Mauritius: History, Luxury, and Beauty


Discover the allure of Mauritius from only £1,505pp

A Phonician galley, long at sea chasing profits and the prevailing winds, finally sees a glimmer of land in an otherwise endless expanse of ocean. The sailors sigh with relief, exhausted from the long, perilous hours seeding the world with their elegant glassware and coveted purple robes. To be free, however briefly, of the constant, capricious momentum of the ocean is a godsend, and their dry mouths are alleviated at the thought of touching solid ground.

Heritage Le Telfair

But they are not the first such sailors to see hope and potential in this island, and they certainly are not the last. Here there are unmistakable footprints of other seafaring merchants, perhaps Malay, Swahili, or Arab seamen, all magnetically drawn to this same intriguing island in the Indian Ocean despite their different agendas and vast geographical separation. This island we know today as Mauritius, and it is due in no small part to this cultural coalescence that we find the fascinating, captivating holiday destination we have come to cherish.

Despite flying visits from mercantile nations, it was the French in 1715 who first laid down the arterial networks for lasting colonisation, establishing the first road and harbour infrastructures that gave life to a prosperous sugar industry. Mauritius, renamed Ile de France under French rule, remained as such until the tensions of the Napoleonic Wars lead to the island becoming an imposing naval base from which French corsairs launched devastatingly successful raids on British commercial ships in the Indian Ocean. Their hands forced into action, the British took measures to subdue to French presence in Ile de France, successfully defeating their foothold on the island in 1810.

The Treaty of Paris, signed in 1814 to establish peace at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, coded Mauritius to Britain, under the guarantee that the languages, customs, and laws of the inhabitants would be protected and preserved. This onus for the safeguarding of Mauritian heritage begs a question that lies at the root of the modern fascination with the island: what is the Mauritian identity?

Heritage Awali

As with all beautiful things, the answer is delightfully complex. Centuries of intermingled cultures have birthed an island with a richly textured heritage, defined and redefined by some of the greatest maritime nations the world has ever known. The Portuguese, the Dutch, and the great seafaring nations of the Mediterranean and Middle East all touched the soul of the island long before the French and British passed its shores. The bold ambitions of each of these settlers, however brief their story, has brought about a torrent of fascinating, disparate cultural influences that have moulded Mauritius into something very special indeed.

Veranda Paul and Virginie

This is due in no small part to the historic absence of a native population of static settlers, absolving the colonisation of Mauritius from the erosion of indigenous identity. In a beautifully unusual twist, the formation of modern Mauritius was almost entirely constructive, weaving layer upon layer of cultural threads into the great tapestry of its legacy. As a modern tourist destination, this globalised, additive formation is not only alive and strong, but growing, developing, and transforming without limit.

Service with a Smile

Although independent since 1968, you can see the evidence of this evolution everywhere, as every little detail tells as a story centuries old. During the 19th century, after the abolition of slavery, many Indian workers migrated to Mauritius to benefit from the wealth of new employment opportunities. As is common for settlers in new lands, these migrants brought their exotic food with them, a taste of home to assimilate into their new surroundings. As such, both Northern and Southern Indian cuisine has left its mark on Mauritius. Mouthwatering curries and fruity chutneys are common delicacies, made from the freshest meat and vegetables sourced from the fertile island pastures.

The end of the 19th century also saw the arrival of many Chinese migrants, credited with introducing rice, noodles, and steamed fish as fundamental elements of Mauritian cuisine. And somehow all of this sits comfortably at ease with fine French cooking and the British tradition of afternoon tea, seamlessly and perfectly coexisting as one overarching completeness that encapsulates the colourful history of Mauritius in every divine flavour and every irresistible mouthful.

The Veranda Pointe Aux Biches Beachfront

Telling another spectacular story in its own right, the musical style of the Séga encapsulates the joy, suffering, and achievement of the African people in Mauritius, where heartfelt Creole songs accompany age-old instruments and the carefree, exaggerated movements of rejoicing barefoot dancers. It is a dance not only to celebrate the festivity of the immediate moment, but to remember how the present moment is forever indebted to the vast, overwhelmingly beautiful bonding of cultures that has shaped Mauritius over the course of history. Each scent, each flavour, each sound is a kaleidoscopic reiteration of a varied, intriguing, and above all magnificent union of global identities.

As a multi-ethnic, multilingual, and multi-religious space, Mauritius has inherited the great cultural traditions of Europe, Asia, and Africa. There is not only something for everyone in Mauritius, but something of everyone, as recognisable snippets of culture from around the world are reimagined in the melting pot of the Mauritian mountainsides and shorelines.

Le Morne

And it is for these reasons that Mauritius has solidified its status as one of the world’s most desirable holiday destinations. By choosing Mauritius for your next holiday, you are choosing to discover the power of great nations, the passion of dreaming artisans, and the happiness of an island people that welcome any and all to their cherished landscapes. Here you will find some of nature’s most impressive work, from the lush valleys of the Black River Gorges National Park to the iconic outcrop of the Le Morne peninsula, all complemented by some of the finest hospitality you can experience anywhere.

By choosing Mauritius, you are rewarded with history, luxury, and natural beauty in equal measure, because that is the measure of the island. It is a place of equilibrium, where the world and its myriad forms exist in balance, and the colours of life are played out in miniature just for you.

Choose Mauritius and live inspired.


Discover the allure of Mauritius from only £1,505pp

By Tom Malbon

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