Scuba diving in Madagascar: the undiscovered ocean

Join Nicolas Richer as he goes scuba diving to discover the secret underwater treasures that surround Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar.

Diving at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Diving at Tsarabanjina

Diving in Tsarabanjina is, for me, an unforgettable experience. It is one of the last places on the planet which remains almost virgin territory for divers, where only a few have had the privilege of dropping their fins.

Each time I dive here I get the feeling that I am the discoverer of an unexplored paradise.

Diving at Tétons, Madagascar

This morning we start our dive at Tétons. Under a benevolent sun and after a jovial briefing with our instructor Riccardo, myself and three other divers embark on a comfortable 15-minute speedboat journey.

Here we are. No one is in site. The Tétons, two beautiful rocks looming off the coast of Tsarabanjina, are lined beneath the water with lush coral pinnacles and tunnels colonised by stunning marine life.

Diving Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Underwater at Tsarabanjina

After the usual checks and Riccardo’s okay, we make the big jump.

Crystal clear water welcomes us. Immediately I am struck by the abundance of life around me, a school of batfish approaches attracted by our bubble wall and a crowd of yellow snappers gently surrounds me.

We venture to explore the light and shade of the tunnels where we can admire vaults covered with colourful sponges and hundreds of sweetlips a little surprised by our presence.

At the end of the tunnel, my gaze is drawn towards a cloud of glass fish being chased by several kingfish and a spanish mackerel in the midst of a coral richness rarely equalled.

Wow, I’ve already been diving for 50 minutes, I do not want to go back but I have to.

On the boat back to Tsarabanjina

On the boat everyone is euphoric. After a nice iced tea the crew turn the boat back towards Tsarabanjina. The icing on the cake is a pod of bottlenose dolphins following us, playing at the bow of the boat, joining us in our celebration of this unforgettable dive.

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Mountain hiking in Mauritius

Explore a dramatic landscape hewn from volcanoes and softened by verdant nature with a trek through Mauritius’ mountainous interior.

Moka Range, Mauritius

Moka Range, Mauritius

Take a break from sun bathing and discover mountain hiking in Mauritius, exploring the stunning beauty of an island sculptured by nature into an array of mountainous peaks, waterfalls and tropical valleys, many of which are protected within national parks.

The three mountain ranges on Mauritius offer a variety of short and longer hikes, from easy to the more challenging.

These peaks aren’t high in comparison to major mountain ranges of the world but the views are breathtaking and the chance to see more of the island is one not to be missed.

Take your pick from the Moka range in the east near Port Louis, the Black River range in the south-west and the Grand Port in the south-east.

With peaks ranging from 480 to 828m many can be explored with a good map and some walking boots but some of the more challenging peaks will need a guide.

The very best mountain hikes include:

  • Le Pouce – Despite being one of the tallest peaks on the island at 811m the walk up Le Pouce is one of the easiest making it perfect for those looking for spectacular views without too much difficulty. Situated in the Moka range it overlooks the capital Port Louis with 360º views around the island.
Constance Le Prince Maurice

Constance Le Prince Maurice

  • Lion Mountain – For those looking for more of a challenge Lion Mountain in the south east, named because locals thought the mountain resembled the creature, is only 480m but is a longer, slightly more difficult hike. The half-day trek is well worth it for the stunning views of the lagoon when you reach the summit.
  • Black River Peak – Surprisingly the highest peak on the island at 828m is also considered one of the easiest hikes and one of the most scenic. Most of the walk is along a ridge through beautiful endemic trees and plants with a stunning view across the island and the west coast from the summit.
  • The Corps de Garde – For those looking for a serious challenge a hike up this 780m peak on the west of the island will get your pulse racing. A secluded, remote hike through basalt rock and tropical plant life gives stunning views over the ocean and the mountains of the Casela Nature Park in the south.

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Condé Nast Traveller names Constance Halaveli in The Spa Guide 2013

Condé Nast Traveller has named Constance Halaveli as one of the best spas in the world, in their latest Spa Guide 2013.

Spa at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Spa at Halaveli

Just published, The Spa Guide names the crème de la crème of spas around the world. Halaveli, with its Valmont and Ila Spa, is listed as one the most sought-after spas for anti-ageing set against an idyllic island backdrop. ‘It’s as decadent as you want it to be, but the real indulgence is just stopping and letting go.’

Of the spa, they write:

‘Thrillingly, through the face hole of the massage bed, you can watch violet, jade-green and sunshine-yellow reef fish swim below you until the Balinese therapist’s hands send you into shut-eyed oblivion.’

The latest June edition of Condé Nast Traveller is on sale now, and includes The Spa Guide 2013.

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19th Hole blog rates Belle Mare Plage as top honeymoon destination

When Oliver Gunning of Your Golf Travel chose Belle Mare Plage as his honeymoon destination, he was looking for a resort that ticked all the boxes for his non-golf playing wife, as well as offering the opportunity for him to indulge in his passion for the sport.

Constance Belle Mare Plage, Legend golf course

Legend golf course

Writing on the 19th Hole blog, Oliver writes of the 5* Mauritian resort:

‘… if you are looking to take your golf clubs on honeymoon, it is hard to find a better place to do so than Belle Mare Plage. The varied activities, stunning beach side location and exceptional golf on offer make it very clear why so many come here for their golf holidays in Mauritius.’

Read the full review on the 19th Hole blog:

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Tips for maintaining health and fitness

Personal trainer and fitness instructor at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Isabelle Lamant, gives her tips for maintaining a healthy body and mind.

Isabelle Lamant, Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Isabelle Lamant at Le Prince Maurice

Hi everyone,

Today I would like to talk about my own personal health regime, and what I’ve learned along the way to keep myself fit and well.

As I love food but also love to feel healthy, I strive to find a good balance between pleasure and fitness.

At 31, I’m proud of the balance I have achieved but I know it is something that will become more difficult as I get older. I always tell clients, the biggest challenge of our life is finding a balance which makes you feel good both mentally and physically. For me it’s very important for my self-esteem and self-confidence to enjoy life and keep control on my body.

Good health is about paying attention to the exercise I do and what I eat.

My approach to healthy eating
Breakfast
I change my breakfast depending on what I’ve eaten and drunk the night before. If I have indulged in a lovely big meal then I will only take a small plate of fruits and a tea or coffee.

If I had a light dinner, I will have some milk (not cow’s milk) with something I love to eat such as biscuits or chocolate. My secret is to indulge in good quality treats but never in large quantities.

Lunch
I eat only what my body needs and only what fits on one plate. I don’t eat bread, or only very occasionally. I also never take dessert after lunch, I take it 2 hours later so it’s better for my digestion.

Isabelle Lamant exercise classes at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Aqua fitness with Isabelle Lamant at Le Prince Maurice

Dinner
This is often only a light meal because the body stocks fat during the night. If we eat a lot in the evening, we give the liver too much work to do which can affect our sleep and cause fat retention.

It can be difficult to have light dinners every night but I try to have 4 per week to stay healthy and have a beautiful shape. Mashed vegetables with mashed potatoes or lentils is my favourite because it stabilises my hunger. The day after I can really feel the benefit on my skin and my tummy.

Exercise workouts
Just because I’m a fitness coach it doesn’t mean that I exercise for hours each day. I guide my clients and teach them but I don’t do each exercise because my body has limits and doing too much is not good.

When I work I do some exercises like abs, butts and arms with my clients and then on my own I often walk a minimum of 45 minutes a day.

I spend 20 minutes in the sea not only swimming, sometimes just standing in the waves meditating. I also do housework. It is the best exercise to tone up the whole body: cleaning, sweeping, polishing…. exhausting but a good workout!

I hope that my experience gives you inspiration to create your own balance. Remember the key is not to get frustrated. Eat what you like but in small quantities and always make sure you are eating good quality meat, fish and vegetables.

Good luck.

I’ll see you next month for a range of exercises in pictures.

I wish you all the best until then.
Isabelle

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Try making one of our healthy detox juices and crunchy salad & fresh Basil Blush juice

Read more about Isabelle’s fitness classes at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius and her top tips for wellbeing in 2013.

Top 5 golf championships for 2013

For all golf fans and those just curious to learn more, here are the dates for the top 5 golfing events in the second half of 2013.

Legend golf course, Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Legend golf course, Mauritius

1. The US Open – June 13-16
The second big major of 2013, the US Open will be held at The Merion Course, Pennsylvania in June. Watch Webb Simpson defend his title after his dramatic victory last year.

2. The Open Championship – July 18-21
Played this year at Muirfield, Scotland, this will be the sixteenth time the 142-year-old tournament will be played at the East Lothian club. Ernie Els will defend his title on the Muirfield course, the same course on which he won the Open back in 2002.

3. Women’s British Open – August 1-4
One of only two tournaments classified as majors by both the Ladies European Tour and the LPGA Tour, the Ricoh Women’s British Open will be played at the historic Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland.

4. PGA Championship – August 8-11
One of golf’s four major championships the PGA Championship, hosted by the PGA of America, will be played at Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, NY. This year Rory McIlroy will be defending his runaway victory from 2012.

18-hole championship golf course, Constance Lemuria Resort, Seychelles

Championship golf course

5. The Evian Championship – September 12-15
Elevated to major championship status by the LPGA this year, the Evian Championship is one of the highest paying tournaments in women’s golf. The event is played on the shores of Lake Geneva at the stunning Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian-les-Bains, France.

Golf at Constance Hotels & Resorts
In December, we’ll be hosting the annual MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius at the Constance Legend and Links golf courses.

Read more about luxury golf holidays in the Indian Ocean: