The Capital, Port-Louis

Port-Louis hasn’t changed a bit since the last time we visited. The sights and the smells are still the same. The city still remains over-crowded during the day and becomes a ghost town at night. It is hard to avoid the crowds when strolling around Port-Louis. The amount of traffic in the city is exactly like we remembered. However, it seemed actually easier to get to Port-Louis with the new road infrastructures in place now.

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It’s always a pleasure to visit the Bazaar of Port-Louis: the beautiful colours of merchandise on sale, the  smell of all the spices on display and the buzzing sounds of all the bargaining happening. The pictures below have been captured using the newest addition to our family: the Sony Rx 100 II. We have been pleased with the stills this camera produces and even more with the video quality. However, the most pleasing feature when you are travelling how portable it is; hauling around a full-frame DSLR can be very taxing. I had a first hand experience when travelling through Paris, Lisbon and Barcelona recently.

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Bumpy Road to Savinia

We took the old bumpy back roads, weaving our way through the sugar cane fields and avoiding mud traps, to finally reach the hidden gems of the south. Our first stop was the “newest” attraction: Le Pont Naturel (The Natural Bridge). The rough waters carved their way through the land, leaving that rocky bridge behind. It’s only a matter of time until that landscape changes against the unyielding force of the sea.

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The southern shores of Mauritius are the complete opposite from the rest of the island. The seas are always rough, hardly any white sandy beaches, but the scenery is nothing but majestic. 

Our second stop was at Savinia; a beach house in the middle of nowhere. It was one of our regular family getaways. The place has not changed a bit in 10 years.

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While experimenting with an Neutral Density filter on the slippery rocks, I learned the hard way how much I value my equipment. The photographer’s reflex when falling is to extend the arm carrying his precious gear as high as he possibly can, disregarding how twisted and mangled the rest of his body is.

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On our last stop, which was at Le Souffleur, a natural blow hole carved through the rocks. There, I continued to experiment with the ND filter, perfect accessory to capture those violent waves.

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I had photography fix on that day, especially while hanging out with my uncle, Clyde Koa Wing, another photohead, who gave me plenty of tips on capturing this very unique landscape. My only regret is not going star chasing with him while in Mauritius; maybe next time.

I’m on a Boat!

We headed to the east of the island, towards Trou d’Eau Douce, to board a catamaran on which we spent most of the day. There were 20 + people on board, all very excited and anxious to get the day started. The activities planned were parasailing, snorkelling, sail to a hidden waterfall, have a barbecue on the catamaran and spend the rest of the day on Ile aux Cerfs. The day started out with the most perfect weather; clear blue skies.

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It was our first time parasailing. It was  quite exhilarating taking off and landing, with an amazing view at the top, otherwise boring. Too bad we were too chicken to bring our 5D Mark 3 with us for the ride. We can only dream for affordable waterproof casings. In a later post, we will talk about the gear we brought with us, what we wished we brought, and the pros and cons of travelling medium-heavy.

After each of us had a turn parasailing, we joined the catamaran again and made our way to the waterfall. We could tell that the weather was going to change drastically. Dark clouds were making their way from the island towards where we were.

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As we got to the waterfall, it started pouring but we did not let that trump our plans. We got onto a smaller vessel and weaved our way through rocks to finally arrive at the waterfall. It was quite an experience, especially with the heavy rain.

We all retreated inside the catamaran for lunch, while Mother Nature was gradually showing what she was capable of. It was raining so much that visibility was very low and all activities on the waters came to a standstill.

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As the rain subsided, we decided to venture out in the open waters. The strong winds that followed the heavy rain made for a very rough sea: It felt like a roller-coaster. We did not end up going to Ile aux Cerfs because of the heavy rain. Instead, we got a taste of the local street foods and headed home.

Flic en Flac and The Sofitel Imperial Hotel

We began our vacation by spending an unforgettable couple of days at the Sofitel Imperial Hotel in Flic en Flac, located on the west coast of the island. We could not ask for more perfect weather, in the light of the fact that a cyclone was making it’s way towards the island. The cyclone was due to pass close to Mauritius in a few days’ time: we could not care less.

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The public beach in Flic en Flac is always crowded, especially around the holidays. It was tricky to maneuver around the many campers, sun-bathers and hawkers. But we knew exactly where to find the goodies: fresh coconut water, pickled fruits, ice cones and chicken shawarma sandwiches. It is very heart-warming to walk on the beach while families are barbecuing, others are playing the Ravane (a traditional Mauritian percussion instrument) and singing Sega (the traditional Mauritian folkloric music) tunes.

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But if you want privacy, a short distance north of Flic en Flac is a more secluded beach next to the Villa Caroline Hotel. It’s an anchoring area for boats and not many people know of this place. The sand is softer, the water clearer and calmer: the perfect location to unwind.

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Flic en Flac is also home to the Mauritian sunset.

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Stay tuned for more posts on our vacation in the island of Mauritius.

– A & J

Our Holidays in Mauritius

The past few weeks have been really hectic and it all started by trying to escape those nasty ice storms that left the thousands in Toronto stranded and braving the cold. Thankfully the storm was over the day of our departure and we made it out of the city without any delay. On our way to Pearson International Airport, we saw the damage those ice storms did to the city. In retrospect, we were glad that we were not in Toronto for the aftermath of those storms and the nasty – 40 degree Celsius days that hit the GTA. So, we headed for Paris on our way back to our homeland, Mauritius.

In the upcoming posts, we will try to give a pictorial account of our adventure back home. Here is a little preview of what we dearly miss now that we are back in Great White North.

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