Tropical Mauritius is the size of Surrey — 42 miles long — but crams in 10 top golf courses designed by names such as Bernhard Langer and Ernie Els.
There's horse riding, mountain biking and water sports, ensuring this island — best known as a high-end honeymoon destination — is winning new fans for its quality leisure activities. Mauritius is easily accessible by direct flights from the UK and is one of Africa's success stories, with a stable, diversified export-based economy. Its good infrastructure includes an airport that easily handles the 960,000 visitors a year from Europe and South Africa.
Foreigners have been allowed to buy since 2002, when the government introduced the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS). Buyers had to spend at least £315,400 on homes in pre-approved five-star resorts. In return they got residency and low levels of taxation: 15 per cent income tax, 10 per cent capital gains and no inheritance tax.
In 2007 this was extended through the Real Estate Scheme (RES) to include smaller developments with fewer facilities and no minimum purchase price. Owners on RES schemes do not automatically qualify for residency.
Anahita, on a truly lovely four-mile stretch of coast in the wind-prone south-east, started selling homes in 2006 and opened its doors two years later. Today it has a lush Ernie Els golf course, excellent sports facilities and a notable Four Seasons Hotel with the highest occupancy rate on the island.
The 213-hectre IRS resort has a planned density, when all 325 homes are built, of less than 10 per cent.
The resort is a 45-minute drive from the airport and 31 miles from the capital Port Louis, a little too remote for some buyers who want the bright lights of tourist-centric Grand Baie on hand.
For its many fans though, Anahita is well-worth travelling halfway around the world. Opposite is L'Isle des Cerf, a sandy island with long empty beaches and another golf course.
The newest phase is Amalthea, 63 two- and three-bedroom apartments and detached villas, priced from £410,000 and £711,000. These will be light, modern homes beside the golf course with bleached slate roofs, landscaped grounds and private or communal pools. Apartments start from 1,582sq ft and villas from 2,150sq ft with annual maintenance about £365 a month. Visit Savills.co.uk or call 020 7016 3790.
A full concierge service will manage the property. Rental yields of four per cent are guaranteed for three years on certain apartments, along with two years free green fees.
"We have seen strong demand for Indian Ocean property this year," said Jo Leveret of Savills, Anahita's sales agent. "Mauritius is the best known of the islands there from a property buying perspective and Anahita is well established with 150 properties sold and an active resale market."
Affordable homes in Mauritius
Mauritius currently has nine RES and seven IRS projects. On the protected north coast, in the tourist hot spot of Grand Baie, newly launched Le Parc de Mont Choisy is on a beautiful long beach with a planned golf course and 198 homes, from £377,995 for a two-bedroom beach home through Savills. Nearby apartments in the second phase of Cape Bay east of Grand Baie cost from £286,000 through Pam Golding (pangolding.co.za).
Azuri, 30 minutes from Port Louis, is nearing completion with 272 apartments and townhouses priced from £347,000. The resort aims to create a year-round community: 103 apartments are only available to local buyers. Because it has no golf course or major sports facilities it plans to keep maintenance costs to £200 a month. Visit azuri.mu.
Anahita holiday home is perfect for all the family
David and Laura Rich-Jones from Putney are not golfers but that didn't stop them buying two apartments at Anahita at the start of development. The couple, with their children aged from five to 14, had holidayed in Mauritius and loved the range of sports on offer.
"There's tennis, the spa, gym, kids' club and watersports at Anahita which appealed to us as a family," said David who runs a property and outsourcing company. "Off resort we can swim with dolphins, quad bike in the mountains and go sailing."
The family visit for up to four weeks a year, otherwise renting out the apartment through Anahita and achieving 50 per centplus occupancy.
"It's a long flight, but importantly there is no significant time difference so we aren't affected by jet lag like when travelling to the Caribbean. And then there is the beauty of Mauritius. It is a microcosm of how the world should be with Muslims, Hindus and Christians all getting on well."