Located in the Indian Ocean; beautiful tropical waters, sandy beaches and dense forests typify Mauritius. These scenic qualities bring visitors from all over world, from island trekkers to newly married couples. In terms of scenic marvels Mauritius has it second to none. It has a excellent array of beaches, mountain ranges and waterfalls. More so with the added backdrop architecture dating back to 1700s and a vibrant city life there is plenty to see and take in.
Its history is a mixed one, for Arab sailors dating back to the tenth century it was the Dina Arabi. In 1505 the Portuguese discovered Mauritius, and thereafter the Dutch, French and British became its masters, all adding their own cultural nuances to the island’s inhabitants. After achieving independence in 1968 the island went through a phase of rapid economic development bringing unprecedented prosperity.
Mauritius’ charm is derived from its rich cultural heritage; inhabitants from African, Indian, Chinese, and European backgrounds mingle and co-exist. One fine example of the island’s eclectic character is the hip swaying Sega dance that was originally brought over by African slaves but now symbolises Mauritian national identity. The island has its quirky side too. It was home to the now extinct dodo bird and for the adventurous it even has shipwrecks dating back to the seventeenth century!
If you like your taste buds to be frazzled and dazzled then welcome to Mauritius the island of creole cuisine. You can try some shark fin, munch through biryani, have fried noodles, and finish off by having the national dish dhol puri and roti. For those gastronomes that like European food don’t despair, daube or coq au vin are just a few of the French dishes the islanders serve. If that’s not enough then you can savour the spicy dishes guaranteed to titillate the taste buds. Chilli mongers should take note of the Mauritius proverb “a good curry must burn twice: the moment you eat it and the day after”.
Demographics and Stats
One of the first of many contradictions of Mauritius is the fact that the ex-British colony, with its English road signs and left hand drive, is in most other respects overwhelmingly francophone. The newspapers and other media are in French, shop assistants, bus conductors, and taxi drivers will all initially address you in French. This is partly a result of the local Creole language, which developed at a time when the colonial masters of the island were from France, but has today absorbed a rich vocabulary which reflects the diverse origins of its people: Tamil, Malagasy, Chinese and English words – like fair play and goal – are all part of this rich linguistic and ethnic heritage of Mauritians.
One of the most important industries in Mauritius after sugar and tourism is textiles, and vast quantities of cotton goods are made for the world market. As many of these manufacturers have ‘factory shops’ Mauritius is a great place to pick up well-made T-shirts, dress-shirts, and some winter clothing much cheaper than their retail price in Europe and America. Look out for respectable local firms like Bon Air knitwear who produce superb, high quality sweaters in wool and cashmere.
Great beachwear and summer clothes are also available from local designers. There are good shopping centres at the waterfront in Port Louis and in the northern resort of Grand Bay, where you can buy anything from craft souvenirs to chic suits and scarves. The fruit jellies and jams on sale at La Corbeille, the Labourdonnais estate shop in the north, and at the airport, make delicious and unusual gifts. The local Bois Cheri vanilla flavoured tea, is an inexpensive and easy-to-carry souvenir.
Opening hours during the week are Mon-Sat 09h30-19h30 and some shops open until noon on Sunday.
There is no system of sales tax refund for foreign visitors to Mauritius.
Currency: Mauritian Rupee (MUR). MUR1=100 cents
Notes: MUR 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000
Coins: MUR5,20, 50 cents & 1, 5, 10 rupee
Credit cards: Credit cards including Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club and Visa accepted in major hotels and restaurants but not generally in smaller establishments.
The island is well connected with a trunk road leading from the airport to Port Louis and Grand Bay. Easy access to most parts of the island make car hire worthwhile in wanting to see the sights and sounds of Mauritius.
If you don't find driving around appealing then you can negotiate a price with the local taxi drivers, it is a good idea to offer them 30% less than what they ask for. Taxis are recognisable by the white number plates with black figures and are usually metered.
More humble transport includes the Mauritius bus service which can reach most parts of the island.
Recommended vaccinations are hepatitis A, typhoid, tetanus and polio. The risk of Malaria is very small but it is advisable to protect yourself against mosquito bites by using a mosquito net and good repellent.
If you have travelled from a destination affected by yellow fever and you are over the age of 1 year, then you will be required to produce a yellow fever certificate.
Should your nationality not be listed above, kindly contact our dedicated consultants for assistance.
The summer season runs from November to April, temperatures during this time are between 26°C and 32°C. Winter is from May to October where the temperature can drop a few degrees between 20°C and 26°C.
The southeast usually receives almost twice as much rainfall. The wettest period is from December to April. It is also during these months that tropical cyclones pass through the island, leading to heavy rainfall and strong winds.