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Posted on Sep 4, 2013

Family Travel Bucketlist #23: Africa’s Little Ole Mauritius Island

Family Travel Bucketlist #23: Africa’s Little Ole Mauritius Island

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We’re on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. We’ve been living full-time in the Chabad House at Kathmandu. Turns out there’s a whole TV series about this extraordinary Rabbi and his amazing wife in Israel and soon, the film crews will return to record season two. Our film crew arrives in two days and we could not be more excited! Angela, Noah, and Erin have already boarded their flight and will soon be joining us in the muddy madness of Kathmandu, Nepal.

While in the Chabad, we hear travelers speak of this rafting exhibition, that temple, and the Annapurna Circuit herself. Their stories fill us with excitement and anticipation towards our own adventure. This bucket list is about to take place, others are far off. One that I can’t believe is even on our mental map is Africa. I always wanted to go to Africa; Kobi never did. And now that we’ve met good friends who safaried there, we saw two family travel blogs of families who traveled there for months, and we met one diver in Savedra Dive Center in the Philippines who who was from Mauritius, which is now officially on our bucket list.

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It’s Time For Africa

Yeah, it is. We know we want to give her lots of time, for she is that amazing. We met one Israeli who lived in Ghana for sixteen years who told us, “You never get enough of Africa.” He safaried there right after his military service and just never could quite leave. He tried to move back to Israel again, then the US, and I think England, but no, Africa was in his heart and, like he said, “You’re never the same after Africa.” So, yes, we’re mentally there. Whatever our mental handicaps and fears were, we have officially put her on the table. I don’t know when this baby will bear fruit, for we have Nepal, India, maybe Mongolia, Israel, Spain, and much of Europe awaiting us for the next five years. (Sounds so funny to have this as our five-year plan because a- who knows and b- it’s one colorful five-year life plan!). But all the same, some cool facts about a place we’ve never been before- Mauritius!

Mesmerizing Mauritius- 5 1/2 Cool Facts About Mauritius 

So, turns out Mauritius is an island which, to us, looks so much like islands we’ve lived on in both the Philippines and Cambodia. We love island life! Here’s some facts I’ve learned. (God, I love serendipitous inspired learning that teaches us bit and pieces about another little sliver of something we were clueless to beforehand!)

1- Mauritius is a small island located in the southwest Indian Ocean off the Southeast coast of Africa. It covers 720 square miles and stretches the length of 65 km with a width of 45 km. OMG tiny!

2- Mauritius’s waters have surreal coral reef, which means we can all DIVE! By then, Solai can be Open Water Certified too!

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3- Mauritius is home to Hindus, Creoles, Europeans, Muslims, Africans, and Chinese who all live together in remarkable harmony. The radically diverse population of just 1.2 million boasts the joy of maintaining their respective cultures with no racial conflict.

4- You can comfortably drive the entirety of Mauritius in less than 20 hours.

5- Mauritius carries marvelous war relics from both the Second World War and (get this… ready?) the Napoleonic Wars! The island still bears visible marks of the once-used British naval base and other artifacts.

5 1/2- Sounds like there are cool family things to do there (which is not really a fact but deal) like Trou aux Cerfs Volcano, Le Plaza Theater, and what we love to do best- walk on the beach for hours, with the ocean breezes on our faces, sighing at yet another remarkable sunset.

I love it how Mauritius is everything I thought Africa was not. When someone says ‘Africa’ I see savanna and safari and all the Africa images that I knew as that, and this, yet again, only proves to me that everything I thought I knew, I simply don’t. Yeah! Still learning!

Dinner Tonight

Just see how adorable the kids are and why they drag us to the Chabad Center every single day! This is a video of their practice. They were amazing tonight!

And then, (oh, we’re back from a truly magical Rosh Hashana dinner with the Chabad community) tonight at dinner we met a family who travels a lot for one month vacations. The wife said Africa was unreal, unreal, unreal! She got that oh-my-God-words-can’t-describe-how-it-took-my-breath-away glossy look in her eyes when she said, “Africa. Oh, Africa. She is magnificent!” Well, she said it in Hebrew (which has been such a great joy to be immersed in day after day here in Kathmandu) and it made me know, without a doubt, that one day Africa will be our home too.

Other great posts in this new series where I bring you random facts I find about a place on our bucket list include Korea and Ireland, and I just had this gnawing feeling that I should tell you that if you haven’t read I Know Nothing and 99 Other Things The Road Has Taught Me that I hope you do. It’s been on my mind a lot lately and I think, if you missed it, it’s one hell of a post to help you see life through our eyes.

And then, I just wanted to ask you to leave a comment or share this post using the little bookmark to the left of this article. All sharing and comments directly help us keep our travel dreams alive. The more we can show that we have an active online community, the more I can ask dear, sweet advertisers and establishments around the world to work with us. So, thank you in advance.

I’ve just finished a really beautiful, reflective piece about life in the streets of Kathmandu. It should come out next week. I know you will love it. Waiting for our dearest film crew members. We’ve got a few more things to buy and pack, and then we start the Annapurna Circuit Trek with them and the kids, and I am very, deeply happy right now.

Happy New Year to you all from Nepal, dear friends,

Nemaste,

Gabi

There are few things I adore more than giving photo credits! All geniuses deserve their full recognition! glorious sunset, sunset with umbrellalovely smiling woman and man in red and white.

Comments

comments

8 Comments

  1. Everyone I have ever met that has travelled to Africa, or lived there, seems to fall deeply in love with the country and gets that ‘glossy look’ in their eyes. I have a huge travel Bucketlist, yet Africa was never high on that list…but hearing so many stories, it has moved up the list! What an exciting life you are living.
    I’ve just discovered your incredible website. The way you write makes me drool with envy and want to race to the airport. You are living the dream…Thankyou for such inspiration.
    Cheers!

  2. Fine, live out my dreams for me, see if I care :0P

    • maybe i will then! really? is the diving amazing?

      • I hear only amazing stuff from there

  3. Here are some more interesting and fun facts for you:

    – The official language in Mauritius is english, meaning all paperwork is in english and everybody understands english… but most of us are french speaking!
    – The island is covered with sugar cane fields which look completely amazing when in flower.
    – In winter the lowest temperatures are around twelve to fourteen degrees celsius, and we consider it to be freezing cold!

    I hope you do get to come some day, it is a beautiful island!

    • priscille. thank you for the great comment. oh, your facts are much more romantic and alluring than mine were. yours clearly indicate that you were there, breathed and tasted the beauty of mauritius. it will be our honor to come see you one day. gabi

      • Thank you Gabi.

        I was born in Mauritius and still live there today.

        I loved your facts because it sees beyond the ‘touristy’ aspect of the island which usually only promotes our beautiful beaches and leisurely holidays.

        Yes, our beaches are beautiful, but the true heart of the island comes from its authentic, warm and welcoming people and from our history.

  4. So great to meet you, Kobi, and the kids over chag! Africa is something else – having lived in different parts of East Africa for 4.5 years, it gets into you skin and soul, even if it is sometimes too much now and than. We’re headed to Ethiopia around December and we’ll be there for a few months – hope to bump into your crew somewhere there…

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