The Moka mountain range, remnants of once immense volcanoes, is one of Mauritius’s most distinctive and contains two of the island’s highest peaks: the bare-faced Pieter Both, with its gigantic boulder precariously balanced on top, and the equally unmistakeable thumb-shaped Le Pouce, beneath which forested foothills shelter the rare screwpine. Charles Darwin was one of the earliest visitors to climb the latter summit, recording his sense of awe in The Voyage of the Beagle.

The district of Moka itself is a mecca for Mauritians who live on the central plateau for one reason only: Bagatelle, the island’s most popular shopping mall, which has a food court, bars and entertainment. If you want to join the locals, it’s heaving at weekends.

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