Mauritius is a volcanic island located in the Indian Ocean about 2000 km off the East Coast of Africa and covers an area just under 2000 square kms. Its coastline, which is surrounded by one of the largest unbroken coral reefs in the world, is 300 km long. The island is thought to be about 10 million years old and its highest point is Piton de la Reviere Norire at 828m. It also includes the Island of Rodrigues about 550 km to the east of Mauritius as well as a number of atolls like Agalega and Carajos. Mauritius officially acquired its independence from Britian in 1968 and became a republic in 1992. The capital, Port Louis, has a population of about 150,000. Other interesting towns include Curepipe, Quatre Bornes, Rose Hill and Mahebourg. In the north of Mauritius are the pristine white beaches that make the island famous. Surrounded by turquoise seas, a number of stunning resorts dot the coast. This is also a water sports lovers paradise.
A valid passport and a return or onward air ticket is a requirement for all travelers entering Mauritius. Citizens of a Commonwealth country, Japan, South Africa, the USA, the EU and the Scandinavian countries do not require visas. Those that do require a visa can usually obtain one for three months, and they are renewable on request. Mauritian Embassies and High Commissions issue visas free of charge.
Note: Please check with your nearest Mauritius Consulate for up to date information for other than US citizens. Passengers in transit require no visas but they must continue their journey within 72 hours of checking in.
The unit of currency is the Mauritian Rupee (MRs), which is equal to 100 cents. Travelers can exchange their currency into MRs on arrival at Port Louis International Airport (located in the International arrivals hall) or at most commercial banks in the country. Banks are open Monday to Friday 9:00am-3:30pm and Saturdays 9:00am-11:00am. Travelers’ checks can be exchanged at hotels, banks and authorized dealers in foreign currency. Travelers’ checks in Pounds Sterling, Euro and French Francs are preferred. Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diner’s Club) are widely accepted throughout the island.
The island has a maritime climate that is characterized by mild temperatures with small seasonal and daily variations. November to April (summer) are the hottest months with temperatures averaging 81ºF. It is coolest between June and October when the mercury drops to around 72ºF. It is fairly dry from June to October and there is a marked wet season during the summer months between November and February.
It is wise to use only bottled water for drinking purposes.
The electric current is 220V Ac, 50 Hz. The plugs used in most hotels are three-pin, although two-pin plugs are also used.
Fairly good post and communication services exist throughout the island. Most post offices are open weekdays and Saturday mornings. Public telephones can be found primarily at the airport and larger hotels. A direct international dialing service is available from the major hotels and resorts. For international telephone calls, the country code is 230 – there are no regional country codes.
Greenwich Mean Time + 2 hours during Daylight Savings; Greenwich Mean Time + 1 hour throughout the rest of the year.
The Mauritian population is made up of people from China, Africa, India, France and Britain. The official languages are English and French (with French being the more popular). The most commonly used local languages are Creole (a mixture of French and African languages), Hindi and Bhojpuri. Urdu and Chinese are also spoken. The English-speaking visitor to Mauritius will have no problems while traveling throughout the country.
| Rogers House
5 President John Kennedy Port Louis
Telephone: 230 208 2347
| Les Cascades Building
Edith Cavell Street
Telephone: 230 211 1361
Fax: 230 211 1369
| 14 St. George Street
Telephone: 230 208 4103
| Rogers House
5 President John Kennedy
Telephone: 230 208 1700
WHAT TO BUY
Take your pick – packets of Mauritian spice, miniature dodos in copper or wood, Mauritian recipe books, Sega music cassettes, miniatures of island rum, anthurium flowers, Mauritian tea, T-shirts, shells (make sure you get a Clearance Certificate), Indian fabrics, basket work, quilts, hand-embroidered table cloths, pottery, casual wear and pareos. Knitwear and beachwear can be purchased at factory prices and duty free shopping includes designer wear, diamonds and gold jewelry.
| 1 January
| New Year’s Day
||Chinese Spring Festival
||Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary