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Mauritius

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Revision as of 14:51, 4 May 2008

[[File:noframe|250px|frameless|Mauritius]]
Location
[[File:noframe|250px|frameless]]
Flag
[[File:Mp-flag.png|108px|frameless]]
Quick Facts
Capital Port Louis
Government parliamentary democracy
Currency Mauritian rupee (MUR)
Area 2,040 km2
Population 1,230,602 (July 2006 est.)
Language English (official), Creole, French, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bhojpuri
Religion Hindu 52%, Christian 28.3% (Roman Catholic 26%, Protestant 2.3%), Muslim 16.6%, other 3.1%
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European or UK plug)
Country code +230
Internet TLD .mu
Time Zone UTC+4

Mauritius [24] is a small island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.

Regions

There are 9 districts

  • Black River
  • Flacq
  • Grand Port
  • Moka
  • Pamplemousses
  • Plaines Wilhems
  • Port Louis
  • Riviere du Rempart
  • Savanne

And 3 dependencies (separate islands)

  • Agalega Islands
  • Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon)
  • Rodrigues
Map of Mauritius

Cities

  • Port Louis - Capital
  • Beau Bassin
  • Rose Hill
  • Quatre Bornes
  • Phoenix
  • Vacoas
  • Curepipe

Other Destinations

  • Macabée Bel Ombre Nature Preserve
  • Domaine du Chasseur Nature Preserve

Understand

History

Early Visitors

The discovery of Mauritius Island was first made by the Arab sailors, at this time the island was a dense forest. There is no exact date of when Mauritius was discovered by the Arabs, it is said to be around the 9th century. But the Arabs sailors were not interested in settling on the island which they named Dina Arobi or Dinarobin. Fernandez Pereira, a Portuguese sailor who saw the island decided to give it the name of Cerne. Discovered by the Portuguese in 1505, Mauritius was subsequently held by the Dutch, French, and British before independence was attained in 1968. But the Portuguese sailors were not interested to settle on the island.

Dutch Colony [1598 - 1710]

The first to colonise the island were the Dutch. They took possession of the island in 1598. The Dutch settlers came on the island by a bay in the south eastern part of the island which was named Warwyck Haven after the commander VanWarwyck, the bay is now known as Grand Port. Mauritius also got its name during this period; the island was named after the Prince of Holland Mauritz de Nassau.

In 1710, the Dutch abandoned the island, leaving behind macaques, the java deer, sugar cane, fugitive slaves and, also, an irreversible damage to the endemic and indigenous flora and fauna of the island - the Dodo [25] was, by then, extinct due to extensive hunting (and the extreme ease in capturing the bird) while the, once abundant, black ebony tree population was almost completely depleted due to over-exploitation for its timber.

French Colony [1715 - 1810]

The French settled on the island in 1715 and also landed at the bay in the southeast and named it Port Bourbon. They renamed the island as Ile de France. They made settlement on the north-western side of the island which became the harbour and was named Port Louis which is also the capital of Mauritius. During the French settlement there has been a lot of development in the country. Mahé de Labourdonnais [26], whose statue is found in Port Louis in face of the harbour, is known as the founder of the capital city and the island prospered under his governance (1735-1746).

British Colony [1810 - 1968]

In August 1810, the British tried to take over the island but lost after a fierce battle against the French in the famous Battle of Grand Port [27] - the only victory of the French over the British. However, the British came back in December 1810 and successfully defeated the French. From then on, the island was renamed Mauritius and remained under the rule of British until they attained independence on the 12 March 1968 within the Commonwealth.

In 1835, slavery was officially abolished and, as most of the African slaves chose to abandon the agricultural fields and retire into small coastal villages, indentured labourers (Coolies) were brought in from India to work in the growing sugar-cane industry against a salary.

Independence and Republic [1968 - Now]

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam [28] also known as the "Father of the Nation" was the one who brought the island to independence and did a lot for the country. On the 12 March 1992, Mauritius became a Republic under the rule of the then Prime Minister Sir Aneerood Jugnauth [29].

A stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record, the country has attracted considerable foreign investment and has earned one of Africa's highest per capita incomes. Recent poor weather and declining sugar prices have slowed economic growth leading to some protests over standards of living in the Creole community.

Climate

Tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May); Natural hazards : Tropical cyclones (November to April);but most cyclones usually occur from the end of December till March. Mauritius has only two seasons, winter and summer. There is not much temperature differences between the two seasons of the year. The climate on the central plateau is cooler than on the coastal areas. The West coast is much wetter and more humid than the East coast.

  • Hottest part is the west coast
  • Windiest part is the East coast
  • December to February are the hottest month of the year
  • The driest month of the year is October
  • Coolest months are from June to August
  • Mauritius Weather Actual weather report from the Mauritius region.

Get in

By air

Air Mauritius is the national carrier. By Fluglotse2000.

The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (MRU), +230 603 6000 (, fax: +230 637 5306), [1]. at Plaisance is the major gateway for travelers coming from abroad.

  • Air Mauritius [30] is the home carrier and operates a network of routes to the local islands and to international destinations in Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia.
  • Regional airlines Air Austral [31], Air Madgascar and Air Seychelles [32] connect Mauritius with the surrounding islands.
  • International airlines such as Air Europe, Air France [33], Virgin Airlines, Air Zimbabwe, Austrian Airlines [34], British Airways [35], Condor, South African Airways, Air India [36], and Emirates [37] all serve Mauritius from their home bases.


Visitors are required to provide accommodation details to the immigration service on arrival. If you arrive in Mauritius from a country where malaria is endemic, you may receive a visit from the government health service and be required to give a blood sample for malaria screening. Some airlines may refuse boarding if the passenger's passport has 6 months, or less, validity remaining from the return date, leading to monetary loss for the passenger.

By sea

The common way to enter Mauritius is usually by plane, and even though there are vessels that arrive at the port they are mainly cargo ships. The Mauritius Pride and the Trochetia are the Mauritian vessels that usually sails to Reunion Island, Rodrigues Island and Madagascar. Costa Cruises ships have recently started an Indian Ocean cruise including a visit to Mauritius.

As of April 2008, one way passage prices to travel from Tamatave in Madagascar to Mauritius by boat are €275 first class or €255 second class, compared to €212 to fly from Antananarivo in Madagascar to Mauritius on Air Madagascar. The journey will take at least four days, possibly more if transiting through Reunion. A boat leaves every other Wednesday.

The prices quoted are for a passage in a first or second class cabin. In attempting to go directly to the port in Tamatave to negotiate with a boat captain for a non-cabin berth, tourists are turned away at the gate. Visiting the Nautical Club in Tamatave to enquire about yachts that might be heading to Mauritius also yields no results.

Get around

Bus and taxi services are best used in urban areas. Bicycles and motorbikes are also available for hire.

By plane

Air Mauritius [38] operates daily flights connecting Plaisance Airport and Rodrigues (flight time - 1 hour 15 minutes).

By helicopter

Helicopters are available for transfers and sightseeing tours

By car

One major highway runs north to south, otherwise a good network of paved, if sometimes narrow, roads cover the island. Traffic drives, erratically, on the left.

Numerous car hire firms include major international and independent firms. Prices vary widely starting from 600 rupees per day.

Regulations: Drivers are required to be over 18 years old. Speed limits are 90kph (50mph) on the motorway and 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas. Seatbelts are compulsory. A foreign licence is accepted.

The following chart gives approximate travel times (in hours and minutes) from Port Louis to other major cities/towns/resorts in Mauritius.

Curepipe	        0:20
Grand Baie, North	0:30
Mahebourg, Southeast	0:45
Flic-en-Flac, West	0:30

By bus

Excellent and numerous bus services ply the island.

  • National Transport Corporation (NTC), +230 426 2938.
  • United Bus Service (UBS), +230 212 2026.
  • Mauritius Bus Transport (MTB), +230 245 2539.

By metered taxi

These are regulated and metered (though meters are almost never used) and linked to provinces or hotels, printed on a yellow panel on the drivers' door. Tips are not customary for taxi drivers, but appreciated.

Do NOT patronize unlicensed taxis. They promise a cheaper ride but, lately, there has been a surge in cases of robbers using this trick to lure and attack their victims. See safety section below.

By boat

  • Coraline, +230 210 5944 (+230 210 6120), [2]. Sails once a week to Rodrigues Island and to Reunion island from Port Louis Harbour. Mauritius Pride, launched in 1991, and Mauritius Trochetia, in service since 2001, are the two ships operating for the island. The ships also have Madagascar as a destination. Both vessels are used as passenger and container ships.

Talk

The official language in Mauritius is English. Virtually everyone speaks Creole closely followed by French, with English a not too distant third. Other languages are: Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bhojpuri and Chinese. Usually administrative papers are in English.

See

Northern Touristic Zone

Grand Bay from offshore

Grand Bay was the first area of the island to fully experience the tourist boom. A shopping and leisure paradise, Grand Bay also happens to be the area where Mauritians head for when they want a fun-filled night out (restaurants, bars and discos). Recently renovated, La Cuvette beach is well worth a visit.

  • Pereybere The wonderful Pereybere public beach is popular because of its shopping facilities, restaurants and pubs.
  • Balaclava Ruins A few metres away from Baie aux Tortues, which 17th century sailors named after the many tortoises in the area, can be found the ruins of the old Balaclava estate. Visitors will be able to see the sea walls, whose initial foundations were laid down by Mahé de Labourdonnais. The location of the ruins now forms part of Maritim Hotel, and public access may not be possible.
  • The Triolet Shivala The longest village on the island, Triolet offers an opportunity to visit the biggest Hindu temple, the Maheswarnath, first built in 1819 in honour of the Gods Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu, Muruga, Brahma and Ganesha.
  • The Labourdonnais Orchards Discover a large variety of tropical fruit trees, colourful and perfumed exotic flowers. Trips on mountain bikes or hiking are possible.

East

  • Flacq Market Flacq is one of the most important villages in Mauritius. This meeting point for inhabitants of the East boasts the country’s largest open air market. The extremely colourful market attracts a large number of people.
  • The Waterpark Leisure Village Enjoy unforgettable moments sliding on the giant chutes, with family or friends. Relaxation and pleasure guaranteed.
  • Ile aux Cerfs Ile aux Cerfs is a paradise for water sports and has one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius. You cannot afford to miss this tiny island, delicately poised on the ocean, a real pearl in the Mauritian landscape. Price conscious visitors would be well advised to take ample food and drink, as the only bar and restaurant on the island targets primarily well-heeled tourists.

South East

  • Dutch Ruins At Vieux Grand Port, the oldest settlements in Mauritius, you can see the ruins of the first Dutch fortifications. Excavation work is underway in a bid to uncover an important part of Mauritian history.
  • Ile aux Aigrettes Owing to the remarkable work accomplished by the Mauritius Wildlife Fund, the island has become an international standard for the protection of natural resources and endangered species. A few of the world’s rarest birds, including the kestrel, can be seen there. You can also discover the extremely rare Pink Pigeon, the Green Gecko Phelsuma and the Aldabra giant tortoise.
  • Mahebourg Mahébourg is one of the main fishing villages on the island. Built on the magnificent Grand Port Bay it was founded in 1804 by the French Governor Charles Decaën.
  • Domaine du Chasseur, Tel: (230) 634-5011, Fax: (230) 634-5261. Nestling in the Anse Jonchée hills, the Domaine des Grand Bois has splendid hunting grounds covering an area of 900 hectares. Stags, monkeys and boars live amidst the luxuriant vegetation of the hillside. One can watch a few species of endangered birds, including the kestrel. The Domaine contains four thatched-roof bungalows and a restaurant with a panoramic sea view. Take an opportunity to enjoy a meal of venison. (The view is great and well worth the visit, but the food can best be described as average. The venison is very chewy.) **WARNING. There is a steep hike up the hill from the car park to the restaurant. The restaurant offers a 4wd taxi service which is free if you eat one of their overpriced meals, but if you only want a cup of tea or desert they will slug you an outrageous 230 roupee per person, for the 5 minute ride.**
  • Souillac A small seaside resort along the rugged coast of the Savanne district. A famous feature is the garden overlooking the sea and named after Dr. Charles Telfair. A popular viewpoint is found at the southern end of the village, right on the cliff top : Gris Gris.
  • Blue Bay Bluest water and most amazing white sand beaches you will ever see... Take the trip across the island from Port Louis and see what this quiet place has to offer. Very busy with the locals on weekends. Try to go during the week. Glass bottom boats are an excellent outing. Part of Blue Bay has been designated a Marine Park, and the snorkeling trips by boat to this area, offered for sale on the main public beach, are well worth trying.

West

  • Martello Towers The Martello Towers, found at La Preneuse, Black River, represent the scene of the ancient rivalry between old colonial powers and the ingenuity of mankind. They are a milestone in the island’s history; they symbolise the end of slavery and the beginning of Indian immigration.
  • Chamarel A winding road leads from Case Noyale village to the coloured earths of Chamarel: an undulating landscape of different and contrasting shades of colours. The different shades of blue, green, red and yellow are apparently the result of the erosion of the volcanic ash. The neighbouring waterfalls of Chamarel rise from the moors and the native plant life. The site possesses a rare beauty. An adventure park has also recently been opened at Chamarel. Much of the sand has been souveniered by locals. It is now sectioned off, but is not that impressive.
  • Salt Pans Owing to the exceptional high level of sunshine the district receives, Tamarin is naturally the heart of salt production in Mauritius.
  • Casela, Tel: (230) 452-0693/4 Situated in the Rivière Noire district, the bird park stretches over 25 hectares and contains more than 140 bird species from all five continents. Other attractions include fish ponds, tigers, tortoises, monkeys, deer and orchids. Also contains a nice playground. Well worth the trip for those with kids.
  • Yemen Yemen Reserve may not be the largest game reserve on the island, but there is still lots to see. You will be able to get close to the herds of deer, as well as admire some splendid species of Mauritian fauna. A few rustic kiosks available in the reserve provide an unobstructed view of the sea. There you can sip a local punch while watching the sun going down.

The Interior

  • Black River Gorges This national park of 6,574 hectares (16,244 acres) was created in 1994 for the protection of Mauritius’ remaining native forests. Visitors can enjoy magnificent landscapes, with endemic plants and rare bird species. A trail leads from the Pétrin information centre to an area of typical plant life and to a conservation area.
  • Eureka, Tel: (230) 433 8477, Fax: (230) 433 4951. Is an old Creole residence built in 1830, Eureka is an essential place to visit during your stay in Mauritius if you wish to immerse yourself in tropical sweetness. Includes a tour of the colonial house with the opportunity to purchase overpriced textile products, and a tour of the gardens and a visit to the waterfalls below.
Grand Bassin
  • Ganga Talao - Grand Bassin Beyond La Marie and Mare-aux-Vacoas is found one of the two natural lakes of Mauritius. It rests within the crater of an extinct volcano. Ganga Talao is an important pilgrimage site and many Mauritians of the Hindu faith walk there during the Maha Shivaratri festival or the night fasting dedicated to Shiva. Gigantic eels live in the lake and are fed by the pilgrims. A walk to the top of the mount beside the lake is recommended for beautiful views over the area known as "Plaine Champagne".
  • L’Aventure du Sucre, Tel: 243 06 60. Daily 9AM-6PM. Visit an interactive and ultra modern exhibition situated at the heart of an ancient sugarmill and discover the fascinating history of Mauritius and its sugarcane adventure exposed over 5000 sq meters! Then, let yourself be tempted by their boutique with its unique gifts, souvenirs and tasting of special unrefined sugars as well as local rum. Do not miss the opportunity to relish authentic Mauritian cuisine with refined flavours at their restaurant "Le Fangourin". Free access to the restaurant and the Village Boutique Beau Plan-Pamplemousses

Do

Glass bottomed boat in Grand Bay
  • Views For a spectacular 360-degree view of Port Louis and the north, climb Le Pouce or ‘the thumb', at 812m (2,664ft). It is an easy 2-hour climb from the village of Petit Verger (near St. Pierre), and takes another 2 hours to walk into Port Louis.
  • Tour the Moka mountains by quad bike, horse or 4-wheel drive at the accessible 1,500-hectare (3,700-acre) nature park of Domaine Les Pailles [39]. Travel to the sugar mill and rum distillery by train or horse-drawn carriage before dining in one of four restaurants.
  • Head to Grand Baie, for watersports such as parasailing, an underwater walk, submarine and semi-submersible scooters, or to La Cuvette, a long silky beach with clear water between Grand Baie and Cap Malheureux, for sailing, windsurfing and waterskiing.
  • Swim at the northern beaches such as Trou aux Biches, shaded by casuarinas, Mont Choisy, a 2km (1.2-mile) narrow white stretch of sand curving north from there, and Péreybère, a little cove between Grand Baie and Cap Malheureux.
  • Diving on the west coast around Flic-en-Flac or in the north, at Trou aux Biches or the Northern Islands from November to April. The Mauritius Scuba Diving Association (MSDA) can provide further information (website: www.msda-cmas.org).
  • Watch dolphins up-close in their natural habitat off the western coast (Tamarin) of the island.
  • Speedboat from Trou d'eau Douce to the popular island playground of Ile aux Cerfs for beaches, golf and watersports. Or, for a quieter day, a catamaran to the Northern Islands - Gabriel Island, Flat Island and Gunner's Quoin.
Trail in the Black River Gorges National Park
  • Hike in the Black River Gorges National Park, a 6,794-hectare (16,788-acre) forest, to see indigenous plants, birds and wildlife. Black River Peak trail goes to Mauritius' highest mountain, while the Maccabee Trail starts nearby and plunges into the gorge to Black River.
  • Lunch For an adventurous lunch of roasted wild boar, duck or deer curry with one of the best island views, try Domaine du Chasseur's alfresco Panoramour Restaurant. This domain is the best place to glimpse the Mauritius kestrel in the wild. ** WARNING. There is a steep hike up the hill from the car park to the restaurant. The restaurant offers a 4wd taxi service which is free if you eat one of their overpriced meals, but if you only want a cup of tea or desert they will slug you an outrageous 230 roupee per person, for the 5 minute ride. **
Tortoises at the 'Crocodile Park'
  • La Vanille Réserve des Mascareignes [40] is commonly referred to as ‘The Crocodile Park', for its thousands of Nile crocodiles. It is the only place worldwide to breed aldabra tortoises and also has deer, monkeys, boar and an insectarium. At the park shop, you'll find crocodile belts and other crocodile goods.
  • Rodrigues Island [41] Tiny, rugged, volcanic it lies 550km (340 miles) northeast of Mauritius and is known as the ‘anti-stress' island. The capital, Port Mathurin, is only seven streets wide, with a Creole population. Rodrigues offers walking, diving, kitesurfing and deep sea fishing.
  • Waterfalls Tamarind Falls on the Interior portion of the island is an incredible string of about 7 waterfalls surrounds by green mountains and is tucked away beyond a sugar cane filled. Bring something to swim in as the are numerous pools beneith certain falls to take a dip in. There are some spots that require getting a little dirty and some traction on your shoes, but it is well worth it. First time visitors would be advised not to go unguided.
  • Blue Safari Submarine see the wonderful underwater tropical fish without even getting your feet wet. Dives to 35m.

Eat

Creole dish

When leaving Mauritius, don't wait until you go through passport control if you want to have a snack. The coffee shop after passport control is not value for money. You would be better off visiting the snack bar before check-in and taking your purchases through with you.

Mauritius is a paradise for the senses, not only for the eyes with its beautiful landscape, but also for the palate. Gastronomes will find a variety of flavours and aromas inherited from the different migrations through its history. Culinary traditions from France, India, China and Africa, the best-known and appreciated cuisines in the world, have been passed on through generations.

Depending on the region, rice or a variety of flat bread called chapattis or roti called farata by the local people, is eaten with curries. The extensive use of spices like saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and herbs like thyme basil and curry leaves are the common ingredients that provide some powerful, yet subtle, savour. Dal a variety of lentil soups are many and varied according to which type of lentil is used, vegetables and beans, and pickles accompany the dishes. Dholl puri and roti, originally an Indian delicacy have become the fish and chips of Mauritians.

Biryani from Mughal origins is a dish expertly prepared by the muslim community, with meat mixed with spiced rice and potato.

You can buy many snacks on the streets of Mauritius including the famous gateaux piments (a variant of the indian vadai; literally, chilli cakes) and vegetable, or meat, samosas (puffs) along with octopus curry in bread. The tomato and onion based dish called Rougaille (pronounced 'rooh-guy' ) is a variation of the French ragoût [42]. The dish usually consists of meat or seafood (corned beef and salted snoek fish rougaille are very popular with the locals) and all mauritians eat this dish often if not daily.

Mauritians have sweet tooths and make many types of 'gateaux' as they are called. The cakes vary and you can find cakes very much like at home and others similar to Indian sweets like Gulab Jamun and Rasgulla among many others.

Check out the queues where the street sellers are selling their type of snacks and the longest queue will probably have the tastiest food on sale and is very cheap.

Drink

Mauritius produces a wide range of cane rum. It is very cheap and is a nice drink when mixed with cola and ice. Don't forget the coconut water with a dash of lime and a splash of local rum over ice. The serious amateur will try to find a bottle of five years old (or older) rum. Worth the price difference!

If you are staying in a hotel where the drinks are wildly expensive consider collecting your tipples while you are out and about from the local village shops or supermarkets where the prices are much cheaper.

The local beer Phoenix is considered to be one of the best in the world and costs around 30 rupees (less than one pound sterling) for a pint. Serve very cold. Delicious ! =]

The local Black Eagle beer, brewed in Nouvelle France is one to watch out for as well. Definite refreshment to match the sweltering summer heat.

Try visiting the Medine Estate Refinery shop at Bambous (4km from Flic en Flac), on the west of the Island, for a wide variety of locally produced rums and liquors.

Sleep

  • Alpha Villa, [3].
  • Beachcomber Hotels, [4].
  • Le Canonnier, [5]. Set on a private peninsula.
  • Les Chalets en Champagne, 110 route Plaine Champagne, Chamarel (above Chamarel, at the border of the Black River Gorges National Park), +230 483 6610 / 483 5710 (, fax: +230 483 5410), [6]. Some comfortable and beautiful mountain chalets in a very quiet garden, just on the border of the national park and under the Piton de la Rivière Noire. The perfect place to explore the jungle of the park. Splendid view on the valleys, the Morne and the sea. Good restaurant nearby (Varangue sur Morne). Warm welcome. Half-board for 2 guests €115.
  • Dinarobin, [7]. An elegant 5-star beach resort with spa
  • Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa, [8]. The Hilton is very close to Casela Nature Park.
  • Labourdonnais, Waterfront, Port Louis 5* excellent hotel convenient for Port Louis and many restaurants around the area. Popular with businessmen. Excellent Guest Relations, business centre. Has trade delegations.
  • La Maison d'Eté (small beach hotel), Coastal Road, Poste Lafayette, +230 410 5039 (, fax: + 230 410 5354), [9]. A good alternative to the big hotels. A few rooms. Private beach along the lagoon, from where you can swim and snorkel to view the corral fishes. Good restaurant. Warm welcome by the owners. Room for 2 persons €110.
  • Le Mauricia, [10].
  • Le Meridien Ile Maurice, [11]. Beachfront on the bay of Pointe aux Piments.
  • The Oberoi Mauritius, [12]. Luxury resort on Mauritius
  • Paradis, [13]. 5-star golf resort
  • Le Prince Maurice, [14]. On an isolated peninsula. Very remote and exclusive.
  • The Residence, [15]. 5* Hotel in the style of a plantation house; popular with honeymooners.
  • Royal Palm, [17]. A Member of the Leading Hotels of the World
  • Shandrani, [18]. Resort for action-packed holidays, for families, couples, and nature-lovers.
  • Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, [19]. Beautifully designed right on Tamarin Bay.
  • Trou Aux Biches, [20]. Ideal for weddings and honeymoons
  • Veranda Resorts, +230 266 97 00 (), [21]. Hotels & Resorts of character and authenticity in Mauritius.
  • Le Victoria, [22]. Family holiday resort.

Work

Mauritius is an ideal place to live if you have your own business, especially if you earn your money overseas. The government established a new visa category in 2006 catering to the self-employed.

  • Investment Promotion Agency of the Government of Mauritius, +230 203 3800 (), [23]. Extremely helpful government agency

Stay safe

Be alert for your own security in Mauritius. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would anywhere in the world. Be a smart traveler. Before your trip: Organize comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy. Register your travel and contact details, so that you can be contacted in an emergency.

Crime levels in Mauritius are low, though petty crime is on the rise. Most crime against foreign tourists is petty crime, although incidents of assault and rape occur. The rate of crime is higher in downtown Port Louis, and in the coastal tourist centres of Grand Bay, Pereybere, Flic en Flac and Tamarin. Security risks increase after dark especially on beaches, city streets and in other secluded areas. There have been incidents of tourists being assaulted and robbed while staying at beachside bungalows run by unregistered proprietors.

Some safety advice:

  • Avoid remote areas
  • Avoid unexpected offers of (seemingly free) guided tours. Ulterior motives are common [43].
  • Do not patronize unlicensed taxis (taxi marrons). Some robbers use this trick to lure and attack their victims [44].

Important telephone numbers

The Tourist Police service (Police du Tourisme), +230 213 2818.

Stay healthy

Mauritius is a risk area for infection with dengue fever (also known as "breakbone fever" from the muscular paroxysms sometimes induced). No vaccine is available. However no cases of dengue fever have been recorded in the country for several years now.

Since 2005 during the high season a certain type of mosquito called the Aedes albopictus causes the viral illness Chikungunya and the insect is more likely to be around in the daytime.

It is important to use anti-mosquito protection at all times. Mosquitoes are more prevalent in rural areas but they can also inhabit the beach in the tourist zone and may lead to swollen joints and/or rashes. Symptoms last from one week up to several months depending how seriously you are affected. Some people recover quickly but it can take several months to recover completely.

It shouldn't put you off visiting Mauritius. Just take good care to cover yourself completely in the best mosquito repellant you can find and re-apply again after swimming. Sleep under a mosquito net. Spray the bedroom well before going to bed with a good repellant and take an electric repellant to plug into the power supply. You can buy plenty of repellants of all types locally in mauritius quite cheaply including bracelets for kiddies.

Here is a website with comprehensive information on the Chikungunya virus - Health Protection Surveillance Centre’s website: [45]

In 1991, 86% of the population had antibodies indicating that they had been exposed to the hepatitis A virus, following an epidemic of the disease in 1989. Hepatitis A vaccination is generally recommended for travel in East Africa (and most other places) by the CDC.

Due to recent efforts transmission of schistosomiasis in Mauritius has been "virtually eliminated", according to the [46].

Many of the beaches are infested with sea erchins. It is a good idea to either buy or bring plastic shoes when venturing into the water. This is generally not a problem at the big hotels.

Reef fish in Mauritius have been found containing a neurotoxin similar but not identical to that found in Caribbean reef fish.

It is important not to eat peanuts or take alcohol if you eat coral or reef fish like sea bass, snapper, mullet, grouper, there are many more. The fish eat the toxic algae that grows on the coral reefs. Don't eat intestines or testes of the fish as higher concentrations of the toxin collect here. The symptoms include gastrointestinal upset, vomiting and diarrhoea and sometimes numb feelings of the arms and legs. More info: [47]

Respect

When tourists go to Mauritius, many look for the typical Mauritian. They will not find them. There is no typical Mauritian, as Mauritians are a sum of different cultures. You have white Mauritians, African Mauritians, Indian Mauritians, Muslim Mauritians, Buddhist Mauritians ... the only thing you should know is that they all have different ways of life, and most of the time do not mix together. Each ethnic group fits a role in the Mauritian community.

The Mauritians all get on well together and respect each others traditions and way of life religions and customs. They are proud of their country and join together on many occasions to celebrate being Mauritian, especially on Independence Day, March 12th, achieved in 1968 when Dr Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (now deceased) was Prime Minister. He is now regarded as the revered father of Mauritius. Presently his son Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam is the Prime Minister.

Each morning the children sing the national anthem in the playground before commencing classes and it is a joy to hear them sing.

Glory to thee Motherland, 
O motherland of mine. 
Sweet is thy beauty, 
Sweet is thy fragrance, 
Around thee we gather 
As one people, 
As one nation, 
For peace, justice and liberty. 
Beloved country, may God bless thee for ever and ever.

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Mauritius Missions Abroad

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