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» 01 Dec 2010

It takes gusto and a true sense of adventure to uproot and go to a foreign place without many contacts, without a place to stay, or a real solid plan. But that’s half the fun!

In July of 2009, Mark Elsbury demonstrated that gusto and took the big plunge to start a new life in Mauritius. He got on a plane to Mauritius with just a few important belongings (his suitcase, surfboard, and golf clubs.) And, he brought a sense of adventure and entrepreneurism with him. His hunch was right and he fit right in!

Mark arrived in Mauritius with a passion for entrepreneurism and the thirst for new adventure. He rented a Fiat Uno and started on a trek along the coast, scouting for the best locale for his new office, the perfect spot for his first restaurant, and of course, for a place to put his surfboard and golf clubs. He’s already accomplished a lot in his short time here on the island as his second restaurant just opened last month.

His passion is evidently contagious, as you’re about to learn. The healthy and fit fellow trains on most days and has participated in many competitions, including: Iron Man Austria, London Triathlons, and Ferney Trail in Mauritius. This thrill seeker also boasts climbing Kilimanjaro with friends from Mauritius. Mauritius definitely caters to those with active lifestyles!

In terms of his ability to create a viral sense of healthy competition, he’s announced the launch of a 10km night race in Port Louis and is also working on the launch of a swimming event as well. Both are to be open to both Mauritians and visitors as well.

Passion and a sense of adventure can serve you well in life and they’ve done a great job of helping Mark Elsbury live his dream. Today, Mark has just spearheaded the expansion of Nando’s on the island, opening the second restaurant location right in Port-Louis. The new location was opened on November 3rd on Sir William Newton Street. This great location is getting rave reviews from locals and from tourists for its great atmosphere, great service, and great food.

As Mark says, “Your lunch hour is precious – it’s precious because it’s the time between your first morning’s hard work and the rest of the day’s urgencies. It’s the only time you have to get your energy levels back on track. At Nando’s you’ll be able to unwind and recharge your batteries by eating good nutritious food served in a fast and friendly atmosphere.”

Nando’s, a casual dining experience across 28 different countries, has proven to be a great place for locals and for travellers alike who love Peri-Peri flame-grilled chicken.As the Managing Director of Nandos, Mark enjoys that he’s been able to bring some more healthy options and new flavours to the Island, in an environment that’s known as the perfect transition between fast and fancy. Mark expects to open a total of seven Nando’s restaurants over the next four years.     

Mark’s Journey to Mauritius

Born in 1973 in South Africa to British parents who’d emigrated from the UK due to a sluggish UK economy and some emerging opportunities in South Africa, Mark and his brother (now living in the United States) had a great childhood. Mark fondly recalls that his parents couldn’t keep up with his boundless energy. Even today, he is always keen about sporting events, outdoor activities, and girls. His love for being active has endured into adulthood. He’s always wanted to be in charge of his own destiny and his background and energy have made his move to Mauritius make good sense.         

Mark went to boarding school in Natal and then went on to achieve his hotel management diploma and worked on his international marketing management diploma. His trek to Mauritius wasn’t the first time Mark decided to seek more from life though.

Around the time he hit 25 years old, the UK seemed like it had greener  pastures than South Africa so he grabbed a backpack and headed out on his first big adventure. The UK pre-sented opportunities in information  technology and Mark worked his way through progressively more senior roles, especially in project management. Mark has demonstrated abilities in executing projects flawlessly and it wasn’t long before he envisioned creating his own company.

A successful entrepreneur friend of Mark’s suggested he pitch for a Nando’s Master franchise agreement and when he succeeded and it happened, Mark was bound for Mauritius.Life in Mauritius definitely provides the lush green pastures Mark has been looking for and he looks forward to serving hungry customers and to finding more adventures right here!    


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