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When I was invited to cover the one-week long “Africa Content Show Extravaganza” hosted by MultiChoice I nearly jumped out of my skin knowing it was going to be a lifetime experience – Mauritius oft-called Paradise. Wow!

Like most journalists who were invited it was my first time to go to the Island and most importantly my very first time beyond the main continent. Naturally, expectations were high.

Mauritius is one of the most beautiful countries which justifies clicheacutes like “beaches with crystal clear waters”.

When we arrived in Mauritius, I was awe-struck by the magnificent scenery of the vast sugar-cane fields and the fresh air.

“The shoreline comprises two kilometres of powder-white beach, which is undeniably one of the most spectacular in Mauritius. The shimmering lagoon, protected by a coral reef, makes it the perfect spot for swimming and water sports. From the moment you set foot on the resort, you will be swept away by the sheer beauty of the surroundings and the blissfully slow pace of life. As a romantic at heart, you will find you are lured back to the resort time and time again,” these words I had read somewhere, came floating into my memory and what I was witnessing before me was exactly just that.

No wonder Mauritius is top of the list of some of the world’s popular resorts. Everything seems to be at peace and I was enthralled by the fact that there are no snakes in this paradise. But in a way it also made me appreciate my own country with its big five and snakes of every hue and size.

The locals are very hospitable and warm. They all make such an effort to welcome visitors, a lesson that we Zimbabweans need to relearn.

We were ushered to the spectacular Trou Aux Biches Resort and Spa which is situated on the northern coast of Mauritius. Its grandeur reminded me of the massive Rainbow Towers at home which has played host to most of the international stars and celebrities who have visited Zimbabwe.

And here we were, scribes and celebrities drawn from various corners of the world who were now being hosted here at the spectacular five star hotel that is famed for its palatial status and hospitality fit for royalty.

Someone whispered to me that the resort takes its name from a local fishing village, from which fresh edible marine creatures like fish are caught, immediately cleaned and delivered straight to the hotel for the freshest ever eating experience. I finally got over my reservations for some types of seafood and tasted prawns for the very first time in my life to realise what a treat I have always been passing over.

Apart from my instant love affair with Mauritius, the opportunity of meeting international celebrities – from MTV Base, BBC Lifestyle, Zambia’s former football great, Kalusha “King Kalu” Bwalya, Nigeran actors Majid Michael, Rita Dominic, Chinedu Ikedieze, Davido and Tiwa Savage among others, sent shivers of thrills through my being.

The welcome party was really high class, a cosmopolitan affair with the who’s who in journalism, entertainment, fashion and culinary circles. I was humbled to be considered one of this group of people.

Being on Facebook, it was only natural that I would want to share the experiences with my friends, relatives and colleagues back home on the social platform. The comments and likes showed that those I am connected to were also loving it, and I kept the party going with regular updates and pictures.

This was a chance for me to exchange notes with these colourful personalities and I tried very hard not to dilute my Zimbabwean identity, which I wore proudly like a badge on my heart, speaking positively about home.

After all, it is always a great pride and a lofty feeling to be Zimbabwean. This saw me getting a lot of contacts with many people from all over the world who expressed their desire to also visit Zimbabwe, while those who have been to Zimbabwe before gushed about how hospitable it is, how its tourism sector is one of the best in the world, comparable to Mauritius which we were touring now.

I particularly enjoyed the BBC Lifestyle cocktail party, which was hosted by BBC Lifestyle and it was all glitz and glamour. I had a chance to meet Robin and Christina from Strictly Come Dancing, before having a splendid time at created Nickelodeon Studio. Another highlight was the cocktail courtesy of Universal Studios where we enjoyed dinner with the greatest stars from popular soap channel Telemundo.

As if that was not enough to make one feel like a star, the personalised service by the hotel was beyond words. For example, on switching on, the television set would flash a personalised greeting message addressing you by name to aise you on the channels that best suited your taste!

The days flew by in a blur of party after party and a blitz on information on how to up my game as a reporter, which I have definitely taken to heart, so watch this space. It was amazing and there were always gifts on offer for everyone, but the best my mementos of the time I spent in Mauritius are all those happy faces whose smiles never seemed to flag.

Like the theme said ‘Only The Best’, guess it was for only the best as in us!

Source : The Herald