Mauritius (French: Maurice, Mauritian Creole: Moris) is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,300 km (1,400 mi) from the African continent. Mauritius is mostly appreciated by visitors for its natural beauty and man-made attractions, multi-ethnic and cultural diversity, tropical climate, beautiful beaches and water sports.
- 1 Port Louis— capital of Mauritius
- 2 Beau Bassin-Rose Hill, the country's second biggest settlement.
- 3 Curepipe is the largest highland city in Mauritius.
- 4 Quatre Bornes
- 5 Vacoas-Phoenix
- 6 Blue Bay, bluest water and most amazing white sand beaches you will ever see.
- 7 Centre de Flacq one of the most important villages in Mauritius. This meeting point for inhabitants of the East boasts the country’s largest open air market. This extremely colourful market attracts a lot of people.
- 8 Chamarel
- 9 Grand Bay Grand-Baie, a shopping and leisure paradise. With adjoining Pereybère beach resort.
- 10 Flic en Flac, a local fishing village that has expanded to become a popular destination for tourists and expats.
- 11 Mahébourg is one of the main fishing villages on the island.
- 12 Pamplemousses village in the district of the same name
- 13 Souillac A small seaside resort along the rugged coast of the Savanne district. Nearby La Vanille Réserve des Mascareignes.
- 14 Tamarin
- 15 Triolet The longest village on the island, Triolet offers an opportunity to visit the biggest Hindu temple, the Maheswarnath, first built in 1819 in honour of the Gods Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu, Muruga, Brahma and Ganesha.
- 16 Trou d'Eau Douce — Located in the east, visitors may easily visit L'Ile aux Cerf from there
- 1 Agaléga — a pair of outer islands 1000 km north of the main island; home to about 300 people, and now leased to the Indian military
- 2 Rodrigues — a separate island 500 km east of the main island, but under the political control of Mauritius
- 3 Black River Gorges. This national park of 6,574 ha (16,244 acres) was created in 1994 for the protection of Mauritius’ remaining native forests. Visitors can enjoy magnificent landscapes, with endemic plants and rare bird species. A trail leads from the Pétrin information centre to an area of typical plant life and to a conservation area.
- 4 Le Morne cultural landscape. A peninsula and an eponymous mountain in the southwest of Mauritius. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- 5 [dead link] Domaine du Chasseur, ☏ , fax: . Nestled in the Anse Jonchée hills, the Domaine des Grand Bois has splendid hunting grounds covering an area of 900 ha. Stags, monkeys and boars live amidst the luxuriant vegetation of the hillside. One can watch a few species of endangered birds, including the kestrel. The Domaine contains four thatched-roof bungalows and a restaurant with a panoramic sea view. Take an opportunity to enjoy a meal of venison. The view is great and well worth the visit, but the food can best be described as average. The venison is very chewy. There is a steep hike up the hill from the car park to the restaurant. The restaurant offers a 4WD taxi service which is free if you eat one of their overpriced meals, but if you only want a cup of tea or desert they charge Rs230 per person for the 5-minute ride.
- 6 Macchabée - Bel Ombre Nature Preserve.
|Currency||Mauritian rupee (MUR)|
|Population||1.2 million (2017)|
|Electricity||230 volt / 50 hertz (Europlug, BS 1363)|
|Time zone||UTC+04:00, Indian/Mauritius|
|Emergencies||114 (emergency medical services), 995 (fire department), 115 (fire department), 999 (police), 112 (police)|
|edit on Wikidata|
The country consists of the main island of Mauritius and the smaller islands of Rodrigues, the Agalegas and the Cargados Carajos shoals. The British Indian Ocean Territory is claimed by Mauritius and recognised as part of Mauritius by the United Nations, but remains under de facto British control, so we do not cover it here.
The island of Mauritius was first discovered by Arab sailors in the 9th century, though the exact date is unknown. At that time the island was uninhabited and covered in a dense forest. The Arab sailors were not interested in settling on the island which they named Dina Arobi or Dinarobin. Fernandez Pereira, a Portuguese sailor saw the island in 1505 and decided to give it the name of Cerne. However, the Portuguese did not settle permanently on the island either.
The first to colonise the island were the Dutch, who took possession of the island in 1598. The Dutch settlers landed on a bay in the southeastern part of the island which was named Warwyck Haven after the commander Van Warwijck; the bay is now known as Grand Port. Mauritius also got its modern name during this period; the island was named after the Stadtholder of Holland, Maurits van Nassau.
In 1710, the Dutch abandoned the island, leaving behind macaques, the java deer, sugarcane, fugitive slaves and, also, irreversible damage to the endemic and indigenous flora and fauna of the island. The dodo was, by then, extinct due to extensive hunting, the bird being very easy to capture, while the once abundant black ebony tree population was almost completely depleted due to its timber being overexploited.
The French settled on the island in 1712, also landing at the bay in the southeast. They renamed the bay Port Bourbon and renamed the island Ile de France. They settled and established their main harbour on the northwestern side of the island, which was to become Port Louis, the present day capital of the country. The French colonial period led to the economic development of Mauritius. Mahé de Labourdonnais, whose statue can be seen across from the harbour in Port Louis, is known as the founder of the capital city and the island prospered under his governance from 1735 to 1746.
In August 1810, the British tried to take over the island but lost after a fierce battle against the French in the famous Battle of Grand Port – the only naval victory of the French over the British during the Napoleonic period. However, the British came back in December 1810 and defeated the French. From then on, the island was renamed Mauritius and remained under British rule until it attained independence, although the British agreed to allow the locals to continue using the French language.
In 1835, slavery was officially abolished and, as most of the African slaves chose to abandon the agricultural fields and move to small coastal villages, indentured labourers ("coolies") were brought in from India to work in the growing sugarcane industry. To this day, ethnic Indians form the majority in Mauritius, and Mauritius is the only country outside South Asia to have a Hindu majority.
On 12 March 1968 Mauritius became an independent nation within the Commonwealth. Three years before though, the British separated the administration of the Chagos Archipelago from the rest of Mauritius and formed the British Indian Ocean Territory. The government of Mauritius has claimed these islands now used as a joint American and British military base ever since, making the archipelago a disputed territory. Although the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in favour of Mauritius in 2017, the British government does not accept the ruling has refused to hand the islands over to Mauritius.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam also known as the "Father of the Nation" led the island to independence and did a lot to develop the country. During his reign however, Mauritius faced economic difficulties and political turmoil following the postponement of elections for more than 9 years. On 12 March 1992, Mauritius became a republic under the leadership of the then Prime Minister Sir Aneerood Jugnauth.
A stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record means that it has attracted considerable foreign investment and has one of Africa's highest per capita incomes.
Tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May); Natural hazards : Tropical cyclones can occur between November and April, however are most likely from late December until March. Mauritius has only two seasons, winter and summer. Temperatures do not differ greatly over the seasons. The climate on the central plateau is cooler than on the coastal areas.
- The hottest and driest part is the west coast
- The windiest and wettest part is the east coast
- December to February are the hottest months of the year
- The driest month of the year is October
- The coolest months are from June to August
- Mauritius Weather - Current weather report from the Mauritius region.
Mauritius has a population of 1 million inhabitants. While there are no indigenous people on the island, its multiethnic society comprises a mix of Creoles, Chinese, Indians and French who are descendants of colonialism and labour.
Citizens of many countries, including Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and most other OECD countries do not need a visa in advance. For more information, visit the Passport and Immigration Office website.
If you require a visa to enter Mauritius, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no diplomatic post of Mauritius. For example, the British embassies in Al Khobar, Amman, Belgrade, Guatemala City, Jakarta, Jeddah, Pristina, Rabat, Riyadh, Rome and Sofia accept Mauritius visa applications (this list is not exhaustive). British diplomatic posts charge GBP50 to process a Mauritius visa application and an extra GBP70 if the authorities in Mauritius require the visa application to be referred to them. The authorities in Mauritius can also decide to charge an additional fee if they correspond with you directly.
Visitors are required to provide accommodation details to the immigration service on arrival.
If you arrive in Mauritius from a country where malaria is endemic, you may receive a visit from the government health service and be required to give a blood sample for malaria screening.
Air Mauritius is the home carrier and operates a network of routes to the local islands and international destinations in Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia.
International airlines such as Air Belgium, Air France, British Airways, Condor[dead link], Corsair International, Edelweiss Air, Emirates, Eurowings, Evelop Airlines, Kenya Airways, Saudia, South African Airways, TUI Airways, and Turkish Airlines serve Mauritius from their home bases.
The arrivals hall can get congested in the morning when most of the flights from Europe arrive. Immigration officers tend to be quite slow and the whole immigration process can be a frustrating experience.
Vessels that arrive at the port are mainly cargo ships. The Mauritius Pride and the Trochetia are the Mauritian vessels that usually sail to and from Reunion Island, Rodrigues Island and Madagascar. Costa Cruises ships have started an Indian Ocean cruise including a visit to Mauritius.
In 2008, one-way passage prices from Tamatave in Madagascar to Mauritius by boat were €275 first class or €255 second class, compared to €212 to fly from Antananarivo on Air Madagascar. The journey takes at least four days, more if transiting through Reunion. A boat leaves every other Wednesday.
If you are going directly to the port in Tamatave you can negotiate with a boat captain for a non-cabin berth. Visiting the Nautical Club in Tamatave to enquire about yachts that might be heading to Mauritius rarely yields positive results.
- Air Mauritius operates daily flights connecting Plaisance Airport and Rodrigues (flight time - 1 hour 15 minutes). Helicopters are also available for transfers and sightseeing tours.
- Air Mauritius Helicopter, ☏ , [email protected].
- [dead link] Coraline, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Sails once a week to Rodrigues Island and to Reunion island from Port Louis Harbour. Mauritius Pride, launched in 1991, and Mauritius Trochetia, in service since 2001, are the two ships operating on the Reunion route, and also have Madagascar as a destination. Both vessels are used as passenger and container ships.
The modern Metro Express light rail links Port Louis and Curepipe, stopping at Rose Hill, Quatre Bornes and Vacoas-Phoenix along the way. Trains run every 10 minutes from 6 AM to 7 PM, taking around 40 minutes from end to end (Rs 50).
Several fairly good bus services ply the island. Taking the bus is the most economical way of travelling. Air-conditioned buses have been introduced on some routes.
The major bus companies are:
- National Transport Corporation (NTC), ☏ .
- United Bus Service (UBS), ☏ .
- Mauritius Bus Transport (MTB), Long mountain, ☏ .
- Triolet Bus Service (TBS), ☏ .
- Others. Other smaller companies have amusing names such as Apollo and Turbo. In late 2014 local buses were available in the parking area of SSR airport. They are cheap and follow more interesting routes than the luxury ones, but are slower.
Buses are manned by a driver and a conductor who walks around collecting fares and issuing tickets after passengers have boarded. Most conductors are helpful in providing directions to tourists. In the local Creole dialect, the conductors are called con-tro-lair (literally controller).
Try to pay with exact change. Intentional over-charging of tourists is not common.
Taxis are the best way to tour the island. Various tours are available as from Rs2,500: The holy lake, Chamarel 7 coloured earth, Le Morne, dolphin tours in Tamarin and Ile aux cerfs are among the most appreciated by visitors.
Taxis in Mauritius do not use meters. Negotiate the price of your trip before you enter a taxi; otherwise, you may be overcharged.
One major highway runs north to south, otherwise a good network of paved, if sometimes narrow, roads cover the island. Traffic drives on the left and priority is for vehicles coming from the right.
Numerous car hire firms include major international and local car rental agencies. There are various cars and vehicles for every budget. Some of the most popular rental cars categories are, compact (small Japanese cars), SUV, Sedan, 4x4 and luxury models.
Car rental prices in Mauritius average around €25/day. Some unlicensed car owners can offer lower prices, but you should be wary because this is not safe and often comes with numerous additional costs. To be on the safe side, with full insurance, visitors should rent cars from companies holding a tourism enterprise license. These cars are identifiable by their yellow number plates, while private cars have black plates. If you hire a car at the airport keep in mind that you will need to pay a MUR 30 charge when you are leaving the car park, and this has to be paid in cash.
Regulations: drivers are required to be over 18 years old. Most car rental companies in Mauritius require 2 years of driving experience or drivers above 21 years. Speed limits are 110 km/h (68 mph) on the motorway and 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up areas. Seat belts are compulsory. Foreign licences are accepted but should be readable in English or French. If your driving license is in another language, a certified translation (like an International Driving Permit) may be required to rent and drive on the island.
Approximate travel times from Port Louis to other major cities, towns, and resorts in Mauritius:
- Curepipe 30 min
- Grand Baie, North 25 min
- Mahebourg, Southeast 55 min
- Flic-en-Flac, West 30 min
- See also: French phrasebook
Although the official language of Mauritius is English, in practice French is by far the most commonly spoken language, and is widely used in professional and formal settings. English language television programmes are usually dubbed into French. Most subjects are taught in and examined in British English in the education system, meaning that you will be able to communicate with locals in English with varying levels of difficulty.
Mauritian Creole is a French-based creole which has incorporated some words from diverse sources including English, Dutch and Portuguese, and has slight pronunciation differences from French. Although locals generally converse with each other in Creole, standard French is also universally spoken and understood. Virtually everyone working in the tourism industry will be able to speak fairly decent, albeit heavily accented English, and all government departments will have English-speaking staff on duty. Other languages spoken by much smaller numbers include: Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bhojpuri and Mandarin.
Tamils constitute around 10% of the population and speak Tamil.
Northern tourist zone
Grand Bay was the first area of the island to fully experience the tourist boom. A shopping and leisure paradise, Grand Bay is also where Mauritians go when they want a fun-filled night out (restaurants, bars and discos). La Cuvette beach is well worth a visit as well as the wonderful Pereybere public beach is popular because of its shopping facilities, restaurants and pubs.
The SSR botanical garden, Pamplemousses, is the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere. It was founded by Pierre Poivre (1719 – 1786) in 1770, contains some flora unique to Mauritius and covers an area of around 37 ha. It also has several animals, being especially famous for its fish, deer and tortoises, as well as an old replica of a sugar mill.
The eastern part of the island is known for its long sand bank beaches and famous hotels such as "The Coco Beach Hotel" and the 5-star "Le Touessrok".
Centre de Flacq is one of the most important villages in Mauritius. This meeting point for inhabitants of the East boasts the country’s largest open air market. This extremely colourful market attracts a large number of people.
Ile aux Cerfs is a paradise for water sports and has one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius. You cannot afford to miss this tiny island, delicately poised on the ocean, a real pearl in the Mauritian landscape. Price conscious visitors would be well advised to take ample food and drink, as the only bar and restaurant on the island primarily targets well-heeled tourists. Boats depart regularly from Trou d'Eau Douce village in the East (which has some of the best seafood restaurants on the island). There is a variety of vessels that serve the route including catamarans, yachts and "pirate-ships". Some serve food (usually barbecue, especially seafood) on board included in the price and tend to take a detour to the Grand River South East waterfalls for a visit. The island also has a 5-star hotel (Le Touessrok) and a golf course.
Mahebourg is one of the main fishing villages on the island. Built on the magnificent Grand Port Bay, it was founded in 1804 by the French Governor Charles Decaën. The Monday markets are among the biggest and best on the island and are held right next to the main bus station. Just of the coast, as a result of the remarkable work accomplished by the Mauritius Wildlife Fund, Ile aux Aigrettes has become an international standard for the protection of natural resources and endangered species. A few of the world’s rarest birds, including the kestrel, can be seen there. You can also see the extremely rare Pink Pigeon, the Green Gecko Phelsuma and the Aldabra giant tortoise. Also nearby at Vieux Grand Port, the oldest settlement in Mauritius, you can see the ruins of the first Dutch fortifications.
Souillac, a small seaside resort along the rugged coast of the Savanne district. A notable feature is the garden overlooking the sea and named after Dr Charles Telfair. A popular viewpoint at the southern end of the village, right on the cliff top: Gris Gris.
Blue Bay, bluest water and most amazing white sand beaches you will ever see. Take the trip across the island from Port Louis and see what this quiet place has to offer. Very busy with the locals on weekends. Try to go during the week. Glass bottom boats are an excellent outing. Part of Blue Bay has been designated a Marine Park, and the snorkelling trips by boat to this area, offered for sale on the main public beach, are well worth trying.
The west coast has some of the best and longest white sandy beaches on the island. These include Trou aux Biches, winner of the World's Best Beach in the 2011 World Travel Awards; and Le Morne Beach which is shared by a number of 5-star resorts including Paradis Hotel & Golf Club (2012 World Travel Award winner 'Mauritius Leading Golf Resort'), the all-suite Dinarobin Golf & Spa, and Lux Le Morne. There is also a dedicated public beach between Dinarobin and Lux Le Morne. (All beaches in Mauritius are public.)
Flic en Flac, a local fishing village that has expanded to become a popular destination for tourists and expats. Flic en Flac has a very long white sandy beach stretching down the west coast to Tamarin which is enjoyed by locals and tourists. Scuba Diving is the main attraction with excellent diving just a few minutes from the beach. There is a reasonable supermarket and a variety of accommodations and restaurants to suit all budgets.
At Tamarin's beach of white sands and crystal clear waters both novice and expert surfers visit for some of the best waves on the island. The bay also has its own dolphin pod and dramatic views across to the Montage du Rempart, an extinct volcano. Owing to the exceptional high level of sunshine the district receives, Tamarin is the heart of salt production in Mauritius. Just south in La Preneuse are the Martello Towers, a milestone in the island’s history symbolising the end of slavery and the beginning of Indian immigration.
A winding road leads from Case Noyale village to the Seven Coloured Earths of Chamarel, an undulating landscape of different and contrasting shades of colours. The different shades of blue, green, red and yellow are apparently the result of the erosion of the volcanic ash. The neighbouring waterfalls of Chamarel rise from the moors and the native plant life. The site possesses a rare beauty. An adventure park has also been opened at Chamarel.
- 1 Casela, ☏ . Situated in the Rivière Noire district, the Casela Nature & Leisure Park stretches over 25 ha. It contains more than 140 bird species from five continents and is home to many other animals including giant tortoises, zebras, a tiger and ostriches. Activities include walking with lions, Rando Fun (ziplines & hanging bridges), quad, buggy & Segway and a petting farm.
- 2 Yemen. Yemen Reserve may not be the largest game reserve on the island, but there is still lots to see. You will be able to get close to the herds of deer, and admire some splendid species of Mauritian fauna. A few rustic kiosks available in the reserve provide an unobstructed view of the sea. There you can sip a local punch while watching the sun going down.
- Eureka, ☏ , fax: . Is an old Creole residence built in 1830, Eureka is an essential place to visit during your stay in Mauritius if you wish to immerse yourself in tropical sweetness. Includes a tour of the colonial house with the opportunity to purchase overpriced textile products, and a tour of the gardens and a visit to the waterfalls below.
- 3 Ganga Talao - Grand Bassin. Beyond La Marie and Mare-aux-Vacoas is found one of the two natural lakes of Mauritius. It rests within the crater of an extinct volcano. Ganga Talao is an important pilgrimage site and many Mauritians of the Hindu faith walk there during the Maha Shivaratri festival or the night fasting dedicated to Shiva. Gigantic eels live in the lake and are fed by the pilgrims. A walk to the top of the mount beside the lake is recommended for beautiful views over the area known as "Plaine Champagne".
- Views — For a spectacular 360⁰ view of Port Louis and the north, climb Le Pouce or ‘the thumb', at 812 m (2,664 ft). It is an easy 2-hour climb from the village of Petit Verger (near St. Pierre), and takes another 2 hour to walk into Port Louis (map). The top of Signal Mountain also offers a spectacular view of Port Louis and the North. It is much easier to climb Signal Mountain from Labourdonnais Street as there is a tarred jogging track and it takes around 45 minutes to walk to the top. Starting from Saint Louis is also possible.
- Tour the Moka mountains — by quad bike, horse or 4-wheel drive at the accessible 1,500-hectare (3,700-acre) nature park of Domaine Les Pailles. Travel to the sugar mill and rum distillery by train or horse-drawn carriage before dining in one of four restaurants.
- Deep sea fishing — Mauritius is ideally positioned for game-fishing. Depending on the time of year it is possible to catch blue or black marlin, sailfish, wahoo, yellow fin tuna, giant trevally, dogtooth tuna, bonito, dolphinfish, sharks and many more. The majority of the big game fishing boats are well equipped with VHF radio, mobile telephone, GPS navigation system, radar, radio telephone, safety equipment, Penn International reels, life jackets, medical kits, fire extinguishers, flares, and all related fishing equipment such as fighting chairs and rods (usually 9). You can choose between half day and full day fishing trips . Big game fishing is best on the west coast of Mauritius because the currents swirl around the foot of Le Morne, creating a marine environment attractive to bait fish, which in turn attracts the larger fish. Boats usually accommodate up to 5 anglers and full day trips typically include breakfast and lunch in the price.
- Head to Grand Baie — For watersports such as parasailing, an underwater walk, submarine and semi-submersible scooters, or to La Cuvette, a long beach with clear water between Grand Baie and Cap Malheureux, for sailing, windsurfing and waterskiing.
- Safari jeep trips — The Safari Jeep trip takes place in Yemen natural reserve park on the West Coast of Mauritius. It hosts two of the longest rivers on the island – Rivière Rempart and Tamarin River – and is a haven for all sorts of native and exotic wildlife. The actual size of this natural reserve is of around 4,500 hectares. The Yemen Park is the setting for Safari trips where you will have a thrilling ride and will be able to see many beautiful animals such as Zebras, ostriches, African antelopes, Java deer, monkeys, ducks and geese, and will see extraordinary panoramic views of this breathtaking part of the island.
- Safari quad biking trips — Experience an adventurous Quad biking activity in the most amazing natural setting quad-biking activity in the 4,500 ha of Yemen natural reserve park. More than a quad bike outing as it includes a safari. During the trip it is possible to see deers, zebras, ostriches, African antelopes and wild boars.
- Swim — At the northern beaches such as Trou aux Biches, shaded by casuarinas, Mont Choisy, a 2-km (1.2 mi) narrow white stretch of sand curving north from there, and Péreybère, a little cove between Grand Baie and Cap Malheureux.
- Diving — When you dive in Mauritius you can explore coral reefs, multi-coloured marine life, ship wrecks dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, or some ships sunk more recently which create beautiful artificial reefs. There are numerous dive sites strewn all around the island, as well as some near the offshore island of Rodrigues. One of the well-known and popular dive sites in Mauritius is the Cathedral, which is located off the Flic en Flac on the western coast of Mauritius. Other dive sites in Mauritius include the Whale Rock and Roche Zozo that is an underwater rock pinnacle, and the submerged crater near Ile Ronde. Mauritius is almost completely encircled by a barrier coral reef which is home to many sponges, sea anemones and a variety of brightly coloured fish such as Damselfish, Trumpet fish, Boxfish and clown fish, as well as the orange Mauritian scorpionfish. Most of the dive sites are located on the west coast around Flic-en-Flac or in the north, at Trou aux Biches or at the Northern Islands. The best time to go diving is from November to April with very good visibility underwater.
- Speedboat — Rides are available from Trou d'eau Douce to the popular island playground of Ile aux Cerfs for beaches, golf and watersports. Or, for a quieter day, a catamaran to the Northern Islands - Gabriel Island, Flat Island and Gunner's Quoin.
- Hiking and trekking — In Mauritius with breathtaking views of mountains, rivers, and forests. Enjoy a hiking trip through the fields, trekking on a zip line or on a bike, and discover this magnificent nature paradise Mauritius being a volcanic island has several breathtaking summits and valleys to explore on foot. You can visit the Black River Gorges National Park, a 6,794-ha (16,788-acre) forest, to see indigenous plants, birds and wildlife. Black River Peak trail goes to Mauritius' highest mountain, while the Maccabee Trail starts nearby and plunges into the gorge to Black River.
- Tandem skydiving — Experience a 10,000 ft (3,000 m) skydive in Mauritius. Enjoy a spectacular scenic flight and a tandem skydive. Tandem skydiving refers to a type of skydiving where a student skydiver is connected via a harness to a tandem instructor. The instructor guides the student through the whole jump from exit through freefall, piloting the canopy, and landing. The student needs only minimal instruction before making a tandem jump.
- Horse racing — The Mauritius horse racing club commonly called the Champ de Mars was founded in 1812, making it the oldest horse-racing club in the Southern Hemisphere. Horse racing is the most popular sport in Mauritius, and attracts about 30,000 visitors on each race day. The horse racing season usually starts in April and ends in late November. There are an average of 9 and a maximum of 12 horses per race. On average some 60 horses participate on each racing day. It is highly recommended to go and experience the electric atmosphere of horse racing in Mauritius. For those interested it is also possible have a VIP treatment in one of the VIP suites while enjoying snacks and drinks and a clear view of the race from your private balcony
- Parasailing — For those looking for a fun sea-air activity, you can try parasailing. You will be rewarded with a breathtaking bird's eye view of the beautiful lagoon and beaches. The parasailing begins with a short safety briefing. Then you will be taken by boat to the launch pod where you will take off and start the parasailing. No steering is necessary as the sail follows the course of the boat
- Water ski — Water-skiing is one of the most popular water sports in Mauritius. You can enjoy water skiing along several of Mauritius’ coasts or in a few of the lakes. The best area for water skiing is considered to be the north area of the island, along the coasts, where the lagoon provides full protection from the big waves of the open sea and offers ideal water skiing conditions of very calm sea
- Watch dolphins — Go on a speed boat trip and watch dolphins in the open sea. You can choose between 2-hr trip, half-day and full-day trips where you will get to watch with the bottlenose dolphin and the spinner dolphin, which have made of the West Coast of Mauritius a place for them to rest before going to the deep sea for their fishing.
- Walk with lions & cheetahs — Experience a one-on-one encounter with lions and cheetahs. Viewing the lions from very close, see them playing and hopping on the rocks of the river banks and scaling the trees. The lions roam freely amongst the participants giving visitors a rare opportunity of being in close contact with them.
- Blue safari submarine — See the wonderful underwater tropical fish without even getting your feet wet. Going underwater to 35 m depth on board of a real submarine. You will get to visit a shipwreck, explore the rich coral reefs, and observe and encounter various species of fish. The submarine is air-conditioned with transparent-glassed cabin so you will enjoy exceptionally clear panoramic views of the extraordinary underwater world.
- Underwater submarine scooter adventure — Pilot your own underwater scooter, or as a couple, to 3-4 m depth. Comfortably seated one behind the other, you breath freely and naturally in a transparent and panoramic cupola which allow you to enjoy the view of the reef and marine life. In advance you will receive a briefing about the control of the underwater scooter, and will be equipped with a diving suit.
- Sea kayaking — A great way to explore the fine greenery of the lagoons, or the open waters of the Indian Ocean. It is possible to find wide range of sea kayaking trips and packages from breezy, calmer routes, to a few days trip surrounding the island in the deep ocean waters. This is also possible to have a kayak trip to any of the small islets surrounding the main island such as Ile D'Ambre Island.
- Rock climbing — Rock climbing on the South West coast of Mauritius. You will get to experience rock climbing in a beautiful setting Of the Belle Vue Cliffs, where the caves of "La Pointe aux Caves" are nestled and in close proximity from the famous lighthouse of Albion. This a great outdoor sport where you will learn the basic techniques of knots, safe climbing and rock progression from Mauritius’ top professional guides.
- Canyoning — For those seeking more of an adrenalin rush and thrill, canyoning is abseiling down the steep walls of the canyons using nature watercourses and canyoning gear. The canyoning is offered in few locations in Mauritius. The canyoning (known also as canyoneering) in Mauritius consists of travelling in canyons using a variety of techniques that may include walking, climbing, jumping, abseiling, and/or swimming
- Rodrigues island — Tiny, rugged, volcanic it lies 550 km (340 mi) northeast of Mauritius and is known as the ‘anti-stress' island. The capital, Port Mathurin, is only seven streets wide, with a Creole population. Rodrigues offers walking, diving, kitesurfing and deep sea fishing.
Exchange rates for Mauritian rupee
As of January 2023:
Exchange rates fluctuate. Current rates for these and other currencies are available from XE.com
The Mauritian rupee (French: roupie mauricienne) is denoted by the symbol "Rs" or "₨" with or without a full stop and placed before or after the amount (ISO international currency: MUR).
Banknotes come in Rs 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, and 2,000 denominations and you may find Rs 1, 5, 10 and 20 coins in circulation.
Mauritius is not at all like Bali or Thailand. Don't expect the local merchants to be interested in prolonged bargaining. Many shops will not reduce prices, and even at the markets don't expect more than a 10-20% reduction. There are some bargains however as many large brand names clothing companies manufacture in Mauritius, and you can often find over-runs or slightly flawed items at a fraction of the European prices. It is also a good place to find unusual jewellery and handicrafts such as artificial flowers, model boats and wooden art. It is possible to reach the main shopping centres by public transport, or to take a full day shopping tour which includes a driver to take you to the main centres and handicraft workshops.
The Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis offers an variety of shops (including designer shops) and is an ideal place for shopping by tourists. For traditional crafts, a good the place is Port Louis Central Market (Bazaar Port Louis).
Don't hesitate to go to the various restaurants around the island. Although many of them advertise a specific ethnic cuisine, like everywhere around the world they have their own mix of traditional and local. You might discover that 'fried rice' can have more than one flavour.
Gastronomes will find a variety of flavours and aromas inherited from the different migrations through its history. Culinary traditions from France, India, China and Eastern Africa have been passed on through generations.
Depending on the region, rice or a variety of flat bread called chapattis or roti, called farata (paratha) by the local people, is eaten with curries. The extensive use of spices like saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and herbs such as thyme, basil, and curry leaves are the common ingredients that provide some powerful, yet subtle, flavour. Dal, a variety of lentil soup, are many and varied according to the type of lentil used; vegetables, beans, and pickles accompany the dishes. Dholl puri, originally an Indian delicacy, has become the fish and chips for Mauritians.
Biryani from Mughal origins is a dish prepared by the Muslim community, where meat is mixed with spiced rice and potatoes.
You can buy many snacks on the street including the famous gateaux piments (a variant of the Indian vadai; literally, chilli cakes), and vegetable or meat samosas (puffs), along with octopus curry in bread. The tomato and onion based dish called Rougaille (pronounced rooh-guy) is a variation of the French ragoût. The dish usually consists of meat or seafood (corned beef and salted snoek fish rougaille are very popular with the locals). Mauritians eat this dish often if not daily.
Mauritians have a sweet tooth and make many types of 'gateaux', as they are called. You can find a variety of cakes, including some that are very much like those in France and others similar to Indian sweets like gulab jamun and rasgulla.
When leaving Mauritius, don't wait until you go through passport control if you want to have a snack. The coffee shop after passport control is expensive. You would be better off visiting the snack bar before check-in and taking your purchases with you. Remember that you can only take limited amounts of liquids through passport control.
Mauritius produces a wide range of cane rum. It is very cheap and is a nice drink when mixed with cola and ice. A popular drink is coconut water with a dash of lime and a splash of local rum over ice.
The local beer, Phoenix, costs around Rs30 for a pint. Usually served very cold. The local Black Eagle beer, brewed in Nouvelle France is also good.
The Medine Estate Refinery shop at Bambous (4 km from Flic en Flac), on the west of the Island, has a wide variety of locally produced rums and liquors.
There are many international brand hotels in Mauritius but there are some luxurious hotels which are owned by Mauritian companies. An increasing trend is for tourists to choose self-catered bungalows and apartments, many of them located directly on the beach.
Foreigners can buy villas, many of them in compounds located on the beach, through the IRS or RES Scheme.
The crime rate has fallen, and Mauritius is a much safer country for visitors than most other destinations. The Tourism Police and Coast Guards patrol regularly in areas frequented by tourists, and most cities, beaches and other major attractions are under camera surveillance. Nevertheless, you should look out for suspicious behaviour.
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Mauritius is a risk area for infection with dengue fever, also known as "breakbone fever" from the muscular convulsions it causes. No vaccine is available. Dengue re-emerged in 2019 after several dengue-free years, so be sure to take precautious against mosquito bites.
Since 2005 during the high season a certain type of mosquito called the Aedes albopictus causes the viral illness Chikungunya and the insect is more likely to be around in the daytime.
It is important to use anti-mosquito protection at all times. Mosquitoes are more prevalent in rural areas but they can also inhabit the beach in the tourist zone and may lead to swollen joints and/or rashes. Symptoms last from one week up to several months depending how seriously you are affected. Some people recover quickly but it can take several months to recover completely.
In 1991 86% of the population had antibodies indicating that they had been exposed to the hepatitis A virus, following an epidemic of the disease in 1989. Hepatitis A vaccination is generally recommended for travel in East Africa (and most other places) by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Depending on the time of the year, many of the beaches are infested with sea urchins, and it is not uncommon to see broken glass on the beach or in the water. It is a very good idea to either buy or bring plastic/wet shoes when venturing into the water. This is generally not a problem at the big hotels as the designated swimming areas on the beaches are regularly cleaned of urchins and debris. Use wet shoes nonetheless.
Reef fish in Mauritius have been found to contain a neurotoxin similar, but not identical, to that found in Caribbean reef fish.
It is important not to eat peanuts or drink alcohol if you eat coral or reef fish like sea bass, snapper, mullet, and grouper. The fish eat the toxic algae that grows on the coral reefs. Don't eat intestines or testes of the fish as higher concentrations of the toxin collect here. The symptoms include gastrointestinal upset, vomiting and diarrhoea and sometimes loss of feeling in the limbs.
The tap water is generally considered potable and most Mauritians drink it, but for visitors who aren't used to it, bottled water is recommended.
At nearby island Réunion you can get treatment with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).