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Destination Information About Mauritius


Location:

Mauritius is a volcanic island situated in the Indian Ocean far off the west coasts of Madagascar, by 20.30 degrees South and 57 degrees East. Mauritius is part of the "Macarena" islands Its area is of 2,040 Km2 and is merely surrounded by coral reefs, therefore by magnificent lagoons and coral white beaches.

Political Regime:

Mauritius has the status of an independent republic with a democratic regime based on the Westminster model. The main political parties adopt a modern socialism ideology, that is a free economic mechanism with important state intervention as regards to a soft re-distribution of wealth.

Economy:

The economy of Mauritius is now relying on the tourism industry as well as services, hosting several foreign companies operating in information technologies, business process outsourcing and offshore financing.
The Mauritian economy is healthy as compared to the majority of African countries but with a low growth rate. The infrastructures are fairly developed except for the road network which is getting saturated partly by... limousines and fancy luxury cars. The telephone network is well developed but the Internet connectivity, the electricity and water supplies are far less reliable.
Mauritius remains a stable and safe destination, well organised to receive the average 800,000 to 900,000 visitors yearly.

Climate:

Mauritius has a tropical climate with more rain in summer than in winter. Generally hot (27 to 37 °C in summer) and very humid (above 80 %) with a highPopulation rainfall, Mauritius has microclimates; the high grounds are cooler (av. 22oC) and much wetter (5,000 mm / year) than the coastal regions (1,000 mm / year).


Tropical cyclones occur in the warmest months of December to March. These very months are where the climate is fine for holidaymakers staying near the sea but can be very uncomfortable when moving around the island. The sea temperatu re is very pleasant during these months, between 25°C and 29°C.
Most Mauritians prefer the winter period, as it is fresher and dryer, especially at night. The sun is also more bearable allowing long expositions, which is not recommended during summer. The sea in winter remains pleasant (around 22°C.)

Population:

With a population of 1,200,000, Mauritius is an over-populated island with nearly 600 people per Km2.
The population of Mauritius consists of several ethnics, religions and cultures. While in some cases one could be tempted to talk about the Mauritian culture, it is a fact that this culture is still in evolution and is more of a composition of the different ancestral cultures. Population
The population of Mauritius can be split into several groups: However, it is difficult to have a clear picture of proportions as the different polls place “Creoles” of African origins, and those of mix ethnics together with the “whites” (i.e. of European Origin,) into the single category of “general population.” These sub-groups have very few in common in terms of historical background, culture and social status.

The known figures are thus as follows:
Mauritians of:
- Indian origin (68%)
- Creoles (27%)
- Chinese origin (3%)
- French origin (2 %)

Practical Tourist Information: Mauritius Island

How to get to Mauritius

There are several daily flights from Europe, Africa and from the neighbouring countries and two direct flights per week from Australia. From the American continent, the best connections are via European airports. Most flights are provided by national companies, namely Air Mauritius. With the actual determination to further develop the tourism industry, non-national airlines such as Corsair FLy (France) or Virgin Airlines (U.K.) just to name a few are now landing in Mauritius, offering far more flexibility in terms of schedules and timing, making last minute deals and travelling a fairly recent reality for tourism in Mauritius.

Visas and Formalities

Those holding a passport from the following countries and entering the Mauritian territory for holiday purposes and for a maximum period of 3 months, DO NOT REQUIRE VISAS.

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bardabos, Belgium, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Darussalam, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany (United), Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Monaco, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Papua, New Guinea, Portugal, Qatar, Samoa (Western), San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, St. Christopher, and Nevis St. Lucia St. Vincent & Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad, & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom (and dependent territories), United States of America, Vanuatu, Vatican, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

In addition, visas are NOT REQUIRED for those transiting in Mauritius as long as the transit time does not exceed 72 hours.

Those holding passports from countries that are not listed above should take counsel with a travel agency or contact the Mauritian consulate or embassy in their country. In some case, visas need to be obtained prior to departure, in other cases, visas can be delivered on arrival. In any case, all passports must have a minimum validity of 6 months after scheduled date of departure.

Money

Most international currencies are accepted at Mauritian Change counters but the Mauritian Rupee cannot be traded in any country except occasionally in South Africa and India. Indicative bank rates are proposed in the grid below; rates in hotels are generally higher:
Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted almost everywhere, while Diners Club and American Express are accepted in hotels and only in some other places. Automatic tellers are available and in good working condition in almost every village.

Indicative Exchange Rates are as follows:

Currency Code Unit Value in Mauritius Rupees
Australian Dollar AUD 1
21.00
British Pound GBP 1
48.90
Canadian Dollar CAD 1
26.00
Euro EUR 1
40.00
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 1
4.20
Indian Rupee INR 1
0.66
Japanese Yen JPY 100
34.20
New Zealand Dollar NZD 1
17.80
Saudi Arabian Riyal SAR 1
8.90
Singapore Dollar SGD 1
21.40
South African Rand ZAR 1
3.10
Swiss Franc CHF 1
27.00
UAE Dirham AED 1
8.90
U.S Dollar USD 1
32.50


Health

There are no severe transmissible viruses such as TB or Malarya in Mauritius except for certain rare cases picked up on some frequent travellers. No vaccination is required. The health services are very efficient and closely monitor the arrivals and departures. The Chikungunya virus that had spread out in early 2006, has now been eradicated.
Mauritians consume tap water and skinless fresh fruits every day, as they are safe. This does not mean that they do not cause diseases, mainly the runs or the “turista” to foreign visitors.
For a more comfortable stay, drink only mineral water and accept ice only when in hotels and restaurants treating tap water. Street foods are often the best deals and the tastiest. However, they are not always hygienic and often cause diseases.
Conditions in public hospitals are appalling when compared to European standards but the emergency services are doing fine. The private clinics are generally of good level.

Electricity:

Electricity is 220 Volts… most of the time.

Do’s and Dont’s:

Mauritians are generally pacific, polite and to some extent, respectful unless their deepest values are at risk. It is therefore better not to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and especially with the wrong attitude. There are things that can be done and others that should be avoided. Here are some tips for a better stay in Mauritius.

Dress Code - Although it is a hot tropical place with beaches all around, Mauritius is first of all a country as a whole with towns, offices, highways and laws. It is therefore advisable not to walk or drive in bathing suits in towns, villages or in buses. This is especially true for women as Mauritian women are very conservative and men not used to see flesh in daylight. This is even truer for remote places where only a few tourists pass by.
In most hotels, walking around in surfer shorts or bathing suits after sunset is simply prohibited. On the beach, Mauritian women at the beach wear bikinis at best if not full dresses. It is therefore unusual to the Mauritian men to see nudity or even topless women lying some meters away. For your own comfort and security it is not advisable to practice integral tanning anywhere in Mauritius, while topless tanning should be avoided on public beaches.

Security - Mauritius remains a safe place with a low criminality rate, thanks to the general level of education and high employment rates. However, some places are to be avoided especially at night, as the police’s frequent patrols are not sufficient to make all regions 100 % safe. Although generally safe, walking on the streets after hours is not recommended unless in groups; while driving cars scooters or using taxis are perfectly safe anywhere at any time.

If you rent a private bungalow or room, make sure your bag, cameras, travel documents and money are safely locked or hidden and that doors are closed while you are out on the beach or sleeping. The situation is totally different in hotels, which are most safe with trained employees.

Taxi Drivers - Like in many countries, taxi drivers are self-declared tourist guides with good and bad outcomes. The situation in Mauritius seems to be worse as many businesses (restaurants, shops, excursionnists) have for sole marketing strategy, the payment of commissions to taxi drivers bringing clients. Of course many taxi drivers (especially those in towns) derive a real pleasure in making visitors discover their country. But most of them will take you to places where they earn the most, without any second thoughts about being responsible for your bad deals. It is therefore recommended not to ask taxi drivers for advice on excursions, restaurants and shops. On the other hand, they are very cooperative when taking you for sight-seeing trips, and they know the island inside-out.

Indicative rates
From Plaisance airport to Curepipe: Rs 1,100 (EMU 30.00)
From Plaisance airport to Port Louis: Rs 1,300 (EMU 30.00)
From Plaisance airport to the North: 1,800 (EMU 40)
From Plaisance airport to Belle Mare and Trou D’eau Douce: Rs 1,500 (EMU 40.00)
From Plaisance airport to Le Morne: Rs 1,300 (EMU 30.00)

Customs and immigration services of Mauritius are rather strict. - Plants and parts of plants have to be declared at customs and some of them might be forbidden. Sugar cane is one of them. Parts of animals are often prohibited and live animals are subject to a quarantine. It is therefore not worth taking your dog to Mauritius as you will be back home already when it will come out of quarantine.

Drugs are totally prohibited and drug traffickers are liable to maximum imprisonment. Getting caught with cannabis (even for personal consumption) or any other illegal substances may be a serious matter and will surely take you to jail. Although the law provides for possibilities of fast-track trials for visitors, the risk of spending a too long time in jail is high.

Beaches - There is a polemical issue on the so-called private beaches. Most of the beaches of Mauritius are found in front of private residences or hotels, leaving very little room to the declared public beaches.

The law is clear for one thing: all beaches are open to those walking by. However, beaches found in front of hotels and villas cannot be used by anyone wanting to spend the day and it is of course prohibited to use the garden or beach furniture. For the rest, it's just a question of how to interpret the law and of mutual respect.

We therefore advise to make sure that your hotel or residence has a beach, or if you cannot afford one, you may casually and quietly use the beaches in front of residences on weekdays when the owners are not using them and please keep it as tidy as you found it.

We hope that this short guide will help or has helped you during your stay in Mauritius. Please do not hesitate to write to us for further information or if you find that the descriptions above are incomplete or untrue. You may also ask to include your message in here.

Updated : November 2008.
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