One fascinating way to introduce yourself to the history of Mauritian exploration, settlement and colonial period would be to pay a visit to the Blue Penny Museum. It's not just for stamp collectors, it also exhibits maps, photographs and engravings from different periods of the island's history. The pride of the museum's collection are two of the world's rarest stamps: the red one-penny and blue two-pence, both of which now rank among the most valuable in the world. The 'Bordeaux cover', a letter bearing both stamps which was mailed to France, was last sold for a staggering US$3.8 million.
The National History Museum is located in a colonial mansion that has great historical significance. In 1810, injured commanders of the French and English fleets were brought here for treatment after the Battle of Vieux Grand Port. The story of the French victory is retold in the museum, along with salvaged items that include cannons, grapeshot and wine bottles. The museum also contains some fascinating artefacts, including early maps of the island and renderings of some of the early fauna of Mauritius that was destroyed by the Dutch - including, the ubiquitous dodo. Also on display are the bell and part of the cargo of Spanish coins from the wreck of the St Geran.
This museum in the former Beau Plan sugar factory tells the story of sugar in fascinating detail, while also covering the history of Mauritius, slavery, the rum trade and more. Most of the machinery used in the factory that was founded in 1707 is still in place and former workers are on hand to answer questions about the factory's history. At the end of the visit, you can taste four of the 15 varieties of unrefined sugar, two of which were invented in Mauritius. Let your visit have a sweet ending with a sugar-tasting session and a sticky delight in the stylish cafe-restaurant.
The shrine of the French Catholic priest and missionary Pere Jacques Desire Laval is associated with many miracles attributed to visits to the priest's grave. The coloured plaster effigy of the priest on top of the tomb has been rubbed smooth in places thanks to pilgrims touching it in the hope of miraculous cures. In the same complex is a large modern church and a shop with a permanent exhibition of Pere Laval's robe, mitre, letters and photographs.
These beautiful gardens are very popular with tourists. One of their main attractions is the park's giant Victoria water lilies, native to the Amazon. Young leaves emerge as wrinkled balls and unfold into the classic tea-tray shape. January sees them at their biggest and most beautiful. It also has a great collection of palms of all shapes and sizes.
The island's only national park is an astoundingly wild expanse of thick forest and home to more than 300 species of flowering plants and nine species of birds unique to the island. You could drive or take a bus through the park and stop for soaking in the views along the way, but the best way to see the park is certainly on foot. A network of hiking trails crisscross the wild and empty Black River Gorges National Park. Just check the route and the current state of the trails at the information centres before setting off.
Starts Rs. 89711.00
6 Nights Mauritius
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