Rising above the sea of green sugar cane fields, like a great ship at anchor, the old Beau Plan sugar mill with its long history, is a true history-maker and teller. It is situated at Beau Plan, very near to the Botanical Gardens. By following the trail of the Sugar Adventure, with over 250 years of history, you can trace the history of the whole country, as in a book – a mixture of faces, the verdant or silvery sugarcane in the countryside and the sunny, colourful customs.
The tour of the old sugar mill, transformed into a modern museum, lasts about one and a half hour, at the end of which delightful sugar and rum tastings await the visitor. The adventure starts right here, behind the facade of the factory building, with tales woven around the life story of sugar, for long it has been the main product and activity on Mauritius. You will then visit the enormous factory, its decade-old machines decked with a thousand lights.
The National History Museum is situated at Mahebourg, in a fine park extending to about 12 acres, on the bank of River La Chaux. It is housed in Chateau Gheude (also known as Maison Robillard), an old French colonial country house built around 1772 and presently listed as a national heritage. It was in a wing of this historic building that the two commanders of the English and French squadrons, wounded in the battle of Grand Port in 1810, were given medical treatment side by side. The National History Museum finds its origin in the Naval Relics Museum and the Museum of Historical Souvenirs.
The Naval Relics Museum was set up by the Mauritius Railways in 1934 and was located on the ground floor of the Secretariat Building in Port Louis. In 1941, it came under the purview of the Mauritius Institute. The museum exhibited the objects (canons, mortars, part of hulk, bottles) retrieved from the shipwreck La Magicienne in 1933 and 1934 by H.C.M. Austen, engineer at the Mauritius Railways. The museum was closed in 1942.
The Museum of Historical Souvenirs was created by Lady Clifford, wife of Governor Clifford. It was opened in March 1938 and housed in two rooms, on the second floor of the Government House. The collection comprised furniture and ceramics belonging to the East India Company and artefacts donated or loaned to the museum.
The National History Museum
The National History Museum is located on the ground floor of the Mauritius Institute Building, right in front of the Jardin de la Compagnie, in the heart of the city of Port Louis. The Mauritius Institute Building, constructed between 1880 and 1884, is listed as a National Heritage. This one-storey building is a partial copy of the Colombo Museum building in Sri Lanka. Its plans were designed by the British architect M. Mann.
The Natural History Museum is the oldest museum of Mauritius and amongst the oldest in southern Africa. In 1826, the naturalists Julien Desjardins and Louis Bouton made a request to Governor Sir Lowry Cole to set up a museum in Mauritius. On 14 October 1842, the Desjardins Museum was opened to the public, in a wing of the old Royal College in Port Louis, where it remained for 42 years.
Frederik Hendrik Museum
The Frederik Hendrik Museum is located on the south-east coast of Mauritius. It is situated in the Vieux Grand Port Historic Site, the cradle of Mauritian History. This is the site of the first human settlement in Mauritius. The Dutch discovered Mauritius in 1598. However, they settled here only in 1638, when the Fort Frederik Hendrik was constructed. The Dutch abandoned the island for good in 1710. The French claimed Mauritius in 1715 and established their government on the same site in 1722. Later, the French moved their administration to Port Louis.
However, they developed the site into a military post to assure the security of the bay and the island. Following the transfer of the military post to the newly created town of Mahebourg in 1806, the site was abandoned. In 1998, the Vieux Grand Port Historic Site was rehabilitated and landscaped to mark the 400th anniversary of the first Dutch landing on Mauritius. It was inaugurated by H.R.H. Prince Maurits Van Oranje-Nassau, descendant of Maurits Van Nassau, stathoulder of the Netherlands, after whom Mauritius was named in 1598.