Mauritius

…incredible!

Ideal stay: 1week – 10days combined with Seychelles Mainland for e.g.
Temperature: depending on season, between 18ºC and 32ºC

Typically, Mauritius is seen as a ‘honeymoon’ destination and generally placed on the same page as the Seychelles, Maldives, Bora Bora etc.
So obviously, once I told my friends that me and my better half would travel there, literally EVERYONE associated this with a secret engagement, an early honeymoon or just a posh getaway for the ‘newly wealthy’.

Well, none of the above (unfortunately) applied.

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Living in Abu Dhabi gives you the huge advantage of being located in ‘the other’ part of the world (especially when coming from Europe) which gets you closer (at least location-wise – not necessarily budget-wise) to some of the ‘dream destinations’ such as India, Thailand, Singapore and diverse islands.

With ‘only’ 4h flight to Seychelles and from there other two hours to beautiful Mauritius, we decided to go ahead with this trip.

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The flights with Etihad / Air Seychelles range between AED 1500 and AED 4500 depending on the seasonality and there is only one airport on the whole island.
Mauritius is – unlike to all rumours and generic perceptions – not a pure beach island. It is as diverse as for e.g. Sri Lanka and contains high mountains, astonishing flora and fauna, humble inhabitants, long and historical culture, untouched nature, endless waterfalls and is rounded off by sandy beaches.

My personal advice is to take your time to explore the WHOLE island and its beauty rather than focusing on one area by spending your precious time in one of the high-end resorts.

..soak it all up – not just the 5* white hotel towel..

We travelled in September and I would definitely recommend this season. It is warm, not too hot, just partially rainy and importantly, not overcrowded with the typical tourists.
To move around freely it is def. beneficial to get a rental car – my usual ‘licious touch’. Obviously you also have the option to use the public transportation or tramp around on foot.

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DAY 1
At around 14h00 we arrived at the International Airport – and yes, it is def. appropriate to call it an ‘international’ one because the architecture, facilities and modernism would not tell you just landed on an island (quite the contrary to Mahe-Airport).
A very friendly guy came (late! Island style) to hand us the key for our rental car. The rental car was in quite good condition – it seemed – so we moved from the AIRPORT to our first stop in the North: Troux aux biches.

..all-rounder chewing gum..

Keep in mind that there is left-hand traffic which could lead to an over usage of the windscreen wipers instead of indicator.

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As mentioned earlier, the rental car ‘seemed’ to be ok, but after our first attempt to configure our left car mirror it fell right off. Well, … this island trip was going to be interesting. It took us more or less 1 hour to drive to Trou aux biches.

Hotel-wise it depends, as usual, on your budget and expectations – you could do Mystik, Trou aux biches Resort or Westin Turtle Bay.

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Since we only arrived in the afternoon, we showered quickly and went for a sunset drink with a stunning sunset over the ocean at Mystik. THIS is what I call #islandlife! Breathtaking… Is there any better way to start your trip?

DAY 2
After breakfast we went to fix our rental car in the nearby city centre and opted for an automatic car – it eases a lot and you will be able to focus on the crazy traffic and wiper-challenge.
Use your car to drive around and stop wherever you feel like.

We’ve stopped at the Kite Beach, sat there for a while and ended up for Lunch At LINDA’s PLACE.

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An amazing, caring, individual place which feels like home. You will be able to taste quite a few different home-made rums and choose your favourite dish from a selected menu. I highly recommend the crab risotto served in the shell, overbaked with cheese. Yummy…

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The ‘botanical’ garden was a recommendation but did not impress us too much, to be honest. It has quite a few tall trees, bushes, plants but nothing which made us stop open mouthed. Especially not if you have seen the Botanical Gardens in Miami and Sri Lanka. Still, worth a walk.

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In order to complete this relaxing second day, we stopped spontaneously at a rocky beach to enjoy the sunset. Sunsets are anyways my secret passion but I must say that Mauritius did a pretty good job here.

DAY 3
This day started quite early (6h) since we had one hour drive ahead of us towards the South of the Island.

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We wanted to scale LE MORNE – UNESCO World Heritage. This hike is doable by ‘non-hikers’ until a certain height and for the remaining part only the ‘brave’ succeed. In general it takes you almost 3 hours to reach the almost-top and 4 hours to reach the TOP TOP.
Still, what you get by climbing 0,75-way up is just incredible.

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As a reward after this climb you should enjoy a dip in the sea at the adjoining beach. The bar will provide you with cool drinks and tasty snacks, the ocean with a refreshing moment and the beach with the well-deserved relaxation. This is def. a good bet.

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We spent our evening in FLIC EN FLAC where we had some great street food (boulette, mine frits) and watched the romantic sunset on the beach with a traditional ‘Napolitana’.

Afterwards we drove all the way back to the North – the island is not too elongated therefore it is doable.

DAY 4
The fourth day was dedicated to Grand Baie.
We were looking for some water activities, which are offered abundantly. We decided to go for the Underwater Walk at reduced 1800.- (local currency) for two incl. full equipment.

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After a clear instruction lesson, we went on a boat and were brought near a collar reef where you got your ‘own helmet-aquarium’ upon entering the water.
One could face slight pressure issues but no need to panic – just breathe normally and do the altitude compensation as advised by the instructor. The underwater walk is suitable for people like me, who fear the mask and oxygen bottle which you require for scuba dive.

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One will be able to spot different fish and beautiful corals – perhaps you are even lucky to spot a moray eel or turtle. It’s an incredible feeling to be that close to them and still there is no need to panic since you are not too deep in the ocean and with both feet (literally) on the ground.

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At this point I would like to underline the great value for money which you get by choosing a WESTIN but especially this WESTIN TurtleBay. It starts with the incredible open lobby, the cosy white tea smell, friendly staff till the incomparable HEAVENLY SLEEPER BEDS. Oh my…

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The hotel offers a vast choice of complimentary outdoor activities which we actively used. I loved the transparent kayak, the stand-up paddling, the wakeboarding but also the relaxation time near the pool/beach.

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In the evening we went to Port Louis where my attention got caught by the colourful umbrellas which you spot in the city centre. The straightforward City-Centre is great for a walk, an ice cream and a lovely dinner with (local) friends.

By the way, my good friend Romina is the owner of the page MAURITIUS CONSCIOUS and will be able to guide you through ‘her’ island – even better than me.
Her boyfriend and her are real local experts, residing there now for a couple of years and promoting green travel.
It is important to maintain the beautiful natural scenery of the island so that your descendants will be able to see this incredible spot by themselves.

DAY 5
‘Start your day right’ – well, I guess 10/10 were achieved this morning. Wow. Simply wow.

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 Is it not exactly this what comes to your mind when thinking of an island? For me, it was almost unbelievable but the bright shining sun and the nice breeze in my face made it clear to me: yes, life is good and this is what you get!

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After enjoying some more time at the Resort we drove south to the so called ‘Chamarel – seven coloured earth’. If we would have known the ‘failure’ it would be, we would not have left our perfect place – The Westin.

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This place was OVERCROWDED with different tourist buses or hustler tourist guide-cars. In Sri Lanka you kind of ‘need’ a personal guide due to the rural conditions but in Mauritius you are better off to move around by yourself – especially if you now have my insiders advice as well as Romina’s recommendations.
Between the masses of people (+incredible camera zoom) we were able to spot the waterfall and after a short walk we finally got to ‘THE-7 coloured earth’. Well, … ‘okish’ is all it gets.

Never, ever forget your mosquito repellent – these useless insects are very aggressive and all my bites (40 or 42 – can’t recall) ended up as infected, swollen wounds

Since we have not spent too much time at the ‘place to be’ we went to the Curious Corner Of Chamarel which was also an ‘okish’ fun time but fell in line with this freakish day.

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On top of this, our beach bar at Le Morne Beach was also closed so in the end it seemed that the highlight of the day was the sugar cane juice on our way down to the South, which was handmade by an elderly woman who was adamant to explain all her steps meticulously.

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The long car ride and the failure day was coming to an end but got somehow turned around by overlooking the stunning St. Regis. Love at first sight – literally. Great open reception area, spacious pool area, choice of outdoor restaurants and a cosy bar where we (really) enjoyed our cocktail before the long awaited dinner.

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For dinner I was craving Spaghetti with seafood – and guess what, there was not such dish on the menu of all restaurants. Somehow I was upset, and somehow this did not surprise me after the rather unproductive day. BUT – I have to admit that I got surprised by the flexibility and competence of the restaurant employee who made it possible (along with the chef) to get me my favourite dish. Jackpot!

While having dinner we got company by a typical Mauritian-Bat which looked like a monkey but turned out to be a flying jumbo – making us smile by the end of this day.

DAY 6
Our 6th day started off very well with a delicious, healthy breakfast at our almost fully-booked resort. Boosted by the freshly made juice we drove all the way to Chamonix, in search of our local tour guide for the upcoming Wild-Zipline experience. Yey.

Somehow we managed to get to the right starting spot in the middle of the bushes.

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Equipped with belts, ropes and two knowledgeable guides we made our way through the jungle. All kind of ‘climbs’ were followed by a small or long (250m) zipline through the forest, crossing rivers and waterfalls at a height of 70m.

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This was such a great experience and incredible feeling. I was not scared at all since the guides were always by our side, making me feel more than comfortable. The best thing about the tour with CHAZAL was that it was only us 4.
On the way to the last ziplines we were even taught how to identify a ripe sugar cane and how to suck the juice without anything other than your teeth.
At the end of this tour a homemade lunch awaits you (included in the total price).

Don’t forget to take a change of clothes with you – heavy rain could always surprise you

After a warm shower and the afternoon-cake at the St. Regis – I enjoyed the Sunset Yoga Session on the beach. My personal ‘me’-moment.

DAY 7
As you can see from my review, we explored the whole island in an ‘active’ way rather than just enjoying the resort. Yes, we booked resorts and enjoyed them but we managed to combine this with the real local experience.

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Near the Cascavelle Shopping Village in Flic En Flac we met our private guide for the quite famous but tricky 7 waterfall hike. Our drive took us through the sugar cane fields, bushes – left-right combinations to the parking spot-like spot.
With nothing but good sneakers, mosquito repellent and water bottle we started this crazy hike.

To be honest, Ms. Licious is not the type of girl who goes through the deepest bushes and likes to get dirty – but today, it was different. I was brave enough to hold tight onto the thick branches, press my fingers into spider homes to manage to climb behind the numerous waterfalls. Higher, lower, easier, tougher following always the knowledgeable guide.

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Even if we looked like pigs afterwards, had scratches on arms and legs and some more mosquito bites here and there – it was one of the best things I was lucky to do in my life. Breath-taking views from top of the waterfall, fascinating water sounds and interesting background information on all the types of vegetation. A must do!

After this ‘torture’ we rewarded ourselves with a tamarind and brown sugar body scrub at the St. Regis SPA. – revitalizing. Our day ended – surprise – with a beautiful sunset.

DAY 8
Our last day has come – unbelievable how times runs but on the other side, we can say we saw and experienced a lot within the past 7 days.

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We kept the ‘Point Naturelle’ for our last day since we were not too sure if this was a real must-see. It turned out to be a quite peaceful and interesting nature spectacle worth visiting. The 15 Chinese tourists agreed on this.

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We continued our trip in the direction of the airport and stopped at the famous, traditional Biscutterie H.Rault. For little money you can book a tour where you can see all the handmade steps within the production, rounded off by a sumptuous tasting of all the biscuit flavours – accompanied by tea or coffee.
It is totally worth it and with your small entrance fee you help to keep the tradition going!

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Our flight back to the Seychelles was scheduled for the afternoon and we opted to stop one last time at one of the beautiful beaches to soak up the last sun rays and great Mauritian flow.

With bags full of memories and a quite empty wallets we left this beautiful island. Revitalized, relaxed, wiser, thankful for life and, first and foremost, blessed to have my #favtravelpartner by my side.

Dubai – more to see, eat, drink & do

..one post is not enough!

In my previous post I elaborated “the perfect day trip to Dubai”. Obviously this city has so much more to offer so one day only is almost not enough.. In the following post I will just quickly enumerate some more attractions, actions and dining experiences to round off your Dubai experience. These are just “elements” which you can incorporate into your personal plan according to your interests, budget and time frame.

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Bar Level 43 @ Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed

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Dubai Miracle Garden

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Global Village

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Chillout Dubai

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Souq Madinat Jumeirah

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Sunsets @ Old Dubai

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JBR Walk

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Beachin’ @Kite Beach

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Cruisin’ around

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Skyscraper by night

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Win Victory Love

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Milkshake @ IceLab

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City Walk Dubai

..and many many more! Go & explore!..

Boring sandpit or enchanting metropolis..?!

When it comes to “life in Abu Dhabi” people do often think we are surrounded by sand only; sit in a tent; sweat because of the unbearable heat and play with camels (if we, ladies, are even allowed to leave the tent! ;))..

..Near enough is not good enough..


Thanks to the “young” age of this city it got the chance to be shaped/created according to “our” needs!

This means we have received quite a few malls; big five star hotels with restaurants, bars and clubs; sports centers; beach clubs; gardens; museums; street coffee shops; view points; public event spaces; etc.etc. which was man made and we are also able to enjoy natural reserves; mangroves; great deserts and natural islands.

My TOP 5 activities:

..beach, beach, let’s go to the beach..
Saadiyat Public Beach; Yas Beach; Corniche Family Beach


..let the sun go down..
beautiful sunsets @ Eastern Mangroves Promenade


..seduce your palate..
yummy surf & turf @ Turquoiz


..good friend and a glass of Hugo..
Beach House


..dance the night away..
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