Domaine Les Pailles
Horse-drawn carriage © Joe Ross
A short taxi ride to the south of Port Louis is the Domaine Les Pailles cultural centre and nature park, covering more than 1,500 hectares (3,707 acres) in the foothills of the Moka Mountains and offering plenty of entertainment for visitors. The centre was once a sugar cane estate and some of the 18th-century features can still be seen. Activities include horse-drawn carriage and train rides, viewing a working replica of an ox-powered sugar mill, a rum distillery museum, exploring a herb garden and natural spring, and adventure safaris into the mountains in 4x4 vehicles. There is also an onsite horse riding centre, several restaurants, a jazz club and a casino. The centre is a wonderful excursion for families travelling in Mauritius with children; the perfect place to enjoy a long, drawn-out meal while the children scamper all over the lovely grounds. Visitors should note, however, that Domaine Les Pailles doesn't always offer all the tours and activities listed above, especially outside of the peak tourist season. It is best to phone ahead to find out what's on offer at any given time, and to see which of the four restaurants are open, to avoid disappointment. The drive from Port Louis to the estate takes only ten minutes.