this blog is spored BY reflex Eco Group
Whether you visit this Indian Ocean island destination for business or pleasure, its friendly locals, delectable cuisine and spectacular scenery will leave you wanting more.
VENTURES AFRICA – The most memorable conference I ever attended was one held in Mauritius. I was so excited – a conference on an island paradise, rather than some drab, city-centre building. A party on the beach welcomed us all, with cocktails served in coconut shells and beautiful girls dancing the Sega. Our rooms overlooked the sea and I fell asleep to the lulling sound of waves lapping the shore.
The problem was that by the second afternoon, attendance figures had dwindled considerably. By the third day, the conference host was in despair. Several delegates had hired catamarans and gone sailing. Some were improving their tans by the pool, a few were touring the island, and a handful of reprobates were visiting the rum factory.
Most of us found it a hugely enjoyable conference. The poor speakers must just remember looking out over rows of empty seats. That’s the trouble with Mauritius. It’s such a gorgeous place that even with the best will in the world, it’s difficult to get much work done. Many hotels have free wireless connectivity in case you pack your laptop, but there’s always something else to do first that stops you from working.
Mauritius is trying to raise its profile as a business destination to diversify its income, and it has made a good start. It was the first African country to launch a 3G mobile network. Hotels are world class, roads well maintained, and service generally efficient. English and French are widely spoken. But the island’s white beaches, beautiful weather, excellent water sports, golf courses, exotic mix of Indian and Creole food, and friendly, laid back residents make anything but relaxing difficult. Unless you have serious willpower, it’s not conducive to getting down to business. It is perfect for a beach holiday, and if you grow bored of lying on the sand, the island is so compact that most attractions are only about an hour away.
My favourite excursion was to Casela, a nature reserve filled with birds and assorted animals. That sounds a bit dull for Africans used to the Big Five, but at Casela you can ride a quad bike among zebra and ostrich so tame that they stroll over to greet you. You can pat a lion too, and although they lie there lazily, it would be foolish to get complacent.
Port Louise, the capital, is small and quaint. There’s a market with fruit, vegetable and meat stalls, and an eclectic range of tourist tat like gaping shark jaws and muti stalls selling potions to rev you up, calm you down or knock you out. A short stroll to the waterfront brings you to some elegant clothing boutiques, though when I looked at the prices I suspected the decimal point had carelessly rolled a fraction to the right.
Chamarel Rum Distillery is worth a visit too. Our petite guide poured samples that left me merry, because I bought a bottle even though I don’t normally touch the stuff. The distillery’s Alchemy restaurant is acclaimed as one of several top-notch restaurants on the island, creating magical dishes from ingredients including foie gras, venison and pineapple.
I ate and drank, shopped and walked, then went back to the resort to end my day as it began – thinking about work, but not actually doing any.