1. Tee off in paradise
The British introduced golf to Mauritius in 1844, long before it reached the US, and it has the honour of being the third country in the world to turn its natural landscape into greens, bunkers, fairways and lagoons. Today there are four 18-hole courses, the best of which is The Legend, designed by Hugh Baiocchi and home to the Mauritius Open every December. It's part of Belle Mare Plage resort (bellemareplagehotel.com), as is the Links Course, designed by Peter Alliss and Rodney Wright. Both are musts for golfing honeymooners. In the southwest, Le Paradis Hotel & Golf Club has a picturesque course, but it's reserved for guests (paradis-hotel.com).
2. Taste the sugar
To understand Mauritius, you have to understand sugar. The first plantations began under French rule in the 18th century and sugar still dominates the landscape, with 90 per cent of cultivated land on Mauritius given over to the crop. Initially, African slaves were brought over to work the plantations. When they were freed in 1835, indentured labourers were recruited from India. At l'Aventure du Sucre (aventuredusucre.com), housed in the old Beau Plan Sugar Mill in Pamplemousses you can learn about sugar's importance in shaping the island's history — over half the population of Mauritius is descended from the sugar trade. There's a good restaurant too: le Fangourin, where a number of dishes incorporate the sacred sucre — try scallops with ginger butter, muscovado sugar and port wine.
3. Take time to tuck in
Despite being a British colony for much of its history, Mauritius has benefited from having been settled by some of the world's great gourmet nations. The result? A mouthwatering cuisine that is a natural fusion of French, Chinese and Indian. It's not uncommon for the same meal to include French dishes such as bouillon or coq au vin served with curry, chutney and rougaille, a tomato paste that's popular served with fish. There may well be rice too — 19th-century Chinese migrants brought rice and noodles to Mauritius and inspired dishes such as crispy chicken, crispy squid and a Mauritian spring roll. Most five-star hotels have excellent restaurants but try dining with the locals too. La Toque Blanche (+230 765 4797) in Grand Baie is a favourite but try Hippocampe (hippocampe.mu) in Flic-en-Flac too. Tuck in to the likes of dholl puri and roti, a pancake served with hot bean curry, chutney (tomato sauce) and chilli.
4. Visit a medley of museums
For most people stretched out on the beach, there needs to be a good reason to leave that lounger. The island's museums celebrate everything from natural history to tea, photography, the navy and even postage stamps. The Blue Penny Museum (caudan.com) on the Caudan Waterfront of Port Louis is much more than a memorial to some of the most valuable misprinted stamps in the world. It's an introduction to the history of Mauritius, with models of ships that traded with this island over the centuries and paintings from the 19th century. Look out for the famous statue of Paul et Virginie depicting the tragic Romeo and Juliet of Mauritian literature. Caudan is Port Louis' trendy dockland redevelopment and worth a wander.
5. Seek out peaks of interest
Volcanic cones stud the island, which was formed by a massive number of eruptions ten million years ago. Kanaka Crater and Trou aux Cerfs in Curepipe are quite safe and lovely for a ramble and picturesque Grand Bassin is a Hindu holy lake in a flooded volcanic crater. In the 19th century, indentured workers from India declared that Grand Bassin was an extension of the sacred Ganges River. Ever since, it's been known locally as Ganga Talao and comes alive when Hindus celebrate Maha Shivaratri, the night of Shiva worship. Even if you miss this spectacle of offerings and incense, the temples around Grand Bassin are a striking sight.
Way to go
British Airways flies to Mauritius from London Gatwick or from London Heathrow to Johannesburg and then on to Mauritius with Comair.
Earn up to 30,370 Avios points when you fly Club World to Mauritius as a member of the Executive Club. Or redeem them: 60,000 will get you to Mauritius (World Traveller return, excluding taxes, fees and surcharges).
Book now at ba.com