18:00 AEST Sat Apr 27 2013
The Republic of Mauritius is 900 kilometres east of Madagascar in the south-west Indian Ocean. It is renowned for being the only known home of the dodo which became extinct less than 80 years after first being settled by the Dutch the in mid-1600s.
The Dutch took African slaves with them but abandoned the colony in 1710. It was quickly snapped up by the French who lost it to the British during the Napoleonic wars in the 1800s. The British allowed French-Mauritians to retain their language and legal code and imported labourers from India, now the majority of the island’s 1.2 million, and Chinese. It became independent from Britain in 1968.
The tropical pear-shaped island is a holiday destination of the rich and famous, but you don’t have to be either to enjoy it. It's easily accessible from Australia and you will find fine food, warm hospitality and stunning scenery. It has endless sugar plantations, forested ridges and gorges, brightly coloured flowers, palm trees and emerald-green jagged peaks.