World Travel...The Passport To Peace Through Understanding
The Centurian, Traveler's Century Club (CA)
Date: July 2002
Author: GIG GWIN
In July of 1999, I visited Rodrigues Island located deep in the Indian Ocean. This small speck of land is 375 miles east of its mother country Mauritius. The round-trip mileage from Johannesburg South Africa to Rodrigues Island is an incredible 4,500 miles and requires an overnight on Mauritius to make proper air connections. Air Mauritius has convenient flights to Rodrigues, utilizing a modern 50-passenger prop aircraft. The flight is just over an hour with a snack served on board.
Rodrigues Island is one of the newest members of the Travelers Century Club list and requires a fair amount of effort and expense to get to this remote and isolated island. I overnighted near the airport in Mauritius, at the Blue Lagoon Resort. This is about 20 minutes from the airport and has a fine beach, good swimming pool & restaurant and really a quite acceptable property for any trip. There are also deluxe resorts on Mauritius but located some distance from the airport, one of the finest being the Sofitel. The island of Maritius is a beautiful island, full of sugar cane fields, pristine white beaches and aqua marine reefs. It is a haven for European charter flights and South African vacationers. Its highlights include golf, Saga Dancing topless beaches and legends of the extinct Dodo bird.
I took the morning flight and spent a full day on Rodrigues Island, landing in Plaine Corail Airport. I realized immediately this was a diminutive island with less that 40,000 people and virtually no shopping items. The people speak French/Creole and secondary English. There are three nice hotels to choose from if one prefers to stay overnight. They are the Cotton Bay Hotel (fax:00-230-831 -6003/030); The Mourouk Ebony Hotel (fax: 00-230-831-2030), both of which have nice beaches and a European resort atmosphere. There is also a fine modest sized hotel in the main town of Port Mathurin named Auberge Anse aux Anglais, their fax number is (00-230-831-1973). I was able to get a room including breakfast and dinner for two, for less that $50 per day.
Activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, sun bathing and reef fishing. There is also an island tour that includes beautiful views of the turquoise lagoon and caves replete with golden bat (similar to fruit bats). The rolling hills of Rodriques are dotted with small cattle farms and narrow winding roads. Their primary economy is agriculture and fishing with an emphasis on rock lobster. The island is 95% Catholic, primarily of African descent but with a mixture of Hindus, Chinese and other nationalities.
This is not a spectacular island, yet the beaches are very nice and the hospitality is warm. I hope Travel Century members will enjoy their visit to this remote island.