I finally got to visit Mauritius, and it’s the first time I have had a proper holiday in years! Let’s be honest, when you go on holiday with babies and kids, you don’t really rest. Not only did I travel to Mauritius for the first time, I got to go with my sister, and it was the first time we’d ever travelled together alone. It was a freaking blast! Jamie is a frequent traveller because she’s a travel agent, so she’s been before, but this was not work related, which means: we could TRULY relax! If you’re travelling to Mauritius for the first time, read on! I think I have some pretty great info and pointers for you!
Side note: This post is NOT sponsored in any way. Jamie, being the awesome travel agent that she is, actually won this trip and took me with her. We only paid for our domestic flights and the upgrade to the all-inclusive package which is well worth it, but more on that later!
Leaving for Mauritius
Air Mauritius and SAA fly out of Johannesburg daily, BA (which includes Kulula) only fly out of Johannesburg (and back) on Saturday’s and Air Mauritius flies out of Durban and Cape Town once a week on different days, the schedule changes by season. We flew from Cape Town which means to get the best rates we slept in Johannesburg on the Friday night, and flew out to Mauritius from OR Tambo at 13:30 on Saturday. We arrived in Mauritius at about 19:30 (Mauritius time).
Passport control and customs took quite a while because the flight was full and they’re suuuuuper chilled! South African home affairs was extremely quick compared to Mauritius. After getting through that, we had to collect our hotel documents from the Holiday Factory counter and exchange our money, this was pretty quick though and we were escorted to our transfer by one of the Holiday Factory ladies. We were really lucky that we had our own private transfer though, so it was just the two of us. The car also had WiFi, double bonus! The drive from the airport to our resort was about an hour and 20 minutes, so once we were checked in, and shown to our room, it was already 22:30!
So we did what any sane women would do, we went to get a cocktail before the bar closed at 23:00!
- If at all possible, book through a travel agent – I was quite confused by all the flights etc and Jamie sorted it out and it went really smoothly.
- If you can afford it, try and book for 10 days. Even though we had a 7 day package, we only really had 6 days with the flights etc.
- This time of year (July) is winter in Mauritius. It’s still warm and humid, but there will still be rain. Take a jersey or two.
The hotel – Veranda Paul & Virginie Hotel Mauritius
We stayed at the very lovely Veranda Paul et Virginie Hotel & Spa
Important to note that this IS a couples resort, and no children are allowed. We have young kids so obviously we had NO problem with this. If you do want to travel with your kids though, this is not the resort for you.
It’s a really lovely resort and it is extremely quiet (except you can hear the road traffic which I thought was weird). It’s a great honeymoon spot, especially if you want something really quiet and romantic. I could have done with a little more activity in the evenings, but the hotel does setup some lovely evening entertainment like live bands, sega dancing demonstrations and DJ’s
Given that we were there to relax AND have a really good time, it was super weird when there was live music or a DJ and literally NO ONE was dancing. We were pretty much the only one’s dancing on most nights, until we discovered the other South Africans, after which we pretty much took over! It’s a little weird to have this pumping dance music and people are sitting there playing UNO! 😀 Quite amusing!
The all inclusive package is WELL worth it! It looks like a big investment upfront but you will be grateful you did it! Drinks at the hotel are charged at a massive markup and it adds up quickly! On all inclusive, you don’t have to worry about any of your meals as breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner are included. The all inclusive drinks package is more than sufficient!
We were lucky enough to receive a complimentary upgrade to a superior room which was really great! The decor is simple and elegant and very comfortable. The shower is nice and big too.
The balcony has a great view of the pool and the ocean which is obviously pretty amazing to wake up to! We drank coffee there in the morning and chatted there in the evening before dinner!
There isn’t a lot of packing space in my opinion, and thought the two large mirrors slid open to reveal a cupboard, but alas! It’s not terrible though and frankly if you’re packing for the beach and a few evening outfits it’s enough.
The mini bar is replenished once a day and there are certain items included on the all inclusive package, so be VERY careful before you eat that Kit-Kat because you’ll need to pay for it (and it ain’t cheap!)
I really enjoyed the food and was happy to see that dinner was different every night. Some nights it was a plated menu, and other nights a buffet. The options were never the same and if you came to experience Mauritian food, they do have some options on the buffet which they adjust for the western palette. Indian night for example, I was SO excited for, but none of the curries were actually hot. VERY tasty, but no kick whatsoever.
Breakfast is the same every morning. A selection of fruit, yoghurt, cereals and muesli, bacon and eggs, pastries, cookies and rusks are available. I was living that island life so I only wanted fruit plates with yoghurt and honey! Add to that a lovely cappuccino and that beautiful view – and I was LOVING life!
There is a set lunch menu so you can try something different every day. I was immediately hooked on the Chilli Con Carne Nacho’s thing! SOOOOOOO delicious and finally something quite spicy! The club sandwich, panini and baguette is also good.
Included water sports
There are a variety of water sports that you can do free of charge on the resort, however we had a bit of bad luck with the weather so a lot of it kept getting cancelled when we wanted to go. I’m sure this will not be the case in the summer! We did get to go and kayak which was awesome! I had planned to take the GoPro with for the next time, but unfortunately, we didn’t get a next time.
The free activities include:
- 3 pools
- Pedal boat
- Stand-up Paddle
- Sailing dinghies
- Floodlit tennis court
- Beach Volley
- Fitness Centre
- Shuttle to Grand Baie (Twice a week)
The following activities come at an extra cost and need to be booked at reception:
- Diving (PADI)
- Paddle Step
- Traditional pirogue excursion
- Catamaran excursions
- * Possibility of playing golf at the “Heritage Golf Club”
You can also get away with booking activities outside of the resorts as they are also generally much cheaper. Of course with the hotel you don’t have to worry about transport or anything but you don’t HAVE to book through them.
The SEVEN COLOURS WELLNESS SPA is really lovely! It’s a small spa but it obviously smells amazing when you go in there and you get a free 10 minute massage that you must redeem during your first 2 days on the resort. They are being pretty clever by doing this because once you’ve had the free massage you are going to WANT to book another treatment! Luckily, (or unluckily) we were on a very strict budget and chose to just have our nails done! Guests we made friends with told us the massages are AMAZING though!
Leaving the resort
So, yes, you do get the free shuttle to Grand Baie twice a week, but I really wanted to use the local transport. I also didn’t want to be restricted to certain days so we just did whatever, whenever. The bus into Grand Baie from the resort is approximately 34 rupees, which is a BARGAIN considering what the taxi’s will try charge you. We had offers from 300 rupees to 1000 rupees, which isn’t worth it for a 20 minute trip to be honest. The bus trip was hilarious and we started referring to it as the death bus, or the night bus from Harry Potter. Remember that? Ja, it’s accurate. They drive really fast, the bus is very noisy and they hoot at everyone and everything. Super fun though and we enjoyed it. Just keep an eye on your stops or ask someone to help you.
You can also rent a scooter for about 300 rupees for the day which is a bargain! Once again, drive safely, they have no chill! 😀
Grand Baie is really catered for tourists, so be prepared to barter! We went into the market where you can get lots of pretty Mauritian clothing, beautiful fabrics, bikini’s, towels and curios. After a while you’ll see it’s all pretty much the same stuff, but don’t buy at the first stall you see, because you might luck out with a good discount somewhere else!
If you want to get a henna tattoo, the first little stall on the left as you’re walking towards the Grand Baie market is the best place to go! His name is Behbeh, and he charges 100 rupees per design. He runs the stall with his sister who handles the clothing sales and they are so lovely!
And then, there is the SuperU! Guys, you must visit this store! It’s their version of Checkers Hyper / Makro and it’s so cost effective for alcohol, snacks and gifts! Example, TimTam’s are about R45 in South Africa, it works out to around R20 in Mauritius! So ja, do yourself a favour! You can get a great bottle of Mauritian rum for around 295 rupees. There are of course much more expensive brands but it’s Mauritian rum, so even the cheapest one is amazing!
We honestly had the most amazing time! I’m bummed I missed out on the local street food but I will definitely do that next time! The cocktail menu at the resort is great, the Jungle Juice, Pina Coladas and Cocoloco were my faves, but the creamy ones can get a bit much! However, if you get sick of cocktails, their water tastes great and you can always do a rum and coke. We spent as much time as we could on the beach or at the pool, literally just lying there doing absolutely NOTHING. That was my actual goal, to chill and take it as it comes. I didn’t want to be rushing off for early morning excursions although I think if you have more time it’s definitely worth it because they have amazing things to do and see on the island!
Check out the video of our full experience below!