by Rob Munro - Cape Sport Center, Langebaan
Daily flights from JHB and several direct flights from CPT. We took Air Mauritius, after all, most of the pilots kite and they seem to be on schedule every time. We flew from CPT to JHB, met up with Goose and his mate Bruce, and then flew JHB to Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.
Plenty of regular taxis and busses. We didn't pay more than Rs7 for a bus ride or Rs100- for a taxi. Local knowledge..... if a taxi goes by empty on route to where you want to go, stop it and demand "Bus Fare!" This normally gets protests from the drivers of poverty, but a bus fare is better than no fare at all. Can normally reduce fares by about 10% of original asking price. Fools pay full price. There are car rental companies as well as scooter hire places. Driving at night is a bit like back country Africa, so be very aware of animals, humans, cars, bikes and scooters in all different condition, you can hit a cow, which is a very bad thing. I guess if you are staying in or around LaMourne and only want to kite, a car is not really necessary.
+2 hours (from South Africa)
(Rs) Rupees (currently Rs4.3 to ZAR1)
Officially, English, actually, French.
French, Creole, Indian, English, The are several local beers for which Phoenix was pretty good. If you want wine, expect to pay a fair bit more than SA.
Best food Dohl Puris from the street vendors. Work out at about Rs3.5 each and well worth it. Ask for "local" chilli sauce. Plenty hot. 3 of these will keep you on the water for a while!
There are plenty of cheap places to eat and the food is plentiful and tasty. Expect to pay about R120 per night for 2 people with a couple of beers each. You can get by on less, but this is an average price. The closer you stay to tourist paces like Blue Bay, the more you will pay. We managed to find a couple of great places where a chicken noodle dish cost about Rs45 and it was filling!
Kite Sizes Used
Whilst on the island we used 16, 14, 12, 10 & 8m kites and were introduced to the pleasures of 25m V4 kiting! Bundled together with a 7ft '99 Sky Pirate, the combination had us up and riding in about 6kts and speed gybes, kite loops and fun was had! Kite looping a 25m is something to be seen. A 14 & 10m would be the most used kite combo.
Places to Stay
We chose to stay at Point D'Esny in a self catering house on the beach. It was very well equipped and for a 3 bedroom with a maid and perfect kiting conditions came in at Rs1800 per night.
There are many places to rent and like most people, when you find a great place you will not advertise it on sites like this! You may want to go back sometime and be able to stay in it. There are also B&B's, Hotel compounds and backpackers. Many people choose 1/2 board accommodation, but you end up living in the complex and not experiencing the real Mauritius. We stayed at the Shandrani Hotel for 2 nights 1/2 board and it was something not sniff at. We paid Rs8000+ for 2 nights (s adults.) Basically it is a bunch of package tourists living the "High Life." My personal view, a rip off and a naff place to stay. Aeroplanes fly over all night and it is a crap place to kite. The Shandrani hosts a big kite weekend, but there wasn't any wind, so we missed out on the Crossing (20kms of fun) and the Freestyle competition.
We had self catering accommodation and each morning the bread man arrived with fresh breads. The Fruit and veg man then arrived with as many vegs as you can name and as many fruit to boot! An hour would pass and the fish guys would come by and then finally the bread man with baguettes. Basically, the water is drinkable from the taps and nearly all other food stuff is brought to your door by men on scooters! The shops have most food stuff and all the great imports from France. Magic!