Long hailed as a destination for couples, Mauritian shores are well known as a place to unwind, recharge and relax. On her most recent trip to the island though, Africa expert, Camilla, discovered the island with a new pair of eyes; as a mother. With its endless stretches of sandy beach, fantastic kids’ clubs and child friendly hotels, here’s why Mauritius should be on your family travel bucket list.
It really struck me what a superb destination it is for families traveling with children. Whilst a lot of people may baulk at the idea of an 11 hour flight with the kids in tow, strategically choosing overnight flights means that with any luck, children will sleep for most of the journey. Above this though, it is a non-malarial destination and with only a three hour time difference from the UK, traveling to Mauritius really is drama free.
The beaches really are glorious. Turquoise waters offer calm seas and shallow water for younger children to easily play in and enjoy. The sand is brilliantly white and powdery whilst swaying palms offer shade for paler complexions. Watching as small children take great delight running along the beach collecting shells and scampering around in the pristine waters is enough to melt any parent’s heart.
The beaches are really only the start as many of Mauritius’ hotels are geared up to welcome families. Whether it be interconnecting rooms, bunk rooms next to parents’ rooms or extra beds, there is a set up for everyone and every family. Hotels provide bottle sterilisers, bottle warmers, cots, linen and even put out toys, mini dressing gowns and slippers for younger guests. You really can leave the kitchen sink at home! Dining choices are endless and will suit even the fussiest of toddlers. Again restaurants are equipped with everything you can imagine; high chairs, bumper seats, bibs… You name it, they have thought of it.
The kids’ clubs are the biggest draw though. Let’s be honest, whilst we all love our little darlings, the chance to drop them off and lie on a sunbed (rather than just look at one longingly), have a conversation with your husband you can actually finish, or open that book that has been sitting next to your bed for a year, is simply blissful. Even more so when you know what incredibly capable hands they are in. With beautiful play areas which are brimming with toys, huge craft zones, chill out areas, sand pits, splash pools, the clubs are a playground for youngsters. Every day is bursting with activities from glass bottom boat trips, treasure hunts and crab hunting to Sega dancing (local dance classes), face painting and cooking. Kids are bound to have an absolute ball and leave with memories they will have for a lifetime. An added bonus is that many of the clubs are open between 9AM and 10PM and often free for children between 3 and 12 years old.
For the older children, water sports are a huge draw and professionals at the clubs are on hand for younger guests to help advance their skills or try their hand at something for the very first time. Let it be tennis, table tennis, sailing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, water skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling or diving, the list goes on. When they are not kept busy in the water sports center, many of the hotels offer a teens club complete with snooker tables, table football and various gadgets, which are bound to keep all ages amused.
We all know the key to a relaxing vacation is if the children are happy too. Mauritius seems to really get what makes children smile so it may not come as a surprise that we have families returning there year on year. As the age old saying goes, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.