General Travel Information
|Full Name||Republic of Mauritius|
|Location||Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagas|
|Capital City||Port Louis (Population 150,000)|
|Area||1,860 sq km (718 sq miles)|
|Time Zone||4 Hours ahead (GMT/UTC + 4)|
|Languages||Official languages – English and French, Other Languages – Creole, Hindi, Bhojpuri, Urdu and Chinese.|
|Country Dialing Code||230|
|Religion||Hindu (51%), Christian (30%), Muslim (17%), other (2%)|
|Currency||Mauritius Rupee (Rs).|
|Electricity||220 volts AC, 50Hz. UK-type three-pin plugs are commonly used in hotels.|
|Visa Requirements||Not required when traveling from UK|
|Approx Flight Time||Around 11 hours from London|
|Health and Vaccination||No vaccination certificates are required for entry into Mauritius, unless traveling from a country infected by yellow fever or where yellow fever is classified as endemic. Typhoid and hepatitis vaccinations are recommended. Please consult your GP for the latest advice.|
|Tipping||Tipping: Tipping in Mauritius is entirely discretionary. However, some extra money paid for services, such as a taxi ride, is appreciated. In the hotels travelers can add around 5% of their incidental expenses when paying the bill on departure, if service has been good. Government tax is added to all hotel and restaurant bills and this is included in the basic price. However, all incidental hotel expenses will incur a 12% tax, which is generally included in the price quoted.|
|Customs||Homosexuality is illegal in Mauritius. Penalties for drug trafficking and use are severe, and any personal medicinal drugs should be covered by a prescription. Scheduled drugs, such as psychotropic preparations (e.g. tranquillisers, hypnotics), narcotics (e.g. morphine) and other strong painkillers require by law authorisation before import.|
Mauritius Weather and Seasons
Usually in winter (means May to October) the highest temperatures vary between 20°C and 26°C in the coastal regions. In summer (November to April) it’s slightly higher, meaning 26°C to 32°C .The water temperature of the Indian Ocean can go up to 28°C. Usually wind is blowing quiet steady from easterly directions.
Important to know: Mauritius has a micro-climate: it could rain cats and dogs where you are. Only a few kilometers away sun is shining and no cloud in sight. If you wake up in the morning with a gray sky, majority of the time the sky will be blue in couple of hours.
Just for a better understanding below is some average data about the climate in Mauritius
Things To Do and Things To See in Mauritius
Known as the Jewel of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius has become a holiday destination renowned worldwide for luxurious hotels and breath-taking beauty.
This tropical island boasts a multitude of high class hotels, resorts and accommodation set in some of the most beautiful scenery. Approximately a million people a year are fortunate enough to visit and enjoy the stunning beaches, coral reefs, the friendly service, culture and sights this island offers.
Visitors are drawn to Mauritius by the reputation of its 140 km of white sand and the superb opportunities for water sports. Scuba diving, water skiing, snorkelling, windsurfing, kayaking are often free in your hotel, or are available at busier public beaches. For the more adventurous there are opportunities for submarine trips including brand new submarine scooters, parasailing, deep sea fishing. I strongly recommend taking the Undersea Walk excursion, it is truly something to remember.
Mauritius hotels range from the modest up to 6 stars, the hotels on offer in the international agents brochures offer excellent standards of service and facilities and international quality food, freshly prepared from the day’s catch and from the chef’s favourite local farms.
Hotels are located all around the coastline, separated into several main areas, Grand Baie in the North of the island is the liveliest and most popular area, here there are bars, nightclubs and the main shopping areas for tourists.
Best Beaches in Mauritius
Beaches are beautiful, plentiful, safe and of the finest coral sand. The white sand gently mixes with the remarkably clear turquoise sea, look carefully and you’ll see small fish swimming in the shallows of the natural lagoon while much further out the ocean waves break on the reef.
The local’s favourite is Pereybere, this public beach offers safe swimming on a very soft sand in a small bay with ample place to lie in the sun or take in a relaxing drink at the nearby beach cafe. Just off the coast road from Grand Baie, there are a few villas and shops, with room for parking.
La Cuvette, just at the top of Grand Baie is another favourite spot with locals, though close to the main tourist trap this hidden little spot is rarely found by tourists.
Across the island you’ll find long stretches of beach in most resort towns, such as Belle Mare, Trou Aux Biches and Flic en Flac. These long stretches consist of public beaches and frontages of hotels. The public beaches are quieter during the week and are a magnet for Mauritian families at weekends, whether quiet or busy they are generally safe,with the odd hawker trying to sell glass bottom boat tours or day trips. Civil in their persistence, they will generally leave you alone once it’s clear you won’t be buying, if you do decide to buy take common sense precautions like ensuring the boat is shared with others and that there are life preserverson board. The glass bottom boats are generally worth the fee as you get to see some stunning fish and coral.
Tamarin Bay Beach is worth a visit. Very occasionally huge surf comes right through a break in the surrounding coral reef and finds its way to the Bay of Tamarin on Mauritius’ southwest shore. Because of the topography of the island at this point, the breakers can be very sweet. Tamarin Bay, or Baie du Tamarin, is shallow salt flats. The beach is very nice, and there are some nice facilities nearby. But Tamarin Bay has sort of a rough around the edges feel for Mauritius. Beyond the palm and casuarina trees lies some grand landscape. Close by you’ll find the forest and mountains – well, part of the volcano that was here eons ago. It’s worth the time to check it out by trekking to the trees and taking in nature at its best.
In the South, Blue Bay is a favourite place as the glass bottom boats take you on a tour of the coral nature reserve, a protected site teeming with fish in this 50m deep natural lagoon. A net protects swimmers from the shelf edge that drops from 2m to 50m in an instant. The depth of the lagoon gives the bay it’s name as the water is a very deep blue when viewed from the air. You may see it from your aircraft as the flight path often takes you overhead.
Ile aux Cerfs – This is surely one of the top destinations on the island. There are two small islands, situated off the coast by Trou D’Eau Douce, accessible by boat from the town or by speed boat from the boathouse at the luxury Touessrok Hotel, you are dropped at a jetty and then meander through a small series of smalls to a stunning location, consisting of white sandy beaches, incredible distances of shallow water out towards the reef, you can parasail, take catamaran trips, speedboat trips around to the waterfalls, snorkel, or simply take a relaxing stroll along miles of deserted tropical beach.
Swimming is prohibited at Gris Gris in the south of the island, at Soulliac. This wild and windy part of the coastline shows the power of the ocean as breakers crash directly onto the rocks, the beach here is hammered relentlessly by the waves threatening to pull anyone foolhardy enough to enter the sea under. Not surprisingly, most prefer the safety of the view from the cliffs where you can enjoy the cooling breeze and the sound of the “sniffle” , the whistling sound made as the wind races through a hole in one of the rock formations.
Undersea Walk Mauritius is one of a only a few places worldwide where you can walk on the sea bed in perfect safety. Available through your hotel or from Grand Bay, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know and we will organise this for you. This truly is an unforgettable experience where fish can even eat from your hand.
Blue Safari This submarine takes you on a tour of the reefs and undersea life well out in the deeper parts of the ocean . It leaves from Grand Baie in the north of the island, where you can pick up the boat which serves the submarine. Get more info from the Blue Safari website.
Mauritius Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
The island is surrounded by a coral fringing reef system with a diversity of marine life and divers can come face to face with pelagics like barracudas, eagle rays and sharks. Other encounters on the dive sites could be molluscs, turtles and an innumerable amount fish. Dolphins and four types of whale are frequently spotted on the surface.
Around the island, the reef breaks in several places. The largest break is along the black cliffs between Souillac and Le Bouchon on the southern coast and at Flic en Flac on the West Coast. Around these areas some of the nicest diving is found – along with reefs outside the isle of Cargados Carajos and Rodrigues Island. These islands are also surrounded by coral reefs, covered with similar vegetation and landscapes, and blessed with an equally tropical climate as the main island.
Diving is done all over – making diving very flexible, as it is possible to find lee side on windy days too.
Mauritius doesn’t really have a high or a low season and diving is done all year around. November through March is the best time for diving as this is when the waters are clearest. However, this is also the time where there are usually a few days of heavy rains. In July and August, the sea is often too rough for diving from the East Side of the island. The sea is calmer and warmer on the West Coast throughout the year. The East Coast however, has some of the best dive sites in Mauritius.
The less comfortable period is from January to April, where the long days can prove too hot and humid for some and there is a threat of cyclones is in the air.
East coast weather differs from that of the west coast – the former being much drier during January and February, when prevailing winds drive in from the east, race up the mountains and dump rain on central and western Mauritius. During these months, Light rains fall year round. The highest average daytime temperatures occur from January to April and top out around 35°C (95°F). The coolest period is from July to September, when temperatures average 24°C (75°F) during the day and 16°C (60°F) at night. Humidity is generally highest between October and June.
Visibility averages around 20-25m (66-82ft). In ideal conditions it may reach up to 40m (131ft).
Water temperatures are 20 to 30C (68 – 86F) in January to April and down to 20 to 25C (68 – 77F) from May to December. A 5mm wet suit is recommended for the warm season and up to 7mm wet suit (incl. hood, boots and gloves) is recommended insulation for the cold season.
Wreck Names and Locations:
Hassen Mia, Balaclava Water Lily, Trou Aux Biches Emily, Trou Aux Biches Stella Maru, Trou Aux Biches Silver Star, Grand Baie
The Sirius – an English warship lost during the Napolean Boneparte’s only naval victory at the Vieux Grand Port, situated near Mahebourg in the south of the island.
Le Saint Geran – this ship sank while returning from France, now immortalised in the book Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre.