Mauritius, a volcanic island nation in the Indian Ocean, is known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs. The mountainous interior encompasses Black River Gorges National Park, with rainforests, waterfalls, hiking trails and native fauna like the flying fox. It is an island for exploring, with Indian temples, colonial houses, botanical gardens, and opportunities to spot rare birds among soaring ebony trees, walk with lions or swim with dolphins. The capital, Port Louis, blends foreign influences and offers sites such as the Champs de Mars horse track, colonial Eureka plantation and 18th-century botanical garden. Mauritius is famed for its white sand beaches, concentrated in the glamorous east and popular north, and on pristine offshore islands, reached by catamaran.