Mauritius Country Guide

Undoubtedly, Mauritius is a beautiful and picturesque country. Just as you can enjoy a sunset at the modern waterfront in Port Louis you can hours before have a time travelling experience at the country side or a unique view of fields, forests and rivers, coast and outer islands that can only be described as breathtaking.

All major tour operators make sure that visitors see the wondrous natural beauty of Mauritius.

For all the travel information you need on a visit to Mauritius take a look at our Mauritius country travel guide below. You can also take one of our interesting local tours to complete your Mauritius holiday.

We recommend you read about travel in Mauritius on GoNOMAD.

Check out the latest Mauritius travel features on YouTube.

Mauritius Country Guide

Useful information on this page includes:

Communication Top

Telephones

Mauritius Telecom is the sole operator for fixed telephone lines and its subsidiary Orange Mobile Communications is one of the major cellular phone service providers. The others are Emtel and MTML (also known as Chili). If you want to avoid high international roaming charges with your own carrier, buy a local sim can. All operators provide sim cards for Rs 100 which include credit, and be bought all over the island from supermarkets to small retail stores. ID is required to buy a sim card. All operators provide call and sms packages for a set fee which help reduce costs. Calls to other networks carry higher charges. Phone credit can be recharged via scratch cards or electronically at retailers.
Public telephones are also available at various locations throughout the island, most notably near bus stations.

Internet

Most hotels will have wifi access, and you will also find wifi access points all around the island, including coffee shops, restaurants, and some stores. If you buy a local sim card from any local provider you can use it to access the internet on a pay as you go basis or buy a data package by entering the relevant code, to save you money. You can also buy a dongle from Orange or Emtel to access the internet via your laptop or tablet.

Mauritius now has high speed internet via fibre optic cable (through Mauritius Telecom) and connections are generally very reliable. There are also Internet cafes throughout the island if you don’t have any other means to access the internet.

Postal Service                         

The government owned Mauritius Postal Service is known as "The Mauritius Post Ltd". Post offices are present in all towns.  Airmail to Western Europe generally takes around seven days.

Opening Times
- Monday-Friday: 08h15 to 15h15
- Saturdays: 08h15 to 11h45

Climate/Weather Top

The island of Mauritius is situated in the Southern hemisphere just above the Tropic of Capricorn. The climate is typically tropical with only two seasons which are the reverse of the climate in the Northern hemisphere. 

It has a warm dry winter from May to October with June to September being the coolest; and a hot, wet, and humid summer from November to April with December to February being the hottest months. Mauritius witnesses cyclonic weather from December until March.

The West Coast is also hotter, while the East Coast is windier. The driest month is usually October. Temperatures are quite constant during the whole year, averaging 27ºC in summer and 20ºC in winter, and peak to 31ºC in the summer.

Click here to view the current weather conditions in Mauritius. 

Currency/Money Top

The currency of Mauritius is the Mauritian Rupee (MUR), which is further divided into 100 cents (cs). Credit cards are normally accepted by banks and most hotels, restaurants and tourist shops, as well as Visa debit and Maestro cards. Check with your bank regarding foreign currency transaction charges. Foreign currency exchange is available in banks and specialist outlets in major towns.


Click here to view the current exchange rate from OANDA.com - The Currency Site.

Average Costs (approximate guide only)

- Accommodation (per day) - Low/ Mid/ Deluxe (Rs 2,000/ Rs 2,000-10,000/ Rs 10,000) 
- Meal Prices - Cheap/ Mid/ Deluxe (Rs 150/ Rs 150-250/ Rs 250+)
- Cup of Coffee - Rs 40.00 
- Small Bottle of Beer Rs - 50.00 
- Sandwich - Rs 45.00 
- Litre of Bottled Water - Rs 25.00 
- Souvenir T-shirt - Rs 200.00 
- Street Snacks (dahl puris) - Rs 12.00 
- Scuba Diving (including gear rental) - Rs 1,600.00 

Banking Hours 

- Monday to Thursday: 09h00 to 15h15
- Friday: 09h00 to up to 16h00/17h00

Electricity Top

Mauritius runs off a 220V or 1250Hz system, with both two and three pin sockets.

Embassy Locations Top

To view a list of Mauritius embassies around the world, as well as foreign embassies within Mauritius, check out http://www.embassy-worldwide.com/.

General Information Top

Population: 1,250,882 (July 2014 est.) 
Total Area: 2,040 sq km 
Capital: Port Louis
Time Zone: GMT +4 hours

Click here to view the current time in Port Louis.

Language Top

English is the official language of Mauritius and all government documents are drafted in English. However, French is used as the language of instruction in the Mauritian educational system. Most of the local population speaks French and the language dominates the print as well as broadcast media. English films and television programs are also dubbed into French. Corporate and business affairs also use French as the language of preference.

Mauritian Creole, also called Morisyen, is the commonly spoken language and has a resemblance to the French style of pronunciation. However, there are marked differences in the two languages as Creole does not have some of the consonants that French uses. The language also borrows vocabulary from Portuguese and English.

Ethnically, nearly 69 percent of the population is of Indian descent. Hence, a number of Indian languages such as Bhojpuri, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi and Punjabi are also spoken in Mauritius. Dialects of the Chinese language such as Cantonese, Hakka and Mandarin are also spoken in the country.

Public Holidays Top

Follow the link to view a current list of public holidays in Mauritius.

Religion Top

Hindu 48%, Roman Catholic 23.6%, Muslim 16.6%, other Christian 8.6%, other 2.5%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.4% (2000 census).

Visas/Passports Top

Travellers should allow 1 month to obtain a visa if required. There is no cost for a tourist visa. All visitors are allowed to stay no longer than 3 months and must have a valid passport, visa, return or onward passage tickets, and adequate funds.
Further information can be viewed on link below:
http://passport.govmu.org/English/Passport%20and%20Visa%20Requirement%20in%20Mauritius/Pages/Visa-Requirements-in-Mauritius.aspx

Location Top

Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, located off South-East Africa. Click here to view a map of Mauritius.

 

 

Geography Top

Along with Reunion and Rodrigues, Mauritius forms an archipelago, which was created due to a series of underwater volcanic eruptions. These form the Mascarene group of islands. Mauritius and Rodrigues are no longer volcanically active. Studies show that they were formed 8-10 million years ago.

The Reunion Island, which is 145 kilometers southwest of Mauritius, is a territory under French control. Volcanic hotspots are found on this island. All three islands are formed on submarine ridges. Mauritius is formed around a central plateau with Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire being the highest peak at 828 meters.

Health Top

As with visits to all tropical countries, there are certain precautions visitors need to take when visiting Mauritius. Mosquitoes are the main threat to health which can cause malaria, Dengue fever or Chikungunya. Malaria is not considered a general risk but if you plan to visit rural areas your doctor may advise you to take anti-malaria tablets as a precaution.

There were reported cases of Dengue, also known as break bone fever, in 2014 and there is no vaccine available currently. The viral illness Chikungunya, which is spread by the mosquito Aedes albopictus, was last reported in 2006. These mosquitoes could be found mainly rural areas, but also in beach areas that tourists visit. The disease leads to swollen joints and rashes, the effects of which last from a few weeks to several months. 

To guard against mosquito related illnesses, insect protection, must be used at all times. Apply a good mosquito repellent, which should be reapplied if you have gone for a swim. Make sure your hotel provides insect sprays or electric repellents for your room. For added protection, try sleeping under a mosquito net, and wear long sleeved clothing whenever possible in rural areas especially.  Don’t let these slight risks put you off from visiting Mauritius. These precautionary methods will help keep mosquitoes at bay.

The CDC also recommends a vaccination against Hepatitis A for all travellers going towards East Africa. This is particularly relevant after an epidemic hit the country in 1989. A medical survey in 1991 showed that 86 percent of the population had antibodies against Hepatitis A, indicating that they had been exposed to the virus.

Schistosomiasis is another disease for which there are no vaccines or tablets available. Though there is a marked reduction in the occurrence of schistosomiasis, it is recommended that bathing in bodies of fresh water should be avoided.  Swimming in chlorinated water and seawater reduces the risk and is quite safe. 

It is also recommended that you wear plastic shoes or slippers while walking on a beach to protect against sharp coral, stonefish and sea urchins. In extreme cases stonefish stings can also be fatal. Some species of reef fish in Mauritius are found to have neurotoxins, which you may need to guard yourself against. You are also advised not to eat peanuts or drink alcohol if you have eaten reef fish like snapper, mullet, and sea bass as the combination is not supposed to mix well. 

There are some species of fish which eat toxic algae that grow on the coral reefs. The intestine and testes of these fish accumulate high concentrations of these toxins and therefore eating those fish body parts should be avoided.  Symptoms due to poisoning by toxic fish include vomiting and diarrhea and numbness in the arms and legs.

People Top

There are no typical Mauritian traits, as Mauritius is an amalgamation of different cultures and races. Racially you will find Mauritians of Caucasian, African, Chinese and Indian descent.

There are Muslim, Hindu, Christian/Catholic and Buddhist Mauritians and each has a distinct style of living but all fit in together as a nation. All communities respect the traditions and customs of other communities and come together to celebrate several occasions.

March 12th, in particular, is an important day for all Mauritians as this was the day when the late Prime Minister, Dr. Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, achieved independence for Mauritius from British rule in 1968. He is revered even today as the father of Mauritius. His son, Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam was Prime Minister from 2004 until December 2014 when Sir Anerood Jugnauth was appointed to serve as Prime Minister of Mauritius.

Mauritians value their freedom from imperial rule and make sure that their children also appreciate it, and all schools make sure that pupils sing their national anthem every day before classes commence.

History Top

Mauritius was formed by underwater volcanic eruptions and is sheltered by natural barriers of coral reefs.  These form natural and crystal clear lagoons which are a popular destination for tourists.

Mauritius was known to Arab traders as early as the 10th century. However, it was only after the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas's arrival on this island that Mauritius became known to the rest of the world. Subsequent to this discovery, Mauritius was occupied by the Dutch from 1598 to 1712 and then by the French from 1715 to 1810.

Through the Treaty of Paris, Mauritius came under the rule of Great Britain. It finally became an independent country on March 12th, 1968. On March 12th 1992, Mauritius removed the Queen of England as Head of State and became a Republic with a President.

Customs Top

The customs and excise department of Mauritius allows passengers who are over 18 years of age to import the following duty-free items: 1 litre of spirits, 2 litres of wine, ale or beer, 250 grams of tobacco (including cigars and cigarettes), one-quarter litre of Eau de Toilette and perfume, which should not exceed 100 ml.