The north of Mauritius is an unusual mixture of agriculture and tourism, with endless fields of sugar cane contrasting with some of the best tourist infrastructure that you can find on the island. There are also a handful of smaller towns, such as Goodlands and Pamplemousses, which, along with larger settlements like the tourist-centric Grand Baie, ensure that there are numerous different places to visit and things to see. However, for many people, the highlight of the north will simply be the beautiful beaches and incredible sunset views that can be found there, often just a short distance from your hotel.
Sometimes seen as the tourist centre of Mauritius, Grand Baie is a popular destination for many visitors to the country. With many typical features of beach resorts the world over, it is perhaps not ideal for those looking to discover the ‘authentic’ Mauritius, but for many it will be the perfect beach location for a relaxing holiday, full of sun, sea, and sand.
Besides the beaches, Grand Baie also offers various activities for more adventurous holidaymakers, with catamaran cruises, yacht charters, deep-sea fishing, and horse riding just some of the activities on offer. Grand Baie also offers a good selection of restaurants and bars, as well as boutiques, a market, and a shopping centre. Finally, the region has a good level of nightlife on offer compared to much of the rest of the island, with bars and nightclubs staying open until around 4am, depending on the time of year.
Cap Malheureux, or the ‘Cape of Misfortune’, is a headland far in the north of Mauritius, offering incredible views of the ocean and the offshore islands. The cape earned its name for having claimed multiple vessels on its rocks; others suggest it was given its name for being the location where the British invading forces defeated the French in the 1800s.
On a clear day, the region offers truly beautiful views of the Indian Ocean, and may even stretch as far as Île Plate and Îlot Gabriel in the north, as well as to Coin de Mire, which is a little closer to the mainland. The number of villas which nowadays line the coast at Cap Malheureux can make it hard to find a spot from which to enjoy the view, but, thankfully, the nearby church also marks perhaps the best spot from which to look out over the ocean around.
To the north of mainland Mauritius, around 15 km from Grand Baie (approximately 9 miles), there are two small islands which you can visit as part of a tour. Île Plate (Flat Island) and Îlot Gabriel are separated by a lagoon which offers excellent snorkelling conditions, while some tours also include a barbeque on the beach.
This town is easy to overlook, but is well worth visiting for its beautiful Botanical Garden and the nearby L’Aventure du Sucre. The Botanical Garden dates back to the 1700s, making it the oldest such garden in the southern hemisphere. Full of tropical plants, giant water lilies, bird species, giant tortoises, a sugar mill, and a colonial villa, there is all sorts to see. To make the most of the experience, book a tour guide to take you around the park; they will be able to describe the different plants and what they are used for. The garden is also a popular spot for picnics, especially amongst the locals.