WHAT does Cultural Week Involve?
Why Involvement Volunteers International?
PROJECT NAME: CULTURAL ORIENTATION WEEK
LOCATION: LE MORNE, MAURITIUS
START DATES: WEEKLY (SAT/SUN ARRIVALS)
ACCOMMODATION: VOLUNTEER HOUSE (SHARED ROOMS)
MIN DURATION: 1 WEEK
MIN AGE: 16+
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: N/A
PROJECT COSTS: (Please enquire)
Before your volunteer project starts, why not spend a week exploring this stunning island and becoming familiarised with the local culture! IVI’s cultural orientation week will teach you everything you need to know about the do’s and don’ts, safety advice and explaining the transport system. We also get the chance to travel around this beautiful county and visit some of the highlights.
During the week you can make new friends, learn more about the country with local language and cooking classes, as well as visit the most popular spots on the island. Le Morne also represents one of the most significant global commemorations to the memory of the slave trade, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are several monuments to see here.
You will also go hiking on the Le Morne trail, which has spectacular views from the top. We travel to Chamarel, where you will visit the mysterious seven coloured earth, mesmerising sand dunes made up from colours of brown, purples and reds. We also drive through the stunning Black River Gorge National Park, spotting wildlife, native plants and waterfalls along the way. During your 5 days of activities, you’ll be introduced the local culture and surroundings, and be able to meet and interact with your fellow volunteers. Please see full schedule in the dropdown section below.
The location is absolutely stunning. Le Morne sits alongside a beautiful stretch of coastline, on the Southwest side of Mauritius, only a two hour drive from the International Airport.
Think turquoise clear waters, bright white sand, towering palm trees and a huge forested mountain as the backdrop. Not only are there paradise beaches but lush jungles, forest trails and hikes leading to up to some unbelievable panoramic views.
Le Morne characterises some of the most important commemorations to the memory of the slave resistance. It was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with numerous monuments in respect of the memory of past slaves.
- Develop an awareness and deeper understanding of the local Mauritian culture
- Explore the surrounding areas of natural beauty
- Become comfortable in your new surroundings
Food & Accommodation
You will stay at our volunteer house, which is located in the Le Morne area, but can vary depending on the project. Rooms are shared between 4-6 people. We ask that you are environmentally responsible and use all resources with restraint, particularly water, paper and electricity. You will be expected to clean up after yourself, and to play your role in keeping the accommodation neat and tidy. There are refrigerators at the accommodation for volunteer’s convenience. Bathrooms have hot water facilities and all rooms are cooled with wall fans. Tea, coffee and water are provided, as well as hot showers.
ATMs, supermarkets, and medical facilities are available within a 5km reach of the accommodation.
You will be provided with 3 meals on weekdays and 2 on weekends. Breakfast is western style, with lunch and dinner usually being a mix of western and typical Creole style cuisine (seafood, corns, beans, rice, potatoes, stews and vegetables).
This is a great chance to meet your fellow volunteers, make friends and do some sightseeing before the start of your project. If you would like to feel more comfortable and knowegable about the local culture, this week is a great option to learn more about keeping safe and general rules and norms of the country. This can greatly help on your projects when working with local people.
- 3 meals p/day weekdays / 2 meals p/day weekends
- Arrival airport transfer (Sat/Sun arrivals)
- Filtered drinking water, coffee & tea
- 1 day orientation
- Daily transportation to project
- In country 24/7 support & emergency assistance
- Fundraising support
- University course credits (where applicable)
- Certificate of Completion
- Travel Insurance
- Tours, Souvenirs & spending money
Mandatory Orientation Day
On your first Monday, you will join our orientation day, to get familiarised with the local surroundings and culture. Your project will continue as usual from Tuesday and throughout the week.
- Welcome meeting, introduction to Mauritius and the various projects, general house rules, code of conduct and checking documents, etc.
- Lesson on Mauritian History and Culture
- Visit to the stunning Le Morne Beach
Mauritius does not have a railway system but has a good public bus services, that have provided free rides for students, senior citizens and disabled people since 2005.
The country uses several bus companies, the major ones being the National Transportation Corporation, Mauritius Bus Transport, Rose Hill Transport, Triolot Bus Service, United Bus Service, Luna Transport and Perle De la Savanne, as well as a few other independent operators. The country has roughly around 900 bus stops and around 200 bus lines, a considerably big network for a small island!
Taxi’s in the main cities are more readily available than in the surrounding and more rural areas. For independent travel, taxis can be very helpful to travel around the island, and each have a ‘taxi’ sign written on the top of the cars. Taxis can be easily identified by the yellow square box on the sides of the doors, indicating the route.
We start the week with a welcome meeting, introducing you to the house Rules, do’s and don’ts within the cultural norms, including an informative lesson on the history and culture of the island. After lunch, you will have time to relax on the beautiful Le Morne Public Beach, which has crystal clear, blue waters.
After breakfast, we take a local bus to explore the town of Quatre-Bornes, commonly known as La Ville des Fleurs (The City of Flowers). Take some time in the shopping centre, restaurants, supermarket, banks, money exchange, as well as the many textiles and accessory shops. After lunch in Quatre-Bornes, we travel by bus to Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius and known for its French colonial architecture and the 19th-century Champ de Mars horse-racing track. We spend time exploring this busy city.
After a delicious breakfast, we will be hiking the Le Morne Trail. 60% of this trail is fairly easy, with the other 40% more challenging. The views from the top will be 100% worth it! The hike takes around 3 hours. The rest of the day is spent relaxing at Tamarin beach. Go for a wander over the soft white sand, or swim in the turquoise waters of the ocean.
After Breakfast, leave for Chamarel- home to the Chamarel Waterfall, the seven coloured earth and the most incredible views over the Indian ocean. The waterfalls are stunning, and you can even swim at the bottom- once you hike down! The Seven Coloured Earth are sand dunes that have formed a strange pattern in in the colours of the rainbow. This is a truly unique sight worth seeing. Later on, we drive through the lush jungle of the Black River Gorge National Park and through to Ganga Talao.
Have fun enjoying a traditional Mauritian Cooking lesson, before spending the afternoon at the tropical beach town of Flic-en-Flac, Here you can see the old Dutch influenced areas and take part in some amazing water sports, or simply relax at one of the longest sandy beaches in Mauritius.
Hike the Le Morne Brabant Trail
The Le Morne Brabant is a UNESCO World Heritage site, that is situated just metres from the clear turquoise waters of the beach. This mountain by the beach has a fairly challenging trail, due to the second part being very steep. It will take you around 3-4 hours to climb, giving you stunning views out over the blue waters and tropical beach.
Chamarel Seven Coloured Earth
A popular and unique attraction in Mauritius, this well photographed spot is made up from colourful sand dunes, which have formed interesting shapes across the landscape. Colours of reds, browns and purples stand out again the green rainforest, sitting along side it. You can take some really unique photos here.
Make a day of it at the Geo Park – not only is this where the colourful sand dunes are, as mentioned above, but you can also spot the tallest waterfall in Mauritius. Surrounded by lush green jungle, the Chamarel waterfalls create a dramatic break in the beautiful forested landscape. You can also take a 3 hour trek down to the bottom of the falls, and swim in the pool below.
Black River George National Park
The Black River Gorges National Park is a green mountainous region, situated in the South of Mauritius and has some beautiful drives and treks through the dense forests. Over 6576 hectares, this gorgeous region has 9 incredible bird species and over 150 plant species. There are many walks and treks for a variety of fitness levels, where you can spot wildlife and natural waterfalls along the way.
Visit the Botanical Gardens
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden and the National Botanical Garden are wonderful places to visit if you love walking around in nature. The national garden is home to over 650 plant species, while the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam was created in 1770, making it the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere!
Another beautiful waterfall, located in the Tamarind Falls reserve, a stunning area of mountain, waterfalls and views out over to the West coast. You can take an adventurous hike to the Tamarind Waterfalls and take a swim once at the bottom.
There are many other activities to get up to in Mauritius from snorkelling, diving, nature parks, water sports, surfing, fishing, museums, markets and sightseeing in the towns. A perfect location for beach lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike!
A valid CRB check is needed for this placement.
Mauritius is a beautiful island country and a popular travel destination, situated in the Indian Ocean. It sits around 2000 km off of the South-east coast of Africa. The country has been known by different names throughout the past years and it was only in 1638 that the island was inhabited, by the Dutch republic. In 1710, the Dutch colony was abandoned and five years later became a French colony, being named “Isle de France”. The French then gave up the island, handing it over to the United Kingdom in 1814. Mauritius became independent in 1968.
It has now become one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the region, with tourists flocking to the stunningly beautiful beaches and the lush tropical forests. The island is also surrounded by the world’s third-largest coral reef, perfect for snorkelling and diving.
The country has a pleasant tropical climate, enjoying year-round warm weather. The hot season is from November to April, when it will be hot and humid. There will also be more rain during this time but it’s one of the best times for scuba diving. The cool season is from June to September, although temperatures still rarely go below 20°C along the coast. There are several very rare plants and animals that are native to the island, making it great for biodiversity. The country is a somewhat younger island, being formed around around 8 million years ago, due to volcanic activity.
Mauritius is the only country in this region that has Hinduism as the main religion, consisting roughly of 60% of the population. Christianity, Islam and Buddhism are also practised on the island, as well as those who don’t follow a religion. Due to the diverse cultures and their practices, there are numerous ceremonies and colourful festivals celebrated throughout the year.
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