Port Louis

The capital of Mauritius
Ile aux Cerfs’ splendid beaches
The Pamplemousses Botanical Garden

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Port Louis

Elegant palaces and a striking seafro

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Elegant palaces and a striking seafro

A holiday in the Mauritius with an MSC cruise means disembarking at Port Louis. It is the capital of this island nation off the cost of Madagascar, which together with its twin Réunion, represents a must-see stop for an MSC cruise to Southern Africa.

Port Louis has taken its role as the country’s first city seriously and has expanded over time with new streets, buildings and a beautiful promenade. After our cruise ship has docked, you will be able to take a stroll along the Caudan Waterfront, lined with some old cannons and numerous shops. Traces of Port Luis’s colonial past can be seen on Place D’Armes, where the statue of Bertrand François Mahé, the count of La Bourdonnais and a former governor of the island, observes passers-by surrounded by palm trees.

A short distance away, stands the Government House. Dating from 1738, it is shaped like a horseshoe and protected by an iron fence guarded by the statue of a grave-looking Queen Victoria. In the same neighbourhood, there are also the central market and the city park, the Jardins de la Compagnie. However, it is a former property of the Count de La Bourdonnais to house an even more spectacular garden, the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden.

An MSC excursion to this garden should not be missed for any reason on earth. This garden is almost three hundred years old. Over the centuries, it has been lovingly tended by expert gardeners, who have slowly enriched it with plant species from three different continents, Asia, Africa and Oceania. If you prefer the sea to vegetation, another highly recommended MSC excursion will allow you to pass a day on the other side of Mauritius, on the splendid beaches of Ile aux Cerfs (so called because of the deer imported here for hunting).

Must see places in Port Louis

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    A melting pot of cultures
    A melting pot of cultures

    At almost 900km beyond Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is far enough east to get omitted from most maps of South Africa.

    It’s sometimes excluded from accounts of the continent, too, perhaps because its atmosphere, architecture and outlook are so distinct from the mainland. With a proudly multicultural population descended from French, British and Indian settlers as well as Africans, it feels part-European, part-Asian and part-international.

    On your holiday to Mauritius, you’ll see tutti-frutti coloured Tamil temples sitting jauntily alongside the kind of modern developments that are common to tropical playgrounds such as Queensland and the Caribbean. On a cruise to Mauritius, luxury beach and golf resorts are the main selling points. If you’re the kind of person who likes your sand manicured, your golf clubs polished, your jacuzzi sprinkled with petals and your towels sculpted into swans, you’ll fit right in. Mauritius is quiet, peaceful and wealthy, by African standards, its coffers boosted by foreign investment in its thriving business scene and its luxury housing projects.

    The roads are in good enough condition to make travelling to Mauritius a pleasure and while very little of the landscape remains untouched by farming, logging and hunting, a few beautiful wilderness regions remain, with little-used hiking trails.