Mauritius: holiday ideas for families – 23 Aug 2007

Mauritius is made for families, with endless white sand beaches, shallow waters protected by a coral reef and plenty of child-friendly attractions.

Toddlers will be happy on the beaches at Flic en Flac, Belle Mare, Pereybère and Blue Bay, and teenagers can enjoy water sports such as parasailing and kitesurfing.

Most hotels have kids’ clubs with activities ranging from nature walks to cooking and painting, as well as babysitting services.

Family-oriented attractions such as animal parks, submarine excursions, eco-adventures, quad biking and mountain climbing can be found throughout the island.


Domaine les Pailles

This family-friendly nature park at the foot of the Moka Mountains is a 10-minute drive from Port Louis. As well as mini-golf and swimmding, visitors can explore the grounds by horse and carriage, train or 4×4. The mountaintop Le Dolce Vita restaurant is a perfect spot for lunch.
Price: Free. The four-wheel drive tour costs £9 for adults, £4.50 for children; open 10am-4.30pm daily.


Ile aux Cerfs (Stag Island)

This east coast island offers every watersport imaginable, from banana boats to water skiing. Little ones can enjoy a ride on a pirate ship and safe swimming on the sandbar while parents have the 18-hole golf course and Paul and Virginie restaurant.
Price: Free. Open 8am-5pm (when the last ferry departs).


La Vanille Réserve des Mascareignes

Known locally as the ‘crocodile park’, this unusual zoo-cum-nature park in the southeast breeds Nile crocodiles and giant tortoises. While away half a day on the donkey rides, jungle adventure playground, ‘tortoise prairie’ and insectarium, and take lunch at The Hungry Crocodile.
Price: from £2.50 adults and £1 for children; open 9.30am-5pm daily.


Black River Peak walk

This six-mile return walk in Black River Gorges National Park leads along a forested ridge to Black River Peak, the highest in Mauritius. The three-hour walk offers glimpses of native trees, plants and birds and stunning views over the southeast coast. 
Price: Free. The Petrin Information Office is open 8am-3.15pm weekdays, 8am-11am Saturdays.


Mauritius Aquarium

Located in the north, the aquarium is home to colourful fish from around the island, as well as turtles, octopus and sharks. There’s also a touch pool for children.
Price: £4 adults, £1.50 children; open 9am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday, 10am-4pm Sunday.


Underwater in La Nessee

Le Nessee is a semi-submersible glass bottomed boat for looking at marine life without having to get wet. Young children will love seeing fish swim right up to the glass.
Price: £10 adults, £5 children; departs at 10am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm.


Casela Bird Park

This sanctuary for rare birds near Flic en Flac also has a small safari park – called Yemen – with tiger feeding and a petting farm and playground. Teenagers can take guided quad or mountain bike rides past antelope and zebra in the eco-tourism estate.
Price: £4 adults, £1.50 children; open 9am-5pm.


L’Aventure du Sucre

Using film, holographic images and even talking pipes, this interactive museum traces the history of Mauritius. There’s a special presentation and quiz for kids, led by Raj the Mynah bird and Floryse the mongoose.
Price: £5 adults, £2.50 children; open 9am-5pm daily.


Dolphin encounter

A catamaran cruise in Tamarin Bay to see rare black and long-beak dolphins is a popular family excursion. Half-days are offered, but the day-long tour includes snorkelling and a barbecue lunch on board.
Price: £32 adults, £16 children; excursion starts at 9.45am and ends at 3.30pm.


Kayaking around Amber Island

Families with children of eight years and above can take a personal, full day sea kayaking excursion around Amber Island in the north of Mauritius. It includes a stop for snorkelling in the mangroves, a guided hike and lunch.
Price: £25 adults, £12.50 children; it starts at 9am and ends at 3pm.

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