(Article by Sarah Holt first published on Cheapflights.co.za)

There’s no denying that Mauritius is a country that looks at you with ‘come to the beach’ eyes…

But the seaside is not the be-all and end-all in this part of the Indian Ocean. Mountain ranges, waterfalls, gorges, and historical spots canvas the island too.

This blog will give you the lowdown on what to see and do beyond the sun lounger. So take a look and then get searching for flights on Cheapflights.co.uk.

1. Rummage around Port Louis Market

View over tropical Mountain Range Black River Gorges National Park on Mauritius Island under blue summer sky. Gorges Viewpoint, Mauritius, Africa.

photo credit: Africanway via iStock

A trip to Port Louis market plunges you, head-first, into local life. Islanders come here every day to stock up on essentials. As you negotiate your way around the lanes of stalls, you’ll see pyramids of fresh fruit and vegetables, leaning towers of loaves, herbal medicine stands and stalls curtained with intensely-coloured clothes.

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2. Go on a street food safari

Mauritius is said to be one of the best places in the world for street eats. The island’s cuisine is a cocktail of Indian, Chinese and French influences. Curbside food stalls sell everything from spongy savoury dholl puri pancakes to samosas and bon-bon-shaped chilli cakes.

3. Eyeball a pink pigeon

View over tropical Mountain Range Black River Gorges National Park on Mauritius Island under blue summer sky. Gorges Viewpoint, Mauritius, Africa.

Black River Gorges, Mauritius’ largest national park, sprawls out for more than 60 kilometres and is home to a cat’s cradle of walking trails. Its wave-like hills and dense patches of forest are a refuge for 300 species of plant, parakeets, pink pigeons and a population of 4 000 fruit bats.

4. Make time for tea

See my other photos from Mauritius: : http://www.oc-photo.net/FTP/icons/mauritius.jpg

You can trace a tea route through inland Mauritius. Highlights of the trail include the Domaine des Aubineaux – a former colonial house turned tea museum – and Bois Chéri – the largest tea producer on the island. Bois Chéri offers tours of its plantations and factory and – most importantly – tasting sessions.

5. Dedicate a day to rum

Rum distillery Rhumerie de Chamarel in Mauritius

You can easily spend a day at the Rhumerie de Chamarel. Swaddled inside acres of sugar cane fields, this rum distillery produces aged, premium and flavoured rums as well as liqueurs. Tours and tasting sessions are available at the factory. There’s also a cocktail bar on site where the drinks menu includes vanilla rum on the rocks and classic mojitos.

6. Stand in the shadow of Le Morne

Le Morne

The 556-metre mountain – or more accurately monolith – at Le Morne is shaped like a top hat. There’s more to this place than first meets the eye though. In the 17th century, its wooded slopes were used as hiding places by the island’s escaped slaves. Today, there’s a commemorative landmark at the foot of the mountain and the whole area is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

7. Feel the spray of Le Souffleur

Located on the south coast of the island, Le Souffleur is a natural sea geyser that explodes out of a rocky outcrop on the coast at high tide. It’s been compared to a whale’s blowhole and water can often spit 30 metres into the air.

8. See the natural kaleidoscope at Seven Coloured Earth

Chamarel seven coloured earths on Mauritius island

The sand dunes are chameleon-coloured at Seven Coloured Earth in Chamarel, located in south west Mauritius. The earth morphs from red and brown to green, blue and purple and yellow. When mixed together the colours gradually separate away from each other again.

9. Pap Lion Mountain

On the south east side of Mauritius a mountain lies like a sleeping lion. Hardcore hikers can climb to the top and walk about in what would be the mane. Visitors who want an easier life can simply photograph the mountain from nearby vantage points, which include Cavendish Bridge in the town of Mahebourg.

10. Count waterfalls

The Waterfalls of Chamarel in Mauritius

Waterfalls plunge from the cliff sides all over Mauritius. Chamarel has cascades that are 83 metres high. Rochester Falls in the southern Savanne district meanwhile, has a flank of falls which you can swim beneath.

Ready to discover more just than the poolside? Head onto Cheapflights.co.uk and start searching for flights, hotels and car hire…