“Because it’s quiet, the Bel Ombre Estate is full of greenery and has beautiful natural surroundings, as well as the Frederica Nature Reserve. In addition, Mauritius and this area in particular has huge potential in terms of eco-tourism.”
photos : manoj nawoor
“We came to Mauritius for a holiday in December 2013. It was our first time and we visited various parts of the island. We really enjoyed it and purely by chance met someone who wanted to sell his house, so we seized the opportunity!” Femke Scholten, who settled down last year at Villas Valriche in the heart of the Domaine de Bel Ombre, admits
“It’s somewhat by chance therefore that we moved here this soon. Otherwise, we probably would have bought a property in Mauritius in a few years’ time.”
They had started to look for the ‘perfect retirement location’ with three other couples, who all lived and worked internationally. The team took on this ‘project’ and shortlisted a number of countries in South America, the Caribbean, the Far East and Mauritius, based upon criteria such as political stability, safety, economic growth, a tolerant and liberal society, a pleasant natural environment, cost of living and climate.
“When we were doing this exercise, Mauritius scored very highly. With the idea that each couple would visit a shortlisted location, my husband and I decided to change our holiday plans and visit Mauritius to get a feel of the island! So, when we decided to buy our property here, we hadn’t even finished the whole exercise. We are the first of our group and hope of course that the others will join us soon.”
Femke is Dutch by birth but grew up as a child in the United States where her father was working for NATO. Having a Master’s Degree in both Chemical Engineering and in Chemistry, she has had an impressive career, working overseas for Shell International,
BHP Billiton and VTG Aktiengesellschaft, whose Board she sat on until the end of 2013. Soon after, her husband Cecil was offered a job in Mumbai in India where, as Medical CIO, he is leading the Medical Informatics team in the setting up of a new hospital.
For her part, Femke has been using her wealth of expertise in her new role as an Executive Consultant since moving here and is keen to support Mauritius in its development, both locally and internationally, in the areas of Energy, Commodities, Logistics and the Environment.
When asked about the reasons behind choosing Villas Valriche, Femke says, “We really criss-crossed the island during those initial weeks that we spent here. Why Villas Valriche? Because it’s quiet, the Bel Ombre Estate is full of greenery and has beautiful natural surroundings, as well as the Frederica Nature Reserve. In addition, Mauritius and this area in particular has huge potential in terms of eco-tourism and can take a leading role in becoming more carbon neutral and improving the environment.”
She furthermore enjoys Mauritians’ “diversity and openness. Some people find Mauritius small but not me. There is so much to see and it is so diverse in terms of its landscape and its various communities.”