not have any deers.

A long drive from my resort in Bel Ombre took me to Trou d Eau Douce, a beautiful fishing hamlet on the eastern coast of Mauritius. From there I was transported on a speed to this beautiful Deer Island. The sea changed colours as i travelled from the main land to Ile Aux Cerfs. This lovely island is quite prominent on the tourist map and is also frequently visited by the locals. Its a nice destination for a day's picnic.

I strolled across the island and collected a couple of beautiful shells and corals. Ile Aux cerfs also boasts of a five star hotel, a golf course and a lot of water sport activities. The island was swarming with European and Indian tourists. It is claimed that it takes more than 3 hours to cover the whole island by foot. Being a lazy soul I decided against that adventure and instead sat in the shade and enjoyed the scenery.

With nothing much to do than lazing around I spent the evening staring at the blue waters and the white yachts in the distance. This island must definitely be on the list of places to visit in Mauritius. Except for the crowd, this beautiful tiny island is definitely a paradise.

Signing Note: If not a writer or a poet, any visitor to this island would definitely turn into a day dreamer...!!

July 12, 2011

Sunset Over the Indian Ocean...!!

Tales Of A Nomad...!! celebrates 2 years today (July 12th) with a couple of sunset captures.

Bel Ombre beach, Mauritius. June 2011.

July 7, 2011

Turquoise Blue and Pearly White...!!

A visit to Mauritius is always incomplete without a dip in those seducing turquoise blue waters. Being an island in the Indian Ocean, I did not run short of beaches. In fact I missed out on a lot of beaches due to shortage of time and because of the fact that I didn't know which beach to go to and which one to give a miss. The tempting blue waters and the white sands looked mesmerising and the hue changed as I went deeper into the ocean. Mauritius has its periphery covered with corals and this makes the beaches pristine and creates some serene lagoons. This also ensures that you don't have the waves splashing onto your body at most of the beaches. The water is calm, floats on to the white sands and is ideal  for beach lovers.

My resort, Movenpick, situated in Bel Ombre had a beautiful private beach with a nice little jetty. The sunset view from this beach was truly magnificent. I found many people having a stroll, playing football, making sand castles, collecting corals etc. on this lovely beach. The shallow waters helped me float while balancing on my palms. The vastness of the Indian ocean was quite evident from the beach and the horizon in the distance changed colours as day progressed into the night.

Enroute to Le Morne, I passed by many beaches of which the one closer to the lovely mountain looked most beautiful. The big attraction of this beach was Le Morne in the background. The blue waters, white sands and the green mountain made for a beautiful landscape.

Bel Mare situated on the eastern coast of Mauritius is famous for water sport activities like parasailing, under sea walk, banana rides etc. The beach at Bel Mare looked quite beautiful with the lovely waters but with the noisy crowd it seemed far from serenity.

Trou d Eau Douce is a beautiful fishing hamlet on the eastern coast. This in fact was the best beach I had been to in Mauritius. Travellers usually visit this beach for the reason that they get transported to Ile Aux Cerfs from here. A 5 minutes speed boat ride separates Trou d Eau Douce from Ile Aux Cerfs. With very few tourists and locals around, I found this beach very serene and exotic.

Grand Baie in northern Mauritius is famous for pubs, restaurants, beach resorts, shopping centres and Blue submarine. A ride in the blue submarine, that takes you more than 100 feet below sea level was the reason why I was in Grand Baie. The beach with thatched roofs and a lot of greenery resembled the ones in the Caribbean.

Signing Note: The blue waters and the white sands best defines the word- Exotic...!!

July 1, 2011

Ile Maurice...!!

I was enthralled even before my flight landed at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam international airport and this was because of the fact that I had the view of almost half a country from a single viewing angle. The excitement of having an aerial view of the lovely green island with the blue waters along its periphery was immense. The beautiful island country of Mauritius (Ile Maurice in french) is a part of the Mascarene islands and has many dormant volcanoes. The coastline of the country is protected by coral reefs, which has resulted in the formation of pristine beaches and beautiful lagoons.

I never had the feel of being transported to a different country as Mauritius resembles India in more than one way. With more than 52% of the population being Indian descendants I found Mauritians  very similar to Indians. The feel of being on a foreign soil struck me only when I heard the locals speak in Creole. French and English are also widely spoken. Mauritius gained independence in 1968 after it was ruled for many years by both the French and the English.The country is covered with sugar cane fields all over and sugar is one of the biggest money earner for them.

The first place of interest that I visited was the the Grand Bassin (Ganga Talo) in the southern part of the island. This is supposedly a sacred lake which has water from the Ganges and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated next to a temple, this serene place is of great sacred importance. A few minutes drive  through the Black river park and I was staring at the stunning 108 feet tall Mangal Mahadev statue. This massive Shiva statue has a pleasing expression on his face (quite unnatural). The sun was hardly out and the whole place was quite cold.

Trou Aux Cerfs is an extinct crater which was formed as a result of volcanic activities aeons ago. It is filled with water and covered with thick vegetation. The panoramic views of the crater are however breathtakingly beautiful. From this location, one can also have the wonderful view of Curepipe, the second biggest town in Mauritius with lovely mountains in the background.

Curepipe, situated in the central part of Mauritius is famous for ship making factory which creates miniature ships in various sizes. A nice little tour inside the factory helped me understand how the ships are made. They looked beautiful and were expensive. I also walked through the duty free shops of Floreal and picked up a few articrafts. Flic en Flac is another place where I went picking up a few curios.

 Chamarel village is famous for its seven coloured earth. Formed due to the cooling of volcanic lava at different temperatures, this mix of sand and rocks portrays seven different colours on the surface. This colourful pattern is regarded as a national treasure. With the sun gleaming over the surface, the earth looked fabulous and colourful. This village is also famous for its waterfall which falls from a height of more than 80 meters. Flowing through primeval vegetation, the panoramic view of the falls were mesmerising.

 Le Morne is of great historical importance to Mauritius. This beautiful mountain besides the blue waters lies on the south western part of Mauritius. This national treasure is important due to the fact that during the times of colonisation, Indian and African slaves  hid in this mountain to escape slavery. 

En route to Le Morne, I also happened to hop on to a view point from where one could view exotic colours of the ocean. The water colour varied from turquoise blue to copper blue. Mesmerising...!!

Casela Bird park is famous for its varied fauna and boasts of some colourful birds. This wide spread bird park is home to zebras, ostriches, emus, giant tortoises, peacocks, flamingos, kangaroos, antelopes and many more. A nice bumpy safari through the park helped the tourists have a closer interaction with the animals. The tourists were also allowed to feed the animals and have a few close up photos clicked.

Rochester falls in southern Mauritius is one of the best waterfalls I have ever seen. A small trek through a sugar cane field leads you to this cascading waterfalls. A small pond has been created where the water falls and my guide said that people swim and take a dip in the cold pond. That would definitely be an awesome experience. This wonderful place is a good choice for a day's picnic. Many bollywood movies have been shot at this location.

Most of my evenings in Mauritius were spent sipping beer by the beach side and staring at the setting sun. However one evening turned out to be eventful as my resort arranged for Sega dance. This national dance form of Mauritius is normally performed on the beach next to a camp fire. Due to the weather conditions it had to be done indoors. Vigorous, Sensuous and Colourful is the best way to explain Sega dance. Women twirled their colourful skirts and undulated their arms in a graceful manner to the rhythm of the beat. Slowly and steadily the beat gained momentum, the dancers turned vigorous and the viewers were treated to a beautiful evening of wonderful dance form.

It is a misconception that Mauritius is only about pristine beaches and blue waters. There is lots to see and explore and with the wonderful blend of Indian and African cultures, this island country is truly exotic. Mauritius always remains a big attraction for the Europeans and the Indian honeymooners. The best time to visit Mauritius would be between June and January.

Signing Note: Breathtakingly beautiful and sensuously exotic...!!
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