Mauritius is an amazing island that attracts tourists with its rich flora and fauna, paradisiacal landscapes, colourful sandy beaches and always warm sea. Despite the small size of the island, everyone can find a corner to their liking. The people here are very open, friendly and independent and will be happy to introduce you to their homeland. Welcome to Mauritius, it’s waiting for you!
Mauritius on the map
Geographical location of the country
Mauritius is an island country in the south-western part of the Indian Ocean. Geographically, the country belongs to Africa, to the shores of the island of Madagascar from Mauritius a little over 900 kilometres strictly to the west.
In addition to the main island of Mauritius, the country includes another large island Rodrigues and many smaller ones. The total area of the islands is 2000 square kilometres.
Safety for tourists
Mauritius is considered one of the safest countries for tourists. And there is nothing surprising in this – the island is very small, everyone knows each other and therefore there are almost no criminals here. Road traffic is also safe, there is no daredevilry on the roads here. You do not have to be afraid of poisonous animals here, either – there are none.
But there are a lot of wasps in Mauritius, and this is noted by all travellers. If you do not touch wasps – there is no danger, but it is worth to annoy these insects, and you can get a lot of stings.
Another potential danger of the island are sea urchins. Among them there are not only prickly, but also poisonous. Therefore, it is better to enter the sea in slippers.
But tourists do not need to be afraid of sharks. Mauritius is surrounded by a dense wall of coral reefs and therefore sharks simply can not get close to the beaches of the island.
Mauritius has 15 official public holidays, both secular and religious. Some of them are date-specific, such as New Year’s Day or Independence Day on 12 March. Another depends on the religious calendar: Mahashivaratri, Diwali or Ugadi, the lunar New Year.
Mauritius has a very large Hindu population, and it is not surprising that the festivals of this religion are celebrated here with a special scale. But officially some sacred holidays of Muslims are also celebrated here.
Among other interesting holidays, which Mauritians and tourists love so much, are Chinese and Tamil New Year, Holi – spring festival of colours.
What fun things to do in Mauritius
Due to its size and geographical location, Mauritius provides only certain types of activities for tourists.
- Beach holidays. The beaches of the island are famous for their snow-white sand and perfectly clean sea. There is a well-developed beach infrastructure, a lot of hotels and bungalows, near shopping centres, markets, even hospitals. Among the most popular beaches are Grand Bay and Pereybere.
- Diving and windsurfing. Mauritius is surrounded by fabulously beautiful coral reefs, and diving in the underwater world here gives a lot of impressions and positive emotions. And near Cape Le Morne there is a world-famous windsurfing base, suitable for both professionals and beginners.
- Sea excursions by yacht. Tourists are given a unique opportunity to observe the life in natural conditions of many sea creatures: dolphins, whales, turtles.
- Thematic excursions around the island. Tourists can get acquainted with the life of the local population, visit sugar cane and tea plantations, see the sights of the capital Port Louis.
- Natural attractions. Despite its small size, Mauritius has a number of very interesting and colourful sights. Among them are many waterfalls, the crater of an extinct volcano, the sacred Grand Bassin Lake, exotic islands covered with palm trees.
- Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere is located in Mauritius and is called Pamplemousse. It has the richest collection of exotic plants. Kassel Zoo is also very popular with tourists, because here you can observe and communicate with animals in their natural habitat.
- Golf. Golf courses on the island are considered one of the most beautiful in the world. Here you can learn this aristocratic game or improve your skills.
What is important to know about Mauritius
If you are planning to visit Mauritius, here are some of the most important things to know:
Mauritius does not officially have a national language of choice. The majority of the population speaks English. It was Britain that ruled Mauritius for the last 150 years of its colonial history, from 1815 to 1968, when the country gained independence.
French is also spoken on the island, as France also ruled Mauritius for over 100 years.
However, the language most commonly heard here is Mauritian Creole, a mixture of French, English, Portuguese and Hindi.
The islands are currently home to just over 1.3 million people. The majority of the population is made up of English-speaking natives of India – over 700,000 of them. Approximately one third of the population is mestizo, the descendants of mixed marriages of French and Malagasy.
The islands are also inhabited by pure-blooded French, about 2% of them, and a significant Chinese diaspora.
More facts about Mauritians, their character and local colour can be found in this article.
The official currency of the country is the Mauritian rupee. The smaller changeable coin is the cent. One rupee contains one hundred cents.
Monetary units of other countries do not have circulation in Mauritius, even euros or dollars to pay for anything will be very problematic. But you can exchange dollars and euros in the branches of any bank on the island. The exchange rate is fair, fraud is practically absent here.
According to tourists’ reviews, it is still better to bring euros, because Mauritius is almost France.
Mauritius can be called a country of three religions. About half of the population professes Hinduism, a little less – Christianity. Among Christians, most of them are Catholics, the rest are Protestants. About 17 per cent of Mauritians are Muslims.
Mauritius is located at 20 degrees south latitude, which is just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. It is therefore always hot and humid.
The islands are dominated by a tropical monsoon climate, which is characterized by dry and wet seasons. But not in the case of Mauritius. Here, the rains are completely unpredictable and can start at any moment. Although, to be fair, it should be noted that in September-November rains are the least, this is the dry season of Mauritius.
Mauritius is located in the Southern Hemisphere, and winter here falls in May-August. At this time, real cold weather is not uncommon, when the air temperature drops to +20 degrees centigrade. The record minimum temperature here is recorded at +10 degrees Celsius.
Summer, which is December-February, is humid and hot in Mauritius. The temperature rises above +30 degrees almost every day, and at night it drops to +25 degrees.
Spring and autumn are considered the ideal time to visit the island. At this time, the humidity decreases and the daytime temperature stays around +25 degrees Celsius.
Sea water temperature
Swimming in Mauritius is possible in any season and the water temperature always remains within a comfortable range. The difference in temperature between seasons is not significant and is only 4 degrees Celsius.
- In summer (December-February) the water temperature is around 27-28 degrees Celsius.
- In autumn (March-May) the temperature drops to 26–27 degrees.
- In the winter (June-August) the water becomes less hot and reaches 23-24 degrees Celsius.
- In spring (September-November), the water temperature gradually rises to 25-26 degrees Celsius.
Mauritius is an island and is characterized by natural disasters due to the oceanic location of the archipelago.
First, these are cyclones. They are regular on the islands, and there are especially many cyclones in the last summer months: February-March. At this time cyclones form every evening and sometimes acquire the character of destructive hurricanes. The island has a hurricane warning system and tourists are advised to follow the instructions of the local security services.
Earthquakes are another possible natural disaster. Mauritius is a volcanic island and although eruptions have long since ceased, the risk of earthquakes remains. Sometimes they can be catastrophic and reach a magnitude of 6-7.
The island can also be at the mercy of a tsunami, a huge wave caused by an earthquake or volcanic eruption. In the history of the island, there are several cases of tsunamis of 15 metres or more in height.
But other natural disasters, typical for mainland countries, in Mauritius can not be feared. There are no forest fires due to high humidity, no dust storms, avalanches or landslides.
You can read about the most devastating disasters in the history of Mauritius in this article.
Mauritius is a parliamentary republic. Its official head is the President, elected for 5 years. The executive power is represented by the Government, which is headed by the Prime Minister. The supreme body of legislative power is the National Assembly, it is unicameral and consists of 70 deputies.
The state is divided into 9 administrative districts and 3 dependent territories.
The major cities and resorts
Port Louis. The largest city, port and at the same time the capital of Mauritius. It was founded in 1835 as the main base for French ships sailing from the Cape of Good Hope to Asia. Now in Port Louis itself and its suburbs live 670 thousand people, which is more than half of the total population of the island. Many colonial buildings have survived, including the Old Citadel and the former governor’s residence. There is a beautiful botanical garden near the town.
Maebourg. Founded by the French in 1808, it is a fortress city near the Grand Port Bay. It has a population of 15,000 and is famous for its beautiful beach area, above which rises Lion Mountain. There are colonial period houses, the Château Robillard and a beautiful church.
Cuerpipe. Nicknamed “City of Light” for the fact that it was here that electric lighting first appeared in Mauritius. Here live 79 thousand people. Kurpipe is considered the business centre of the country, and tourists are attracted here by the extinct crater of the Trou aux Cerfs volcano.
Symbols of Mauritius
In the minds of millions of tourists, Mauritius is primarily a Paradise island with beautiful beaches and coral reefs. But the island is also famous for its unique flora and fauna. It is home to many endemics, birds and animals that are found nowhere else in the world. Two of them are considered the symbols of Mauritius.
The Dodo bird. Otherwise, known as the dodo. This large flightless bird lived in the forests of the island until 1760, when it was officially declared extinct. European colonists and their pets were to blame for its extinction. The Dodo became world famous thanks to Lewis Carroll, who made the bird a character in his fairy tale “Alice in Wonderland”. Today, the dodo is depicted on the coat of arms of Mauritius.
Zanbar. This animal of the deer family is not indigenous to the island. Zanbars were brought to Mauritius by the Dutch from Java. The animal took root and is now considered one of the symbols of the island. The Zanbar is also depicted on the coat of arms of the state.
Cane. This is the main agricultural plant on the island. Almost 90 per cent of the land in Mauritius is planted with sugar cane, and its contribution to the island’s economy is so great that the plant is even on the national emblem.
How to get to Mauritius
The only air harbour through which a tourist can reach Mauritius is the international airport near Mahebur, named after Sir Sivusagur Ramgoolam. Airlines from France, UK, Australia, Germany, China, Emirates, China, Emirates and many other countries fly here.
The only alternative to air transport is cruise ships, but this route is not only longer but also more expensive. There are regular flights to Port Louis by liners from Seychelles and Dubai.
How much money to take with you
Tourist vouchers to Mauritius are considered quite expensive. A significant part of them is the cost of the flight to this remote corner of the globe. The cost of a ten-day tour for two people here starts from 2500 dollars.
But the holiday itself is quite affordable, prices for food, excursions, beach entertainment are quite democratic. Lunch on the beach will cost only 10–20 euros for two people, in a restaurant – 50 euros. Prices for excursions start from 5 euros, a tour with a dolphin – 100 euros.
Thus, the minimum budget for two people for a ten-day stay will be from 800 to 1000 euros. But, of course, it is always better to have a small reserve for unexpected expenses.
If you have already visited this country, please share your impressions in the comments. Please write a few words, what you liked most of all in the country, what moments remained in your memory forever, and what you would recommend to other tourists. We will be very grateful for your recommendations!