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ABOUT MAURITIUS

LOCATION

InterContinental Mauritius Resort Balaclava Fort stretches across one of the most stunning parts of the island, overlooking the Bay of Balaclava. The hotel is located just north of the capital city of Port-Louis and a 15-minute drive from the shopping, entertainment and restaurant district of Grand Baie and 55 minutes from Plaisance International Airport.

DISCOVER MAURITIUS

Former colonial outpost of three different nations and home to an array of colorful cultures, Mauritius is a truly diverse destination. Named after Dutch Prince Maurice Van Nassau, the island was first discovered in the ninth century, and settled in the sixteenth, when the Dutch established a colony here. After introducing foreign fauna (and, unfortunately hunting the dodo to extinction), the Dutch departed in 1710 and the French arrived, settling in 1713 and renaming the island Ile de France. Some hundred years later, the British defeated the French, taking the island in December 1810 and renaming it Mauritius.

Now an independent Commonwealth nation (since 1968), Mauritius is today home to nearly 1.3 million people. Of Indian, African, Asian, and European descent, our population enjoys multiple languages, faiths, customs, and cuisines, plus Creole traditions that emerged from this cultural melting pot.

Aside from our fascinating heritage, Mauritius boasts a fascinating topographical make-up of volcanic peaks, river gorges, waterfalls, salt pans, and sand dunes, with islets, lagoons, and coral reefs off our shores. Our flora and fauna include a number of endemic species, including the black-spined flying fox, the Mauritius kestrel, the pink pigeon, the Mauritius parakeet, and an array of rare native reptiles.

Enjoying a balmy tropical climate, the island of Mauritius has two seasons – a hot and humid summer from November to April, and a cool, dry winter from May to October. The different sides of the island experience different levels of rainfall, with the eastern side being slightly wetter due to prevailing trade winds.

SURROUNDING LANDSCAPES OF MAURITIUS

Azure waters, pristine beaches, spectacular mountains and lush parks and reserves – the diverse landscapes of Mauritius captivate all who visit. A contrast of colors, cultures, flavors, and fragrances, our charming beach resort in Mauritius sets the scene for an unforgettable vacation, whether it’s a family adventure or a romantic getaway for two.

 With countless paradise beaches and bays, Mauritius offers an exciting array of water sports and activities. From diving to surfing to water skiing and beyond, there are countless ways to enjoy our waters and explore our picturesque lagoons. For the adventurous, there’s rock climbing, canyoning, sea kayaking, and skydiving, plus family-friendly activities such as jeep safari trips, quad biking, hiking, dolphin spotting, and wildlife tours.

 Cosmopolitan travelers will revel in Mauritius’s diverse dining and entertainment options. Destinations such as Grand Baie and the capital, Port Louis, offer a lively mix of upscale shopping, markets, international cuisine, nightclubs, and beachfront restaurants and bars.

 Mauritius is also a treasure trove for culture buffs, with an intriguing colonial history told through Dutch ruins, Creole buildings, museums, and centuries-old mansions. Then there are fishing villages, flower orchards, sugar cane plantations, and botanical gardens to explore, with plenty of opportunities to meet friendly locals along the way. With everything from peaceful beach escapes to thrilling island expeditions, Mauritius is the perfect tropical destination.

CONCIERGE GUIDE

InterContinental Mauritius Resort Balaclava Fort is dedicated to making each stay an unforgettable one. Our knowledgeable concierge team and Clefs d’or head concierge, Kevin, can provide information on all the fantastic activities within the resort and around the island, and are happy to provide tips on Mauritius’s hidden attractions and unexplored areas. Our concierge team can also assist with and organize cultural trips, doctor’s appointments, pharmacy visits, taxi services, and restaurant bookings.

We are more than happy to create a personalized itinerary of activities and island excursions, upon request. Below are some of the highlights of Mauritius for guests wishing to explore beyond the resort.

Le Morne Cultural Landscape (World Heritage Site)

Le Morne Brabant is a spectacular peninsula on the South Western tip of the island. The main feature of this World Heritage Site is a rugged basaltic peak that gained notoriety in the 18th and 19th centuries for providing shelter to refugees who hid in its protected caves and on its 556-meter summit. Today this visually striking peninsula is a popular tourist attraction.

The Blue Penny Museum

Travelers can learn about the history of Mauritius through paintings, sketches, stamps, maps, photographs, models, or a travel guide of Mauritius. Covering the colonial periods of Mauritius, settlement, early maritime explorations, the story of the postal service on the island (including the rare one-penny and two-pence stamps), and the local legend of Paul and Virginie, this museum is perhaps the most enlightening and enjoyable one on the island. Visits can even be themed according to your interests.

Champ de Mars Racecourse

After the British defeated the French in 1810, Colonel Edward Alured Draper introduced horse racing to promote goodwill with the island’s French population. The Mauritius Turf Club was founded in 1812 with the Champ de Mars Racecourse inaugurated on 25 June that year. Today horseracing is one of the most popular pastimes in Mauritius, attracting more than 20,000 spectators per week.

Bois Chéri Tea Factory

Founded in 1892, Bois Chéri was the first tea plantation in Mauritius. A tour through the factory and grounds here provides insight into the role of tea in Mauritian history and gives guests a fantastic view of the island. A visit is not complete without sampling some of the plantation’s flavored teas while soaking up spectacular island panoramas.

Aapravasi Ghat

The old immigration depot is an important historical site, marking the place where indentured laborers from India passed through on their way to their plantations across the Commonwealth. More than 70 percent of Mauritius’s current population is descended from indentured laborers who arrived through the depot, and while only three original structures of the building remain, it has become a symbol of a Mauritian identity, earning a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Cap Malheureux

This small, picturesque fishing village on the northernmost tip of Mauritius is not only an important historical site, it offers breathtaking views of neighboring islands. Cape Misfortune, as the name translates in English, is where the British defeated the French, and it’s where you’ll find perhaps the island’s most famous church. The islands off the coast are also worth exploring. There’s Flat Island, famous for its lighthouse, Gunner’s Quoin, Gabriel Island and Round Island, which features a wildlife sanctuary with birds, boa constrictors, and native lizards.

LANGUAGE

The official languages of Mauritius are English and French, although Creole is widely spoken.

Hello – Bonjour
Goodbye – Au revoir
Thank you – S’il vous plait

RELIGION

Mauritius does not have a state religion – the population comprises Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and Christians living harmoniously together. In order to ensure you are being culturally respectful, please dress conservatively when visiting temples/shrines.​

CURRENCY

The national currency is the Mauritian Rupee which is divided into 100 cents.​ Tipping is discretionary, but any tips are always welcomed.​

TIME ZONE

MUT – 4 hours ahead of GMT in summer (October to March) and 3 hours ahead of GMT in winter (April to September).

WEATHER

Mauritius enjoys a tropical marine climate, with lots of sun all year and just enough rain to nourish lush vegetation and colorful tropical blooms. The region receives an annual average of 8 hours of sunshine per day with temperatures between 24°C (75°F) and 30°C (86°F) and water temperatures between 23°C (73°F) and 26°C (79°F).

FOOD

Mauritian cuisine reflects the diverse cultures of its people, for example, creole rougailles, Indian curries, Muslim biryanis, and Chinese stir fries. Some great local offerings include creole tomatoes (pommes d'amour) with onions, ginger, garlic and chillies, rougaille saucisses, and cari poule. Palm hearts and camarons (giant prawns), daubes, venison, and wild boar are also local favorites, borrowed from French cuisine. Fresh fish and other seafood are also a highlight.

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