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MAURITIUS WITH KIDS - FIVE fun things to do with kids under FIVE in Mauritius

Mauritius is a well known tourist destination visited by millions of tourists every year. It is no wonder Mauritius is a popular family holiday destination, it was named as one of the most child friendly destinations on earth. Mauritius is a family holiday wonderland with so much to offer, from beautiful white sandy beaches and warm calm lagoons, family friendly hotels with amazing kids clubs to fun adventures, amazing nature and a lot more.

If you are travelling to Mauritius with small kids, you might be wondering about the places that you can explore with them.

Here is list of FIVE recommended activities that every child under five (and above) will love :

1. Go on an adventure to La Vanille Nature Park

La Vanille Nature Park previously known as La Vanille Crocodile Park was created in 1985, and its name comes from the old vine cultivated in the valley where the reserve of 5 hectares is located. Stroll through a lush green setting, where palm trees and giant bamboo provide shade to the hundreds of Nile crocodiles that are raised in the park.

The little ones will love the giant Aldabra tortoises and the opportunity to see them up close and personal and even feed them. Feeding time is 11am and 1pm daily.

La Vanille Nature Park has the largest captive herd of Aldabra tortoises in the world. This is the last surviving giant tortoise species of those that once inhabited several of the islands of the Indian Ocean. It is one of the largest species of giant tortoises, with the carapace reaching around 120 cm in length, and averaging around 250 kg in weight. One of the tortoises at La Vanille, Domino weighs a whopping 275kgs!

There is an amazing Insectarium with one of the largest collections of insects with more than 26 000 species and about 30 000 specimens from 5 continents.

Kids also love the Interactive Farm where they can pet the animals, the pony rides are super popular , crocodile feeding at 11:30am daily and of course feeding the baby crocodiles (11am, 1:30pm and 3pm daily) is a highlight of the park. They can even have their photo taken with a baby crocodile. Don't worry it is perfectly safe!

After all the excitement, you can enjoy a nice bite to eat at The Hungry Crocodile restaurant.

Timings: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM daily.

Entrance fees: Rs 300 per adult, Rs 150 per child (under 5 year old is free)

Approximate duration of visit: 2-3 hours

2. Have fun at Casela Nature Park

Casela Nature Park is simply a must see attraction when visiting Mauritius with kids. Your child will simply love every second of the experience.

The park consists of four different thematic worlds, the Safari Kingdom, Nature Kingdom, Mountain Kingdom and the Water Kingdom.

They can see giraffes, camels, llamas, tortoises, bats, monkeys, zebra, lion, tiger and more. Jump on the safari vehicle and go and see the African animals. It is an amazing experience for the little ones.

There is a petting zoo area where they can play with the cute bunnies and interact with the other animals. They can also feed the giraffes and other animals.

There is a nice playground for them to run around and burn off some excess energy. You can also experience the 4D Cinema at the Discovery Centre.

When your little one gets hungry you can sit and relax at the restaurant while fueling little tummies for some more fun. There is also a snack and drink shop in the park.

Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily *opening times might differ during covid*

Closed Christmas day and New years day.

Entrance fees: Rs 1000 per adult, Rs800 per child.

Approximate duration of visit: 3 hours

3. Explore the largest Oceanarium in the Indian Ocean - Odysseo

Odysseo is a brand new Oceanarium that is located on the Waterfront in Port Louis, Mauritius. It is the largest Oceanarium in the Indian Ocean.

At Odysseo, your child will discover a fascinating new world and become one with the ocean. It is a place to discover fishes, corals and marine species you did not even know existed. The Indian Ocean will reveal all its secrets to them.

Through its tanks that hold a whopping 2 million liters of water, Odysseo showcases the beauty and vulnerabilities of our marine ecosystem. It is fascinating and your child will find themselves immersed in a one-of-a-kind experience in Mauritius. They will have the opportunity to see 200 species of marine life in 45 tanks, sharks, fish, jelly fish and stingray among many. They will also love the kids corner.

Timings: Monday to Sunday & public holidays - 9am to 6pm

Entrance fees: Rs 800 per adult, Rs540 per child (4-12), 0-3 is free.

Approximate duration of visit: 3 hours

4. Spend some time exploring Ile aux Aigrette

Ile aux Aigrette is a small island of about 27 hectares about 850 m off the South East coast of Mauritius. Unlike the mainland which is of volcanic origin, Ile aux Aigrettes is made up of coralline limestone. It is home to the last remnants of dry coastal forest, once found around most of Mauritius.

Like the mainland, Ile aux Aigrettes was affected by tree logging and land clearance, and the introduction of exotic animal and plant species almost destroyed the native fauna and flora. In 1965 the island was declared a nature reserve and is presently being preserved by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. Ile aux Aigrettes got its name from a colony of Egrets, which inhabited the island during the 1600’s. Egrets are graceful white fishing birds with long legs.

On the island you will find a diversity of wildlife and marine species. Some of the plants found on Ile aux Aigrettes grow nowhere else in the world and they form the last remnant of a coastal forest that once surrounded much of Mauritius. Eighteen of the Mauritian plant species that grows on the island are classified as endangered or very rare.

Your adventure will start at Point Jerome, where you will take on a short boat trip across the lagoon to the island. Once on the island you will be whisked away on an exciting tour to discover Ile aux Aigrettes with an expert guide at your side. You will discover plants and animals, unique to Mauritius , found nowhere else in the world. Some of them have come close to extinction like the pink pigeon, a bird that was in danger of extinction for many years. Look out for the Mauritius Kestrel, endangered skinks and the giant tortoises. You will also visit the indigenous plant nursery.

Timings: Monday - Saturday: 09:30 - 11:00 | 10:30 - 12:00 | 13:30 - 15:00 | 14:00 - 15:30. Sunday: 09:30 - 11:00 | 10:00 - 11:30 (Closed as from 12:00)

Entrance fees: Adult: MUR 800. Child (4 - 11 years old): MUR 400

0 up to 3 years: Free of charge

Approximate duration of visit: Tour is 1-2 hours (boat trip is 10 min there and 10 min back)

5. Take a stroll in the beautiful National Botanical Gardens

The botanical garden in Mauritius is the oldest garden in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also known as Pamplemousses gardens and SSR Botanical Gardens. There are over 650 varieties of plants. There are 85 different varieties of palm trees brought from different corners of the world. There are Bottle palms, Royal palms, and the Talipot palm which blooms every 40 years and then dies.

One of the main attractions of the garden is the famous giant waterlilies ‘Victoria Amazonica’. They were discovered by a German horticulturist in Amazonia. He dedicated them to Queen Victoria. They were later introduced to the botanical garden in Mauritius in 1927. They giant waterlilies can reach up to 3 meters in diameter. When they start flowering they have a white flower, but it will turn pink/purple the next day. On the third day the flower sinks to the bottom of the pond where it will develop into a seed capsule containing about 500 seeds.

There are so much to see and do, your little ones will love discovering the trees in the Spice Garden and they will love seeing the giant tortoises, stags, ponds filled with giant water lilies and abundant bird life.

Guides are available offering a full guided tour or you can stroll the park at leisure.

Food and drinks are not for sale in the garden. Fill up your water bottle and make sure your kids have enough snacks and pack your insect repellent.

Timings: Monday – Sunday: 8:30-17:30

Enterance fees: Rs 200 per person.

Approximate duration of visit: 1-2 hours

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