Time difference: GMT +3 hours
Capital: Port Louis
Currency: Mauritian Rupee
Flight time: 12 hours
A jewel in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is a speck of green in an otherwise blue landscape. Adventure lovers, beach fiends, watersports fanatics, foodies, culture vultures and wildlife seekers will all find solace here, at the crossroads of the African and Arabian trade routes. Its manicured coastline of mainly five-star resorts contrasts greatly with the wild, untamed natural beauty of its interior, a jungle-clad landscape of thundering waterfalls, tangled vines and whooping birds.
The colour of the water surrounding the island is enough to make you speechless, melting from deepest navy to vibrant turquoise, emerald green to gleaming cobalt, shimmering under the African sun. If you’ve always had a soft spot for a beach prepare to be struck dumb with delight at the powdery white beaches and a front-row seat to some of the most stellar views across the Indian Ocean. If all that lazing around has you yearning for a little action then Mauritius is ready to spoil you rotten, with hiking, kitesurfing, diving and horse riding, as well as any number of manicured championship-standard golf courses that pepper the island: curious patches of brightest green between the lush jungle.
If you choose to hike then keep an eye – and an ear – on the canopy. Madagascar may be the animal paradise of the Indian Ocean but Mauritius is slowly stealing its crown, saving more bird species from extinction than any other country on Earth. Remain vigilant and you too could spot a pink pigeon or Mauritian kestrel, or perhaps a giant tortoise on land or a dolphin out to sea.