A small volcanic island to the north east of Mauritius, Rodrigues has been a forgotten piece of world for
(tiboussol.com) quite a long time. Tourism took a while to get up and going there. Even now, in 2013, it is not the Maldives but it is already very popular with Mauritian and
Reunion tourists first, and the rest of the world after. The island seems to have kept its rustic ‘cachet’: no high-rise hotel, no crowded beaches, no savage cement development. She was there some 20 years ago and it only just had a beach hotel then, and that too it was markedly like the ones in Mauritius. And so they decided to go celebrate her mother’s 73rd birthday in Rodrigues. Her brother was moving heaven and earth to get bookings and lodgings and asked her to come. Since he was doing all the effort, she decided she’d go and join them. It is only an hour and forty minutes flight. They woke up early and made it to the newterminal at Plaisance airport on time. At the airport there was more personnel than passengers. It is to be hoped that it is only because it is new and they need additional personnel to guide people at first, that it is not a scam to employ friends and family!
The flight was uneventful. They had a small snack breakfast on board. Formalities done and luggage collected, they made for the exit where both the person with the rented cars and the hotel owner were there to greet them. They did not know they were being fetched by the guest house – Domaine de la Paix -and it was very nice to be greeted like that by the host himself. Since they had planned on starting to visit the place as soon as they landed, they left the bulk of the luggage with their host and stepped into the cars and off they went. The first planned visit was to see the tortoises and the caves (Francois Leguat project). Since these tours leave at set times, which their host had given them, they had some time to kill and went all the way up to La Ferme, stopping at a viewpoint
standing on a plain amidst goats and cows, where fishermen sat talking under trees. It was a bit of an offroad trip to get to the church but well worth it. On the way people greeted them and waved, all quite friendly and as if happy to see them come that way. With all this roaming about
they nearly did not make it to the tortoises. They got there just on time for the next tour. Their guide, Bertrand, seemed a knowledgeable enough fellow who likes his work. The visit started with the recently hatched tortoises. There were two types, both endangered – land tortoises not turtles (unfortunately). Then they moved to see the older ones and so the trip progressed up to the canyon where their adult tortoises are
living very happily to their old age – which could be anything up to 400 years. The canyon itself is a sight to behold. From there they proceeded to the ‘Great Caves’. A fascinating place with stalactites and stalagmites of all shapes and sizes. Often the most uncanny shapes too. It was good exercise because there was a lot of climbing up and down steps and quite a bit of walking. After the tour they were back in
La Ferme looking for ‘Chez Meng’, a little snack bar recommended to them by others who had been before. Unfortunately it was closed and the take-away menu was not appealing to them. They bought some water and biscuits and proceeded towards their hotel by way of the north west coast road. The country was beautifully green due to three weeks of steady and sometimes heavy rains just before they arrived. It was a nice road trip. By then they needed to stop at the only filling station on the island, which is at the entrance of Port Ma
turin, the capital of Rodrigues. This town is not very nice. It was clean but the roads are very narrow and it is a little maze with ‘no entry’ signs at the oddest places. After filling up, they proceeded to find their lodgings in the ‘heights’ of Terre Rouge. They located the restaurant where they planned to have dinner and rode up the hill. It was a bit convoluted and not signposted at all but with the help of a stupid policeman (who just said ‘carry on, on this road’) they were there. Beautifully set up, peaceful surroundings and a stunning view is how it can be described. She was sharing a room with her mother on the first floor where the view was even more magnificent. They settled down and rested for the afternoon. The room comes complete with kitchenette and tea corner etc. and the host had put a local tart in each room. They gathered 3 of the tarts and made tea
that was served on the balcony of their room. It was a very relaxed afternoon. After rest and relax, they left for the Marlin Bleu where they ordered local beef and the famous octopus curry. The beef was tasty but a bit thinly cut for a steak – she is used to South African steaks! The others said the curry was ok, but a bit too pronounced, it nearly obliterated the taste of the octopus. The company was great and they all had a good time. They sat up until late sipping green tea and talking about food, health and other subjects.