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island in the sun

South Africa’s coastline is beautiful but wild, with rip currents rendering many of the most scenic beaches too dangerous for young swimmers. This is why we decided to end our R&R trip with a stop in Mauritius – a week of pure relaxation after two weeks of road-tripping around South Africa during which we covered more than 2,200 kilometers.

Even a cursory look at a guidebook leaves little doubt that Mauritius boasts a variety of picturesque landscapes and postcard-perfect beaches, as befitting an island nation. For the adventurous traveler who tires of the main island’s charms, there is also Rodrigues – a smaller but no less scenic island that is part of the Republic of Mauritius. Of course, part of the appeal of going there was also the opportunity to add another country to our growing list – the 54th for S and 52nd for D.

Mauritius is not big – an hour and a half suffices to drive the length of the country if one sticks to the highway and bypasses the capital city of Port Louis. Although we spent an entire week there, however, we cannot say that we saw a lot. Unlike in South Africa, where we had rented a car, in Mauritius we booked an all-inclusive resort. We did take a day trip around the island, but most of the time we simply stayed put, taking advantage of the resort’s spa, pools, beach access, and various restaurants.

Ordinarily, we abhor such package deals, but the ease and convenience of having all our needs met in one location was a nice change of pace from the sometimes-hectic road trip that preceded it. Most importantly, the resort had four large pools that ringed the main building. Because one of them was only half a meter deep, we could let Munchkin splash around on his own, which he did for hours on end. And Junebug took many of her scheduled naps in her stroller, which one of us would push along the resort’s winding walkways, a book in hand.

While we did not visit the island’s most scenic beaches, our stay in Mauritius was mostly pleasant. Munchkin, who for weeks had resisted even approaching a pool, rediscovered the joys of swimming, which we consider a huge vacation success. We also breezed through a couple of good books and got some sun. And we returned to Kigali having forgotten our work passwords – a true testament to the R&R’s effectiveness.

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