In life it’s not where you go, but who you travel with. That quote by Charles Schulz pretty much sums up my favourite childhood journeys. Whether it was a visit to the beach, a drive to the KZN south coast or that ride to Sun City, as long as my sisters and I were with our favourite cousins, we had the time of our lives.
I haven’t really thought much about that quote recently, probably because now my son decides where we go AND who we travel with. He has OCD tendencies about cleanliness, right down to how the bathroom should look; smells, even walking on the road AND the big one is food – it has to be the way he is accustomed to eating at home or as close to that as possible or he won’t eat it. Before, you think he is spoilt and too fussy, let me assure you that hubby and I also tell him that! But, we try not to dwell on it too much in the hope that he will grow out of it.
So these were major factors that we had to consider when planning our overseas family holiday because the last thing anyone wants on holiday is an unhappy child. We looked at several options and destinations but eventually it was my son’s instant love for two special humans that stamped our plans.
During inter-school cricket tournaments this year, my husband met his friends from campus, Nichelle and Aatish Ramprsad. Their son Tyhil and our son Keshav are both is grade 2 while their other son Yuvay is almost 5 years old.
The beauty of co-incidences lies here… My husband Neeren and Aatish are born a day apart. Neeren and I were married at the end of June 2008. Nichelle and Aatish were married exactly two weeks later. We both attended each other’s weddings and stayed in touch occasionally. And then, there we found ourselves 10 years later, on a cricket ground in Durban, planning a joint holiday to celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss with our boys. This trio clicked instantly. Handshakes as they met on day one and hugs by the time the day ended.
And so Mauritius it was! Nichelle had already booked the Beachcomber deal through Shandrani at Pentravel in Gateway, Umhlanga and we booked the same. We travelled with Air Mauritius directly from Durban – with the boys swopping seats with us adults so they could be together.
To say it was a dream holiday is me being economical with words. I’m still suffering holiday withdrawal symptoms and that’s why this post is two weeks delayed. Take me back!
Everything at Shandrani from the rooms to the hospitality, the pools, water activities, the service at the bar, restaurants and the activities at the kids club gets an above five star rating for me. The friendly faces and smiles everywhere buoyed our mood. I remember many names but won’t mention them because EVERYONE deserves to take a bow. We went with the full board option so the kids were never hungry, bearing in mind that my son eats every two hours. Oh! And just look at the delight on their faces for pancakes every afternoon.
From the pool to the beach, paddling and back into the pool – their days were full. And when we needed our own adult chill time, the kids club was a short walk away. They loved making friends from across the world and getting in touch with some Mauritian magic with a sega evening.
We didn’t really need to venture out of Shandrani – but the two major things we did was go on an amazing speedboat to the stunning Ile Aux Cerfs, catching a waterfall and some major waves along the way and soaking ourselves in the spirituality and rich history of the beautiful Ganga Talao.
Click here to find out more about the magnificence of this major tourist attraction https://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/03/africa/maha-shivaratri-mauritius
Our taxi driver there was warm and welcoming – acting as a tourist guide too and taking us through some neighbourhoods. It was an interesting glimpse into everyday life in Mauritius.
Within Shandrani, we went on a splendid glass boat adventure that allows you see the ocean and its bounty in a different and deeper way.
That same morning, my husband got to see all this first – hand when he went snorkeling. As I was still nursing a shoulder injury, I wasn’t keen on diving in and joining him.
In fact, while my husband is the adventurous one, my idea of a holiday involves more relaxation. I simply loved being able to sit on the beach or jump into the cool water and re-connect with nature and my inner self. Add to that, great company, laughs and lots of selfies – without filters. Yes! Mauritius is that picturesque!
Some special mentions:
The themed dinner evenings at the main restaurant rocked – from the American feast to the seafood specials and the Mauritian flavours topped with some traditional dance moves for diners. They were ever-so-gracious to tweak their menus to suit our no beef, no pork dietary requirements – I know Aatish is still craving their chicken burgers and chips! As a vegetarian, I’m accustomed to not having a variety of dishes, but I was in for a big surprise! I was spoilt for choice. The variety of dishes, ingredients and tastes were so refreshing – way better than Durban, I have to admit. The Ponte Vecchio restaurant specializing in fine Italian and Mediterranean-style cuisine was exquisite. The chef made me a special vegetarian risotto – it did not feature on the menu but came highly recommended by our skilled waitress and it was the best dish I had on holiday. It was so delicious I forgot to take a picture! Neeren, Nichelle and Aatish tucked into delectable seafood dishes. And being seafood lovers – the final night, they tucked into grilled lobster. We were undoubtedly in foodie heaven!
It was delightful to have Nichelle and Aatish’s friend Elvis join us for supper and drinks. Elvis and Siya, both from South Africa, are studying medicine in Mauritius. These jovial guys were a perfect fit for our relaxed holiday mode.
Cocktails, mocktails, hot chocolate and coffee tasted even better in Mauritius! No comprises on quality or quantity there!
Great live music complete with lighting created a great vibe for us to dance the nights away.
The set up to watch the Soccer World Cup was fantastic, bringing together a melting pot of soccer fanatics with whistles, cheers and tears.
Our boys loved it. Soccer was a hot topic of discussion for them, day and night. And even when the sun had set and supper was over, they could not get enough of each other. We had separate rooms but they took turns to have sleepovers and share midnight snacks.
Watching them together took me back to my childhood and my opening line…. In life it’s not where you go, but who you travel with.
The Ramprsads were the coolest travel partners. They were easy going so everything seemed effortless – exactly how a holiday should be in my books.
So, the next time you are planning a holiday – whether it’s local or overseas doesn’t really matter – remember, it’s the company that counts in making memories you will cherish.
Disclaimer: This post was not written in collaboration with any companies. All expenses were entirely my own and as always, all views expressed are my own.