Kathrin Ernest | Kitesurfing instructor
“Mauritius is the opposite of a busy lifestyle”
Kitesurfing instructor Kathrin Ernest reveals the best places for practising water sports on Mauritius, one of the favourite locations in the Indian Ocean for sports enthusiasts.
Text: Guadalupe Rodríguez | Photos: Kreativa Visual and Shutterstock | Video: Kreativa Visual
gymnast since her teenage years, and a globetrotter – she has worked in the United States, Greece, Australia, Spain, the Netherlands and Egypt – before embarking on her sports studies at Cologne University, German-born Kathrin Ernest took her biggest leap yet when she decided to settle on the island of Mauritius. She started a family and set up a business, KiteGlobing, in Bel Ombre, so she can devote time every day to practising one of her passions, kitesurfing.
What made you decide to move to Mauritius?
Mauritius is a pearl in the Indian Ocean. A green, peaceful little island where many cultures live side by side in a small space, but without being overcrowded. If you compare it to the hustle and bustle of life in a big German city, it’s exactly the opposite, that’s what I like about it.
Are conditions good for practising water sports?
The water temperature is warm all year round. It never drops below 22 degrees. In December it reaches 26 or 28 degrees. The wind is normally steady, even strong in some months. Although even if there’s no wind you can practise a wide range of sports throughout the entire year. The usual ones are kitesurfing, surfing, windsurfing, snorkelling, diving and fishing.
They say that kitesurfing, practised with a kite and a surf board, is the most accessible extreme sport. Can tourists with no experience do it or do you need to have a certain level of fitness?
No, anyone can do it. That includes children from the age of six up to 70 year olds. It’s for everyone because it requires technique rather than strength. There are harnesses and kites suitable for every weight and size. On Mauritius the conditions are ideal for practising wave kite out at sea, beyond the reefs. But beginners can stay in the lagoon separated from the open sea by the reefs, where the water depth is perfect and you don’t even need a wetsuit. It’s good for everyone. They should come and try it.
Which areas of the island are the best for practising water sports?
For sports needing wind, the south west all year round and the east coast in the southern hemisphere winter. For surfing and diving, Tamarin and the west coast, whereas the east coast, around Palmar and Belle Mare, is a lovely place for snorkelling and diving.
Do you like exploring the island?
I’ve seen a lot, but the place I always go back to is the south because it has some beautiful and very varied countryside, ranging from sugar cane plantations near the sea to mountains that you can climb to get some fantastic views. I also like driving along the east coast, going south from Palmar.
What is Mauritius' most underrated attraction?
I would recommend that everyone who comes here tries the food, whether from a street stall or a good restaurant, it’s delicious.
What tips would you give visitors to Mauritius?
There are lots of reasons to come to Mauritius, including going to the the beach, climbing the mountains, browsing in the markets of Port Louis, exploring temples and its other attractions, like Chamarel. I can also recommend all kinds of waters sports, like kitesurfing, surfing, diving and dolphin watching trips. I’d also say don’t be afraid to connect with people in the villages. Travelling with children is very safe, too.