Mauritius will enchant you and uplift your soul. It will make you feel that you belong to the chosen few. Every encounter is an opportunity to discover a friendly face. Behind each smile lies the promise of a unique holiday. The island, set in its turquoise sea, is an oasis of peace and tranquillity. Mauritius is a melting pot where past and present are smoothly blended together and it offers an essential beauty that will compel you to return to its shores again and again.
What to see – North
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.
The wonderful Pereybere public beach is popular because of its shopping facilities, restaurants and pubs.
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.
What to see – East
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.
Coastal road, Belle Mare.
Ile aux Cerfs
Ile aux Cerfs is a paradise for water sports and has the most beautiful beach in Mauritius. You cannot afford to miss this tiny island, delicately poised on the ocean, a real pearl in the Mauritian landscape.
What to see – South East
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.
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 G Martello Towers. The Martello Towers 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.
What to see – West
The Martello Towers 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.
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.
Owing to the exceptional high level of sunshine the district receives, Tamarin is naturally the heart of salt production in Mauritius.
What to see – Inland
L’Aventure du Sucre
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 our tropical boutik 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 our restaurant “Le Fangourin”.
Open 7 days a week from 09h00 to 18h00 – Free access to the restaurant and the Village Boutik
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.
Monday to Thursday : 9.15 am -3.15 pm, Friday: 9.15 am -3.30 pm , Saturday
:9.15 am -11.15 am (Some banks only). Banks are also open to coincide with the arrival and departure of international flights at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Airport.
The temperature on the coastal areas varies between 22°C in winter and 34°C in summer. The sea temperature varies between 22°C and 27°C. In the central part of the island, the maximum daytime temperature varies from about 19°C in August to about 26°C in February. The western and northern regions are warmer and relatively drier than the East and the South.
Almost all of our large hotels are equipped and ready to cater for conferences. The number of people that can be accommodated varies from 30 to 500. The International Conference Centre in Grand Bay and the Freeport Exhibition Centre in Mer Rouge can easily accommodate 600 and 1,000 people respectively.
Credit cards are normally accepted by banks and most hotels, restaurants and tourist shops.
Mauritius is a blend of diverse cultures and religions. The population consists of Hindus, Creole, Chinese, Muslims and Europeans.
The monetary unit is the Mauritian Rupee (Rs.) which is divided into 100 cents (cs). At the latest exchange rate, one Euro is worth around Rs. 30.
- Passengers over 18 years of age may import the following duty-free items: 250 grams of tobacco (including cigars and cigarettes), 1 litre of spirits, 2 litres of wine, ale or beer, one quarter litre of Eau de Toilette and perfume not exceeding 100 ml.
- A plant import permit must be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture, prior to the introduction of plants and plant material including cuttings, flowers, bulbs, fresh fruits, vegetables and seeds.
- It is prohibited to introduce sugarcane and parts thereof, soil micro-organisms and invertebrate animals.
- All imported animals including animal products need an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and a health certificate from the country of origin.
- Drug trafficking is illegal and carries very heavy penalties.
- Firearms and ammunition need import permits and must be declared on arrival.
People in Mauritius drive on the left-hand side of the road and give way to the right. Foreigners with a driving licence issued by a Competent Authority in their respective countries are allowed to drive during their stay in Mauritius.
The Mauritian economy is based on four sectors: Textile, Tourism, Sugar and Services.
Police(ambulance): 999, Police: 208-7018/20, Fire: 995, Samu : 114
Flights from Europe:
Air Mauritius operates over 30 weekly flights to and from all the European major cities including 15 combined flights with Air France to and from Paris. British Airways operates four weekly flights, Emirates Airlines three and Condor one.
Mauritius is located approximately 2000 kilometres to the south eastern coast of Africa and lies east of Madagascar on 20°5, 57.5E. The country covers an area of 1865km_ with 330 kilometres of coastline. Mauritius is 45km in width and 65km in length.
Mauritius is a democratic state based on the Westminster model and enjoys political stability.
No vaccinations are required. However a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age who arrive from areas where yellow fever cases are reported.
Of volcanic origin and generally sheltered by barriers of coral reefs forming natural, safe, crystal clear lagoons, Mauritius has long been a dream destination. Known to the Arabs as early as the 10th century, but officially «discovered» in 1505 by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas, the island was occupied successively by the Dutch (1598-1712) and the French (1715-1810), and was ceded to Great Britain in 1814 through the Treaty of Paris. On 12 March 1968, Mauritius became Independent. Republic Day was proclaimed on 12 March 1992.
Most people in Mauritius are bilingual and are equally fluent in English and French. Creole and French are the main languages in the everyday environment and several oriental languages are also spoken.
Free public medical facilities are widely available. Private clinics provide medical services for a fee.
Besides a wide choice of local papers, the pick of the European and American press is available.
Nudism and topless sunbathing are frowned upon on our public beaches. No hotel permits nude sunbathing on beaches. Topless sunbathing is sometimes tolerated.
1.2 million (Year 2003)
Population literacy rate:
There are 15 public holidays every year. Seven of them are fixed holidays: January 1st & 2nd, 1st February, 12th March, 1st May, 2nd November and 25th December. The remaining public holidays are religious festivals whose dates vary from year to year.
A tourist police service has been set up to ensure security in tourist zones. An anti-terrorist law has also been proclaimed. A specific law relating to all tourist activities and corrupt practices has also been voted.
The following essential pieces of advice are meant for you :
- Keep an eye on all personal belongings at all times.
- Be careful when withdrawing money from a cash point.
- Avoid wearing expensive jewellery.
- Do not leave anything inside your car.
- (For trips or purchases) use only recognised operators or suppliers.
- Keep your passports, plane tickets, jewellery of value and large sums of money in safe custody.
- For sea excursions, do not rent boats with inadequate security standards.
- During individual sea trips, always notify the person responsible for the boat house.
- Do not go swimming in areas where it is forbidden.
Shopping hours in the main cities range from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm (Monday-Saturday). Some shops are open till noon on Sundays and public holidays. Many duty free shops and modern shopping centres (Caudan, Curepipe, Floréal Square, Happy World House, Orchard Centre) offer a wide choice of products. Please note that there are no shops open in Rose-Hill, Curepipe and Quatre-Bornes on Thursday afternoon.
Tipping is not compulsory.
Time & Telecommunications:
Mauritius is four hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and three hours ahead (2 hours in summer) of mid-European Time. Mauritius has international direct dialling facilities to most parts of the world as well as high speed fax and internet services.
Satellite TV and local tv & radio are available in most of the hotels.
A value added tax of 15% is payable on goods and services including hotel and restaurant bills.
Visa & entry requirements:
A visitor must be in possession of a valid passport and a return or onward ticket. A visitor’s visa is normally granted for a period of two weeks to one month upon arrival, to almost all holders of a valid passport, with one or two exceptions. Visitors are strongly recommended to contact the Passport and Immigration Office in Mauritius or the nearest Mauritian Embassy or Consulate. The visa can be extended upon request at the Passport and Immigration Office.
What to wear:
Take your best beach and casual wear. In the winter months (June -September), carry some light woollen clothing for the cool evenings. Please show due respect when visiting religious places. Wear appropriate clothing (and remove leather shoes and belts) when entering the premises.
Private Sector : Monday to Friday: 8.30 am – 4.15 pm Saturday : 9am -noon (Some offices)
Public Sector : Monday to Friday: 9 am – 4 pm
Saturday : 9 am – noon (Skeleton service).