Travel With Kidz Specialist Gail Hughes is an expert in creating tailor-made travel experiences to Africa, Reunion Island, Seychelles and Mauritius. Born in Zimbabwe and having worked in the industry for more than 15 years, Gail now resides in Brisbane where she is passionate about helping families bring their holiday dreams to life. She has been to Mauritius 19 times and refers to it as her second home.
If you’re considering taking your family on a holiday to somewhere other than the usual likes of Thailand, Bali and the South Pacific, but with all the beauty and adventure of a tropical paradise, then consider Mauritius.
“White sandy beaches, clear calm waters, world class holiday and resorts and plenty to see and do make Mauritius and excellent holiday choice for families seeking something a little different,” says Gail Hughes.
Scattered along the coastline, many of Mauritius’ beautiful resorts cater to families and offer top-notch facilities.
“All the resorts in Mauritius offer fabulous accommodation, large swimming pools, an abundance of water and land activities, and an extensive choice of dining options, with many offering breakfast and dinner as well as all-inclusive options to include selected drinks and lunches.”
Holiday packages start at six, nine or 13 nights.
“Nine nights allows you relax, unwind and get into holiday mode, but if you are going to stay 13 nights, I’d recommend mixing it up with two different hotels,” Gail says.
Most resorts cater to families with larger rooms and two-bedroom apartments, but for something a little fancier and truly special, Gail recommends staying in a villa right on the beach.
“I would also be on the lookout for accommodation that offers exceptional kids clubs, and luckily, most hotels and resorts do offer complimentary Kids Club access for children aged three to 12 years old, providing them with a comprehensive programme of activities such as cooking classes, water and land sports and traditional cultural classes,” Gail says.
“Babysitting facilities are also available and reasonably priced too, and certain hotels will even prepare gourmet baby food from fresh homemade purees cooked by a professional chef, which can be ordered and delivered to the room at a desired time.”
There’s also plenty to enjoy together as a family at the resort.
“All the resorts offer great water sports, from water-skiing, kayaking and paddle boarding, to scuba diving, snorkelling, boating and deep sea fishing, as well as land sports like tennis, beach volleyball and mountain biking.”
Beyond the resort, there is plenty to see and do, from hiking, horse riding, swimming with dolphins and catamaran cruises, to exploring nearby islands, markets, shopping and so much more. Each part of the island offers something interesting and unique and is bursting with cultural diversity, from Chinese and Indian, to French and African.
“The capital, Port Louis, is in the west, which offers a great market and shopping mall, while the village of Grand-Baie in the north is a popular tourist hub which boasts a great market, boutique shops, lively bars, restaurants and nightlife, popular sandy beaches, and is also the central meeting point for day cruises and underwater activities” Gail says.
Other note-worthy attractions and activities for the family include glass-bottom boating through Blue Bay Marine Park, a day trip to the idyllic palm-fringed Ile des Deux Cocos off the South-East coast, an eco-friendly dolphin encounter in the Black River Bay area in the West, exploring the magic under water on a submarine safari, walk beside lions and zipline over a lush forest canopy at Casela World of Adventures, discover the diverse collection of plants at the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens, and be astounded by the Seven Coloured Earths of Chamarel, a natural geological phenomenon.
In Mauritius, there really is something for everyone and Gail recommends exploring all the different sides of the island by car.
“The island is only 67 kilometres north to south, so you can certainly hire a car, but better yet, you can hop in a taxi and negotiate a fare for the driver to show you around the island and he will wait for you as you head out to explore, or alternatively, you can join a group or private day tour.”
Another great reason to visit Mauritius with your family is that it is safe, with multi-cultural blend of residents that are very welcoming and friendly.
“The locals are very family-orientated – you will see families gathering on beaches every weekend to soak up the sun, play music and have a picnic,” Gail says.
Gail also recommends booking your holiday for the lower season, from May to September, for better value.
“Most of the resorts will offer pay and stay deals or value adds such as reduced all-inclusive offers or discounts during this time, and it’s a nice time of year to go, with warm, sunny days averaging at around 21-25 degrees Celsius.”
Be mindful that the hottest time of year is November through April with high humidity and short afternoon thunderstorms, and that the wet cyclone season is between January and March. The water temperature is always around 25 degrees, making it ideal for swims all year round so don’t forget your swimmers!
Here are five more handy tips from our Mauritius expert, Gail:
- Australians don’t need a visa to enter Mauritius, and while no immunisation is required either, it is recommended that you drink bottled water.
- The dress code is casual beach wear during the day and smart casual in the evening when dining out.
- Tipping isn’t compulsory by always highly appreciated.
- Some beaches have a bit of coral so pack some beach shoes.
- Mauritius makes for a perfect stopover destination to Europe and combines well with an African safari.