Mauritius sightseeing

The Indian Ocean with the cruise destinations Réunion, Madagascar, Mahé / Seychelles and Mauritius is one of the relatively insignificant cruise destinations in international comparison. Although the islands mentioned offer uniquely beautiful landscapes, wonderful beaches and first-class diving sites, they have so far been spared from mass tourism à la Caribbean.

Mauritius - Port Louis ahead Mauritius - Port Louis ahead

Travelers whose cruise ships head for the autonomous Republic of Mauritius disembark in the northwest of the island in the capital Port Louis. If you even offer an overnight stay in Mauritius, you can easily discover several of the island's attractions.

The best way for passengers to bridge the distance between the cruise terminal, which is located in front of huge sugar silos, and the city center of Port Louis is by taxi. A short, pedestrian connection is planned, but not yet implemented. In spring 2017, the trip to the center cost ten euros. Prices are quoted in US dollars and euros; the drivers don't even bother with the local currency, Mauritian rupees. A one-hour city tour with stops that took in the main sights cost around 40 euros. A four-hour tour of the island by taxi with a maximum of four passengers cost the budget 120 to 140 euros.

Mauritius - Port Louis - taxi tariffs

Mauritius has an extensive, efficient and inexpensive bus system. We learned from fellow travelers that buses are a reliable means of transport. Between Port Louis and the beach in Flic en Flac to the southwest, buses run every 18 minutes on weekdays, for example. 

Attractions in Port Louis

Caudan waterfront

An impressive and representative business center was created from original commercial space on the Le Caudan peninsula. In addition to the Blue Penny Museum, where two copies of the world-famous Blue Mauritius stamp are on display, Le Caudan offers office and commercial space, a variety of retail spaces, a casino, a cinema and attractive restaurants and bars. A second shopping center, the Port Louis Waterfront, is a short distance away.

Port Louis - Pavilion on the Caudan Waterfront
Port Louis - Caudan Waterfront
Port Louis - Panorama of the Caudan Waterfront

Champ de Mars

The Champ de Mars racecourse was a parade ground during the French colonial era. After the British came to power, The Mauritius Turf Club was set up on the site with an almost 1.300 meter long horse racing track. The racecourse is the oldest in the southern hemisphere.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Champs de Mars racecourse
Mauritius - Port Louis - Champs de Mars racecourse

China Town

China Town is located in the center of Port Louis. The Chinese population of Port Louis lives and works there. The district with small businesses, restaurants and grocery stores is embedded between the two “friendship gates”.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Friendship Gate of Chinatown

Notable places of worship

The diversity of religions in Mauritius is reflected in the places of worship in Port Louis.

Sri Maryamen Hindu Temple

A colorful temple decorated with figures.

Port Louis - Sri Maryamen Hindu Temple

Port Louis - Sri Maryamen Hindu Temple 

Jumma mosque

The mosque on Royal Road is the city's most important Muslim place of worship. Non-Muslims are allowed in.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Jumma Mosque

Roman Catholic Cathedral

Attempts were made several times in a row to build a representative Catholic church in Port Louis. No sooner was a building completed than it was destroyed again by cyclones. The current construction was completed in 1819. The Episcopal Church became the house of God in 1847.

Port Louis - Roman Catholic Cathedral

Port Louis - Nave of the Roman Catholic Cathedral 

Kwan Tea Pagoda

Completed by the Chinese community in 1842, the pagoda is the oldest in the southern hemisphere and the African continent. The church is located in a garden lined with coconut palms. You pass it coming from the cruise terminal in the direction of the city center and vice versa. The pagoda is dedicated to Kwan Tee, the god of wealth, war and justice.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Kwan Lee Pagoda

Government House

The representative building was built between 1729 and 1735. The seat of the parliament is one of the oldest buildings in the city.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Government House

Squares and parks

La Place d'Armes

Between the harbor area and Government House lies a former parade ground surrounded by tall palm trees. The narrow area is nestled between two main streets; the former purpose can no longer be recognized.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Place d'Armes

Mauritius - Port Louis - Place d'Armes 

The Jardins de la Compagnie

The most attractive park in the capital is adorned with banyan trees, a number of statues and several fountains. The garden was originally laid out as a kitchen garden by the French East India Company during colonial times.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Les Jardins de la Compagnie

Marien monument "Marie Reine de la Paix"

The chapel, which is open to the outside, is located on the slope of Signal Hill. The monument was built in 1940. The roof is crowned by a three-meter-high statue of the Virgin Mary made of marble. It shows the Mother of God with the globe in her hands.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Mary's Monument

Museums in Port Louis

Blue Penny Museum

Two copies of the unique Mauritius Blue Postage Stamp are kept and publicly displayed in this museum. In order to protect the brands, the immeasurably valuable originals are exposed to artificial light for only a few minutes a day. The rest of the time, visitors can see copies of the stamps.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Blue Penny Museum

Postal Museum

After Great Britain, Brazil, Switzerland and the USA, the insignificant region of Mauritius became the fifth country in the world to introduce postage stamps. The most famous brands in the country are the Blue and the Red Mauritius. The museum is dedicated to the country's postal history. The rock-built building faces the Port Louis Waterfront.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Postal Museum

Aapravasi ghat

The facility, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006, was a transit camp for Indian and Chinese contract workers from 1849 onwards. A total of 450.000 people are said to have passed through the camp over time. After slavery was abolished, it was primarily hired Indians who worked on the sugar cane plantations. In return for payment for their passage as well as food and lodging, the workers had to sign up as indentured servants for five years. Aapravasi Ghat vividly describes the working and living conditions at that time. More than half of the Mauritian population is of Indian descent.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Aapravasi Ghat

Mauritius - Port Louis - Aapravasi Ghat 

Mauritius Institute

To the right of Government House is the Mauritius Institute. There, a memorial is made to the extinct dodo by means of drawings and skeleton parts. The flightless bird, about one meter high, was exterminated by Dutch settlers between the 16th and 17th centuries. After all, the dodo survived in the coat of arms of Mauritius.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Mauritius Institute

Mauritius - Port Louis - Dodo in front of the Mauritius Institute 

Central market

The market, built in 1840, consists of four halls. Groceries are sold in three halls. Textiles, leather goods, souvenirs and souvenirs are traded in the fourth hall. Up to 40.000 people visit the market every day.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Central Market

Mauritius - Port Louis - on the way in the central market 

Citadel - Fort Adelaide

The fortress, named after Crown Princess Adelaide of Great Britain and Ireland, was built between 1834 and 1840 at a height of around 70 meters on a hill above Port Louis. The citadel was built to defend against enemy attacks on the harbor and to detect fire in the city area as quickly as possible. It is the only one of four former fortresses that has been preserved. From the height, visitors have a first-class view of the city and the surrounding landscape.

Mauritius - Port Louis - Citadel Fort Adelaide
Mauritius - View from the citadel of Port Louis
Mauritius - View from the citadel of Port Louis

Sights in the northwest of the island

Pamplemousses Botanical Garden

The 25 hectare garden is one of the most important sights on the island. Founded in 1735, the garden is considered the oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere. It is also one of the most species-rich tropical gardens in the world. Visitors will find almost all existing palm species there, including the Talipot palms, which bloom once after 30 to 40 years. Visitors should allow at least an hour for an overview to admire the splendor of the plants.

Domaine de Labourdonnais

In Mapou, three kilometers from Pamplemousses, the Château de Labourdonnais stands in the middle of a park. The estate was founded in 1774. Sugar cane was grown on 540 hectares. The mansion, which has recently been opened to the public, was built between 1856 and 1859. It has been family-owned ever since.

L'Aventure du Sucre

Sugar cultivation was the island's main source of income in colonial times. In the municipality of Pamplemousses, which has a population of almost 10.000, a sugar museum was set up on an old factory site near the botanical garden. Authentic exhibits and interactive presentations give visitors insights into sugar production in times past on an area of ​​6.000 square meters. A catalog depicting the island's 400-year colonial history is also available in German.

Sights in the southwest of the island

The Port Louis cruise terminal offers private taxi tours lasting around four to five hours to key destinations in the southwest of the capital.

Black River Gorges National Park

The island's only national park was proclaimed in 1994. The protection facility, which covers more than 67 square kilometers, is primarily a refuge for endemic plant and animal species. The national park offers visitors 60 kilometers of hiking trails. Tour providers and taxi drivers unload their guests at the Gorges Viewpoint. The viewpoint offers fantastic views of the surrounding mountains, deep gorges and a waterfall.

Mauritius - Black River Gorges National Park

Mauritius - Black River Gorges National Park

Chamarel waterfall

The annual amount of precipitation in the mountainous region is one and a half meters. The rainwater flows via two rivers to natural collecting basins, from which it is released into the twin waterfalls. During the dry season between May and October, an average of 22.500 cubic meters of water falls down around 90 m every day. In the rainy season the amount of water increases to 41.000 cubic meters.

Mauritius - Chamarel waterfall

Nearby is another natural wonder, the hilly landscape “Seven Colored Earth”.. The colors of the volcanic floors vary from blue to purple to blue-green.

Ganga Talao / Grand Bassin

Mauritius has the largest Hindu pilgrimage site outside of India. The Maha Shivaratree Festival is celebrated at the Grand Bassin crater lake between the end of February and the beginning of March. More than 400.000 pilgrims visit the sacred lake to offer sacrifices to their gods. According to legend, the crater lake is connected to the holy river Ganges.

Mauritius - Grand Bassin

The lake is surrounded by temples, sacrificial shrines and statues of gods. Two kilometers from the lake is a monumental, 33-meter-high statue of the main Indian deity, Shiva.

Mauritius - Shiva statue at Grand Bassin

Le Morne Brabant

The 556 meter high mountain lies on the peninsula of the same name. In 2008, UNESCO added it to its World Heritage list as a cultural landscape. The special recognition by the United Nations is based on the idea of ​​reminding people of the mountain's role in the suffering and liberation of slaves in Mauritius.

Mauritius - Le Morne Brabant

Model shipbuilder Le Port in Curepipe

The craftsmanship of the model makers at the Le Port factory is admirable. The model workshop is apparently not missing from any tour program. True-to-scale, true-to-the-original reproductions of historical sailing ships, famous passenger ships or certain aircraft are handcrafted in the best possible way at seemingly attractive prices. A hostess shows the visitors around and provides the appropriate information if necessary.

Mauritius - Model ship builder Le Port in Curepipe

Mauritius - Le Port in Curepipe - finished model ships

Beautiful beaches

Beautiful beaches stretch in all four directions around Mauritius. In summer, water temperatures in the Indian Ocean reach over 30 degrees. Sun worshipers should protect themselves from prolonged exposure to the sun and from sharp-edged corals and sea urchins. Both are often found in shallow water. The following selection of beaches is not representative - given the number of beautiful beaches.

Flic en Flac

One of the longest and most beautiful stretches of beach in the west of Mauritius. Its characteristics: white sand, a turquoise blue lagoon and the protection of the offshore coral reef.

Le Morne

Le Morne beach lies below the Le Morne Brabant massif. White coral sand, the best visibility underwater and shady trees on the beach.

Mont Choisy

A sandy beach shaded by trees almost three kilometers long. The beach near Triolet in the north of the island can be easily reached by public buses.

Update March 2024