Answers from Our Experts (1)
You may think of Mauritius as a beach-centric getaway made for two, but many European, Indian and South African families make the trek to the island with kids in tow. Many hotels offer children’s programs to keep little ones entertained while you relax, and there are so many kid-friendly things to see and do, why not take them along? Here’s what our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend doing with the kids in Mauritius:
1. Go the way of the dodo. Kids might only know of the dodo as a funny, clumsy bird with a big body and tiny, useless wings. It turns out that the stories aren’t that far from the truth. Learn all about these awkward creatures in the Dodo Gallery of the Natural History Museum in Port Louis. Once thought to have disappeared when hungry sailors made one too many meals of them after long voyages, dodo habitats and eggs were more likely destroyed by invasive species of rats and monkeys. The most complete dodo skeleton in the world is on display here, nicknamed Fred. Poor Fred was thought to have accidentally fallen into a cave and broken all of his bones. So much for dispelling a myth!
2. Ride a giant tortoise. You’ll wish you were tot-sized in La Vanille Réserve des Mascareignes zoo and nature reserve. La Vanille is home to over 1,000 Aldabra tortoises and more than 2,000 Nile crocodiles, the result of two very successful breeding projects. Kids can clamber over the jungle playground, explore the insectarium, which has over 23,000 species of bugs, and take photos with a baby crocodile. For adults with a morbid sense of humor, you can also buy crocodile products in the form of handbags and belts in the gift shop and eat crocodile kebabs and curry in the in-house restaurant.
3. Fly through the trees in Chazal. The only zip line park in the Indian Ocean, children over 4 years of age are welcome to strap in and glide through the trees. Thirteen different lines cover almost a mile of canopy above the Rivière des Galets in Chamonix, for up to four hours of high-flying fun. A traditional Mauritian lunch awaits your family when you return to the ground.
4. Spot dolphins in Tamarin Bay. Spinner and bottlenose dolphins play in the bay off the west coast of Mauritius. Catamaran cruises leave regularly from Tamarin Beach and Le Morne, but make sure you choose a sustainable operator that does not harass or crowd the dolphins. A half-day trip may also include a barbecue lunch and snorkeling off Île aux Benitiers.
5. Get a sugar rush at Domaine Les Pailles. Once a colonial sugar estate, Domaine Les Pailles is now a family-friendly park and cultural center with myriad activities. Tour the estate by train or horse-drawn carriage and be sure to stop by the spice garden. See functioning rum and essential oil distilleries and a working replica of an ox-powered sugar mill. Keep the kids busy with guided horse rides while you dine at one of four restaurants. Try Clos St. Louis for Franco-Mauritian cuisine in a plantation house setting.