The most incredible places to visit in Mauritius with your kids
If you’re in the office daydreaming about the perfect holiday with clear warm turquoise water, endless white beaches with coconut trees, you probably dream about Mauritius.
The tiny Indian Ocean island is mainly known for honeymoon trips and all-inclusive luxury hotels, but that’s not all! You can find activities for every kind of traveller in this natural paradise. There are boat trips to near-perfect islets, many great excursions to botanical gardens, colonial plantation houses or a hiking tour in the jungle interior. Mauritius has a marvelous blend of cultures, welcoming people, a varied cuisine and a huge mix of ethnic communities
If you are wondering about the places that you can explore with your kids, then this article can guide you to the best places and activities in Mauritius to do with your kids.
Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
The botanical garden of Pamplemousses was ranked, for a long time, third amongst the most beautiful gardens in the world. You can spend hours wandering through the garden, taking photos and enjoying the peaceful surroundings or having a picnic under the giant trees. If you wish to get more inside info, you can take a guided tour with a local for only a few euros.
The Pamplemousses garden was created over 300 years ago by the famous French botanist Pierre Poivre, and it’s the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere. The giant water lilies are the most significant attraction here and probably the perfect spot to take a nice family picture. The garden is also known for its variety of palm trees (over 85!) brought from all over the world and a large spice garden.
Children (and grown ups) will love watching the ducks roaming around and the fish in the ponds. There is also an enclosure for the giant tortoises, so if you’ve never seen one, here is your chance to meet them!
Tip: Be sure to bring your own snack and drink because there is no possibility of buying something in the park itself.
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday | 8.30 – 17.30
Entrance : 200 Rs | free entry for children under 5 years
Guide: Up to max. 5 visitors | 100 Rs per visitor
Jardin botanique Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam | Royal Road Pamplemousses | Mauritius
Discover the natural reserve Isle aux Aigrettes
Imagine travel back in time to discover what Mauritius would have looked like over 400 years ago, before the arrival of man and his devastating impact on the environment. A trip with your kids will introduce them to the unusual wildlife of this offshore island sanctuary. Look closely and you will discover plants and animals, unique to Mauritius and found nowhere else in the world. Some of them have come close to extinction like the pink pigeon, a bird that was in danger of extinction for many years. You might spot a group of Aldabra giant tortoises who roam free on the island after being released by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.
Visits are only possible as part of a guided tour, leaving from Pointe Jérôme. The tour lasts approx. 1.5 – 2 hours.
Guided tour by MWF | leaving from the old Sands Jetty at Pointe Jerome
Tours Monday – Saturday | 9.30, 10:00, 10:30, 13:30, 14:00 and 14:30
Sundays mornings only
Rates: Adults: MUR 800 | Child 4 – 11 years: MUR 400 | Child 0 – 3 years: free
Snorkeling at Blue Bay Marine Park
Blue Bay Marine park is one of the top places to go snorkeling with kids in Mauritius. The colorful fauna and flora found at the park is absolutely stunning. At an average depth of 5.5 meters, with crystal clear water offering great visibility, the snorkeling conditions are ideal for beginners. There is a wide variety of fish species include Damselfish, Surgeonfish, Butterfly fish, juvenile Sail-fin tangs, as well as tiny Pipefish and large Trumpet fish. You will be surprised to see the many tropical fish that will sneak very close to you.
At Blue Bay Beach you can find stores to rent diving and snorkeling gear. Coral Diving School offers a beginner course for kids, aged 8 -12 years, called Bubblemaker.
For an easy access to the Blue Bay Marine Park you can also take the Glass bottom boat which leaves at Blue Bay public beach. The boat trip takes less than 5 minutes each way, offering you maximum time to enjoy at the Blue Bay Marine Park. Once at the Marine Park, you can choose to stay on-board the glass bottom boat, or to enjoy some swimming and snorkeling. It’s a perfect trip for families with young children.
Departure: Blue Bay Beach | between 8am and 4pm
Prices: Adults: 18 Euros | Child: 3 – 11 years: 15 Euros | Child 0 – 2 years: free
Ebony Forest is located in the region of Chamarel, well known for its incredible views and windy roads. The reserve features the Ebony trees and rare endemic birds such as the Echo Parakeet and Pink Pigeon. The goal at Ebony Forest is to restore and recreate 45 hectares of indigenous forest which once dominated Mauritius.
You have various hiking routes to discover the Ebony Forest and raised walkways of 300 m. A guide will show you the best-preserved ebony forest and you will encounter some of the rarest plans in Mauritius and even meet the Paradise Flycatcher or a Bulbul.
When you travel with smaller kids you can opt for the safari jeeps going around every 30 minutes to the different viewpoints.
Within the same area are the Seven Colored Earth and Chamarel waterfall which is the tallest one in Mauritius that plunges from a height of 100 meters!
Ebony Forest Reserve Chamarel
Rates: Adults: Rs 450 | Child 5 – 12 years: Rs 270 |
Check out the official website for the different packaging.
Chamarel | Seven Coloured Earth Geopark
The Region of Chamarel is known for its scenic locations and nature attractions in its neighborhood. Among them are the Seven Colored Earth, the Chamarel Falls and the Black River Gorges National Parknot only home to the Ebony Forest.
The Chamarel waterfall is about 100m high and the tallest single-drop waterfall in Mauritius. It splashes into an oval pool before flowing down a 6 km tropical-forest-fringed canyon to Baie du Cap.
If you children are older and you like hiking, we can recommend a treck of tree hours to the base of Chamarel Waterfalls, where you can have a swim in the pool as the waterfall showers you from its majestic heights.
Not far are the Seven Colored Earths. The best time to see this natural spectacle is at sunrise where the sand dunes reflect in beautiful shades of red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow. The consistent separation of the different strips of colored sand may be explained by the fact that iron and aluminium particles have a natural repelling effect on one another. It’s worth a visit and you can combine it with the waterfall. You can also find a children’s playground and a giant tortoises park in the area.
Port Louis Market
Port Louis is the home of the largest market on the island, where you can find fresh food, local dishes, and various handcrafted goods. Best time to visit the market is early in the morning. It is the perfect time to get the freshest of vegetables, sourced from across the island overnight. We can also recommend to take a local guide who can show you the best places for local street food.
Mauritiusconscious offers another great and fun tour. It is a treasure hunt dedicated for young and grown-up children, starting at 6 years old.
Horse racing at Champ de Mars
Horse racing is very popular in Mauritius. The Mauritius Turf Club is actually the oldest horse-racing club in the southern hemisphere and the second oldest in the world. You can join in the fun with the locals and their families and why not bet a few rupees on these majestic, powerful racehorses.
Prices: Prices and conditions vary from season to season
The Mauritius Turf Club | Champ de Mars, Eugène Laurent street | Port-Louis
Grand bassin | Ganga Talao
More than two thirds of the Mauritian population descended from the Indian people and 80% of them are Hindu. Grand Bassin is a sacred place where people come to pray, meditate, or simply walk by the lake and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings. The Grand Bassin also called Ganga Talao represents the mighty Ganges river of India. In 1972 a priest from India brought sacred water from the Ganges and amid much ceremonial poured the holy water into the lake. It is now one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage site outside of India! You can discover Hindu temples, statues and enjoy playing with the local monkeys.
All Indian Festivals are celebrated with great pomp every year, like the Festival of Lights or the Divali Festival. We had the chance to be in Mauritius in March for the Holi Festival, the Festival of Colors. The celebrations begin in early in the morning of Holi, with people throwing handfuls of ‘gulal’ (brightly colored powders) and soaking each other with water-jets known as pichkaris, made of local Mauritian bamboo stalks. It’s an incredibly joyful festival and obviously very appreciated by the kids.
The Sacred lake is open to visitors and pilgrims every day. There is no entry fee.
Isle aux Cerf
At a first glance, this is paradise! Île aux Cerfs has undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Unfortunately this picturesque island is now overrun with tourists. A huge range of land and water activities is available and makes this beautiful spot very touristy and busy. But it’s certainly a place you have to visit when in Mauritius and taking a swim there still is magical. With some planning you can avoid the biggest tourist traps and enjoy a beautiful family day.
Most people stay at the main boat stop, so when you wander a bit further, you will find many nice and quiet beaches. Try to come during a week day and avoid the crowded week-ends. Most of the tour operator offer a day trip (6 -7 hours) including also a short trip to the See Grand River South East waterfall and lunch. You can book catamaran boat or speed boat trip. The prices per person increase every saison and some of the tour operator really take advantage of the big tourist run. So compare the prices before you book and only book from agencies and not from the sellers on the street. And absolutely ask for a safety jackets for your kids (there are tour guides who taking this issue not very serious).
Hiking on Mont Brabant or Rivier Noire Park, Tamarin Waterfall
Mauritius is a volcanic island and has several breathtaking summits and valleys to explore on foot. If your kids have the age to hike, it’s undoubtedly a great adventure and you will be amazed by the beautiful nature and the incredible views. We recommend to book a hiking or trekking tour and explore parks, reserves or hike to the peak of Le Pouce or Le Mont Brabant to get the most unique panoramic sight. Hiking in Mauritius can be hot, sticky and exhausting, but with some of the finest viewpoints in the world, thoroughly worthwhile too.
We recommend it only to older kids or teenager who are used to hike and enjoy it.
Here are 5 of the best hiking trails:
- Le Pouce
- The Tamarind Falls
- Le Morne Brabant
- Black River Gorges National Park
- Lion Mountain
Tips: Go early in the morning to avoid the stronger sun, and wear lots of sunscreen. Avoid hiking on rainy days as the trails can get very slippery, and take plenty of water. And don’t forget the mosquito spray.
Sugar, Tea & Rum
The history and growth of Mauritius is linked to the sugar cane industry. Today, sugar is no longer the backbone of the island’s economy as it has been for many years past, but remain extremely popular product, such as rum.
Tea is another important product to Mauritius. The Tea Route Tour is a unique and charming excursion. The itinerary takes you through Le Domaine des Aubineaux, Le Domaine de Bois Chéri and Le Domaine de Saint-Aubin.You visit the tea factories, the plantations, and the museums to learn about how tea is made. Lunch is included in the tour and after the visit you are invited to a tea testing. Try out the vanilla tea, it’s among the world’s best!
Price: Adult: 14 Euros | Child 5 -12 years: 8 Euros
Duration: approx. 7 hours
Cap Malheureux is a place of great historical importance for Mauritius. It was here that the British invasion force finally defeated the French in 1810 and took over the island. A little past the cape lies the minuscule, picturesque fishing village also known as Cap Malheureux.
Cap Malheureux is only a 10 minute drive from Grand Baie and it’s definitely worth a visit.
Beach, Beach, Beach
A big advantage of Mauritius is that the entire island is surrounded by coral reefs which have created big lagoons all around. These lagoons are not only beautiful with crystal clear water, but also provide calm water conditions, ideal for swimming, bathing and snorkeling. One of our guide also explained us that this big lagoon keeps away sharks, a big phobia of my husband!
On many of these beaches you are sure to find hotels and beach resorts. However it is important to know that all beaches of Mauritius are public. We have listed our favorite beaches in a separate article.
SOME PRACTICAL FACTS
Best time to visit Mauritius:
Being near the Southern tropic, Mauritius enjoys a mild weather throughout the year with a minimum temperature of 17 degrees Celsius during the winter and maximum temperature reaching 30 degrees Celsius in summer.
Although temperatures are rather moderate throughout the year with occasional rainfall, the most pleasant time to visit the island are between the months of April and June and between September and December. As Mauritius is located in the southern hemisphere, seasons are opposite from the northern hemisphere.
Time Zone: GMT +4 | Just two to three hours of time difference, which is very easy to catch up. This make it a ideal destination when you come from Europe, especially when you travel with kids.
Money: Mauritian rupee (Rs).
Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted cards, though Amex is catching up quickly. Nearly all tourist shops, restaurants and accommodation places accept payment by credit card and ATM are widespread.
Languages spoken in Mauritius:
The most prominent languages you’ll hear on an every day level are Mauritian Creole, French and English. Mauritian Creole is a French-based Creole and estimated to be spoken by around 90% of the population. French is the language that tends to be used in education and media, while English is the official language in Parliament.
Driving in Mauritius:
Rent a car in Mauritius can be a good idea if you want to explore the Island and visit different beaches. But don’t forget to drive on the Left side.
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