Mauritius is located in the Indian Ocean about 800km east of Madagascar and 2,000 km off the nearest point of the African mainland and is considered the most accessible island in the Indian Ocean. This small sub-tropical island occupies an area of 1864 km2 and was shaped by two series of volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Mauritius is mostly of volcanic formation and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs. A coastal plain, widest in the north, rises sharply to a 1,500 ft high plateau bordered by three mountain ranges – the Black River Range, the Grand Port Range, and the Moka Range. The longest river is the Grand River South East, about 25 miles in length.
Some Interesting facts about Mauritius
- The West Coast is considered the hottest part of Mauritius
- The Windy part of Mauritius is the East coast
- The Tamarind Falls is the highest waterfall in Mauritius
- The Mont Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire is the highest point in Mauritius with a height of 828m.
- The longest River of Mauritius is Grand River South East and measures 34m long.
- The hottest months in Mauritius are from December to February
- The coolest months are from June to August
- October is the driest month in Mauritius
- The First Europeans to visit Mauritius were the Portuguese
- Mauritius was named after the Prince of Netherlands, Maurice de Nassau, after the Dutch claimed the island in 1598
- The Dodo, a big flightless bird, was unique to Mauritius. It is now extinct.
- Mauritius got its Independence on 12 March 1968 and became a Republic in 1992.
- Languages spoken in Mauritius are English, French and Creole
Lying in the heart of the Indian Ocean, 800km to the East of Madagascar, Mauritius is surrounded by shimmering lagoons fringed by golden beaches. It is a haven where lush vegetation blends into the cobalt blue of the ocean.
Today, the diversity of its population brings a new dimension to the spectacular scenery of the island. The traveller will not only experience the legends of India, but also the subtle shades of China. He can discover a small piece of Africa, whilst still benefiting from European-style living. The official language is English but almost everyone speaks French and the Mauritian Creole, a very colourful dialect. The different cultures and religions co-exist in harmony. This results in numerous religious festivals, varied cooking, and bright displays of different dress. Mauritius has become a world-renowned holiday and incentive destination due mainly to the high quality of its hotel industry and the legendary hospitality of its people.
English is the official language in Mauritius and is widely understood and spoken. French and Creole are used in everyday life.
The Island is ideally located and virtually in the centre of the Southern Indian Ocean (GMT +4) which reduces the time differences between its main markets. Mauritius is two hours ahead of South African time April through to October and three hours ahead of South Africa end October to end March when they change their clocks to allow for daylight saving time.
Monday to Friday: 09h00 – 17h00
Saturday: 09h00 – 13h00
Sunday: 09h00 – 12h00
Curepipe & Rose Hill
Monday to Friday: 09h00 – 18h00 (Excl. Thursday)
Thursday & Sunday 09h00 – 12h00
Saturday: 09h00 – 17h00
Monday to Thursday: 09h15 – 15h15
Friday: 09h15 – 17h15
Saturdays: 09h30 – 11h30
(Commercial banks are closed on Sundays)
Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts), Primary Socket Types Euro, Schuko & British
The tipping regime is not invasive or compulsory and still remains a gesture of genuine appreciation from you as the guest. As a general guide, anything between 50 and 200 rupees for any particular service such as taxi ride, is more than sufficient. Tipping “as you go” in the hotel is not required and you can simply add on an appropriate amount say 5% – 10% of you incidental expenses when you pay your bill on departure. Government tax is already added to bills.
Before travelling to Mauritius, please consult with your doctor, Physician or travel clinic for any updated health requirements. The Island is Malaria and Yellow fever-free. Visitors who have passed through Yellow Fever areas will be requested to produce their yellow fever vaccinations.
It is highly recommended that travel insurance is purchased prior to departure in case of accident or illness. Mauritius is adequate for general medical complaints, but critical conditions will require international medical attention.
The local currency is the Mauritian rupee. You can exchange your foreign currency at all Mauritian banks, at hotels, as well as at the airport. Alternatively you can draw cash on your credit card at an ATM. We recommend you change the currency in Mauritius. Approximately USD100.00 in Mauritian Rupees would be more than enough for the duration of your stay. You can also pay with Euro’s, South African Rand and USD but please be aware that the locals may take advantage of this and charge you at an unfavorable rate of exchange.
Exempted materials: Used clothes and personal items and other articles already used that is required for the stay; 250 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco; 1 litre of spirits and 2 litres of wine or beer, 25 cl of perfume. Guns and bullets must be declared. A permit from veterinary service of the ministry of agriculture is required for import of living animals. Dogs and cats must be quarantined for six months as from the date of their arrival. For flowers plants or fresh fruits, permits must be obtained from the ministry of agriculture prior to the importation. Import of sugar cane is strictly prohibited. Permit for delivery/inspection of plants and animals: Ministry of Agriculture, Reduit, Tel : (230) 454 1091
As this information changes on a regular basis, we suggest that you contact your local Mauritian consulate to verify passport and visa information.
- Nationals that do not require visas, must produce a valid passport (validity of 6 months from date of entry) at the time of entry.
- Visitors are permitted to land for a stay not exceeding three months provided they have in their possession a valid passport duly visaed, return or onward passage tickets and adequate funds
- Issuance of visa requires at least one month
- No fee is claimed for issuance of visa.
- Visa required, except for:
- (a) holders of British Passports endorsed “British Citizen” or “British Dependent Territories Citizen”,
- (b) Nationals of: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany Utd, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland (Rep.), Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Papua, New Guinea, Portugal, Qatar, Samoa (Western), San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore.
- (c) Solomon isl, South Africa, Spain, St. Christopher, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, U.S.A., Vanuatu, Vatican City, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
- A visa of 2 weeks will be issued upon arrival to holders of passport from the countries mentioned above as well as citizens of Europe. Any extensions must be requested at the ”Passport and Immigration Office” Sterling House, Port Louis only if these foreigners have a valid return ticket or travel document internationally recognized and enough funds to cover the cost of their stay.
- Nationals of all other countries require a visa to enter Mauritius.
- Indian Nationals: Original passport required.
Mauritius is so much more than a tropical beach holiday destination. Aside from its magnificent coastlines, ash-white beach sand and never-ending sapphire ocean, the island is also a rich cultural hub of history, landmarks and tradition.
The easiest, but in our view the least enjoyable, way of seeing something of the Island is to hitch up on one of the guided excursions. Please discuss “getting around” safely with your travel designer. The tours are all quite reasonably priced and it is usually best to check what is on offer from each hotel. The bigger hotels have representative desks. Whilst at the smaller hotels, they will only visit for a few hours each day. The second option is to hire a car for a couple of days. Driving is on the left. The roads are pretty reasonable and Mauritian driver are generally fairly safe, but the maps and the signposting can be a little erratic particularly if you stray off the main routes. As long as you have a good sense of direction, you are not in a hurry and are reasonably adventurous then self driving is not a problem. If you are contemplating this option don’t forget to take your driving license which is recognized on the Island. You are required to drive with your driving license at all times. An International driving license, although valid is not a pre-requisite. The third option and is possibly the best one is to hire a car and a driver for the day. It is not overly expensive and usually around USD150.00 for the day. This way you are guaranteed not to get lost. The drivers are very amenable, easy going and well versed about the various attractions, and will chat away if required or remain tactfully silent if you are non-committal. They will also wait for as long as you want when you stop for visits, lunch, shopping and so on.
Rhumerie De Chamarel
In the south-west of Mauritius, in the heart of a fertile valley, lies the Rhumerie de Chamarel. Situated in the “Coloured Earths of Chamarel”, one of Mauritius’ most popular attractions, the road to the Rhumerie is lined with sugar plantations, growing side by side with pineapples. It is a sight to behold and a feast for the senses. Steeped in authenticity, the Rhumerie offers guests a guided tour of the distillery and rum tasting. Don’t forget to visit L’Alchimiste restaurant for a delicious traditional meal.
L’Aventure Du Sucre
Travel back in time and visit this fully restored sugarcane factory. Explore the intriguing world of sugar production and how central it is to the island’s culture.
Casela Bird Park
No trip to an exotic island would be complete without marveling at its bird life. More than 2 500 birds, of 140 species, inhabit the Casela Bird Park. Among the specimens from five continents, the Mauritian Pink Pigeon is one of the rarest birds in the world. Choose a quad or a Segway to travel around the park on a guided excursion.
Pamplemousse’s Botanical Gardens
The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens at Pamplemousses are just north of Port Louis. Although not up to comparisons with Kew, they are lovely and peaceful and are famous for their giant water lilies and talipot palms, which flower just once in their 60-year life. You will find the gardens are cool and relaxing after the heat of the beaches. The gardens were started in 1735 as the Governor’s vegetable patch! Over the years, exotic palms and shrubs have been planted. Nothing is labeled but if you are interested in identification, there are plenty of guides who are eager to show you round; you shouldn’t pay more than MRs 200 for a guide, although they will certainly demand more!
Domaine les Pailles
This is a superb living museum of Mauritian life. It has an old fully working sugar mill like those that were once found throughout the island. There is also a small safari park, miniature railway, craft workshops and an exotic garden. Domaine les Pailles is also the very best place to sample the amazing variety of Mauritian cuisine, with no fewer than five restaurants, each dedicated to a different national theme.
Cap Malheureux and the North Coast
The northern coastal road is very attractive and will take you through the tiny fishing village of Cap Malhereux and Pereybere, a busy little place with an attractive public beach and a few cafes. There are some beautiful homes along this stretch of coastline worth millions of Mauritian rupees! Take one of the minor roads off the coast road and you will be surrounded by sugar cane, still Mauritius’ number one cash crop. The fields seem endless and the plants at least twice the height of a standard car! We would suggest having lunch at Paradise Cove Hotel. (Tel 204 4000) You would need to pre-book. Their lunch menu is predominantly seafood and the setting is charming.
After Cap Malhereux, continue along the coastal road to Grand Baie. Grand Baie is a lively bustling village with travel agencies, banks, restaurants, bars and a shopping mall called Sunset Boulevard. It also offers some good tax-free shopping. The bay itself is very attractive with a panoramic view over the turquoise water. Should you need it for anything, there is a good supermarket called Super U with parking. There are plenty of restaurants within a 15 minute radius of Grand Baie which we can personally recommend and they are Le Capitaine which is very reasonably priced and has lovely sea view and specializes in seafood (Tel 263 8108) or Le Bistro du Bacchus. After Grand Baie, continue along the coastal road past Pointe aux Cannoniers and onto the beautiful public beach at Mon Choisy. Le Pescatore Restaurant, between Grand Baie and Mon Choisy is one of the best restaurants on the island and, as the name suggests, they specialize in seafood. The setting is fabulous as are their prices. If you are interested in purchasing paintings or prints of Mauritius, we would recommend Gallery Helene de Senville (Tel: 00230 263 7426) which is near Trou aux Biches. She has a selection of mostly Mauritian art, some done in a traditional style, including very attractive land and seascapes of the island. She also has shops at the Caudan Centre in Port Louis and one in Curepipe. Beautiful children’s clothes, smocking dresses and pyjamas that are exported to Europe and to shops like Harrods, can be purchased for a third of the UK price at La Maison Broderie, almost opposite the gallery. Great for Christmas and birthday shopping!
Port Louis is the bustling capital of Mauritius, bursting with a colourful history and a soulful character. Port Louis reflects the cosmopolitan population that is Mauritius, with fantastic markets that exude the aroma of exotic spices and offer all sorts of treasures. For more high-end and designer finds, visit the Caudan Waterfront.
Ile aux Cerfs
This island is a public beach, only a ten minute boat ride from Le Touessrok Hotel on the east coast. It is truly beautiful and regularly features in posters and advertising campaigns for Mauritius. A spectacular lagoon with white, palm fringed beaches and every conceivable type of water sport is available here, including speedboats, excursions and crewed catamaran trips to the reef. There are two restaurants and a few stalls selling local crafts. However avoid it at weekends as it gets very crowded with locals and gets quite touristy.
This is a bustling country town, almost in the centre of the hilly interior. If you are on a tour going to the south of the island, to Black River Gorge or Grand Bassin, it is probably worth a stop. The shops are very good and are usually cheaper than those in the more touristy areas like Grand Baie or The Caudan Centre in Port Louis.
Black River Gorge National Park
This is well worth a trip as the scenery is spectacular and, at various viewpoints, you get some panoramic views over the gorges to the coastline and reefs. Visit the Chamarel Falls, which, at 100 meters, are the highest in Mauritius. Further down the same dirt road you will find the Chamarel Colored Earth, which is an area with seven distinct layers of different colored earth, caused by cooling molten lava.
This is a majestic rock mountain in the far southwest that stands over a peninsula occupied by Le Paradis Hotel. The drive down to Le Paradis from the Chamarel Falls is spectacular. We would highly recommend lunch at The Varangue Sur Morne Restaurant.
Chamarel is an exquisite gorge that unfolds below your feet to reveal undulating colours of green, blue, red and yellow. A nearby waterfall plunges into the gorge and reveals luscious vegetation surrounding the entire area. This is a must-visit.
One of the main fishing centres in Mauritius and a lovely spot to shop for bargains.
One of the natural wonders Mauritius is most famous for is a collection of natural lakes that rest in a volcanic crater. The local Hindu population considers it a holy place of worship. Don’t miss out on a visit to this wondrous, soul-reviving place.
Valley of Ferney
Take a look at history and wildlife in the region. See how ecotourism and responsible conservation have protected the island’s rare and beautiful fauna and flora.
Experience the very best of Mauritian hospitality at this table d’hôte, and taste the lively and vibrant flavours of genuine, homemade Creole cuisine.
Since the country was declared a Duty Free destination, Mauritius has become one of the world’s most coveted shopping attractions. Luxury goods, designer clothing, cameras and electronics – shopping up a storm is much more fun at duty free prices!
- The Grand Bazaar in Grand Bay. Choose from row upon row of casual and formal clothing, beautiful linen, crafts and much more, at smile-worthy prices.
- Floreal Square houses a Textile Museum and a café. Twelve factory and duty free shops will ensure you are spoiled for choice of adult and children’s wear, home ware, silk, jewellery, handmade carpets and fine food.
- The Mauritius Glass Gallery in Pont Fer Phoenix. So much more than a shopping hub, here you can watch as skilled craftsmen bring recycled glass back to life using traditional techniques.
- Caudan Waterfront. A modern precinct known for its designer shops and duty free jewellery but also for its cosmopolitan craft market, covering two floors of spices, souvenirs, basketry and craftsmen at work.
- Gallerie des Iles in Curepipe. If you appreciate culture and art, this is a must.
If you can tear yourself away from the beach to explore the island of Mauritius, you’re in for the adventure of a lifetime. Connect to the raw wonders of nature and discover secrets in deep ravines and towering volcanic peaks. Join a tour at Eau Bleue Waterfalls for abseiling, mountain bike riding and kayaking. Hop on a ‘big cat’ for a day-cruise to the islands off the north of Mauritius, east to Ile aux Cerfs or west from Rivière Noire to Ile aux Bénitiers. Indulge in your spirit of adventure with quad biking expeditions in the lush hilltop greenery of Valriche to the south-west. Smart two-seater quad bikes are perfect for an adrenaline-filled ride through the lush vegetation, over rivers and through streams at an exhilarating pace. Excursions are subject to a minimum number of participants.
Test your resilience and bravery with an expedition through a natural forested area where you can meander along shady paths and lose yourself in the lush forestry of the region. Cross footbridges high above the trees and enjoy the view beneath you.
Les Cerfs Volants – Zip Line Cable Ride
See the sugar cane fields, waterfalls, forests and rivers like you’ve never seen them before! Fly through the trees on a zip-line cable ride that stretches 2km over the Rivière des Galets. An extraordinary highlight of this adventure is a hidden spot surrounded by high trees and a magnificent waterfall, where you can enjoy a swim in the coolest, purest water you’ve ever experienced.
Perfect beaches are just the start of the appeal of mountainous Mauritius. Enjoy a multi-dimensional island experience.