Most people learn from as early as their nursery school days that the Dodo is an extinct flightless bird, once found only on the beautiful island of Mauritius. But did you know that its closest living relative is the Nicobar Pigeon, a beautiful bird with stunning metallic green plumage? It can be found in South East Asia, from the Nicobar Islands to Thailand and the Malay Archipelago, but it can also be seen closer to home in sanctuaries such as Durrell Wildlife Park on Jersey. While the Nicobar Pigeon is no shrinking violet at some 40 cm, the Dodo was a giant by comparison, standing at one metre in height and weighing in at up to 18 lbs in the wild, although we can only really judge this from drawings.
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Tragically, the Dodo was extinct within 80 years of its first discovery. The absence of predators and the abundance of ground level food which made it safe, happy and flightless in its island eden were the very factors that were ultimately responsible for its tragic demise. Once it was discovered, according to the history books in 1598 it was hunted to extinction by hungry sailors. The poor, hapless Dodo is thought to have laid just one single egg in a clutch, so clearly once man stepped ashore the pristine white beaches, explored the lush tropical island and tasted his first Dodo à la King, the odds were heavily stacked against its survival.
Today Mauritius, 20 degrees south of the equator with gin-clear waters ringed by the world’s largest unbroken coral reef, is known more for its outstanding tourism qualities and stylish five star resorts than its wildlife, but its natural beauty both on land and at sea remains very much part and parcel of a visit. It is one of Turquoise Holidays’ most enduring and bestselling destinations, a year round idyll, and a huge hit with honeymooners seeking sun, sand, romance, and its bewitching mix of exotic yet colonial culture. More recently Mauritius has also risen right up the hit list for families, as resorts like The Residence have proved themselves to be as stunningly adept at keeping youngsters entertained as they have at keeping parents pampered.
Here at Turquoise, we often talk to exhausted Mums and Dads who are well overdue (and quite frankly in desperate need of) a lovely family holiday but have resisted the temptation to head further afield than Cornwall, put off by the perceived horrors of a long haul flight with toddlers in tow. However, the 12 hour flight from London to Mauritius is always overnight from the UK – in our opinion considerably more relaxing and less stressful than a 6 hour journey on a jam-packed motorway to the West Country! If you choose to fly via Dubai with Etihad, your flight from London will even have an on-board nanny to take care of little Clara’s every whim. If you are considering a long haul sunshine destination it really doesn’t get easier and more accessible than Mauritius.
A Place For Families
For grownups with just themselves to consider, and perhaps embarking on the their most important holiday of their lives together, even upgrading to business class is a relative bargain – especially compared to flying to other parts of the world.
So hopefully now you are convinced that Mauritius is the place to go for your next holiday, but where do you stay? Given that the island is 11 times the size of Washington DC, at nearly 800 square miles, the choice can be quite overwhelming but fortunately here at Turquoise we have made it our business to craft the ultimate guide to the Indian Ocean Island – and you will find a comprehensive guide along with all the latest offers and honeymoon specials on our website. www.turquoiseholidays.co.uk/mauritius
For colonial charm and first class service (for those who don’t want to lift a finger, even to unpack or pack!) The Residence Mauritius wins hands down every time. For unbridled romance, The Oberoi Mauritius with 600 metres of ocean frontage is the epitome of loveliness. For those who love a game of golf (and there is nowhere better than Mauritius for chasing the little white balls around – all the courses are free to visitors) the Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort, a tribute to the Irish botanist Charles Telfair, manages to combine championship golf and watersports with one of the island’s top spa centre and 250 years of history. It is the perfect all-rounder for family and couples alike. For the ultimate escape, Iles des Deux Cocos is an island off an island that is probably the most exquisitely eccentric hideaway you could imagine (and with its own private villa complete with staff, it comes with a fairly exquisite price tag too).
But to mention just a handful of resorts is doing Mauritius a huge injustice; indeed it doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface of an island that we consider to be one of the finest holiday destinations in the world. Call us now, or pop into the Turquoise shop where we provide free buggy parking and chilled champagne at the ready, and let us help you create your perfect Mauritian holiday.