Gadabout's Corner

Bird of passage

MAURITIUS Road Trip: One Week Itinerary

Mahébourg Waterfront, Mauritius

Not many have heard of Mauritius, but a lot of you might have heard of the Underwater Waterfall. It’s the biggest waterfall on Earth and it’s in Mauritius, an island with azure waters and soft sands.

Mauritius or Île Maurice in French comes with peaceful comfort, tons of activities, amazing wildlife, great curries and seafood. It’s a relax place with excellence flow.

Le Mourne Public Beach

I met a lot of vacationers with months in the country, while some were stopping by for few days. However, if you have about a week to spare, with a driving license, then you are welcomed with a simple road trip itinerary that you could easily adjust to your preferences.

One of many scenic routes of Mauritius

Firstly, please note that you’ll see diversity in this country. You’ll hear locals speaking to each other in English, French and Creole. You’ll see people from around the world and everyone’s different. This is the last place to feel awkward, because warm welcome is opened to everyone visiting Mauritius.

Cap Malheureux Church, Mauritius

Secondly, please also note that there is no complication in doing the road trip here. The island itself is pretty small, driving from the very south to the very north takes about 1.45 hours, while from left to right takes only about 1.30 hours. Food is easy to find, fresh sugar cane juice is even easier to find and public toilets are everywhere. Foreign driving licenses are accepted, roads have clear signages, petrol filling stations open until late and parkings are mostly free. GPS is not needed, sim card is not necessary, only a free map from the rental place and you are ready to enjoy your week in paradise! 🚗

Day 1 - Arrival

There is nothing much for the arrival day. It’s usually the day to do all boring bits, like exchanging money or buying sim card. For driving around Mauritius, you wouldn’t need any internet or GPS to navigate because free maps that you could grab from the airport or at your accommodations are already very clear. Also, roads here are not complicated at all.

Mauritius’ skyline

When you exit the Arrival Hall of the airport, you’ll spot many bureaux de change and on the right, you’ll see a hub of car rental services. I’d say it’s a great place to choose your car, negotiate, make payment, deposit, load your baggages and go. The boring bits are over! 😆

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Day 2 - Poste Lafayette, Pereybere to Grand Baie
  • Poste Lafayette Public Beach
  • Roches Noires
  • Pereybere Public Beach
  • La Cuvette Public Beach
  • Grand Baie Public Beach

Poste Lafayette to Grand Baie

So, I’m gonna kick this off with Poste Lafayette. There are many beachfront resorts in this area, so if you happen to stay here then you are very near. Taking B15, you might wanna stop at Poste Lafayette Public Beach, which has a small sandy beach area, suitable for swimming. You could park and walk towards the north. You’ll be at Roches Noires, where you will find a massive area of black rock, with amazingly loud wave crashing sound, a sign warning people not to swim and public restrooms. This place is extremely picturesque due to the contrasting colors of black rock and blue sea. It’s also very energetic!

Black rock at the northern part of Poste Lafayette Beach

If you follow B13, you’ll arrive at the Pereybere Public Beach. It’s one of the very crowded beaches on the island, but that’s because you could do a lot here. There are heaps of food vendors, choices of restaurants and souvenir boutiques. The sea itself is also very calm, very safe to swim or you could even rent a kayak and spend hours here as well.

Beach art at Pereybere, with cute admirer

Next up, it’s La Cuvette Public Beach. This beach is an odd one, because it features everything. Cliffs hang on one end, rocks decorate the other end and between them are short sandy beaches. It’s nice to walk through all of this and decide your spot. Plus, if you wanna stay for long, then you could simply switch up and there are few shower facilities in the area as well.

The final stop of the day could be Grand Baie Public Beach. It’s really close to La Cuvette. There are many restaurants, cafes, clubs and bars that are by the beach and some even hang just above the sea. If you are not driving, then this is a good stop for few drinks and party scenes can be found here as well. 💃

The very clear water of Grand Baie

Day 3 - Port Louis to Mont Choisy
  • Port Louis Waterfront
    • Fort Adélaide
    • St James Cathedral
  • Trou aux Biches Beach
  • Mont Choisy Public Beach

Port Louis to Mont Choisy

First thing first, let’s head into town for some morning treats! Around the city area of Port Louis, parkings are not free and you can’t just park anywhere like in other places. But, once you are happy with the parking, I’m sure you’ll enjoy walking around the city. It has amazing waterfront with loads of souvenir kiosks. Port Louis Waterfront is a good stop for food. However, you could wander around Fort Adélaide or visit the oldest Anglican church of Mauritius at St James Cathedral.

Stained-glass windows of St James Cathedral, Port Luois, Muritius; Minolta A3

You might ended up spending many hours in Port Louis but once you are ready, we could head out to more beaches! Next stop is on B36 and it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius. The blue water of Trou aux Biches Beach is decorated by colorful sunbeds and white fine sand. It’s also a good snorkeling spot as well as jet skiing and paddle boarding.

However, if you are looking for something just as nice, but with less people, then you might wanna go to a beach next to this, which is the Mont Choisy Public Beach. It’s very quiet and peaceful here.

The peaceful scene of Mont Choisy Beach

Day 4 - Le Morne Brabant to Flic en Flac

One of many amazing views from Le Morne

  • Le Morne Brabant
  • Le Morne Public Beach
  • Flic en Flac Beach

Le Morne Brabant to Flic en Flac

Personally, one thing that I think you should try when in Mauritius is to hike Le Morne Brabant. It has been declared a World Heritage by UNESCO. It’s the most preserved area of the island. It also holds a lot of history as well. This mountain was used by escaping slaves, who would committed suicide by jumping off the cliff here.

The view from the top of Le Morne, with an elegance cross

During the hike, you’ll get amazing views of the island and the wildness of this mountain. It’s a must! To get to the very top, it’s only illegal to be accompanied with Mountain Guides of Yanature. They are the only people who have the right access to the route, otherwise you’ll be trespassing. Click here for more information and reservation.

Yanature, Beyond the Peaks

After you are back on the sea level, then you might as well freshen up a little. There is a stunning beach very close to the base of the hiking route. Le Morne Public Beach is a perfect place to have a fresh dip. The water feels good and the breeze is pretty nice. It’s not only a good spot for swimming, but it’s also good for any other watersport activities as well. A perfect spot to catch some waves here is called One Eye.

Le Mourne and its blue water

But if you are looking for a place with more watersport facilities, then head over to Flic en Flac Beach. It has long white sand beach and great scuba diving sites, especially the one called The Cathedral. It has an arch that you dive through the dark and greeted by warm light on the other end.

Day 5 - Chamarel to Macondé
  • Seven Coloured Earth
  • Chamarel Waterfall
  • Macondé

Chamerel to Macondé

For today, we’ll gonna go off the coast for a bit. We’ll start at Chamarel Village. There is so much to see here. One place not to miss is the Seven Coloured Earth. It’s almost like a rainbow on land, with families of turtles! 🐢

Not far from here, there is a lookout point that gives you a whole sight of the Chamarel Waterfall. So, you’ll probably ended up spending many happy hours here.

Next stop is at the very south tip of the country, there is a sharp curve called Macondé. It has a small stairway that gives you a better look of the road, which is very panoramic.

View of an excellence curve at Macondé

Day 6 - Gris Gris to Mahébourg

Sun is setting nicely at Mahébourg Waterfront

  • Gris Gris Beach
  • La Roche Qui Pleure
  • Pont Naturel
  • Blue Bay Beach
  • Pointe d’Esny Beach
  • Mahébourg

For today, we gonna start at the very south area of the island. At Gris Gris, there is a big space of rock beach. It may not be a place to swim but it surely looks nice in picture. From Gris Gris Beach, you could walk to La Roche Qui Pleure. It’s a rocky tip that looks like a crying man, with crashing waves as tear.

Then onto something similar, but too nice to skip is the Pont Naturel. You’ll have to park quite far and walk towards the tip of the land, searching for a bridge and a hole. You might wanna watch out for surprise waves and splashes that come out of nowhere. 😂

For our next place, it’s Blue Bay Beach. This is a perfect place to snorkel. The reef is amazing with loads of colourful fish. The next beach is by the Coastal Road. Pointe d’Esny Beach is a hidden gem. The beach is blocked by buildings of resorts and hotels. You’ll have to park by the road and find small pathways that you could take on foot to the beach. It’s very calm here.

Last stop for the day is Mahébourg. It’s a small town with cute waterfront and loads of restaurants. At Mahébourg Waterfront, you could walk towards Pointe Canon, which is a memorial place that gives you the view of few tiny islands close by.

One of tiny islands that can be seen from Mahébourg Waterfront

Day 7 - La Cambuse and the farewell

For the last day, I want to end the trip at La Cambuse Public Beach. It’s a long beach with big trees that have odd shapes because of the wind. The water is extremely blue and there are toilet facilities as well.

Then sadly, we have to leave. On to the next journey!

Locals with their boat at Mahébourg

 

 

 

 

 

Things to do during Winter in CAPE TOWN, South Africa

Cape Town is surely many people’s dream paradise, especially surfers, hikers, backpackers or lovers (a honeymoon, maybe). It offers a great variety of services, from budget hostels to beachfront luxury villas.

Visiting Cape Town or Kaapstad in Afrikaans during Winter is actually quite nice. It’s not that cold, except the sea that’s always a bit cold. You could still do everything that you should when in Cape Town, like surfing, shark cage diving, whale watching, sailing or visiting wineries. If you don’t mind a bit of light rain then we are good here. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper and also less packed. If you’re not sure what to do during the trip, then you might wanna keep reading. 😊

Firstly, getting around is really easy, you could just walk or use the MyCiti Bus. You’ll need a bus card for that, which you just add some credit into the card, tap and go. You could get the card from many places, like the Airport. I got mine at the Cape Town Tourism Office on Burg Street.

Actually, I wanna talk a little bit about their Tourism Office. They are really helpful. I went to Cape Town with no idea about what I should do and see. Fortunately, one of the staff introduced me to Baz Bus, which offers really cool tour services around South Africa for great prices. Tours are specifically designed for backpackers. These services were amazing and I also met loads of cool people as well.

Things you shouldn’t miss when in Cape Town:
  • District Six
    • Muir Street Mosque
    • District Six Museum
  • Bo-Kaap
  • Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
  • Signal Hill
  • Lion’s Head
  • Table Mountain
  • Chapman’s Peak

Firstly, I’m going to kick it off with things you can do around the City Bowl, which is the central business area of Cape Town. It’s packed with history, especially at District Six. The district is the result of discrimination, where only white residences were allowed to stay and the others were forced to leave. It left the district abandoned. Years later, Nelson Mandela returned the district to everyone but some areas are still visibly abandoned. You could just walk around the area, visit the District Six Museum and Muir Street Mosque to know more about the story.

Not far from District Six Museum, stands the Castle of Good Hope, which is the oldest building of South Africa. It’s a good place to relax as there is a small kiosk that you could grab some warm drinks. I had my breakfast there, with the view of the castle’s garden in front of me. Tea and food was warm, perfect for the winter morning.

A bit further from the castle, you’ll find the colorful neighborhood of Bo-Kaap. You’ll notice the cobble stoned streets once you’re in the area. It’s a good place to walk around, take pictures with them colorful doors and houses. Also, check out the Nurul Islam Mosque there as well.

The next stop is Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. There is so much to see in the area. So, if you wanna fill up your tummy first, definitely check out the V&A Food Market. It’s an international food complex that sometimes plays live music as well. Otherwise, have a walk around the harbour, get the bird-eye view of the town from the Cape Wheel, shop at the mall or book yourself a ticket to visit the Robben Island.

Robben Island was used for the isolation of political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela. Apart from history aspect, it’s the kingdom of African Penguins as well. On the island, you can take pictures, but for personal use only and tripods are not allowed.

Now for those who like mountains, camping and hiking, Cape Town is your place. There are many peaks and mountains for you to conquer. We’ll go from North to South and the first one is the Signal Hill (Lion’s Tail). You could just drive up the summit through Signal Hill Road. It’s great for the city’s view and the Atlantic. I also spot couple of campers there as well.

Otherwise, the one next to it is the Lion’s Head. The walk up to the top is only about an hour. So, it’s quite nice.

The next one, the landmark of Cape Town, Table Mountain is a must. It’s called Table Mountain simply because of its flatness. You could get up the top by either hiking or by using cableway. By hiking, there are many routes to choose, depending on how long you wanna spend and how fit you are. Though, a spot that you shouldn’t miss is the Devil’s Peak. The view is crazy! You just gotta see it by yourself.

Moving on to the Chapman’s Peak. This place gives you both the view of Hout Bay and Noordhoek Beach. To get here, you could simply take the Chapman’s Peak Drive and you’ll find many hiking trails up here as well.

Between Chapman’s Peak and the stunning Noorhoek Beach, there is a really cool place called Monkey Valley Resort. It offers a really sweet stay. Hidden among the trees of Milkwood Forest, with the view of the beach; each rooms are designed with massive windows for the infinite view, farmhouse kitchen and stone fireplace. It’s just really cool! 😎

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Cape Town’s shorelines, from North to South:
  • Sea Point Promenade
  • Clifton
    • First Beach
    • Second Beach
    • Third Beach
    • Fourth Beach
  • Camps Bay
    • Witsand
    • Glen Beach
  • Hout Bay
    • The Dungeons
    • Hout Bay Harbour
  • Noordhoek Beach
    • The Dunes
    • Wreck of Kakapo

About half an hour walk from Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, close to Green Point Lighthouse, you’ll see the start of Sea Point Promenade. It’s really nice to walk along the Promenade as there are many different beaches, some are smaller and some are rockier.

Though, if you are looking for a bigger scale beach, then definitely check out the Clifton area. Here, there are 4 beaches, from First Beach to the Fourth Beach. For surfers, the First Beach has the strongest and the Fourth Beach has weakest waves. The Third Beach is the smallest one but it’s a very busy beach. This place is awesome and beautiful!

For divers, you might wanna check out Camps Bay. Here, there is a famous dive site called Witsand. However, this bay is also good for surfers, especially for those who like a bit of challenge. At Glen Beach, it’s one of the harder beaches to surf as the take-off area is quite small.

The next stop is where I spent most of my time while in Cape Town. It’s Hout Bay! It’s the place for big wave surfers who wanna ride the 14-metres Dungeons. The place itself is beautiful and colorful, with cute fishing village and Hout Bay Harbour.

Lastly, it’s the one we’ve talked about for a bit, the Noordhoek Beach. If you want to relax, then this 8 kilometres of peacefulness is your place. You might wanna visit The Dunes, take a horse out and enjoy the ride by the beach or explore the Wreck of Kakapo.

What else?
  • Cape Winelands
  • Cape Peninsula
    • Simon’s Town
    • Boulders Beach
    • Cape of Good Hope

Apart from Cape Town itself, you could also explore the area around it as well. I’d recommend few places. Firstly, Cape Winelands is the region where many famous wines are made. Wines are sooooo cheap and sooooo tasty! By the time you’re having lunch, you’d already be tipsy. It’s a joy! 🍷

Apart from the beauty of wineries, you could also join the search of South African’s Big Five. If you are keen on spending a day with animals, you could book yourself a day trip and head to Worcester. I’d recommend horseback safari because it’s a lot more exciting. Otherwise, try any styles of Game Drives.

Most importantly, since you are in Cape Town, you have to visit the Cape Peninsula. To do so, you might wanna start at Simon’s Town, which is a Navy Base Town.

There is a cute history here too. It’s about Just Nuisance, which is the only dog enlisted in Royal Navy because he was a loyal dog that always travelled with seamen by train. He was enlisted as a Royal Navy so that he could travel freely on the train. He was somehow a moral booster for the town during the World War II. His statue is by the town’s main street.

Another cuteness here is the African Penguins at Boulders Beach. The place is so cute! What penguins live by the beach of blue water? This place is so heart-warming. 😍

Next, you should definitely visit the Cape of Good Hope. To explore the whole place, which is also a Nature Reserve, you could just drive around, hike or go around with bicycle. I did cycling and my companies were some ostriches, baboons and couples of deers.

You might wanna stop by the Cape Point first because it’s higher than the Cape of Good Hope so it offers a greater sight of all peaks and ocean. The view from the lighthouse is the best! You also don’t have to worry much about the weather, all the walking will heat you up but the wind won’t let you sweat.

The final most important stop is the Cape of Good Hope. It holds so much history and the area is stunning. The shore is great for taking pictures and to be there is just great!

 

 

 

 

 

How I Spent a Day in Cardiff, Wales

Is the idea of chilling in a park, visiting some castles, reading in a café, eating by the bay and shopping in an arcades sound like a good weekend? If so, then Cardiff might be your place.

Cardiff is a big city with modern buildings, lively waterfront, blended with Victorian architectures, old shopping arcades and decorated by big parks. You should spend a proper weekend there. It’s pretty sweet! However, for this post, I want to share with you how I spent a Spring day in Cardiff on my own, walking on foot, exploring.

I arrived at Cardiff Coach Station in Sophia Gardens late evening and from there I walked for about 30 minutes to Nomad Backpacker at Howard Gardens. Along the way, I got to admire the sight of the lit-up Cardiff Castle and experienced the busy Queen Street.

After a good sleep, I woke up quite early, grabbed something to eat at Sainsbury’s, and headed off to my first stop, the Llandaff Cathedral. It took me about an hour to get there. I was stunned by how nice this place is. It’s slightly ruined, with magnificent architecture. The surrounding was peaceful and the Cathedral itself is quite charming. I also spent sometime relaxing by the Llandaff Meadow, along River Taff as well.

After a good rest by the river, I took off and aimed for Bute Park, using Feeder Canal Trail, walking through Gorsedd Gardens for about half an hour, then stopping at Cardiff National Museum, City Hall and Crown Court.

After a couple of snaps, I kept walking a bit further and ended up at the Cardiff Castle. The castle is massive and it’s beautifully decorated by towers, giving the place a classy edge.

When I was satisfied exploring the massive castle, I was just walking around until I came across the Cathays Cemetery. Then, I followed all the dogs and their owners into Roath Park, got myself an ice-cream and relaxed by the massive lake. I was entertained by a little boy, who was constantly throwing tennis ball into the lake for his dog to swim and pick it up. The park was packed with couples, children, dogs and runners. It was a lively day filled with energy. 🙌

After I finally managed to get my lazy arse off the ground, I made my way toward the city centre. The first stop I made was at the YHA Cardiff Central, because that’s where I spent my night. So, I was just dropping off my stuff.

With lighter feet, I walked to Bute East Dock, stopped for few pictures of the reflected houses above the water, continued my journey toward the bay and made another stop at Wales Millennium Centre. The architecture of this arts centre is quite artsy but the interior is amazing! It’s so glamorous and classy.

I also spent sometime walking around the area, exploring places like Merchant Place, Roald Dahl Plass, Senedd and Pierhead. I decided that I’d stop for food at the Mermaid Quay, so that’s how I walk around, finding a place to eat. 🍔

After a big meal, I kept walking, sticking to the right until I found the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve. It’s a wetlands reserve in the middle of the city centre and it’s very green! They have done an amazing job looking after this place. I was very impressed.

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My next destination of the day was Penarth Marina, so from the wetlands reserve, I kept walking and crossed the bridge twice until I found the Dolly Steps, which is the entrance to the Alexandra Park. I enjoyed walking through this park a lot because there weren’t many people and it’s beautifully decorated with smaller gardens and the Penarth War Memorial. I took the exit to the Bridgeman Road and found the stunning Penarth Pier.

I spent a lot of time walking along the esplanade and had my early dinner by the pier. Once I was ready, I headed to the left of the pier on Beach Road, continued to Windsor Road and took one right onto Harbour View Road, High Street and finally stopped at the Paget Road.

At the Paget Road, I was stunned by the sight of Cardiff Bay under the golden sunset skies, with the elegance marina. It’s a perfect lookout point, because of the distance and the height. The view that you’ll be rewarded is amazing. It’s honestly my favorite spot of this Cardiff trip. I was a bit unfortunate that my phone was out of battery, otherwise I could show you the picture. Though, you should definitely check it out if you are gonna be exploring Penarth.

Because I saw the lit-up Cardiff Bay in front of me, so that’s where I headed to next. I crossed Cardiff Bay Barrage, with the bay on my left and the channel on my right. On the Tardis Walk, I walked toward the Doctor Who Experience, which was closed by the time I arrived, but still, it’s better than nothing. 😂

I founded the Norwegian Church Arts Centre at the Britania Park and tried to figure my way back to the hostel. I was a bit tired. Because my phone was out of battery and I had no map on me, it took me an hour to get back to my accommodation when it should only take about half an hour. Though, It was great fun and I enjoyed it a lot.

The next morning, I made few more stops before going to catch the bus to my next destination. The first stop was for some quick breakfast, then to St Mary Church, the Parish of Saint Paula Grangetown and finally the Principality Stadium.

From the stadium, I walked the Millennium Walk by the river, then crossed the bridge into Sophia Gardens and the National Express Coach Station was my final stop.

Even though I didn’t spend that much time in Cardiff, it’s still one of the very memorable trip for me, especially the view of Cardiff Bay from Paget Road during the sunset.

 

 

 

 

 

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