Simon Benson & Alison Edwards
Five Days in Mauritius

We had planned to have 5 days in Mauritius on our way home from Madagascar. We thought we may need some time to recover, and to a degree it was true. Mauritius is a much more developed country. It is also small - 65 km long, 45 km wide. Despite this, it is not necessily quick to get aound - we found few roads which a straight for more than a couple of hundred metres.

We arrived here from Antananarivo about 8pm; we had booked a car. Sailesh was waiting for us, took us out to the car, showed us basically how it worked, and left us. Luckily Alison had asked if he had a map, and he came up with one - a 30 x 50cm map of the whole island. (We'd wondered if the car would have GPS - it didn't).

So, that night we found out about driving in Mauritius. Road signage is present in places, but is quite basic; cars tend to stop wherever they like, so you very often have to pull over to the other side of the road to pass them; But fortunately they drive on the left here. Amazingly, using the map, Alison directed us up to where we were staying - the village of Trou d'Eau Douce, some 40km north of the airport - a drive which took over an hour. We didn't have to ask directions until we we were in the village, and when we did - we were in sight of Paradisia Holiday Inn, where we were booked in.

Paradisia was some apartments behind an Indian grocery store. A bedroom, kitchen, bathroom; all very clean and serviceable, though not flash and new. But a fine base to use for our five days here, where, we found out, we could have booked a room in a resort 5km further north for over 30 times as much per night! We could walk down to the public beach, and around to a resort beach, and to some basic shops; but our little car was very handy for travelling to other parts of the island, and to the local big town, Flacq, about 15 minutes' drive away - en route passing a large resort with taxis lined up outside, and feeling very happy to be "freer" than the resort people.

We saw a lot of the island in our 5 days. We saw a lot of sugar cane, the main source of income before tourism and the internet; we drove through lots of villages, because there are a lot of them and they are quite close together. We went south to the Black River Gorge National Park, and saw what the island would have looked like before people came and cleared it for sugar cane; we saw a lot of resort beaches and some public beaches; we saw a lot of mountains but could find no information on how to walk up them.

We ate dinner out once; a reasonable dinner but memorable for the lovely glass of rum they gave us before we left. So much nicer than Bundy!

And then Air Mauritius flew us home. An overnight flight in economy - but we "won the lottery" and each got a row of four seats. A lie-flat bed!



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