Mauritius is truly one of the world’s tropical paradises with excellent beach resorts dotted along its coastline. Most of the resorts offer luxury amenities such as spas and golf courses and watersports which include diving, snorkelling, sailing,windsurfing and fishing. The capital, Port Louis, is the tourist hub of the island.
Passports and visa
NOTE: Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with the closest Mauritian embassy or consulate.
NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
No vaccination certificates are required for entry into Mauritius, unless travelling from a country infected by yellow fever or where yellow fever is classified as endemic. Vaccinations are usually recommended for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Travellers should stick to bottled water. Medical facilities are good and free in public hospitals, but private clinics are expensive and medical insurance is recommended.
New Year’s Day 1 Jan
Thaipoosam Cavadee 17 Jan
Abolition of Slavery Day 1 Feb
Maha Shivaratri 8 Mar
Chinese New Year 8 Feb
Independence Day 12 Mar
Labour Day 1 May
Eid al Fitr (End of Ramadan) 7 Jul
Ganesh Charturthi 5 Sep
All Saints’ Day 1 Nov
Diwali 30 Oct
Christmas Day 25 Dec
Money & duty free
The currency of Mauritius is the Mauritian Rupee (MUR), which is divided into 100 cents. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and larger hotels. Restaurants and large retailers accept major credit cards.
Travellers to Mauritius over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; 1 litre spirits and 2 litres of wine, ale or beer; perfume and eau de toilette for personal use. Prohibited items include sugarcane and fresh fruit from parts of Asia. No dogs or cats from a 62-mile (100km) radius where rabies has occurred in the past 12 months are allowed into the country.
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs and round two-pin plugs are commonly used.
local time is GMT +4.
The international access code for Mauritius is +230. The outgoing code is 020 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0201 for the United States). The whole island is covered by the mobile network.
English is the official language of Mauritius, but the most widely used language is French.
Immigration & border crossing
It is best to check with your nearest consulate with regards to immigration and border crossing regularities.
Mauritius has only two seasons, with minimal differences between them, making it a perfect year round destination. Summer runs from November to April, with temperatures reaching as high as 93ºF (34ºC) on the coast.
Humidity is highest from December to April but is never unbearable, particularly on the coast where there is an almost constant sea breeze.
The northeast (around Grand Baie) is more protected from the southeast trade winds.
Cyclones, with strong winds and heavy rain, can occur between January and March. Mauritius will normally experience about three or four cyclones a year during this period.
Sea temperatures vary between 75ºF (24ºC) in the winter and 82ºF (28ºC) in the summer.
The peak holiday season runs from October to April, with hotel prices dropping over the winter months.
As most of your Mauritius holiday will likely be spent on the beach, light beach wear and cotton clothing will be most comfortable during the day and include a few slightly more formal outfits for the evenings.
Other items to not forget:
- Avoid synthetic fabrics which are just too uncomfortable in the heat.
- Pack plenty of beach wear but modesty is expected and nudity – including females going topless – is an absolute no-no, so be conservative and you won’t offend.
- Some of the beach sand is coral, which means you will need flip-flops and they are much cheaper to bring with you – Mauritius is quite expensive for tourists.
- For paddling, swimming or snorkeling pack dive shoes or similar, as the coral will hurt your feet.
- A wide-brimmed sunhat is a must along with quality sunglasses.
- There is lots to explore on the island, including the Casela Nature Park, Botanical Gardens and an extinct volcano. If you’re planning to walk around, take comfortable flat shoes or walking sandals (we love Hotter shoes, they are incredibly light and comfy).
- Please show due respect when visiting religious sites; cover up and remove leather shoes and belts.
- Your laundry will be done for you as standard at most all-inclusive hotels, meaning that you can pack very light.
Mauritius High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 342 1283.
MAURITIUS EMERGENCY NUMBERS
Airports in Mauritius:
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (MRU)
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, or Mauritius International Airport, is located approximately 34km south-east of Port Louis in Mauritius.
A regular bus service operates from the airport every 30 minutes, taking about an hour to reach Port Louis. The bus fare into town is relatively cheap and must be paid onboard. Taxis are available and take around 45 minutes to reach the capital.
Tel: +230 603 6000.
Chamarel Seven Coloured Earth
The seven colored earth is a natural phenomenon and a prominent tourist attraction. The colors evolved through conversion of basaltic lava to clay minerals.
It is a relatively small area ofsand dunes comprising sand of seven distinct colours (approximately red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow).
Due to the tropical weather conditions, all water-soluble elements such as silicon dioxide have been washed out. The remains are the reddish-black iron- and aluminium oxides which create shades in blue, cyan and purple. The various colors developed due to the different compositions.
And what is more fascinating is the fact that if you mix the colored earth together, they’ll eventually settle into separate layers. And you may also be puzzled as the colors might play tricks on you and may appear to be shadows.
The Colored Earth of Chamarel has become one of Mauritius’ main tourist attractions since the 1960s. Nowadays, the dunes are protected by a wooden fence and visitors are not allowed to climb on them, although they can look at the scenery from observation outposts placed along the fence. Curio shops in the area sell small test-tubes filled up with the coloured earths.There is also a childrens playground and some giant tortoises too.
“Made in Mauritius”, a label that your family and friends will definitely appreciate!
Port Louis’ rightly famous Central Market, the centre of the local economy since Victorian times, was cleaned up considerably in a 2004 renovation. Many comment that it’s lost much of its dirty charm and atmosphere (you’re far less likely to see rats, although it’s possible), but it’s still a good place to get a feel for the everyday life of many locals, watch the hawkers at work and buy some souvenirs. Most authentic are the fruit and vegetable sections (including Chinese herbal medicines and aphrodisiacs).
The shopping in Mauritius offers you to enjoy very high value-for-money on your shopping, and turn the shopping into an interesting and enjoyable experience.
Mauritian Sea & Marine Life
Mauritius boasts a huge range of sea treasures. The Mauritian sea never fails to surprise :
– Multi-coloured fish, moray eels, magnificent coral beds.
– Skin diving masks, flippers and scuba diving equipment is what one needs to enjoy one of the happiest experiences in the world!
– Whether you are in a diving suit or in a submarine, Mauritius can introduce you to the secrets of its submarine world.
One of the most spectacular ways to explore the ocean beds is to go on board the Blue Safari submarine. You will enjoy a superb encounter with the marine life and get a chance to see various wrecks dating back to the 17th century. Night diving and training sessions are available.
A semi-submersible craft, will provide you with a one hour trip under the sea in complete safety. A unique experience with optimal viewing for passengers of all ages. And for those who want to experience the feeling
of walking on the sea bed, Undersea Walking will help you enjoy the thrill in complete safety.