10 Things to Know About Rodrigues Island
Rodrigues is a delightfully small holiday island in the Indian Ocean, located 650 kilometres east of Mauritius.
Rodrigues, which is just 18 km long and 8 km wide at its widest point, is completely surrounded by coral reefs and offers world-class diving and snorkelling.
A beautiful unspoiled nature, a vast lagoon for water sports and fishing, a delicious and creative cuisine, and an incredibly welcoming local population. You will inevitably fall under the charm of this island which lives at another pace.
Things to know about Rodrigues Island
1. Secluded Beaches Rodrigues
You're on holiday in Rodrigues, an island with an 80-kilometre-long open coastline. Isn't it wonderful to have the whole beach to yourself, or to share with your loved ones?
On Rodrigues Island, you can have it all. On any given weekday, you will almost certainly find one or both beaches absolutely empty even during high season. There will be no other distractions than people walking by every now and then.
What's more exciting is that the entire 80-kilometre stretch is open to the public and can be reached by anyone.
2. Weekend Camping on the beach in Rodrigues
Rodrigues Island is a hippie's dream come true. If you enjoy camping on weekends, this might be of interest to you.
On weekends, the beaches of Rodrigues Island, which are otherwise deserted during the week, are lined with tents.
On weekends, the locals have become accustomed to gathering around bonfires on the beaches to spend time with their friends.
This group of campers is open to everyone; that's how open-minded they are.
3. Rodrigues’ Endemic Fauna and Flora
If you are a nature lover, then you should definitely also take some time to explore the local flora and fauna.
The island is home to some very unusual flora and fauna unique to the island, most likely due to its geological composition and location.
If you are pressed for time but would still like a glimpse of the flora and fauna found in Rodrigues, then definitely head to the Jardin des Cinq Sens botanical gardens.
Locals are passionate about preserving and maintaining the island's natural environment, and there are a variety of special programs in place to ensure that Rodrigues' flora is preserved, including a heavy emphasis on reforestation.
This is important because Rodrigues is home to a variety of endangered plants, animals, and birds that can't be found anywhere else in the world (including the Rodrigues fody and Rodrigues warbler), making their survival all the more significant.
4. Rodrigues Fresh Cuisine
You absolutely cannot miss out on the fresh cuisine and seafood when in Rodrigues.
The secret of Rodrigues cuisine lies in the freshness of the ingredients, the expertise handed over from the past generations, the local flavours, and the aromas of well-preserved culinary traditions.
Despite the fact that many dishes like curry are on the menu, real Rodriguan cuisine is characterised by the systematic use of local products.
Since there is almost no Indian influence, the cuisine is less spicy than in Mauritius. A real meal must include corn, which was the basis of the diet for a long time, but which is gradually supplanted by rice, following dramatic droughts. Mashed corn is served with a tomato-based dish, rougail ourite (octopus), fish broth, and red beans.
The dishes are usually accompanied by formidable but succulent lime peppers, zourite peppers, or mango peppers. There are also many exotic fruits growing on the island such as wild raspberries, small sweet pineapples, bananas, pomegranates, and papaya.
5. Language in Rodrigues
The main spoken language is Rodriguan Creole, with English and French used as the languages of government administration and business. Rodriguan Creole is very similar to Mauritian Creole, though there is some difference in pronunciation.
Despite English being one of the official languages, only a few people can speak it fluently. Even though it's easy to go around the island, you may have some trouble communicating in English. However, French is widely spoken.
6. Communication in Rodrigues
Rodrigues is a little behind when it comes to communication, particularly when it comes to internet speed.
There are some free Wi-Fi spots such as community centres across the island and also at the Alfred North-Coombes building in Port-Mathurin. A number of free information is available on the spot regarding opening hours.
Wifi is also available at hotels on the island, as well as at a few guest houses with slow to average internet speeds.
There are two mobile phone networks that serve the island, with access to international roaming but expect disruptive connection due to hilly areas.
7. Rodrigues’ Hilly Landscape
Rodrigues Island is a relatively young landmass since it is a volcanic island. It arose from the depths of the sea 1.5 million years ago and remained hidden for a long time.
This volcanically formed island is dotted with numerous small hills. Some of them are relatively large, while others are very large. In reality, the entire island resembles a mat with hills strewn across it.
Although the majority of roads are constructed around these hills, many remain untouched. Such hills will provide you with the ideal opportunity for a trek. If you reach the top of the hill, you will be enchanted by the breathtaking views of the Ocean.
8. Climate in Rodrigues
Rodrigues has its own microclimate, with two seasons, due to its isolation and location. Rodrigues has a moderate tropical maritime climate with year-round trade winds. The average summer temperature is around 26°C, and the average winter temperature is around 23°C.
The hottest months are January to March, and the coolest month is August. February is the wettest month, while September and October are the driest. The weather is drier and hotter than in Mauritius. Cyclones are more likely to strike Rodrigues from November to April.
9. Coconut plantations Rodrigues
Lined with a vast coconut tree forest by the beach, Rodrigues Island gives off ultimate tropical paradise vibes.
Despite the fact that there are hundreds of coconut palm trees on the island, it is not easy to find coconut on sale around the island except at Port Mathurin market.
So if you would like to have a tropical coconut drink, head to the capital where you’ll be able to satisfy your thirst. Coconut is also used in desserts together with mango and papaya.
10. A paradise for hikers
Rodrigues is an island that can easily be explored on foot. And since walking in Rodrigues is part of the daily life of its inhabitants, take a "step" into the history and culture of Rodrigues in a tropical atmosphere.
Awaken your senses through many hiking trails, off the beaten track, imbued with sweetness and serenity.
Rodrigues on foot is certainly the best way to get to know our little paradise as it should be. Its unsuspected charms are revealed when one travels along the many paths that mark it out.
4 kilometers to the west, Ile aux Cocos is a must-visit during a stay in Rodrigues. This immaculate sandbank, classified as a nature reserve, looks like a paradise with its whiteness and the transparency of the waters that border it.
For birdwatchers, the site is home to thousands of seabirds such as white terns and noddies.