One of the more homey attractions in Mauritius is the calm district of Grand Port. This southern district is actually the first port in the island-state, and offers much history and attractions to whet the appetite of tourists and history buffs alike. There are also breathtaking and awe-inspiring sights such as lush mountains and forests that can be of interest to nature lovers. For these attractions, Grand Port has become a preferred destination for those who love to hike and trek.
Since it hosts the only airport in Mauritius, Grand Port has become the gateway to the country. There are also a good number of shuttle services to cater to tourists, so getting around the district poses no serious problem.
For those who appreciate the lessons and charms of history, Grand Port is a good destination. It is where the first people of the islands settled, particularly in the bay of Mahebourg. When the Dutch came to the islands, they preferred to settle at the more elevated area of Vieux Grand Port. This is where they built their early settlement, and a port that served as a center of commerce and defense. There’s a lagoon just beneath the said place where the Dutch built a jetty made from stones. That jetty remains in existence up to this day.
It is also in this district that the legendary naval encounter, the Battle of Grand Port, took place. This battle happened in 1810 during the height of the Napoleonic Wars.
For being the site of some of the most important events in Mauritian history, Grand Port is fondly referred to as the cradle of Mauritian civilization. There are the hills of Anse Jonchée on the southeastern side of the island. These hills host the beautiful park called Domaine du Chasseur, a 2,000 acre territory. Animals such as boars, monkeys, and deer thrive in these surroundings blessed with a rich ecosystem that includes wild plants and species. A host of rare and beautiful birds also live in this area.
At the foot of these hills is the Le Domaine de I'Ylang Ylang, where a rich and large plantation of fragrant yellow flowers called Ylang-Ylang is cultivated. Also grown in various parts of Asia, Ylang Ylang is characterized by a rich and spicy aroma. Many consider it as an aphrodisiac. Visitors can also get a good view of the Grand Port bay from this area. Nature lovers can hike or explore the various sampling of organic products harvested from the fields.
There are a handful of good hotels and resorts in Grand Port, allowing tourists to enjoy a comfortable and leisurely vacation. And since this is the oldest settlement in the country, Grand Port is decorated by old structures that speak loudly about the colonial past of the locality. Another famous place in Grand Port District is Rose-Belle where one can visit the famous Roman Catholic Church designed beautifully to resist cyclones.
With its rich history and equally rich natural resources, Grand Port ranks as one of the most frequently visited district in Mauritius.