Thursday, 21 June 2012

Trip to Mauritius - Part 1........

I just got back from Mauritius yesterday and I have to say, what an amazing place. I was on a bit of a flying visit, only 4 nights but I managed to fit in the odd Spa treatment, went shopping in Port Louis, a cookery class and even went Quad biking.

We flew with British Airways which offers a direct service from Gatwick to Mauritius (Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport - which was named after the first Prime Minister) 

My trip started off in Grand Baie which is a lovely little place at the North of the island, about an hour and a half from the airport. The area has a good range of shops, bars and restaurants, as well as a lovely little beach. The area has a great relaxed laid back vibe with really friendly people. Just off the beach you have street stalls selling local food and locals play French Bowls as the sun sets over the bay.
On of the great bars in Grand Baie
I stayed at the Veranda Grand Baie which is in a great location, right on the beach, with a couple of good sized swimming pools so it was great for chilling out during the day and then hitting town for a good restaurant and bar in the evening. The hotel was small and friendly with great staff and really great food. The rooms have a nice, beachy feel and are bright and airy.

My room at the Veranda Grand Baie
From Grand Baie we travelled to Port Louis for a spot of shopping. Port Louis is the busy, bustling capital of  Mauritius and fully embraces all the different cultures and ways of life. Le Caudan Waterfront has a good number of shops, bars and restaurants and a great place for a spot of retail therapy.

The Waterfront at Port Louis

We had lunch in a lovely little cafe overlooking the port and a fried rice and coke only set my back about £4...pretty reasonable. 

Across the main road you enter the old town with numerous little stalls offering everything from the latest kids toy to herb teas designed to cure any and everything. There is a large fruit and veg in door market which is well worth a wander round, taking in all the sights and smells. 

The huge fruit and veg market in Port Louis

All in all the start of the trip was looking pretty promising, I had already encountered friendly people, great bars, lovely hotels and a great culture. 

Next stop Papplemousse Botanic Gardens........ 

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays

Friday, 1 June 2012

Escape Worldwide meets Simon Reeve!

Darren and Mark from our office met up with TV presenter and explorer Simon Reeve this week, chatting about his BBC2 programme 'Indian Ocean' and his adventures in this beautiful part of the world.

Longhaul holidays from Escape Worldwide - Darren and Mark from Escape Worldwide meet Simon Reeve!

If you want to follow in Simon's footsteps then catch the next installment of his programme this Sunday on BBC2 at 8pm, or visit the destinations yourself by visiting or calling Escape Worldwide on020 8989 0970 today.

Snorkelling in the Maldives

Simon Reeve 
 "Before I went I presumed the brochures must have been airbrushed or photoshopped, but the Maldives really is that beautiful! When we went snorkelling, I found myself surrounded by 8 giant manta rays swimming in formation - it was so mesmerising I forgot to breathe and my snorkel fell out of my mouth!"

Our Top Tip
At the Kuramathi Island Resort, guests can visit the Eco Centre to get involved with the coral reef research and to learn about the programme to improve environmental awareness, while the kids can learn all about the marine world with special presentations at the kids club.

Zanzibar - the ultimate in Far Flung places!

Mark buying spices in Stone Town, Zanzibar 
"When I was growing up in West London there were a few places that really sounded exotic and far flung, and Zanzibar was one of them, along with Madagascar that I also visited when I made the 'Indian Ocean' series. Zanzibar's history and influence over the region make it one of the most fascinating places to visit."

Our Top Tip
Don't just head to the beach on a visit to Zanzibar - spend a night or two in fascinating Stone Town, where Simon visited the old Slave Market on his recent trip (and where Mark always ends buying far too many spices!) to really get an insight in to the long and varied history of the Island.

Southern Sri Lanka - National Parks & Galle

Galle coastline 
"I think it's really important that we visit national parks and marine parks when we visit developing countries, as they won't exist without visitors - you can play a fundamental part in protecting a country's wildlife by getting out of your resort and visiting these area. Our time in Galle was marked by downpours, but that was as we ended up there at a less than ideal time due to me returning to the UK for the birth of my son!"

Our Top Tip
The Elephant Transit Home that Simon visited in Southern Sri Lanka is located at Udawalawe National Park - it's possible to foster an elephant at the Transit Home, which helps towards the Department of Wildlife Conservation's programme to rehabilitate elephants.

Eating Fruit Bat in the Seychelles

Simon Reeve
 "It was my guide's suggestion for me to try fruit bat curry in the Seychelles, even though she hadn't tried it herself, and my crew willed her on! Fruit bats aren't endangered and are commonly eaten in the Seychelles, but I should have guessed from how powerful the curry was that the bat itself wasn't a highlight of the trip! I'd always urge visitors to a destination to step out of their comfort zone when it comes to trying new things."

Our Top Tip
For $12 visit Moyenne National Park, the smallest national park in the world, just off the north coast of the main island of the Seychelles, Mahe. Here, Simon met with Brendon Grimshaw, who bought the island in 1962 for £8000 and now lives amongst giant tortoises.

Download your copy of Kuoni's Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve brochure and special offers now!

Download Kuoni's Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve

It was a pleasure meeting Simon Reeve, and learning all about his travels.

Happy Travelling!

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays