Mauritius is an island nation off the coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometres east of Madagascar. Popular for beach holidays, golfing and honeymoons, the island receives visitors from across the world. In addition to the main island of Mauritius, the Republic includes the islands of St. Brandon, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands. Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands, with the French island of Réunion 200 km to the southwest and the island of Rodrigues 570 km to the northeast.
Mauritius was uninhabited when the Dutch took possession in 1598. Abandoned in 1710, it was taken over by the French in 1715 and seized by the British in 1810. Mauritius attained independence in 1968, and the country became a republic within the Commonwealth in 1992.
Mauritius is renowned for having been the only known home of the Dodo, the famous flightless bird that became extinct by the end of the 17th century. Across the island you will find references and souvenirs to the Dodo.
Together with Réunion and Rodrigues, Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands. This archipelago was formed in a series of undersea volcanic eruptions 8-10 million years ago, as the African plate drifted over the Réunion hotspot. They are no longer volcanically active, and the hotspot now rests under Réunion.
The island of Mauritius itself is formed around a central plateau, with its highest peak in the southwest, Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire at 828 metres. Around the plateau, the original crater can still be distinguished from several mountains such as Le More and the iconic Rempart Mountain.
Best time to visit Mauritius
The best months to visit for a relaxing beach or golfing holiday would be November to January or April and May when it is a little cooler.
Weather in Mauritius
Mauritius enjoys a mild tropical maritime climate throughout the year. The country has two seasons: a warm humid summer extending from November to April and a relatively cool dry winter from June to September. The month of October and May are commonly known as the transition months.
The warmest months are January and February with average day maximum temperature reaching 29.2°C and the coolest months are July and August when average night minimum temperatures drops down to 16.4°C The wettest months are February and March during the summer months. The driest month is October.
Most visitors will be granted a tourist visa valid for 3 months, free of charge on arrival. You must have 6 months validity in your passport from the day of arrival and a return airline ticket. Please check with your local High Commission before travel.
Currency & Money
The official currency is the Mauritian Rupee but the Euro is widely accepted and often used to cost services. Credit cards are universally used in hotels and tips can be added onto the room bill. If you want to leave cash tips for staff or for paying for incidentals when out on tours, then best to get some small note rupees. Many hotels are All Inclusive so you can assign your bar/activity and restaurant bills to the room and pay at the end in one go.
Immunisations & Healthcare
To travel to Mauritius you need to be up-to-date with the same vaccines that are recommended for life in the UK. These include Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio. Diphtheria Tetanus and polio vaccines are available in a combined preparation called Revaxis; so if you need to have them you can have them as one injection.
Anyone travelling to Mauritius should have a personal travel insurance policy in place. Healthcare in the country is free to Mauritian nationals but visitors will be required to pay for treatments or have their insurance provider authorise the treatment for them.
Getting Around in Mauritius
It is possible to hire a car or scooter on the island if you wish to explore by yourself. Public transport is difficult to use especially if you are staying at one of the coastal resorts. Most hotels can arrange day tours or a private driver/guide for you if you wish to spend a day sightseeing.
Mauritius High Commission in London Tel: 020 7581 0294
Population: 1.3 million (UN, 2008)
Capital and largest city: Port Louis
Area: 2,040 sq km
Major languages: English, French (both official), Creole, Indian languages
Major religions: Hinduism, Christianity, Islam
Monetary unit: 1 Mauritian rupee=100 cents
Internet domain: .mu
International dialling code: +230
Plug size: British 13amp three pin plug
(sources: Oxford History of the British Empire, Wikipedia, BBC)
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Best Time To Travel