5. Mauritius: Bois Cheri, Saint Aubin & La Vanille Nature Park
See the Giant Tortoises of Mauritius and come up-close-and-personal with Nile Crocodiles on a scenic full-day tour of the island’s rugged South Coast. Following a pick up from your hotel, visit the Bois Cheri Tea Factory. The tea route starts in Curepipe at the Colonial Domaine des Aubineaux, built in 1872. Continue to the tea plantations of Bois Cheri. Visit the factory and the museum and enjoy a tea tasting.
In the South, visit La Vanille Nature Reserve, also known as the Crocodile Park, and the Colonial estate of Saint Aubin, which contains vanilla and anthurium plantations, an old sugar factory, and the rum distillery, including a tasting followed by lunch. Home to a diverse and large variety of regional flora and fauna, La Vanille is also a breeding center for Giant Tortoises and Nile Crocodiles, which can be seen in abundance. Learn about the different life cycles of the reptiles and watch crocodile feeding time.
Then, go to the former sugar plantation at Saint Aubin and learn more about the island’s traditional crop at the Sugar Factory. While the plantation no longer produces sugar, the grounds include a large tropical garden, rum distillery, small farm, and the magnificent colonial mansion from the 19th century. Taste some of the rum produced in the distillery and sample the fruits of the farm during a traditional Mauritian lunch. Continue to Gris Gris for stunning views of the Indian Ocean and the rugged basalt cliffs of the south coast.