Mauritius - how to do it on a budget
There are a lot of articles on travelling to Mauritius, but so many of us think that we can only dream of affording a trip to this island paradise. Especially students who put in hours working in restaurants, pubs, or tutoring just to make enough cash to buy this season’s kite – it feels like extra money to spend on an island holiday is an unreachable goal.
Think again! I took a two week trip, got 13 days straight of wind, and came back with more than a tan – I had enough extra money in the bank to pay off my long overdue credit card!
How did I do it? Listen up!
First – talk to people who have been there. I was lucky enough to know someone who had just returned from his second trip in as many months – and he proved invaluable!
An important part of my budget trip was that I travelled in a group. Six or so is a good number. This way all living costs get divided by this amount, and you get a lot more value for your rupee.
Accommodation: We stayed in apartment accommodation run by Ropsen Apartments. There were three bedrooms with double beds in each - perfect for three couples, or six friends who don't have sharing issues. The Ropsen apartments and holiday flats are found in the little village of La Gaulette in the vicinity of Le Morne on the southwest coast of Mauritius. This is great as you feel a part of the island life, not tucked away in a hotel.
Far from a tourist village it is a very typical fishermen’s village with some grocery stores and restaurants, including the one owned by Mr. Ropsen, the "Pointe Pêcheur cyber café".
We had awesome 180 degree seaviews, a large balcony, a tv and dvd player in the spacious lounge, and two of the bedrooms were en suite. More advantages were that we were protected from the howling SE on our balcony, the accommodation was kept neat by a daily maid service, and there was even a little braai!
In total the accommodation for 2 weeks costs 31,570 Rupees - which at the time worked out to about 9,072 Rands - divided by six thats about R1,500 for 2 weeks in paradise!
The car, and airport transfers - another essential part of the trip - came to 17,000 Rupees - which works out to just over a thousand rand each. Ropsen also organised these for us. We had a double cab bakkie for the duration of our stay.
Getting to and from the spot was a breeze - plenty of room for gear and beer in the back, and space for all six in the cab. We got picked up from the airport in a mini tour van – with plenty of room for all our stuff – and especially my gigantic suitcase.
Ok, so far including flights (About R5,300) you have spent R7,800, you have a comfortable, upmarket place to stay - and an extremely useful double cab.
Now for the other essentials - food and drink!
We shopped for groceries at the large supermarket in the next town, Tamarin. The shop was called London Way. Our first big shop which catered for breakfast, lunches and dinners for one week - was about 2,700 rupees. Thats 700 rand - divided by six and youre smiling because you are fed and watered for a full week on R116 rand!
A six pack of Phoenix beer will set you back about 134 Rupees - about R39 – pretty much the same as at home. If you buy beers individually, like we did at Tamarin Bay Hotel - this will set you back about 70 rupees – about R20, and rumour has it that other hotels are even more pricey for us poor saffas!
A few other grocery store prices worth knowing are:
Nederburg cabernet - 331 rupees – R97
12 pack Phoenix beer between 260-240 rupees - +- R76
Mrs Balls chutney – 79 rupees – R23
Charka firelighters - 91 rupees – R26
We also went out to eat a few times, and the prices can be compared to eating out at a decent restaurant here in SA. We had great currys, a full three course buffet at one of the hotels, and take away pizza more than once – and I barely dented my spending money.
I had a good long look at the Indian Resort while I was on the beach there, and it is on my list of ‘must visit’ places for sure, but for a young journalist like me, and Im sure many of you – there’s nothing wrong with getting to kite yourself silly in paradise, eat and drink like a king – and still have money to put towards your new kite when you get home! Better still we mingled with the locals, tasted the local brews and experienced life in small town Mauritius at its best.
Check out Ropsen's apartments on http://www.tropicscope.com/mauritius_holidays/apartment_ropsen/