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Mauritius has traditionally been one of the most important trade routes from the east coast of Africa and Madagascar. An island in the Indian Ocean, during the thirteenth century, the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama visited it and from then on it became strongly influenced by Portuguese culture.

After colonial rule by the French in the eighteenth century, the major port area – Port Louis – also became an important centre for trade as well as a naval base. The Creole people were everyday inhabitants of the country, and French is still widely used. After British occupation during the nineteenth century, Mauritius was also heavily influenced by them as well. Even Mark Twain visited here in 1896. Outdoor recreation is what makes Mauritius well known, as well as fabulous beaches. These include the tourist orientated Flic en Flac, Tamarin Bay with its gorgeous offshore coral and famous Blue Bay beach, among others. The best hiking is found in the beautiful highland area southwest of Curepipe, where the Black River Gorges National Park offers a range of environments from dry lowlands to the wet, forest-cloaked peaks. The mountain ranges fringing the Central Plateau offer a variety of rambles and longer hikes. One of the most popular is the excellent but steep ascent of Le Pouce, on the plateau’s northern edge. To the west near Rose Hill, Corps de Garde is more of a challenge but equally rewarding.

Half of the population of the country is Hindu and so this dominates significant portions of the landscape as well as the architecture. One of the best things about Mauritius is the food, and some of the best is the rougaille, which is a dish made predominantly of tomatoes and Alooda, which is a syrupy brew. The most popular dishes are well worth sampling, and these include “matoutou” or curried crab, a dish that is best tried around Easter time.

Cities in Mauritius