Rodrigues an Outer Island of Mauritius

The Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius is a fairly remote place being located 840 kilometres (570 miles) east of the island of Madagascar. Mauritius is a wonderful place to visit as it is renowned for its beaches and its wonderful cultural mix which includes people with Indian, African, Chinese and European heritage where the main language is Mauritian Creole.

Mauritius is a place where many people go to get away from it all. However, if the main island of Mauritius isn’t far enough away, then the outer island of Rodrigues, which has an even more laid back lifestyle than its larger neighbour, is probably the place to go.

Rodrigues is 650 kilometres (350 miles) northeast of Mauritius and, because of its remoteness, has a semi-autonomous government even though it is part of the Republic of Mauritius. It is a volcanic island that is surrounded by magnificent coral reefs.

Also surrounding the main island is a huge lagoon encompassing an area of 300m², which is about three times the size of the island itself. Within the lagoon are 18 small islets. Needless to say, the diving and snorkelling here is magnificent. As Rodrigues is relatively undeveloped the reefs are still in pristine condition, and with its mild tropical maritime climate, it is warm all year round, so ideal for marine adventures.

Rodrigues, together with Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Archipelago. The island itself if geologically very young, and is estimated to be about 1.5 million years of age. It has a mountainous interior. Plunging down from the mountains are spectacular valleys which lead right to the lagoon.

Given that Rodrigues has a population of just 38,000 people, and because it receives just a fraction of the number of the people who visit Mauritius to vacation, it is always possible to find your own beach, or island which you need not share with anyone else.

Rodrigues is home to the giant tortoise, the species of which, unfortunately, was nearly wiped out by traders in previous years. These tortoises are now preserved François Leguat Natural Reserve at Anse Quitor, and are also being re-introduced to their natural habitat.

There are two ways to reach Rodrigues. Air Mauritius has daily flights from the main island, or there are two mixed passenger cargo vessels which serve the island on a weekly basis, with the voyage taking between 36 and 48 hours.

There is a range of accommodation on the island to cater to every budget, and the best way to visit the islands in the lagoon is on a local boat called a pirogue.

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