Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius, I didn’t spend much time here but there are a couple of things to visit; museums, shops and the racecourse (one of my favorite places for a day out). But all in all, Port Louis isn’t high priority on the must see list of Mauritius. Of course you probably should visit the capital, but time elsewhere may be considered time better spent. For things to do in Port Louis check out this page on lonelyplanet .
(Caudan – Port side view)
Look at that rainbow in the back.
LOCAL FACT: Mauritians say that when a rainbow appears a monkey is getting married! (Unsure of the logic behind that one).
The Caudan Waterfront is where luxuries shopping can be found. It is a shopping complex of over 170 boutiques. Over the years the island has developed drastically. Whereas the Capital use to be “the place to shop”, many other shopping complexes with luxury brands and great shopping environments have now opened all around the island.
So I’d say the clue is in the name, Port Louis is a in fact a shipping port, used for hundreds of years. It was named after the French King Louis XV. When driving up to the capital, you can always see huge ocean vessels around the port and in the distance.
Generally the Caudan area is a really nice place to walk. I have great childhood memories of going to the cinema, eating pancakes in the evening at the sea front. I’ve taken hundreds of photos against the colonial and nautical buildings, a historical cannon here and there.
So when you cross the main road you can see the other side of Caudan (Above).TRIP TIP: The traffic in this area can be bad at times, especially during peak. Most of the offices close at 4pm, so avoid the capital at this time and onwards if you can. If your’e in a rush to get somewhere always check your route and whether there will be a lot of traffic.
So I always found it strange how I could be walking through a really clean modern complex, cross the road and the whole scenery begins to change. If you want to capture something different to scenic landscapes, Port Louis Market or ‘Main Bazaar’ is a great place to capture colour, culture and perhaps some bargains if you can haggle. Some of the things you can find are traditional handcrafted goods, saris, t shirts, exotic fish, vegetables, textiles, jewelry, spices and of course souvenirs.
I got to the market quite late, so I didn’t manage to photograph everything I wanted to.
TRIP TIP: Check out the market closing times so you don’t miss out. Remember Port Louis Market is the busiest market place on the island, if you can avoid peak then do so. But don’t leave it too late, if you want to experience all the hustle and bustle or purchase some fresh food make sure you’re there before they start to pack up.
TRIP TIP: If you’re looking for souvenirs the market place is probably the best place to get an ‘ iconic Mauritius’ gift. ‘Price discrimination‘, something I learnt long before doing my economics degree. Most gift shops and shops generally on the island will increase their price if they know you are a tourist. If you can’t help being a tourist, because you are, don’t be flashy about it. Sellers will chase after you if you walk away from their price, if they don’t there is a 80% chance that another stall is selling exactly the same thing where you can try your luck to get it cheaper.
Some of my top things you need to try in Mauritius, all that can be found in the market are:
– Alouda (Drink)
– Dhal puri (Street food , so delicious)
– Pineapples with Salsa and chilli
– Vanilla Tea
– ‘Gajak’ (Deep fried street food)
– Mauritian Chinese Dishes.
LOCAL FACT: Mauritius is one of the few places in the world with a ChinaTown and it can be found in Port Louis. Chinese food in Mauritius is a taste you really can’t get anywhere else in the world, and I’ve been to China.
To tell you the truth this list of things to eat should be a blog post because I have loads to put on it.
TRIP TIP: Pickpockets operate in very crowded areas; make sure you have all your belongings in sight at all times. Also check the quality of branded goods, a lot of things on the island are fake, but some are real for low prices.
For photographers, I recommend going to the top floor of the main market building for an aerial view. Again, I got here quite late but usually there would be much more action and plenty more to sell.
Most of the workers were packing away their products or trying to do some last minute selling before they go home. Although I never really managed to see what this guy was doing.
This concludes my time in Port Louis. I initially only wanted to come here to get some market photos, I still don’t feel like I got the one I had already envisioned. I guess there is always next time. Look out for my next post which will be about Quatre Bornes