With the rush of the summer holidays, I seem to find a lot of you favoring a trip to Mauritius. One general query that I seem to be getting – Is there anything for kids? Are there any safaris that you can take them to? There are just tons of things to do in Mauritius as a family but when it come to wildlife safaris, let me admit that Mauritius does not have a diverse endemic wildlife as compared to many of the other African nations. A lot of their animals are near extinction or are already extinct – like the famous dodo bird. There are a few nature safaris that you could opt for, but they are likely to leave you thirsty for more. Besides for kids, you might want to consider an interactive encounter with the wildlife in the safe environment of the nature parks of Mauritius.
Nature Parks of Mauritius:
The nature parks of Mauritius are not just about wildlife. They offer you plenty of other entertainment options that make it fun for a family with kids. From water activities and petting corner for younger kids to the adventure activities for an older one, the safe and entertaining environment within this parks sometimes merits a complete day in your itinerary to enjoy it all. Here are three nature parks of Mauritius that are likely to appeal to you for a kid-friendly holiday in Mauritius.
Casela Nature Park
If you look up any of the Mauritius Tour Packages, the one place that is included in most itineraries is Casela Park. I would not call it a zoo, nor a safari nor an adventure park. To me, it includes all these. Depending on your family interests, you can opt for one of their 4 packages – Explorer, Safari, Family or Extreme. Alternately, you can create your own list of things to do – from animal feeding to avalanche rides, pony rides, friendly fishing and more. Among the many things that I experienced at the Casela Nature Park, here are a few that I liked –
Giraffe Feeding at Casela Nature Park
These gentle creatures have the most expressive and gorgeous eyes. Just as I scooped up a palmful of their meal, they craned their long necks, urging me to hurry up with their treats. All the while I could not get my eyes off their golden coats and the warm black, innocent eyes. It was indeed fun getting close and personal with the giraffes.
A short safari to find the Rhinos and the Ostriches
Get into the canter and look out for the wildlife of Mauritius. I was fortunate to spot two rhinos knocking at each other and then there were the mischievous ostriches who chased the canter and pecked at the bars to express their indignation. To what? I know not.
The evident thrill of the kids was evident in this safari with their squeals at the antics of the Ostrich. Whatever the case, they sure left a place in the hearts of these kids.
If you are a little bolder, try the Casela Quad biking safari for an even closer encounter!
The free birds of Casela Nature Park
While you stand in a queue for your ride or just walk around the park, you will spot plenty of winged beauties, flying around with straws in their beaks to make these lovely nests.
Peacocks and Peahens, of all sizes, just roam around freely, some of them even attempting to draw your attention to them. If their calls don’t work, they will ensure they preen and dance in front of you.
There are plenty of other attractions here. For a full list, just click through the Casela website. You can even plan your day online and book your activities here. The Casela Nature Park is open every day between 9 am to 5 pm
La Vanille Nature Park of Mauritius
Quite different from the Casela Nature Park, the La Vanille Nature Park is all about meeting the wise old giant tortoises, playing with the farm animals and discovering the fearsome crocodiles. The park also treats you to one of the largest private collection of insects in the world.
And then there are monkeys, iguanas , bats, deer and more – a visual treat for the kids for sure. My favorite was meeting the baby tortoise.
Besides the petting and feeding sessions with the animals, you can even explore their fossil section with the kids. They have some really rare ammonites on display and suddenly, explaining that all to the kids becomes interesting and easy.
Visiting this park is quite easy and will require just half a day. Though the park opens at 8:30 am every day, I recommend that you visit between 11:00 am and 1 pm to join in for the tortoise feeding. To get more information on this park, visit the La Vanille Nature Park website here.
La Vallee des Couleurs Nature Park
I had mentioned this park as one of the key wedding destinations in Mauritius. However, the La Vallee des Couleurs is much more than that. This is more of experiencing nature through an adventure. Quad biking, zip lining or walking along the Nepalese bridge – each of these takes you around on a tour of their natural wonders. The 23 colored earth is the central point, where you can try to spot 23 unique colors of the earth.
Along the way, you can stop by to admire the magical cascades. Sadly, you are not allowed to swim to those but you sure can dip your toes here.
The biggest thrill for the kids would be the animal enclosures where they can just hop across to the animals. The tortoise here were huge and one of my favorites. As were the preening peacocks and the cute white ducks. La Vallee des Couleurs does provide you with the apt environment for some family fun with kids.
The park is open every day between 9 am to 5 pm.
You can read my travel guide on Mauritius for information on how to get around Mauritius.
From my end, that is it for now. I am pretty sure that with one of these parks, you are bound to make some lovely memories with your kids. There is nothing like capturing their awe and glee when they visit the nature parks of Mauritius.