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wally34949 Dec 12th, 2016 12:39 PM

Mauritius, Seychelles and Reunion--A Trip Report
 
I completed a 25-day trip to Mauritius during the month of November. Living in Florida, I flew from Orlando to Washington, DC to Frankfurt and to Mauritius. I collect miles so I flew with United and Lufthansa. The flight included two night flights, which I did not sleep at all. Business Class was $8,000 so I flew in economy.

After booking the flight, I realized that from the Mauritius airport one can fly to the Seychelles and to Reunion, so I added those flights quite cheaply to my trip. ($345.00 and $168.00 round trip)
The airport in Mauritius is located on the southeast side of the island. I spent the first eight nights in a town called Trou aux Biches, which is on the northwest side of the island. It was a long expensive taxi ride so one may want to get a rental car or stay at a large resort that provides transportation. In Mauritius, they drive on the left side of the road, use the British electrical outlet and speak Creole, but English wasn't a problem until I arrived in Reunion.

During the eight days in Trou aux Biches, I took two boat trips which included snorkling, swimming with the dolphins, and included lunch, alcohol and transportation. I also took the local bus into the main city, Port Louis and walked around the waterfront district and visited two museums. The seafood was excellent and I felt safe everywhere as a solo traveler. I also took the local bus up to Grand Baie and did a lot of walking on the beach.

I flew from Mauritius to the Seychelles for five days on Air Seychelles. The four star airline provided a free dinner with wine, checked baggage and no extra charges. I stayed on the main island for two nights when I arrived after an expensive taxi ride. I visited the Seychelles Botanical Garden which has the Double Coconut Palm and the giant tortoise. I took the bus around the island to the west side and found a nice beach and had a late lunch. The bus is cheap--only 50 cents, but you better not have too much luggage. It starts getting light at 4:30 a.m. but it is dark at 6:30 p.m. in the Seychelles. The Seychelles has their own currency and their own beer. They are the 15th smallest country.

I took the ferry from the main island to Praslin where I stayed for the next two days. I took a boat trip over to Curieuse island to see more tortoises. The trip on a small boat included snorkling, lunch and a nice walk on the Praslin boardwalk. Much of the coral was destroyed by a typhoon ten years ago and is washing up on the beaches. There was also a problem with microscopic jellyfish which temporarly sting the skin. The Seychelles is one of the top destinations for weddings. A cup of coffee was $4.50, and one hour of Internet was $9.00. I found all of my hotels on the trip on www.booking.com and never paid over $50 a night.

I took the ferry back to the main island since I had a flight back to Mauritius at 9:00 a.m. If I had to do it again, I would have flown straight from Mauritius to the Seychelles and taken a small plane over to Praslin when I first arrived. The ferry is not much cheaper.

After flying back to Mauritius, I took the public bus to a town called Fick-en-Flac. It was much cheaper, but it was quite a time-consuming process since I had to change buses in Port Louis. I've never seen a propane tank in a bathroom before but it did a good job heating the water at my hotel. Walking down the street, I found a five star hotel and purchased their breakfast for $11.00 where the omelette was cooked in front of me. The fresh fruit was amazing. Most of the common areas of a hotel are located outside so only the hotel rooms are air conditioned. The sun was hot but the shade wasn't too bad. There were some of the most beautiful birds in the area. One stole my Kiwi.
I was able to negotiate a better price to the airport and avoided the bus. Air Mauritius used an Airbus A340 to Reunion Island. In fact, almost every plane at the Mauritius airport was a large wide-body plane. Emirates had their A380 there. There are two airports on Reunion with the largest being on the north side of the island near Saint-Denis. I stayed in Saint-Pierre which is close to the smaller airport. Whoops. Reunion does have good public transportation. The two hour bus ride was only five Euros.

The next day I missed the 8:00 a.m. bus and had to wait until 10:30 a.m. for the next bus. Being a French Territory, they drive on the right side of the road and use the Euro. Most towns begin with the word, "Saint," except the town called Tampon, which I went through on my way to Saint-Benoit. I wanted to hike the mountains but by 10:00 a.m. it was all fogged in.

The beaches on Reunion are not the best. Bring shoes as coral and rocks are on many of the beaches. The west coast has the better beaches. Taxis were hard to find on this island and the buses stop running around 8:00 p.m.

I flew back to Mauritius and took a taxi to a town on the southwest coast called La Gaulette. I talked the taxi driver into driving through the Black River Gorges National Park and he stopped so I could take a few photos. I spent my last full day taking a bus to the beach called Le Mome, which is one of the best beaches on Mauritius. I rented an apartment for two nights and was delighted that it had a washing machine.

Going home I had two day flights so I spent the night by the Frankfurt airport at a nice hotel. There are not too many Americans in this part of the world. I really enjoyed the Seychelles. Everyone I met was very nice.

tripplanner001 Dec 12th, 2016 04:27 PM

Thanks for sharing your experiences in a part of the world there isn't much information about. Which among the three island groups did you enjoy the most and why? Which seemed more lush with vegetation? Is hiking better on one island versus another?

wally34949 Dec 13th, 2016 03:17 AM

The Seychelles have the most lush vegetation so the Seychelles were my favorite. The Seychelles are located seven degrees south of the equator. Mauritius is flatter and would be a great place to bike if the roads were wider. Reunion has the mountains and that would be the place to hike. These islands are very populated--cities everywhere.

tripplanner001 Dec 13th, 2016 03:58 AM

Thanks for the additional information.

welltraveledbrit Dec 13th, 2016 07:57 PM

Thanks Wally!

I'm delighted to read something about the Seychelles as we are heading there for eight days in January. Glad to hear people were friendly and interested you didn't meet many Americans. I can't say I'm surprised as it's a long way from anywhere in the US and it seems less well known here than the Maldives.

We're hoping to do some walking but we will be there during the wettest season so it may be muddy! I'm still trying to decide where to stay, currently thinking about Mahe and Silhouette island or Praline and La Digue - would you say Praslin is a don't miss?

Thanks again

wally34949 Dec 14th, 2016 02:22 AM

I never made it to La Digue or Silhouette but there are boat trips you can take for the day. Pack light, you don't need a lot of clothes in the Seychelles. There is a ferry from Praslin to La Digue. I did enjoy Mahe for the botanical garden and the beaches on the west coast which had a great sunset.


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