Jani Jermans – Travel Diaries

June 10, 2022

Mauritius – The Paradise Island

Filed under: International Travel — jani @ 11:22 pm

When we were trying to choose a country to travel in 2021, I was sure that it has to be from a African continent as I had not explored this continent. Due to Covid restrictions still in place, it made sense to pick up a beach destination and the first country came to our mind was Mauritius. So we reached out to Sailani Tours N Travels Limited. Mr. Muddasar had taken responsibility to ensure, we had the perfect itinerary. Unfortunately due to my exam schedules, it had to be postponed to 2022. With all the covid protocols, it did seem little stressful, however finally we made it to Mauritius, the Paradise Island..

About Mauritius: Mauritius officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. It was uninhabited Island which was discovered initially by Arab Sailors, and later by Portuguese Sailors. Dutch took over possession initially, then French and finally British before the country got its independence. Owing to its geographic location and centuries of colonialism, the people of Mauritius are highly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language and faith. It is the only country in Africa where Hinduism is the most practised religion. Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy and for economic and political freedom. Mauritius is the only African country to be in the “very high” category on the Human Development Index. According to the World Bank, the country is classified as a high-income economy. Mauritius is also ranked as the most competitive, and one of the most developed economies in the African region. The country is a welfare state. The government provides free universal healthcare, free education up through the tertiary level and free public transportation for students, senior citizens, and the disabled. In 2019, Mauritius was ranked the most peaceful African country by the Global Peace Index.

Few points to note before travel:

  • Mauritius is visa on arrival for Indian Nationals. So there was no prior visa paperwork involved.
  • Next was RT-PCR which had to be taken 72 hours before departure and the report has to be Negative.
  • You also should not have been covid positive for the last 7-14 days prior travel.
  • Do ensure the swab collection time is also within 72 hours window and take it from one of the approved hospitals as per ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) website.
  • The RT-PCR also should have the QR code in the certificate, do ensure that it has. Hospitals like Manipal meets the requirements and also it’s good to get a PCR from such private hospitals when you are planning for an international travel.
  • Do ensure the passport is valid for at least 6 months validity before undertaking the travel.
  • Try to book the hotels/resorts so that you need not wait more time at the airport when you land in Mauritius for additional RT-PCR /Antigen Tests.
  • All in one travel form – (https://safemauritius.govmu.org/), it’s an online form, it needs to be filled up before you board the flight, take a printout and carry it with you while traveling.
  • Get an International Travel Insurance with Covid coverage, make sure there is an addendum/letter mentioning that the insurance covers covid related treatments as well.
  • When you board the flight, the Air hostess does give you 2 cards to fill it up, one is immigration form (white card) and another health form (yellow card). If you have filled up all in one travel form then health form is not required to be filled up.

Day 1: Finally, the long wait of travelling to Mauritius was coming closer, Sur and myself boarded the flight to Mumbai as our flight to Mauritius was from there. We had boarded Vistara and in Bangalore check-in, the lady had asked for PCR. To travel to Mumbai, we need PCR/Vaccination certificate (2 doses). We showed our vaccination certificate and we were allowed to check in. We checked in, got our boarding passes, cleared the security, enjoyed the quick breakfast at the lounge and then boarded our flight. The Bangalore process was a breeze. After enjoying the Vistara hospitality, we landed in Mumbai.

Unfortunately, our flight to Mauritius was only in the evening. We had almost five hours to kill. We thought we will check into the hotel, but by mistake we had exited the transit hotel area and had come to international check in lounge, and we were informed that we couldn’t go back. So we dozed off at the airport for some time as we were very sleepy. Our laptop batteries were dying as I was working in between. Then we had to search for a place to charge it. Finally We found a place in one corner, which means we had to be awake as charge points and the seating chairs were little far. So we kept ourselves awake until the laptop charged and then I distracted myself with work as it was getting really bored to sit in the area waiting for boarding.

Finally Sur went to check if the Air Mauritius started boarding and for our surprise they had began by then. We had a sigh of relief and went to check in. In the check in, the staffs checked every single document, from the flight ticket, insurance, covid coverage, hotel confirmation, PCR, vaccination, All in one Travel Form etc. They ensured that we had all the documents in hand and then handed over the boarding pass.

Then we moved to the security. Surprisingly Immigration was after security in Mumbai. I felt like the process was moving like snail and it was getting crowded as every bag was being sent for additional check. We thanked God that we were there early and we were in no rush so we just stood there, finished our security and then we left. It was more than an hour just to clear the security.

Next was Immigration, even here the process was slow. Immigration officer was asking for all possible documents, he verified and then let us go. We spent another hour to clear the immigration. By the time we were out it was almost 2 hours and I have decided never again to board a flight from Mumbai unless I do not have any other alternative. We had travelled from Bangalore and Delhi and the process were quick and smooth. But Mumbai seemed very disappointing as the entire process was slow. In case you are catching your flight from Mumbai, please ensure to reach at least 4-5 hours earlier for international travel so that you have enough time in hand to clear all the process so that you do not miss your flights.

Since we had enough time, we thought of going to the lounge. We didn’t know there were 2 lounges in Mumbai, one was Adani lounge and another loyalty lounge. We realized Adani lounges are paid ones or by invitation pass holders only. So we then found the loyalty lounge which was in a corner of duty free shop. It had a very average service. We had a quick bite, charged our mobiles and laptops, finished some work and left for the gate to board the flight.

We reached the gate and there was another chaos. There was announcement to board as per seat numbers but no one at the gate enforced, nor anyone followed. When we realized we had to go back to the queue as process was being not followed, we just joined the long queue and then boarded the Air Mauritius flight.

This was our first time in Air Mauritius and the staffs were friendly and the experience was good. As usual I enjoyed the movies on board and enjoyed their hospitality. Then we figured out there were a group of construction staffs from L&T sat next to us and they couldn’t communicate/read/write in English. When Air Hostess handed over both forms to fill up, they asked us if we could fill up for them. So I volunteered to fill it up and got them signed. Also we realized, the Air hostess was finding a little difficult to communicate, so we both volunteered to help them with the translation to serve them the right food and drinks. It was a nice feeling to volunteer for my Indian brethren to help them with the translation to enjoy the airline hospitality and to enjoy a hassle-free flight.

Then there was another worker who asked to fill his forms. We happily did, then we realized he didn’t have his work permit paper, I had asked him but he was showing the flight ticket and vaccination certificate. I had to tell him, he is missing his document and requested him to ask in the group as there were almost 8 workers in the group traveling together. I insisted that he gets his document, and he had no clue what document I am referring too. Then finally someone from the group showed the document in the phone where his name was present and then I had to brief him that he needs to show that document to the immigration when he lands. Finally, my broken Bengali came to help as most of them were from West Bengal. With Hindi and Bengali, somehow, I managed and we were glad that we could help them and that is always the best feeling in the world when you help someone without expecting anything in return.

A humble request to the HR team working on International Assignments/Deputations: Dear HR SPOCS, Our responsibility doesn’t end once we hand over the work paper or book a flight for an employee when they are chosen for an international project whether it’s for a white collar or blue-collar jobs. It’s our responsibility to ensure the employee knows what he needs to carry, do a travel briefing about the process involved when he boards a flight and documents needed to show at the immigration etc. It’s advisable that someone who can speak in English accompanies the group when no one is able to communicate in English, or at least there is a document which mentions all the details that immigration officer might have and add a local number in the destination country to verify/answer the details if the traveller is unable to communicate. Please note Immigration Officers cannot allow the traveller if they are not satisfied with the answers/right documents. Ensuring employee lands in the destination country without any hazzle is also our responsibility. Please make sure to brief every employee who travels on international locations. It would be a great help for your employees.

Just before landing, thought will use the rest room, but to my disappointment, the toilets were filthy and used tissues were all over on the floor, in the sink etc. I literally had to run away from there. Finally we landed to the beautiful Mauritius, went straight to immigration, it was a long queue, it went smoother and quick and then to the health officials. Since we were staying at the hotel/resort, we were let off immediately as others had more test at the airport and they had to wait. Then we picked up our luggage, converted some local currencies, found Mr. Vishwa who came to pick us up from the airport. We were chatting a little as he was speaking Hindi and he played nice old Hindi Songs for us. After almost an hour and half we finally reached the hotel.

By now it was early morning. As per the process, as soon as we land Antigen test had to be done at the hotel. The receptionist at Tarisa Resort took the test, we both were negative, so we were allowed to check in to our rooms. We were hungry, the hotel staffs already kept some bread and salad for dinner. To our disappointment the breads were too hard, even if I have to make a sandwich, I didn’t have energy to chew that hard bread and we were too tired to do that. Then for our disappointment the salad had egg plant. I am not sure who eats grilled egg plant, with the bread. We thought at least will have some extra butter and bread, but there was hardly little butter kept which was not enough for this hard bread. It was so disappointing to see such a pathetic dinner kept at the room. They had also forgotten to keep the cutlery. Even though we didn’t want to disturb the staff, we had to call the reception to send a butter knife at least. Finally we managed to have a bite of little bread with whatever butter we had and all other had to be wasted. We were not at all happy to waste the food but we couldn’t force ourselves to eat this dinner as well. We were too tired to complain and we just dozed off.

Day 2: We got up and rushed for a quick breakfast. They had bacons, chicken sausage sautéed with uncooked onions, pan cakes, omelettes and bread. I was looking for some healthy local breakfast options and I was quite disappointed they didn’t have any. Unfortunately, it was the same breakfast that we had the next 8 days, not a change even for a single dish. By now we realized it was a bad idea that we had pre paid for the dinner at this hotel. Unfortunately we didn’t find any other hotels close by, so we were left with no other option. Anyway we didn’t want to disappoint our day, we just had an omelette and croissant which was thankfully good and then we went to explore the city. We were picked by 11 AM by Mr. Ramveer, our guide for the entire stay in Mauritius.

Today we had explored North Island. First we were taken to Citadelle (Fort Adelaide) where the entry is free. This 19th-century military fortress features a walled courtyard & it has panoramic city views. It was a great place to get a great view. Then once we came down, we stopped in the small souvenir shop and then started our journey back.

Then we proceeded to Port Louis city tour. It was just a drive in, going through their Parliament, Supreme Court etc. Situated on the northwest coast, Port Louis is the business and administrative capital of Mauritius.

Then we visited the Marie Reine De La Paix Church, which is an open church located on the Signal Mountain with an amazing breath-taking view of Port-Louis and is a popular spot for prayers. It also overlooks the city and the sea. This monument was unveiled in 1940 and it was built to put Mauritians under the protection of the Virgin Mary in the context of the Second World War.  You also have few steps to climb to reach this church which has amazing garden surrounded by beautiful bougainvilleas.

Then we proceeded to Caudan Waterfront, a popular leisure and shopping place. It includes shops, banking facilities, casinos, cinemas, restaurants, a marina and a five star hotel. We entered to the shopping place, first we stopped to buy a Kuanfu Ripe Black Tea. It is produced on the volcanic island of Mauritius where the currents of the Indian Ocean brings the warm and humid subtropical marine climate, combined with the volcanic erupted soil creates the basic quality of Kuanfu Ripe Black Tea. Here they use an innovative technique to ferment the tea further for no less than 365 days. The Kuanfu Ripe Black Tea is a unique type of tea, which achieved a new height in the world due to its characteristics. The Kuanfu Ripe Black Tea soon allowed Mauritius to have a seat in the global tea market, especially in China.

Then we headed for some street shopping, we stopped for a tropical mixed fresh juice, which had papaya, passion fruit, watermelon, mangoes etc which was super delicious and then Sur had picked up a T-shirt. Since we were not very hungry we stopped at a café shop for a pastry and hot chocolate. That was very bad as well. So we just forced ourselves to finish it.

Then we went to Blue Penny Museum which was our last stop at Caudan waterfront. It’s a museum dedicated to history and art of Mauritius. The museum collection includes the 1847 Blue Penny and Red Penny stamps. It also has the love story of Paul and Virginie which is based on Bernardin de St-Pierre’s novel Paul et Virgini.  

Then we left for Jumbo Hypermarket. We needed to do some shopping as the hotel seems to be too stingy with toiletries. Usually I carry everything but this time I had forgotten to refill after our Meghalaya trip. Tarisa only gives you a bathing soap, towel and one litre of water for 2 people. So you need to buy more water bottles, shampoo, lotion, conditioner, tooth brush, tooth paste and anything else that you might need of. The hotel property is beautiful and was quite surprised about their stinginess even with the basic Amenities. So we bought all that we needed for the next one week of stay. We also picked up some wine, gin and lots of cheese for our snacks. Natural Sweet Rose’ from Robertson Winery had been my best pick up and we enjoyed so much that it was very difficult to put down the bottle without finishing it and we had to pick up one each for the next few days. We reached the hotel, enjoyed the wine that we bought and headed for Dinner. Once again that was a disappointment, for vegetarian, Sur had hardly any options and for myself the meat was too sweet with the sauce and a fried rice extremely dry. We had a bite and left the place as we couldn’t eat this dinner. Since we had cheese stoked up, that helped Sur a bit as I was too tired and dozed off. 

Day 3: We had the same breakfast and we started our journey to South Island. First we reached to Le Port Ship Model Factory and Showroom, where they build thousands of replicas of famous boats like Black Pearl etc.  They also have aircraft souvenirs of various airlines from different countries. They had souvenirs made out of Blue Marlin fish beaks and tails in original which was very impressive. Also there were other souvenirs like paintings, jewelleries and other gift items. It’s very difficult to leave this place without picking any as the entire shop was a work of art and it was worth shopping here.

Then we did drive in tour of Curepipe town which has lot of duty free items. This town lies at a higher elevation, often referred to as the “Central Plateau”. We passed through their municipality office and there were walk in blood donation came was happening. I was too tempted to go there but we were short of time to explore the place so I skipped.

Then we headed to Trou Aur Cerf which is an extinct volcanic crater where we could enjoy the lovely views of the crater and the plateau. We enjoyed the local ice cream there which had a passion fruit flavour for a change and it was good.

Then we headed to Grand Bassin, which has Ganga Talao (Sacred Lake), which is a crater lake situated in a secluded mountain area in the district of Savanne, deep in the heart of Mauritius and considered sacred for Hindus. This area has lot of various Hindu temples and we went near the lake, where people were offering their pujas, we said a prayer and we returned.

Then we headed to Mangal Mahadev which was close by. It is a 33 m tall sculpture of the Hindu god Shiva standing with his Trishula at the entrance of Ganga Talao. It is a replica of the Shiva statue in Sursagar lake in Vadodara, Gujarat in India and is the tallest statue in Mauritius. Then diagonally opposite side we had Maa Durga Statue. This statue is measured at 108 feet, 33 meters high, thus making it the tallest Durga Mata statue in the world.

Then we headed to La Vallée Des Couleurs (The Valley of Colours) Nature Park and refers to the colourful geological formation in the region, which provides exciting activities and attractions such as Quad Biking, Ziplines, Nepalese Bridge, Kart and Trekking. We booked a safari to go around the property, while we were waiting we tried the blue berry donut which was too sweet for me to handle. Then as our safari arrived, first we went to see the 23 coloured Earth. The origin of it dates back to millions of years after the volcanic eruption of the Bassin Blanc. It is a phenomenon arising from volcanic activity and mineral deposits; totally unique to this one beautiful spot on earth. There were also lot of small Guava fruits where the leaves looked very different and the staff said it was Chinese (small fruits) and French guava (bigger fruits) trees. He found one ripe Chinese guava for me and made me taste it. I was so happy and it tasted good.

Then we headed to Chamouze waterfall, they also have a zipline to view the waterfall to see it close. We enjoyed the view and then headed to Vacoas Waterfall. The name Vacoas actually refers to Pandanus utilis, the common screw pine which is found in Mauritius. The Vacoas plant previously being used to manufacture sugar bags. Today, the fresh Vacoas leaves have been used to make baskets, yarns, ropes and souvenirs while the dry leaves are disposed of as agricultural wastes. The products manufactured from these fibres are found to be of high strength, lasting and have a high service life. This dry leaves also been used for the hut roof as well. Then it was time to try the 3rd longest zipline in the world of 1.5 Km. Even though initially I closed my eyes, slowly I opened my eyes to enjoy the beautiful view and that was one you shouldn’t be missing out.

Then we wanted to try the Nepalese Bridge but were too tired and hungry to try that. So we skipped that and went to La Citronnelle Restaurant for lunch. I saw the Deer menu and immediately ordered the dish as I had tasted when I was a kid. It was like any other meat, didn’t feel much difference and it was made a little dry. While I enjoyed the rice, salad and deer meat and Sur ordered his pasta which was really good and he couldn’t finish as the quantity was so much. For dessert I requested for a coconut mousse and I enjoyed the very cold dessert. It was almost evening, so we headed back to see the important person in the park, which was a big tortoise, it’s more than 100-year-old and he was freely strolling around in the open park. He was enjoying his evening snack of grass, so without disturbing we went a little closer for the photograph and then we returned back to the hotel. We reached the hotel and dozed off as both of us were not at all interested to go for the dinner.

Day 4: After breakfast at the hotel, we headed to proceed for full day tour of Ile Aux Cerfs Island. First we went to the office of Aquasea Co Ltd and we booked for a under sea walk, speed boat ride to Ile Aux Cerfs Island, visit to waterfall from that Island and Parasailing. Later they cancelled saying it was too windy to do it. So he was little disappointed.

So we started for the Undersea walk. I was little nervous to do it. We had to do a 5-10 minutes boat ride and from there we went for the undersea walk. The staffs were vey supportive and gave all the instructions and they helped me with the initial hiccups as well. After few minutes, I finally felt confident and enjoyed the undersea walk. We could see we were surrounded by school of Sergeant Major Fish. We could also spot few False Eye Damsel Fish as well. As we started we also saw a hanuman statue on the sea bed and then after enjoying such amazing experience we returned back to the shore.

Then we headed to the fishing village of Trou d’Eau Douce to take the speed boat to Ile Aux Cerfs Island. We waited for the speed boat and then we got dropped at the island. There was another speedboat to see the waterfall and we had almost 45 minutes to kill so we decided to do Para Sailing as there they were doing. Sur insisted so I joined. So we had to take a boat ride of another 5 minutes to reach the platform and then we para sailed. It was an amazing experience and please do not miss out these adventures. Then it was time to rush to the speedboat for the waterfall visit. It was one hell of a ride and we enjoyed except the scorching sun as it was afternoon. As we went closer to the waterfall, we also spotted few monkeys and then we  enjoyed the view of the waterfall and we returned back to the Island.

Then we headed to the restaurant for buffet, Sur had a Margarita Pizza since vegetarian options were very limited. I went for the buffet as I had lot of options. I had fish ball soup, beef, chicken, sausages etc. Also ordered some drinks from Sands Bar which was opposite to the buffet restaurant.

Then we visited few souvenir shops around and by then it was 4 PM to catch the speedboat to get out of the Island. Our guide was waiting at the jetty and we got dropped to our hotel. We reached the room and crashed for the night as I was not interested to go for dinner. Sur decided to go down to try his luck and he was unsuccessful to find something interesting for the dinner with his very limited options.

Day 5: After breakfast at the hotel, we proceeded to Casela Natural Park which is one of the most popular leisure and attraction parks in Mauritius offering a variety of fun and thrilling activities.  It spans over 350 hectares and is divided into 5 zones, each with its own unique characteristic. The 5 zones are Thrill Mountain, Predator Kingdom, African Safari, Pangia Birds and Rides and World of Events. First we went to see the birds, they had Macaws, Parakeets, Love birds, Horn Bill, Turtle Doves, Bare faced Go Away birds, Silver pheasant, Fantail pigeon, Red and yellow barbet, Vulturine guineafowl, Red turtle dove, Javan sparrow, White java sparrow and many more. We also saw green iguanas, fruit bats, and macaques’ monkey.

Then we stopped for a juice of Alouda which is a Mauritian Milk Shake made with Milk, Agar-Agar, Sugar Syrup and Basil Seeds and I had tamarind juice. It was refreshing as I never drank a tamarind juice.

Then we went for the African Safari where we saw the Zebras, Ostriches, Impalas (they have such a beautiful horns), Kudus, Oryx, Nyalas, Waterbucks and Rhinos. We saw a zebra and few ostriches come near the safari vehicle to see what we were up to and it was nice to watch them too close. Then we saw the camel on the way before we took Big Cat safari. Kudos to the guide who explained so well, the trip was very informative. They have walking with lions option but we were under the assumption that these animals might be drugged to do all these activities so we skipped.

But the guide explained during the trip that, here the animals are not drugged and it was a relief to know. We also got to know that most of the Lions and tigers were born here, so as the animals learn to respond to the commands from the staff, Staffs in turn learn the body language of the big cats.  We also heard Lion is considered the king of the jungle as they stay in groups called Prides that makes them stronger comparing to Tigers, as tigers prefer to be left alone which makes them weaker than lions, even though physically tigers are more stronger than lions individually. Here onlythere were Bengal Tigers, which they got it from India and currently there are 10 of them, out of which six of them are born here in Mauritius. The interesting fact about lion is that they take a little time to react where tigers reactions/moods can change in seconds so they are very unpredictable. Since tigers grew here, they are used with humans and if we end of running away in fear in an emergency situation, the tiger tries to chase you to play with you as the running interests them, but they don’t realize their chase can be deadly to humans. So its better to stay away from big cats for your own safety.

Then we went to see Pigmy Hippo but we couldn’t spot it. We also had a ticket for Tulawaka which is the rollercoaster ride but we didn’t want to do that in the scorching sun. Then we saw other animals like Llama. This park also has animal feeding activity with some animals like camel, Ilama, Ziraffe etc.

Then we sat for a late lunch at blue bird restaurant. I had wild boar meat which was ok and Sur enjoyed the veg burger. Then we drove back to the hotel enjoying on the way, the sugar cane fields and Mauritus Fody which is a tiny bird with a bright orange color looked so beautiful. We reached the hotel, thought will go for the dinner today since staff was insiting me to come down as they wanted to give my delayed birthday cake and Sur decided to skip it. So I just had a soup and then hotel staff brought me a birthday cake since the initial plan was to visit Mauritius was for my birthday. Even though our trip got postponed, staff insisted that I cut the cake as they made it already. So I quickly cut it, had a mini bite, thanked them and gave back the cake for the staffs to enjoy and then I went and crashed for the night.

Day 6: We were informed there won’t be any activity today due to the cyclone Batsirai warning. So we woke up, had breakfast and were relaxing at the hotel. We went close to the beach and were doing birdwatching. Mauritius is a bird lover’s paradise as here there are quite a lot of beautiful birds and you don’t feel bored even if you are doing nothing. We spotted cute little Pic Pic bird (Mauritius Grey White Eye), Madagascar Turtle Dove, Zebra Dove, Indian Myna, Sparrow, Red whiskered Bulbul, Village Weaver, helmeted guineafowl, Malagasy Turtle dove and Red Fody. During our drive most of the trees had beautiful village weaver nests all around and it looked so beautiful to look into.

So first we had category 2 warning of cyclone which means water activities are banned. We were just praying that people of Mauritius stay safe from this cyclone and there should not be any causalities. Then we went for lunch but it was almost closing time, so we ordered veg pizza. It didn’t look appetizing as the base was big and cheese was less and all it had was potato, corn and all possible vegetables were added and it not at all tasted like pizza as the cheese was very minimal but it was ok. We forcefully finished that and went to the room. By now slowly there were heavy rain and wind.

It was also day to take our 2nd Antigen test. So we took the test at the hotel, and we were tested negative. We also had the healthcare representative coming to take PCR sample for our RT PCR test to be taken for our flight back to India.

By now the Class 3 cyclone had been announced and we were asked not to go near the beach and we were instructed to stay indoors. The catamaran cruise that was planned which is mostly snorkelling in different spots got cancelled due to cyclone warning. We both were back to work with the limited net connectivity due to the cyclone. Then evening we went for dinner and finally I had the best of meal where very dish was cooked to perfection. I enjoyed the Seafood specially Octopus, Fish, Beef, Duck etc. Sur only could have some salads due to his limited option. Finally I had the satisfaction of a good dinner and then we crashed for the night.

Day 7: We woke up and there was heavy rain and the visit to Aparvasi Ghat and Le Morne also had been postponed as the cyclone warning has been moved to Class 4 which means strictly we should stay indoors. So we were back to work. Since the lab could not open we informed Air Mauritius that we do not have PCR results so we had to postpone our travel dates as we were not allowed to board the flight without PCR. So we informed Muddasar to postpone our flights, then went back to work, had our dinner and crashed for the night.

Day 8: As we woke up, we got to know that cyclone warning has been removed, however it was raining so we couldn’t step out. We also heard there was one casualty when the tree fell on a bus conductor while he stepped out for work. May his soul rest in peace. We also had poor connectivity as hotel network cable got damaged in the cyclone. So now we were trying to plan the activities that we missed as we extended our stay. We got to know water activities cannot be done as it would take some time for the sea to get back to normalcy, so we could do the Aparvasi Ghat and Le Morne activities for the next day. We also fixed our PCR sample collection and it was booked for the next day early morning. We then crashed for the night.

Day 9: We woke up early since we had to give the PCR sample, the Govt hospital staff was on time, gave the sample and then we went to freshen up. We had our breakfast and our guide was ready to pick us up to visit Aparvasi Ghat. This is the Immigration Depot which is a building complex located in Port Louis. It is the first British colony to receive indentured, or contracted, labour workforce from many countries and majority were from India to work on Sugar cane plantations. Respect to the government for building a memorial for them to remember the past history of the country. We couldn’t go inside as the water had come inside due to the cyclone. So we stayed at the reception and saw the photos of the first labour workforce and headed out.

Then we left to Bagatelle Mall, which is the biggest mall in Mauritius and went to the Supermarket to pick up our favourite wine. Then we headed to Alexandra Falls View Point in Chamouny. Unfortunately path was closed as the tree had fallen on the way.

So we headed to Black River Gorges National Park, which has waterfall view point. It was an amazing view. After enjoying the scene we headed for the Rum tasting in Rhumarie De Chamarel. This is one of the rare distilleries still in activity to cultivate its own sugar cane. We paid the entrance ticket and then we waited for the English guide Mr. Giovanni and he explained the complete process and we had almost 12 rums to taste. Since I am not someone who enjoys rum shots, I just had a sip of each. The first rum was a cocktail mix called (Ti-Punch) which was really good. As it was time for lunch, we had it in their restaurant. I wanted to try the lobster but Sur gets scared of looking at the lobster, so I had to settle for Mix Grill which had Beef, Chicken and Fish which came with a nice salad, also I had ordered crab gratin which was too salty for my taste. Then to complete I had ordered Tiramisu and it was another great lunch. Sur ordered their Ti Punch and I had Virgin Pina Colada which was great as well. All that Sur had just 2 vegetarian options either rice with curried pickles or potato gnocci and he settled for gnocci. Sometimes I feel bad for his limited options but I am unable to help as it’s their own individual choice. I also feel you cannot be a true traveler if you cannot explore the local cuisines.

I just realized after visiting few countries like Mauritius and Vietnam, if you love travel and love to explore the world, it helps if you don’t have any food restrictions and be open to explore the local cuisines. I do understand, there is a mind block for the environment that we were brought up, foods that we were exposed to while growing up, religious sentiments etc. Even I had my own mind block to try some of the meats and even vegetables which I got exposed much later in life. I had to thank God for the supervisors who mentored me while growing up and they trained me, that I should be able to eat anything. They always said, if I refuse any local food it means I am insulting the locals. That was my turning point and slowly I opened myself to explore and give a try whether I like it or not. So that helped me to open my horizons to try new food around the world while traveling.

Then we headed to Le Morne Cultural Landscape, which is a rugged mountain that just sits into the Indian Ocean in the southwest of Mauritius was used as a shelter by runaway slaves, maroons, through the 18th and early years of the 19th centuries. Protected by the mountain’s isolated, wooded and almost inaccessible cliffs, the escaped slaves formed small settlements in the caves and on the summit of Le Morne. The oral traditions associated with the maroons, have made Le Morne a symbol of the slaves’ fight for freedom, their suffering, and their sacrifice, all of which have relevance to the countries from which the slaves came – the African mainland, Madagascar, India, and South-east Asia. Indeed, Mauritius, an important stopover in the eastern slave trade, also came to be known as the “Maroon republic” because of the large number of escaped slaves who lived on Le Morne Mountain.

Then we headed back home to pack our bags for our return for the next day. We followed up for the PCR results. Once we received we had to do the arrival formalities of India

Arrival Formalities:

  • Fill up the Self Declaration Form in Air Suvidha (https://www.newdelhiairport.in/airsuvidha/apho-registration), Upload the PCR, Vaccination certificate, passport copies, return flight including connecting flight details if any.
  • Once you submit you get a filled form with the reference number starting with SR
  • That document has to be shared to the airline a day prior as they also were following up for the same.
  • Also we need to pre book the RT-PCR at the city airport where we were landing in India and we need to share the confirmation to the airline staff.

We also got to know that we need to carry the filled self-declaration form as a hard copy, unfortunately our hotel couldn’t help due to connectivity issues. So finally airline helped with the same at the airport. We also needed to keep our PCR certificate and Vaccination certificate ready with us as well. Once we shared the details with the airline and got a confirmation from the airline staff, we went for the last night’s dinner at the hotel. Even though we were not hungry, we went to thank the staffs for their amazing hospitality. Then we reached the room, packed our bags and crashed for the night. 

Day 10: We had to wake up early as we had a morning flight for our return to Mumbai. Ramveer picked us and dropped us to the airport. We went for a check in, we were sent back to the airline counter as we couldn’t get the hard copy of the self-declaration form. Once we got it from the airline office at the airport, we checked in.  The airline staff ensured every single document was checked and we were not missing out any document. Then we cleared the immigration, security and went to the boarding gate. I was hungry, so we grabbed a burger at Burger King and we were looking for a currency exchange counter as Sur had withdrawn local currency but we couldn’t spend it due to the cyclone as we couldn’t step out, so we decided to convert it in India and went towards our boarding gate and then boarded our return flight. We enjoyed the airline hospitality and landed in Mumbai.

Thankfully arrival process seemed much better. First we decided to do Rapid PCR test, since we needed to catch our connecting flights as this result is provided in 45 minutes than the normal PCR which takes 8-10 hours. As we went to the counter we were informed that the travel partner had by mistake chosen Delhi lab instead of Mumbai, so we had to do a fresh appointment in Mumbai Airport and make the payment again.  We gave our Rapid PCR samples, cleared the Immigration, picked up for bags, cleared the customs and then we realized we had time to catch the Bangalore flight so Muddasar was on the job for preponing the flight as soon as we confirmed that our PCR result was negative.  We succeeded in booking Go Air, as that was the only flight available for Bangalore for the night. We booked a taxi from airport and went to Terminal 1.  Thankfully check in was open as we had extra baggage to be paid as well. The process was smooth, we checked in, cleared the security and went to the lounge. This lounge was way better comparing to the International loyalty lounge, enjoyed the steam rice with nice fish curry, which is my comfort food any time of the day. Sur had some Dhoklas and we headed to the gate for boarding. We Enjoyed the GoAir hospitality and landed in Bangalore. We picked up our bags, took an airport taxi and reached Home Sweet Home after such an amazing visit to the Paradise Island. Also do not forget to do another PCR on 8th day of arrival after a home quarantine of 7 days and the test result had to be uploaded in Air Suvedha as well.

First of all a big thank you to Muddasar from Sailani Tours, who is our Travel Partner. He had too many sleepless nights as our tickets were postponed, preponed and rescheduled. He had been a biggest support and kudos for his excellent customer service. Also thanks to the backend team, who was helping him to make our travel hassle free one.

Next a big thanks to our Guide Mr. Ramveer, he was a perfect gentleman and provided a great support through out our stay. Thanks to the local team in Mauritius who helped us in every possiblen way from ensuring the visits are done as planned, the antigen/PCR are scheduled as per the time.

Another big thanks to the staffs at Tarisa Resort, the hotel policy might be towards a stingy one, but the staffs are warm, hospitable and they made sure we had a great time. We had to pass on our special thanks to the housekeeping staff who had to travel during cyclone as she couldn’t skip her work inspite of the risk involved in stepping out. Lots of respect.

Another big thanks to the Air Mauritius Staff, they were so diligent in their work, warm, extremely helpful and hospitable. We loved it.

Another big thanks to the Govt of Mauritius, even though it felt a hazzle to take 2 antigen test after landing and PCR for onward and return, we realized this is just to keep the country people and travelers safe. The strict enforcement of masks, almost 80% population been fully vaccinated along with booster shots, you are a role model for other countries.  Lot of respect for your governance for the welfare of the people.

Last but not least a big thanks to the people of Mauritius. I was blown away by your warmth, self confidence, and the spirit of living life to the fullest each day no matter what challenge life threw. First time I felt I was not in a foreign country and felt at home. I admired the discipline on the road, never heard anyone honking. Everyone followed the rules, everyone was friendly. Even they tried to speak in Hindi, the moment they knew we were from India as most of them could speak Hindi. You were the perfect host and we feel privileged to enjoy your warmth and love.

I wish India removed Mauritius from at risk country list as almost 80% of their population has been fully vaccinated with booster shots. PCR for entry and 2 Antigen test and PCR for return, they are following strict protocols to ensure we are safe. I am not sure why this country is still classified as at risk.

Mauritius, this is truly a paradise Island and the experience has been being in paradise.

Please stay safe………….

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress