Only a four-hour flight from Johannesburg, Mauritius is an accessible and incredibly versatile destination. A large volcanic island in the Indian Ocean, it is perennially popular for its warm water and powdery beaches, and is considered a more ‘mass market’ destination – not a bad thing, as it’s accordingly relatively affordable and equipped to cater for families. The north, south, east and west regions each hold their own appeal and its varying landscapes – from volcanic mountains to sugar cane fields – offer a range of activities, from hiking, golfing, and exploring forests and waterfalls inland, to snorkeling, diving and fishing on the coast. Creole influence filters through in the culture and cuisine – tours of the local market are a must.
Mauritius enjoys a mild tropical maritime climate throughout the year. The country has two seasons: a warm humid summer (November to April) and a relatively cool, dry winter (June to September). October and May are commonly known as the transition months. In summer the average temperature is around 25ºC and in winter it’s just over 20º C. The warmest months are January and February with average day maximum temperature reaching 29ºC.
Resorts – a popular choice – offer a sliding scale of packages (from half board, to all inclusive), which allow you to choose one that suits your budget and needs. Bear in mind though, that while all-inclusive might seem expensive, it covers everything upfront and avoids a potential surprise on checkout – alcohol is very expensive at resorts and can add up. There is also the more affordable option of self-catering villas (great for groups and easy to find), which occasionally come with a housekeeper, sometimes even a chef, included in the price. With Mauritius, timing is also crucial – peak-period falls between November, December and January (coinciding with summer and school holidays) and will cost a lot more.