Tea and sugar plantations in Mauritius

Located in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, the island of Mauritius offers a stunning mix of scenery.

The coastline has inviting beaches and coral reefs teeming with sea life to explore, while inland there are lush forests filled with wildlife and beautiful waterfalls as well as fields and fields of tea and sugar crops. The mild tropical climate here is ideal for growing both sugar cane and tea, and these crops are the island’s biggest exports.

Sugar and tea are closely linked to the shaping of Mauritian culture, and there are many plantations you can visit on the island. Here you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the history of the island, as well as the chance to enjoy the superb views.

Take a trip to explore the tea plantations of Mauritius

Mauritius exports between 6,500 and 8,000 tons of tea to other countries each year.

One of the best places to discover more about the history and production of tea is the Bois Cheri Tea Factory. Dating back to 1892, it was the first ever tea plantation on the island, and offers superb panoramic views which have remained much the same for over a century.

The process of picking tea leaves, drying and processing them hasn’t changed all that much since the first plantation opened, with the majority of the work still done by hand.

On your visit you’ll be given a guided tour of the factory so you can see how the leaves are transformed into the finished product. The finest teas are made from just the tender leaf buds, which can only be picked with the fingertips to avoid bruising – so it’s a really delicate process.

There’s an on-site tea museum which takes you on a journey through the history of the tea industry in Mauritius, as well as ornate 19th-century tea sets and old machinery once used in processing.

There’s also an interesting collection of photographs and paintings of the plantation and its workers. You get to sample some of the various teas too in a charming cottage with amazing views across a lake.

Discover sugar plantations, vanilla plantations and speciality rums

Sugar is the island’s biggest export and has been a part of Mauritian history for over 250 years. It also forms the base of a a particularly popular Mauritian creation – rum. The Sugar Museum and Factory is located in the north of the islands and is an absorbing way to find out more.

You can take a tour of the old sugar mill, which still has the original vats and other machinery, as well as the old docks used for transport.

You can also find out about the historical stories of sugar and its impact on Mauritius through film footage. For the kids there are cheery mascots who’ll help them find fun facts, with questions and answers dotted around the museum space.

Another option is the Saint Aubin Plantation, which is located in gently rolling hills to the south of the island. This plantation was established in 1819 by Frenchman Pierre de Saint Aubin.

Keen to cover all bases, as well as sugar cane there are vanilla pod plantations and a rum distillery producing several speciality rums. You can stop off for lunch at the on-site restaurant if you get peckish, and enjoy a classic rum cocktail with a delicious local-style meals such as vanilla chicken.

If you’d like to try some of the speciality sugars produced, you can get them at the on-site boutique.

This is also where you’ll find a wide selection of their excellent rums including Vanilla Rum 1819, Coffee Rum 1819 and Spiced Rum 1819. Some excellent local rum would make an ideal souvenir to remind you of your fantastic Mauritian getaway.