Two membership clubs on the central plateau, set up in colonial times, are still going strong today. Mauritius Gymkhana Club (Suffolk Close, Vacoas; daily 9am–11pm; 696 1404, mgc.mu) was founded as a service club for British officers between 1834 and 1849, and holds the oldest golf club in the southern hemisphere, as well as tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool, squash court and snooker. It once had a strict dress code – the bar was men-only until 8pm and children played outside in all weathers until 1960 – and even today men need long trousers and a jacket if dining and women tend to wear at least smart casual. It became a civilian club in 1976 and is now open to everyone regardless of background, creed or colour – traditions include a Burns’ Night blowout with haggis flown in by British Airways. The Franco-Mauritians’ answer to the Gymkhana Club was Le Dodo Club (Le Casernes, Curepipe; daily 9am–11pm; 5499 1823, [email protected]) set up on a 24-acre site in 1928 by a group of rugby enthusiasts. Today it has around 2500 members, and offers fourteen sports including a nine-hole golf course. It still has a strong French flavour, with dark wood panelling inside, and good-quality French dishes along with Mauritian specialities and Chinese plates in the lovely little bistro, Le Dodo Gourmand, overlooking the golf course.

Non-residents can visit either club for a spot of golf, a well-priced meal or a sundowner. See their respective websites for more details.

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