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Cruise Port: Port Louis, Mauritius

Cruise ships pull into the all purpose dock  of Port Louis where containers are piled high.

The town of Port Louis is quite scenic from the ship with the mountains lying behind it.

The Mauritius government requires a face to face immigration process that is carried out on the ship and there is no official terminal on shore but some tents were set up.

One tent provided tourist information.

The information booth provided a map of the island.

and a money exchange.

According to our cruise ship, the taxi union is very strong in Port Louis and only allowed the ship to carry out minimal shuttle bus service labeled as “Shopping Spree”. One tent, however, was devoted to making taxi arrangements. Taxis are supposed to be metered but fares should be negotiated before riding. Taxis have white registration plates with black numbers; drivers do not expect a tip.

The ride to town is 15-30 minutes and not inviting. Taxis run about $10 on way into town.

Sites

Caudan Waterfront
Site of Craft Market for upscale souvenirs, and numerous restaurants and cafes.

Fort Adelaide (La Citadelle)
Named after the wife of King William IV the fort was built by the British in the early 18th century. The fort contains rest rooms and several souvenir shops including a shop that sells rum. Daily 9am-4pm; Saturday till noon.

The fort provides a spectacular view of the whole city.

The Tea Route (www.larouteduthe.mu) consists of three major sites.

1. Domaine Saint Aubin Estate
The 19th century colonial plantation house dominates the estate which produces sugar, rum, and vanilla pods.

2. Bois Cheri
The first and biggest tea producer in Mauritius features a look into the history of tea and how the tea is processed. Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm, Saturday to 2:30 Rs 400;
www.saintaubin.mu

3. Domaine des Aubineaux
One of the last colonial mansions, this 19th century building has been converted into a museum of the history of tea in Mauritius.

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolan Botanical Garden
Dating from 1736 when the French governor chose the site for his domain, this garden features over 650 varieties of plants including a collection of over eighty species of palms, the giant Victoria Regina water lily, and the famous Talipot Palm. Daily 8:30am-5:30pm; Rs100

Eureka Colonial House
Located in Moka, this 19th century building is the oldest colonial house on the island. A guided tour of the interior features period furniture. Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm,Sunday 9am-3pm;
Rs 175;
www.maisoneureka.com

L’Aventure du Sucre Museum
Tracing the history of Mauritius back to the 18th century, this old sugar factory also provides a picture of how sugar was processed including the role of slavery. Rum tasting concludes the visit. Souvenir shops and rest rooms on site. Daily 9am-5pm; Rs350;
www.aventuredusucre.com

Cap Malheureux
This beautiful spot at the northern tip of the island captures the beauty of the island’s relationship to the sea.

Charmarel
A beautiful waterfall and the unusual Terres de 7 Couleurs ( seven colored earths) make this a outstanding natural site. Terres de 7 Couleurs-daily 7am-7pm; Rs 125

Background

Known to the Arabs by the 10th century, it was first visited by the Portuguese in 1507, and then by the Dutch in 1598 when they were blown off course during a cyclone. The Dutch named the island in honor of Prince Maurice of Nassau, the Stadtholder of the Netherlands, and in 1638 established a permanent settlement on the island. The settlement was not successful and the Dutch abandoned it in 1710 after introducing the sugar cane and slavery, and eliminating the dodo bird. In 1721 the French East India Company took over and called the island Il de France until defeated by the British in 1810. The British abolished slavery, brought in indentured workers from India, and changed the name of the island back to Mauritius. In the early 20th century Chinese traders arrived. Mauritius became an independent country within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1968, and a republic in 1992. Sugar, tourism, and woolen knitwear are
important economically.

Port Louis is the largest city on Mauritius with a population of about 128,000, fifteen percent of the total population of the country. It was founded in 1736 by Mahe de Labourdonnais, the French governor, and named after Louis XV of France. Cosairs found the port an excellent base for raiding English ships in the late 18th century, which led to the ultimate English take-over of the whole island.

To buy books about Mauritius from Amazon.com click here.

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