It’s a pleasure

Sometimes travels are remembered for experiencing something a little out of the ordinary and if you are all for such experiences, then Seven Coloured Earth in Chamarel, Mauritius should be on your travel bucket list. The seven coloured earth is a natural phenomenon and a prominent tourist attraction. The colours evolved through conversion of basaltic lava to clay minerals. No one can categorically state why these undulating, dune-like knolls vary so wildly in colour. Some say the seven shades of earth were formed from volcanic ash deposits that cooled at different temperatures. Others believe that the colours of the mounds can be attributed to the differing quantity of metal oxide they each contain. Whatever may be the reason behind the formation of the seven coloured earth, it is indeed a beautiful sight.

Once you’ve had your fill of this natural wonder, you can head to the Pamplemousses, formally known as Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens. After London's Kew Gardens the SSR Botanical Gardens is one of the world's best botanical gardens. It's also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mauritius. The gardens, named after Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, the first prime minister of independent Mauritius, were started by Mahé de Labourdonnais in 1735 as a vegetable plot for his Mon Plaisir Château (which now contains a small exhibition of photographs). The landscape came into its own in 1768 under the auspices of the French horticulturalist Pierre Poivre. Like Kew Gardens, the gardens played a significant role in the horticultural espionage of the day. Poivre imported seeds from around the world in a bid to end France's dependence on Asian spices. The gardens were neglected between 1810 and 1849 until British horticulturalist James Duncan transformed them into an arboretum for palms and other tropical trees. Palms still constitute the most important part of the horticultural display, and they come in an astonishing variety of shapes and forms. Some of the more prominent are the stubby bottle palms, the tall royal palms and the talipot palms, which flower once after about 40 years and then die. Other varieties include the raffia, sugar, toddy, fever, fan and even sealing-wax palms. There are many other curious tree species on display, including the marmalade box tree, the fish poison tree and the sausage tree. The centrepiece of the gardens is a pond filled with giant Victoria amazonica water lilies, native to South America. Young leaves emerge as wrinkled balls and unfold into the classic tea-tray shape up to 2m across in a matter of hours. The flowers in the centre of the huge leaves open white one day and close red the next. The lilies are at their biggest and best in the warm summer months, notably January. Another highlight is the abundant birdlife – watch for the crimson hues of the Madagascar fody – while there are captive populations of deer and around a dozen giant aldabra tortoises near the park's northern exit, close to the chateau. Also nearby is the funerary platform where Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam was cremated (his ashes were scattered on the Ganges in India) while various international dignitaries have planted trees in the surrounding gardens, including Nelson Mandela, Indira Gandhi and a host of British royals.

Mauritius is truly fascinating. The sparkling white sands, turquoise blue sea dotted with casuarina trees and coconut palms make Mauritius the perfect movie-like location. Being an island country, Mauritius has some of the most breathtaking beaches of the world. The contrast of colours, cultures and tastes makes the island so charming that the scene is set for an unforgettable holiday and it’s really a pleasure to visit this beautiful country.

Team Veena world