Words by Louisa C Choruma
High School English literature classes brought with them the joys of learning new terms and the pleasures of imagination! ’’Shangri-La,” Sister Clare shared, “refers to an imaginary paradise on earth; a hideaway of idyllic beauty and tranquillity!” Thandeka and I continued the discussion at break time and there and then decided our honeymoons would be in some place that was reminiscent of a real-world Shangri-La!!
Two years ago, I received a message from Thandeka which read, “Am at the airport and off to Shangri-La!’’ It turned out Thandeka’s honeymoon was at the Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort in the Indian-ocean pristine island nation that many of us can only dream of being able to one day visit.
Located off the south east coast Africa, and famous for its beaches, lagoons and reefs, Mauritius also hosts mountainous interiors such as Black River Gorges National Park, rainforests, waterfalls, hiking trails and diverse wildlife.
Thandeka – always great with her words, devoted a whole afternoon sharing the beauty of Mauritius upon her return! Outrigger Beach Resort as she described it, is just over an hour’s drive from the airport, which allows for the opportunity to see and feel more of the landscape. Tourists to the island destination are almost always awed by how the vegetation and landscape transforms as one drives towards the wild South Coast of Mauritius. From the modern airport infrastructure, to crowded but clean and vibrant villages, to the lush greenery of the sugarcane plantations and dense tropical vegetation, it truly sounds like a place one would like to call home for a time – or longer. Thandeka’s inbound flight landed in the evening, so they saw more of the landscape on their way to catch their morning outbound flight.
Hello Outrigger Beach Resort
Outrigger Beach Resort is located on the island's South Coast, and is nestled in the quieter Bel Ombre, an untamed and definitely less commercial part of the island. The villas are setup with plenty of room for privacy, with the open layout of the units at the fairly large resort making it easy to enjoy a great view of the sparking sea and incredibly blue skies. For Thandeka, it was the best place to settle into peace, serenity and tranquillity. Thandeka shared the joys of having one’s own beach portion alone in the mornings and late afternoons, especially as a honeymooner, with the marvel of clean sands, crystal waters and seclusion. This was truly a perfect Shangri La for Thandeka!!
Snapshot of Mauritius
Boating is the best means of sight–seeing. In Thandeka’s words, snorkelling was beautiful, and the underwater scenery was beyond amazing! All this and more just off the coastline! The water was strikingly clear and a heart-stopping sight to behold!
This is a must-see when in the South of Mauritius and one such attraction is the Maconde view point, situated on a portion of the winding coastal road that leads to a small rocky cliff where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. Believed to be named after the Makonde Tribe of Southern Africa, Maconde is tucked into a hairpin bed in the road, a feature that most visitors find quite intriguing. For one to get to the actual viewing point atop the Maconde Rock, there is a path that leads you through the most breath-taking of views of landscape, the Cap River and glistening colours of the lagoon below.
Thandeka loves waterfalls, and like those of us that do, she too is fascinated by the phenomenon that characterises their formation. The natural settings around the river that forms the body of falling water are always lush, green and together, create the most postcard worthy of images. Perhaps it’s the purity in the flow of water, the cleansing and refreshing effect that it provides, and the life that comes from rivers that add to ones love for a curtain of falling water. And so, it was no wonder why Chamarel Waterfall was a sight Thandeka had to conquer during her trip to her Shangri-La.
Chamarel Waterfall is the tallest single-drop waterfall in Mauritius, scaling heights of about at 100m high and is easily ranks among the most sought-after sightseeing spots in Mauritius! It is at striking piece of nature standing amid dense vegetation, with the waterfalls fed by the waters of three distinct streams pouring into Saint Denis River. Offering a front-row view of this wonder of nature, Chamarel Falls can be accessed via a trail snaking through dense foliage. An almost 3-hour trek takes visitors to the base of Chamarel Waterfalls, where they can enjoy a swim in the pool while the waterfall showers you from its majestic heights.
Thandeka’s Shangri La
Thandeka’s summary of her honeymoon in Mauritius was enough for me to add this pristine destination to my bucket list of countries to visit. ‘’For me, there’s nothing like feeling the cool embrace of the ocean or hearing the sound of a looming waterfall. Seeing the landscape changing, feeling and smelling the air change as you get closer to the sea or drive across Mauritius’ terrains, all add to the excitement of the experience that awaits you.
I love Mauritius because the ocean’s beauty and the rolling hills with thick vegetation invite you to become a part of them. Every direction you turn provides a delightful welcome and it is yours to choose where to begin your exploration.”