As the island nation of Mauritius celebrates its 50th year of independence this year (in  2018) it’s unusual not to wonder about the long colonial history of the country. Talking to the locals made me realise, how most of them are from different indigenous groups with ancestors who had traveled to Mauritius at some point in time. The diverse communities with their colorful heritage, culture and customs make Mauritius a fascinating destination for history lovers. Inspired by the stories, we drove through the island in search of historical monuments and ruins to create our Ultimate Mauritius Map for History Lovers.

Mauritius is believed to have been discovered by Arabs, Malays, Portuguese before it was visited by Dutch settlers in the early seventeenth century. The island, thousands of miles away from nearest civilization, was a tropical shelter for ebony forests and wild animals like dodos and giant tortoises.

old ruin mauritius
Remains of Dutch fort in Trou d’Eau Douce.

The Dutch first landed in Grand Port and the monument commemorating their first steps is called Dutch Landing. The Dutch settled finally around 1638 and introduced sugarcane farming along with rice, tobacco and indigo crops. They built the Fort Frederik Hendrik as the base of administration officials close to the Dutch Landing. The ruins of this fort can be visited along with the museum which has exhibits that were excavated from this site in Vieux Grand Port.

The scenic coastal road to reach Dutch Landing

After the Dutch abandoned the island in 1710 due to frequent cyclones, the French took control of the island in 1715. They also built important landmarks like the Governor house, Pamplemousses Garden, Chateaus, fortifications etc which forged the architectural landscape of the island.

Next up on our Mauritius map is the Mahebourg naval museum, which is another interesting place to understand the history of the country. Also known as the Gheude Castle, it was owned by the de Robillard family. This chateau is also significant as it housed the two injured commanders of the French and English navies for treatment after the Battle of Vieux Grand Port. The exhibits shed light on the military and naval history of the Dutch, French and the British.

aldabra tortoise
After the extinction of the giant tortoises in Mauritius, it’s cousin species called Aldabra tortoise originating from Seychelles was introduced in Mauritius.

The house also shares the story about the extinction of Dodo birds and giant tortoises due to consumption by the Dutch and French. Yet another reminder of how human actions can destroy nature’s treasures.

Rhumerie de Chamarel
The tour at Rhumerie de Chamarel lasts for couple of hours so plan accordingly

The trail through the southern part of the island has some beautiful chateaus and plantation houses. Rhumerie de Chamarel is a winery and offers rum tasting along with the tour of the property. The Bois Cheri tea plantation dates back to end of 19th century and is the first tea plantation in the island. The colonial house in Bois Cheri is the second part of the Tour “La Route du Thé” ( This tour is a full day tour and links the remaining colonial houses of the island starting at Curepipe and ending at St Aubin).

Bois Cheri
Driving through Bois Cheri plantations

An important highlight in South Mauritius is the Slave Trade Monument, just beneath the Le Morne Brabant mountain. Recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site, the mountain is a symbol of the struggle of freedom against slavery as it was inhabited by the escaped slaves and marooners, in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Slave Trade monument at the foothills of Le Morne Brabant mountain from where the slaves had plunged to their deaths

Surrounded by an astounding optical illusion of a falling waterfall, this mountain has a dark history. It is believed that after the abolition of slavery in 1834, a group of policemen had gone to the mountains to announce that the slaves were free now. However, the slaves mistook this as an attempt to arrest them and valuing their freedom more than the life of slavery they jumped off the mountain ending their lives. The Slave Trade monument narrates the story of this unfortunate tragedy and stands as a witness to the history of slave trade.

slave route monument
Inside the Slave Route monument where each statue represents a nation from where the slaves originated

The abolishment of slavery also created grounds for “The Great Experiment” by the British to demonstrate the superiority of ‘free’ over slave labour in its plantation colonies. As a result, thousands of indentured labourers were brought to Mauritius, from India, Eastern Africa, Madagascar, China and Southeast Asia to work on the island’s sugar estates.

apravasi ghat
The steps to the entrance to Apravasi Ghat site

Apravasi Ghat in Port Louis is a UNESCO world heritage site and has the remains of the immigration depot that was the receiving center for the indentured labourers in Mauritius. Despite of the harsh living and working conditions, the experiment was a success. It led the other colonial powers to adopt this system resulting in movement of about two million people as indentured labourers.

citadel fort
The citadel fort

There are some other prominent historical buildings in and around Port Louis and you can read this article to know more about them. The British also built a military fort on top of the hill, overlooking the port to protect the city from its enemies. The citadel fort or Adelaide fort is a must visit to capture stunning panoramic views of the city and the ocean beyond.

Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
Famous for its water lilies, Pamplemousses Botanical Garden was built in the eighteenth century by the French

The Dutch, French and British rule has left many monuments through the country, some famous while some forgotten. We have tried to cover most of them in our Mauritius map that can be used for a one or two-day road trip around the island.

Our Ultimate Mauritius Map for History Lovers
If you like it please pin it!


  1. I visited Mauritius a couple of years back and I feel in love with its natural beauty. You’ve shared a great guide on the historical side of Mauritius. I’ve only visited Fort Adelaide from the sites you’ve mentioned. Being a history lover, this gives me a strong reason to visit the country again. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. History and travel, perfect combo.
    Knowing new culture and their history is the main reason of traveling for me.
    Really enjoyed this read

  3. What a beautiful island shadowed by a sad past. Thank you for sharing and not just selling it as an tourist spot. I love learning about our past and as well as taking in the beautiful nature that surrounds us. Mauritius is a great place for this.

  4. Mauritius is so beautiful & no less than a wonderland. Such a great post & quite informative. All the pictures looks so good and appealing to visit this place. Thanks for sharing & keep up the good work.

  5. I really connect with you on the passion for knowing the story behind the places you travel to. Mauritius travelogues are almost always about beaches and natural beauty which is great, but this article is special, as these places are hardly talked about. Pinned it on my wishlist 🙂

  6. We have not been to Mauritius so far but off late have realised that we do enjoy going to places which have historical relevance. There is a lot that is seen through the historical lens! Thanks for sharing this amazing perspective on Mauritius. Look forward to visiting the place soon.. love.. Backpacking Series

  7. Those water lilies are so huge! I think this is similar water lilies in China, where it can hold on a baby 😀

  8. This island looks like paradise and all of the fascinating history makes it an even more attractive destination. Thanks for including the map. We always find maps to be extremely helpful in these types of posts.

  9. I never knew about the Dutch history but i knew of the French colonial history and the mixed heritage from East Africans and Indians. I also never knew of that tragic slave suicide history and I’m West African. I love culture and history of places and Mauritius is one on my list too.

  10. Mauritius is such a wonderful destination with so much to see and explore. It’s really good to know about the historical significance of this island. The slave trade monument looks very fascinating. I would definitely plan a visit to this beautiful destination soon. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Love this! Mauritius is on my Bucket list and I’m a huge history buff. I’ll definitely take a look in to your other post a on Mauritius

  12. I have been following your series on your Mauritius travel for a while now and I am enjoying every bit of it. I must say Mauritius is very beautiful and even as an African who lived in Africa, I never knew of this paradise till you started this series. Iwill definitely be adding this to my list.

  13. Thank you for sharing this! I didn’t realize how much history resides here. And I would definitely love to know more about the dodo birds.

  14. Fascinating! I didn’t realize how many history spots there would be here!! I am a sucker for history so I would have to check some of this stuff out!

  15. When I travel to a new country I love to know more about the History and culture of the place and Mauritius seems to be so rich in those aspects!

  16. This looks like an amazing place to visit! I’ve never even heard of this before and was fascinated by the history. What an incredible travel experience!

  17. This is such a rich post. I love the pictures and the knowledge you’ve shared here. Makes me believe, I really need to visit Mauritius which has been on my bucket list for years now.

  18. Hey doesn’t pamplemousse mean grapefruit? What a funny name for a botanical garden, that does not grow grapefruits, odd right.? The pictures are really great and seems like you had a nice time thanks for the nice post of this garden.

  19. I love culture and history and when I travel I enjoy visiting museums. I’ve never considered visiting Mauritius before, but after reading your post I will add it to my bucket list, I am sure it’s a fascinating country rich in history and in natural beauties.

  20. Beautiful photography! I never heard of this place before but it looks like I can learn a lot about culture and history. Interesting read!

  21. This place has been on my list for so long. The photographs look so beautiful and i would love to visit it someday!

  22. Mauritius look like such a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for putting is on my radar, this looks like a place that doesn’t get the attention it deserves as a tourist destination.

  23. What a great guide! I love that you even integrated the map of the area. The pictures you included are also a great representation for someone planning on visiting! The lillie pads are incredible!

  24. This island looks like a tropical paradise! It would be so cool to see the wildlife and plants because they are so different from what we have here in Canada!

  25. My husband and I both love history so this is an awesome itinerary for us! I would most like to visit the slavery monument . . . it’s so crazy that people could treat other people that horribly which makes it fascinating to learn about.

  26. Mauritius through your eyes looks like a stunning place. I love the history you provided in this post, it’s so great to learn what a place has been through and the culture there when travelling.

  27. I would love to the gaden with the water lilies! Thanks for this guide.

    I think history is so important! The story about the slaves who ended their lived by jumping off the mountain, made me sad and thoughtful. It made me think about how we should remember these kinds of stories too. When we’re travelling to new desitnations, history is apart of it. And we should respect that.

  28. I have always wanted to see this beautiful island Mauritius and glad to come across a detail post! Glad you have included the history part of it, not just those beautiful beaches. Thank you.

  29. Oh wow! Short but detailed history of Mauritius, good to know for me since I am not into history but I do love travelling to see different culture and tourist spots. Hmmm.. Makes me think of including Mauritius in my bucket list.


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