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 News - 09-Feb-2013

Mauritius - The Facts And History

Mauritius, or the Republic of Mauritius as it is formally known, is an exotic island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is about 1,200 miles away from the African continent and resides close to the Seychelles and the Maldives. It has an extensive history dating back to the first Dutch settlers who landed in 1598. This volcanic island eventually evolved into the tourism-centred land of luxury it is today. Whether it is a day on the beach or trundling through the jungles, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Mauritius luxury holidays really are the way to complete a fantastic summer!

Brief History of the Mauritius

Anyone studying Mauritius soon discovers that it is one of the few countries without an official language. This is because it is the land of diversity. Chinese, English, French, and Dutch are just four of the languages that have significant usage on the island. Most Mauritians speak more than one language and embrace their heritage with pride.

Up until 1598, Mauritius was a safe haven from the troubles of the world. No human life existed on the island and instead it was ruled by colourful birds and marine creatures such as the giant tortoise. In 1507, Portuguese explorers discovered the island. They did not colonise it, however, and the island had to wait until 1598 when the Dutch finally settled on it. After numerous attempts at colonisation, the Dutch abandoned the island in 1710 before the French captured it in 1715. Until 1810, it was known as the Isle de France.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the British took control of the Isle de France and renamed it Mauritius. Since that time, it has remained as part of the British Empire, and then the Commonwealth, although as a Republic.

Island of Nature

Mauritius itself is a cornucopia of geographical diversity. It was actually created by underwater volcanic eruptions around 8 million years ago. This makes it a relatively new island in geological terms.

On this island is a mix of green and lush vegetation. From palm trees to exotic grasses, hundreds of different wildlife species make their home here. Register for a tour of the wildlife to really get up close and personal with them on holiday.

The vegetation is interspersed with mountain chains like the Grand Port, Moka, and Plaine des Papayes. The exciting topography is crowned with the Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire; the highest peak in the Mauritius towering 828m above sea level.

With the barrier reefs, azure waters, and golden sands, travellers are unsurprised when they hear about the scorching temperatures. Get a lovely tan as the average temperatures are 30 degrees Celsius in the summer.

Island of Culture

Mauritius has a short history, but visitors can still sample the delights of its cultural pride. Peoples from all over Asia, India, and Africa have made their homes here. It has brought Muslims, Christians, and Hindus together in a large peaceful community. Foreign artists have created spectacular pieces of architectural brilliance in churches and other religious buildings.

Religious events are held regularly throughout the country, and the public are welcomed to experience the festivities. Taste some exotic foods against a backdrop of bright colours, artistic costumes, and smiling faces.

Island of Excitement

The séga song is the dance of Mauritius. Locals dance it regularly to demonstrate the feelings of the community. It originated back in the 18th century when African slaves wanted to find a way to transform their miserable lives just for a few minutes. This dance soon became a hit and it was danced while drinking arrack; a drink made from sugarcane.

No longer is the dance a way to escape from the rigours of slavery. It now remains a significant part of Mauritian culture and serves as a way to communicate messages of peace and love. Sung in the mother tongue of the Creole, young and upcoming artists highlight their skills for both locals and foreign travellers.

It is a collection of instruments all playing together in perfect tandem. The guitar, the ravanne, and the triangle all play their parts in ramping up the atmosphere and getting the dancers and singers into the right frame of mind. An intriguing spectacle for visitors is the heating of the ravanne. The player heats the surface over a naked flame in order to elicit a better sound.

The séga song is a familiar feature within hotels and some restaurants like the Le Café de la Plage at Sunset Boulevard. Long flowing skirts in bright colours allow the hips to gyrate and swivel in time with music. It is the perfect end to a memorable evening!

Island for Everyone

Mauritius is an island for everybody. It is a place where culture, luxury, and nature all come together to create a holidaying paradise. Overall, it is an island like no other and it’s the place to visit no matter whether travellers just want to pass through, or whether they want to delve deep into the heart of this welcoming country.

Tourism companies offer a selection of specialist tours and activities. Swim with some of the most majestic sea creatures, enjoy a picnic on the green grassed cliffs overlooking the ocean, or experience something more extreme like paragliding and jet skiing. Whatever tourists hope to do, Mauritius aims to please!

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