For me, Mauritius has everything: powder-soft beaches, lofty mountains, exotic wildlife and memorable food. The island also has a rich cultural heritage and you can discover much about the country’s history and traditional way of life at the Adventure du Sucre museum, Chamarel Rum distillery and Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens. Hiking is one of the island’s main highlights with the lush vegetation and mountain views offering an impressive backdrop for short or more challenging walks. There is also a great range of hotels to choose from, many of which are situated on white-sand beaches and offer opportunities for snorkelling and boat trips.
I was lucky enough to start visiting far-flung destinations from a young age, and had my first taste of independent travel when I set off on a backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand for seven months. Working in Paris as part of my French degree at Edinburgh University helped me understand that travel is where my true passion lies. I set off whenever I can to discover new places — from watching the sun rise at Borobudur in Indonesia to exploring Vietnam’s temples and India’s palaces.
I have always been at my happiest relaxing on beaches, so I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to spend six weeks volunteering in Mauritius. Since joining the Hidden Beaches team at Audley, I have revisited this stunning island as well as the Seychelles, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Thailand.
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I was completely blown away by Denis Private Island. This tiny coral outcrop is surrounded by white-sand beaches and offers high levels of comfort in a heavenly setting. From the moment you step off the small plane (a 30-minute flight from Mahé), you’ll wish you never had to leave. The beaches are quiet and secluded, giant tortoises lumber across the sand, and turtles are regularly spotted while snorkelling or diving. The island is set on the edge of the Seychelles Bank and offers a wide range of dive sites as well as delicious food, much of it made from ingredients grown or raised on the island’s own farm.
I'll never forget when…
One night after dark, while walking from my tent to supper, I came face-to-face with a hippo. I was on safari in the Selous, in Tanzania, and although my heart almost stopped knowing how dangerous hippos can be out of water, I felt completely safe standing behind one of the camp’s Maasai guides. Watching hippos bob their heads up and down in the Rufiji River on a boat safari was one of the many highlights of my time in the Selous, but practically bumping into one on the path at the lodge was truly unforgettable.