Take a break from the crazy pace of modern life and escape to the Indian Ocean with courses on the edge of warm transparent lagoons.
Flights take around 10 hours. There?s little need for car hire as most hotels will be happy to organise a transfer from the airport, and will offer transport to courses. Air Mauritius (www.airmauritius.com), British Airways (www.ba.com) and Virgin Atlantic
WHERE TO PLAY
The backdrop to the Bel Ombre course shared by Le Telfair and the Heritage is both impressive and imposing. The foothills of the Plaine Champagne descend in a sheer 500-metre drop and the Citronniers river flows through the course and becomes a challenge on some holes. The 19th century chateau glimpsed from some of the holes serves as a reminder of the island?s French colonial past.
The Legend at Belle Mare Plage is tougher than it first appears. The deadly combination of mangroves and dense scrub means that if you hit the ball anywhere other than the fairways there is a good chance you?ll never see it again.
Sister course The links, designed by Peter Alliss and Rodney Wright, is newer, having opened in 2002. On the surface it looks like a links, but apart from the undulating fairways you?ll find that this is really an American-style parkland course. It?s great fun to play and is the better of the two courses. Lumps of volcanic rock have been strategically placed in order to create hazards, most notably on the first hole, where they have been positioned directly in front of the green so you really do have to consider your approach shot. There?s an effective use of water on the back nine which makes this a great course for players who like to think their way round.
Le Touessrok is one of the most photogenic courses in the world. Located on its own island, reached by boat across the lagoon from the hotel, it is paradise encapsulated. There are views of the ocean from every hole, particularly from the many elevated tees.
WHERE TO STAY
The two Beachcomber hotels ? Paradis and Dinarobin ? were among the first to be built. The developers bagged the best location on the island.
Located on the southern coast, Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort has been developed on the site of the former sugar estate of Bel Ombre. Within the lush 10,000-acre estate the resort nestles between a turquoise lagoon and the lush green slopes of the 18-hole championship course at the foot of a mountain.
To the east, and tucked away among the sugar canes is the Belle Mare Plage hotel. Because of its two courses, Belle Mare Plage remains the most popular resort for golfers. Designed in the traditional Mauritian style with thatched roofs and restaurants thrown open to the sunshine and the warm night air, the hotel makes a superb place for golfers to make their base.
Nearby sister hotel, Le Prince Maurice, is quieter and in a particularly beautiful spot with a compact, sheltered beach on the edge of an azure lagoon. It?s here where you?ll find the romantic thatched bungalows balancing on stilts in the water and a floating candlelit restaurant.
Explore the coral reefs and see the brightly coloured fish on board the Blue Safari submarine. Mauritius holds several fishing records ? see if you can break one yourself by going Marlin fishing. Visit La Vanille crocodile park where the Madagascar Crocodile is bred. The easiest way to see the natural beauty of the island is to take a taxi. In the heart of the island there are breathtaking waterfalls and spectacular vistas over the valleys.
The northern tip of the island was the first part to be developed for tourism and it?s here you will find restaurants and bars. The luxurious resorts are in the secluded south and eating outside the resort isn?t always an option here.
The resorts largely limit tee times to residents. The only course which is available to non-residents is Le Touessrok.
BELLE MARE PLAGE & PRINCE MAURICE
LE PARADIS HOTEL & GOLF CLUB
LE TELFAIR GOLF AND SPA RESORT
ONE&ONLY LE TOUESSROK
HERITAGE GOLF & SPA RESORT
The official website of the Mauritius tourist board has comprehensive details about the island ? www.mauritius.net.
For descriptions and images of most of the hotels on the island and itinerary suggestions visit www.mauritius.com
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