During our stay in Mauritius, we went road-tripping and we absolutely loved the freedom the car gave us. We didn’t make any plans when we left our apartment in the morning but just saw where the road took us. Some days we drove to the right and some days to the left.
This way of exploring the island took us, by accident, along the so-called tea route. And the tea route turned out to be one of our road-trips highlights.The route took us through the beautiful Highlands and learned us about the making of essential oils, the production of tea, the distillation of rum and the harvesting of vanilla pods. After driving through an amazingly beautiful landscape and stunning mountain formations we arrived at “Domaine des Aubineaux” a colonial house built in 1872on
Nowadays the mansion is converted into an interesting museum telling the history of Mauritian Tea. The house itself is very beautiful and well preserved.As you walk through the different living rooms and bedrooms with their beautiful colonial style furniture, you almost expect to meet Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara sitting on a plush sofa and sipping their five o’clock tea.
You can book a guided tour through the premises but its also perfectly fine to do it by your self. During your stay its also possible to visit a small factory where they produce essential oils made out of different leaves from endemic trees. These oils are used in lotions, creams, and soaps.
After visiting Aubineaux we tripped along the beautiful panoramic route to our next stop Bois Cheri. Bois Cheri is the first and biggest tea producer in Mauritius, operating since 1892. The tea factory is situated right in the middle of a vast tea plantation.
How fascinating it was to learn about tea production. We had now an idea about the slow and cumbersome process tea production is. Next time we have a cup we will definitely appreciate it a bit more.
After visiting the tea fields and the factory we were offered a tea tasting of 12 different teas produced at Bois Cheri.
After visiting Bois Cheri you should go a bit out of route to visit the Grand Bassin also called Ganga Talao. The lake represents the mighty Ganges river in India and its Mauritius most important sacred place to the Hindu population. We were fascinated by the colorful devotees coming to pray and to offer. The air is heavy of incense and there is a constant soundtrack of praying bells. Every year in late February the Grand Bassin is home to the most spectacular Hindu pilgrimage in Mauritius where more than 400.000 devotees gather to commemorate the Great Night of Lord Shiva.
Last stop on the tea route is Saint Aubin plantation. The fields of Saint Aubin have been under sugarcane cultivation since 1819.The magnificent wooden residential house at Saint Aubin was originally the home of the owners of the sugar plantation. It is said that the sugar cane produced in this corner of Mauritius is of a very good quality due to the volcanic nature of the soil and the special microclimate here.The Saint Aubin Residence is gracefully renovated and stands as a testimony of the architectural aesthetics of the colonial era. Originally the beautiful mansion was constructed of wood that came from dismantled ships. Nowadays you will find a wonderful restaurant on the patio.
We recommend their palm-heart gratin and a cold glass of South African white wine😁. We couldn’t help feeling a bit decadent sitting in this amazing historic environment pampering ourselves with delicious food and tasty wine. We could clearly feel the breath of history.
After lunch, you can join in on a rum tasting. They make quite a lot of different rums at Saint Aubin and tasting them all will make you slightly dizzy. When going rum tasting in Mauritius you ought to arrange for a car with a driver. One day we went rum tasting and booked a car with a driver for the whole day for as little as 60 euros.
We found one of the highlights at Saint Aubin to be their vanilla pod production. It was quite fascinating learning about the transformation process from vanilla orchid flower to the aromatic pod all of us love so much.After a long hot day on Mauritius roads and a delicious late lunch at Saint Aubin, we only had one thing in our heads. A nice cool dip in the crystal clear water at St. Felix. It’s only a relatively short drive from the estate to one of our top-favorite beaches in the south of the island.
Read all about PassportPlease’s adventures in Mauritius
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Mauritius Tea route gallery – just enjoy or click for next image