Mauritius, Munich, Oktoberfest, Berchtesgaden and Paris: Mauritius South Island Tour
Trip Summary: Back in January of 2012 I decided to put my frequent flyer mileage knowledge, skills and learnings to the test and book the honeymoon of our dreams for my wife and me. While it took several months for the plans to fully materialize, the result was an amazing, while not always seamless trip. This is not only a recap of the trip we took and how we got there, but also the beginning of more formal travel blogging to showcase my adventures in the United States and abroad.
This trip will be summarized in the following topics:
- Background: Booking a Dream Honeymoon,Next Stop Mauritius and Oktoberfest, An Unexpected Travel Scare and a PSA About Passport Expiration
- Flight Reports: Air France Business Class DTW-CDG, Air France Lounge at Paris CDG Airport, A Layover in Paris
- Mauritius: Four Seasons Hotel Mauritius Review
The Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita was so beautiful and self sufficient that we didn’t have any reason to leave the resort for our first 5 days on the island. By the time our last day on the island came, we made it a point to see as much as the island as we could before heading to the airport for a long trip back to Paris.
The concierge at the Four Seasons mentioned that there were several tours available for the island and that they recommend the south island tour, which included several sights throughout the island. They also said that we could choose to have our tour in the hotel’s BMW or an air conditioned taxi cab. Since we were on our honeymoon, we inquired about the BMW, but learned that this would not be available on our day. The cab proved to be a great option and we really enjoyed our time with our driver that day.
The pickup for the cab was at 11 AM, so during the morning we took the opportunity to snap some last photos of the beach before leaving. You’ll be happy to know that it was still quite beautiful.
As we drove off to our first destination, I decided to take as many photos of the island as possible – both landscapes and the towns – in order to truly document what it’s like to be on the island. Even if all of the photos didn’t turn out, it would help me remember what Mauritius was like after I returned to the arctic tundra of Minnesota.
Our first stops were shopping oriented stops on the island. While we aren’t big shoppers, we were ready to get out of the car after an hour and a half of driving through the mountainous east coast of Mauritius.
The first stop was a historical British created house from the 1800’s (I believe).
The entire house was a shop with high end Iron statues and rugs of Indian influence. We were greeted as we walked in by a man who then proceeded to follow us throughout the house. It was very awkward and annoying, so we accelerated our visit through the shops just to get out.
On the way out we caught a little piece of Paris in the parking lot.
Next, we stopped by a volcano crater at the top of one of the mountains. While I’m sure that this was cool during the active days of the volcano, it was pretty anti-climactic in the context of this trip.
Next stop was more shopping as we visited a store that makes hand made scale models of ships. At first I thought that this would just be another lame store, but boy was I wrong. These ships were beautiful!
They even made a handmade model of the Titanic!
The prices were fairly reasonable, too.
After some shopping, we made our way for an area that I was very excited to see, the Casela nature park, which is a park that features both local animals and animals of the world.
My favorite part about entering Casela nature park was that as we entered, we were asked what country we were visiting from. We said the United States and the cashier tried to find it on his list of countries. It wasn’t there! They have had so few visitors from the US that we were entered into the system as “other”.
This is the first time I have been an “other” that I can remember. It felt great!
After reading the Points Guy’s trip report of Mauritius, I knew I had to find a way to pet a Lion and/or a Tiger during my visit, so we quickly headed to the “Big Cats” area of the park to take advantage of the opportunity to walk with Lions!
Now this is something that they would never allow us to do in the United States, or most developed nations. In fact, I think it’s safe to say I never imagined that I would pet a lion in my life.
We really got up close to these lions and it wasn’t nearly as scary as one would imagine! This is because there were several nice men with sticks to fend off the lions in the event of an attack. Thank you!
After the lions we came across something much cuter and far less scary. Baby cats!
Then back to the big cats with a Cheetah and some Tigers.
I have a million animal photos from Casela, but I’ll leave you with a peacock.
Next, we made it over for a wonderful lunch at a traditional Mauritian restaurant where we had wonderful seafood with French and Indian influences. The prawns were huge!
After lunch we had some more beautiful views of the island on our way to the seven colored earths.
One of the cool things we saw on our drive was the salt fields, which is where they make sea salt from the ocean.
Then we made it to the seven colored earths, which was impressive, but also somewhat difficult to photograph well due to the sunny sky and all of the tourists around.
After the seven colored earths, we were on the home stretch to get through our last few destinations before hitting the airport, along with some beautiful sights along the road.
We even got a chance to see some of the (non-native) monkeys of the island.
Next stop was a view of the Black River Gorges National Park, which is a Unesco world heritage site and absolutely stunning to see in person.
Lastly, we made our way to the Grand Bassin Hindu Temple, a very sacred area for Hindus in Mauritius. They had a 108 foot Shiva statue, I believe the second largest statue in the Indian Ocean.
We also got to take a photo of the sacred lake Ganga Talao, but did not get to go inside because it was closed by the time we arrived.
By this time we felt that we had a great chance to see the views of Mauritius and we were ready to head to the airport. Stay tuned for my report of spending 11 hours in an overnight coach class flight next!