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Mauritius




MauritiusAccording to Mark Twain, “God created Mauritius and then Heaven”. This mesmerising place is a tropical paradise for people to spend a memorable vacation. Mauritius consists of two islands. By far the biggest one is known as Mauritius whose capital city, Port Louis is located here. Then there is a smaller island some 500 km away, called Rodrigues.
Mauritius rests in gorgeous isolation in the bosom of the warmest ocean of all, the Indian Ocean, bounded by Africa, India and Australia. The country is ornamented with lovely bougainvillea and flame trees, violet moonscaped mountains, deep craters, wild waterfalls, rainbows and shooting stars, villages hidden in lush coastal vegetation, plateau towns with charming old colonial houses, flowers and trees growing out of the red earth in striking hues and everywhere there is green and golden cover of sugarcane.
Mauritius is also blessed with some of the most enchanting beaches, a large scope for shopping and warm, friendly people to welcome their visitors.


Fact File
Official name : Republic of Mauritius
Government : Parliamentary Democracy
Nationality : Mauritian
Capital city : Port Louis
Ethnic groups : Indo-Mauritian (68%), Créole (27%), Sino-Mauritian (3%), Franco-Mauritian (2%)

Location : Mauritius, a volcanic and mountainous island in the Indian Ocean, lies 2000km (1240 miles) off the southeastern coast of Africa, due east of Madagascar.
Continent : Africa
Currency : Mauritian Rupee (MUR); 1 MUR = 1.4924 Indian Rupee = 0.03429 US $ = 0.02840 Euro (subject to change).
Population : 1,159,729 (1998).
Languages : English is the official language. French, Creole, Hindi and Bhojpuri. Urdu and Chinese are also among the languages spoken.
Religion : 51 per cent Hindu, 31 per cent Christian, 17 per cent Muslim.
Area : 2040 sq km (788 sq miles).

Famous for : Gi ant water lilies, a spice garden and the Talipot Palms
Major cities : Beau Bassin-Rose Hill, Curepipe, Port Louis, Quatre Bornes, Vascoas-Phoenix.
Clothing : Summers: cotton; Winters: woolens
Major events : Teemeedee, takes place throughout the year but mostly in December and January Thaipoosam Cavadee in January or February festival of Pongal, and Chinese New Year, Maha Shivaratri Holi, Independence/Republic Day is 12 March. Père Laval Feast Day in September Eid-al-Fitr the ninth month of the lunar year.
Things to Buy : Local craft is also particularly rich, ranging from the shells, bracelets, necklaces, and pagnes, Gold jewelry and gems spices, clothes.
Things to do : Sightseeing, enjoying the beaches, shopping.
Cuisine : Creole rougailles, Indian curries, Muslim bryanis, Chinese sweet-and-sour pork, French delicate dishes, English bacon and eggs. In short it has variety of cuisines from Indian to Chinese & continental.

Visa Permit
MauritiusAll visitors are required to have a passport and onward ticket in order to enter the country. Most visitors do not require visas for stays of up to 90 days. Contact a Mauritian embassy prior to your visit.

Culture
The culture of Mauritius involves the blending of several cultures from Mauritius's history, as well as individual culture arising indigenously. Mauritius is a multicultural country, but some have observed that it is not yet a nation where people look upon it as the land of their forebearers. The country has in essence its own language (Mauritian or Mauritian Creole) and a thriving literature in its language, its own music and dance (the sega), a special cuisine - it's the land where miscegenation is rich and vibrant but there is a view that the root searching ideology of those in power tries to shroud what is most progressive in the cultural landscape. Mauritian beer (especially Phoenix, since 1963), is a big part of Mauritian culture.

When to go
Apart from the busy Christmas to New Year period. 'Winter' occur from July to September, when daytime temperatures drop from sticky to balmy. With less rain and humidity, this is one of the best times to visit. Summers( January to April), when the days are too hot. December through March is the best time for diving, when the waters are at their clearest; June through August is best for surfing; and October through April is excellent for big game fishing, when the large predators feed close to shore.

Climate
Tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May). In the summer months, from November to April, the temperature varies from 20° C to 28° C on the Central Plateau and from 25° C to 33° C on the coast. From May to October, the average temperature is 19° C in the centre of the island, rarely falling under 13° C at night. On the coast, all temperatures are about 5° C higher. The sea temperature approaches 27° C in summertime and is down to 22° C in winter. The hours of daylight are approximately from 05:00 to 19:00 in summer and 06:00 to 17:30 in June, July and August - the winter months. The rainy season occurs from January to March - especially on the Central Plateau. more..


Getting there
By Air : Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is the international airport in the country which makes it accessible from various parts of the globe.

Getting around
Public Transport : Most Mauritians get around the island by using public transport, so you shouldn't have a problem if you choose to use it. Buses are plentiful and inexpensive and connect every part of the island. However, some attractions are not accessible by public transport, especially in the Black River Canyon area. Taxis are numerous and all have meters, but these are rarely switched on. It is therefore advisable to agree on a price before starting a journey. There are no operational railways in Mauritius.
By Air : There are five airports in Mauritius, two of which are paved. The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam international airport is located at Plaisance, 4 km from Mahebourg. 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. Other international airlines operating in Mauritius include Air Austral, British Airways, Condor, South African Airways, Air Seychelles, Emirates and Singapore Airlines.
By Road : In 2001, there were 2,000 km of classified roads in Mauritius, 98 percent of which were paved. Driving is on the left hand side of the road. It can be fun to rent a bicycle, scooter or car and explore the island for yourself. Scooters and bicycles are available to rent from many hotels and shops. On most back roads traffic is light and it's safe to ride. If you haven't ridden a scooter before you should probably avoid the main roads and bigger towns, however. An international driver's licence is compulsory and drivers must be over 23 when renting a car.

Major Attractions
MauritiusPort Louis(capital city) : Port Louis, the capital and main port of Mauritius, was founded by the French governor, Mahe de Labourdonnais in 1735. The harbour is nestled within a semi-circle of picturesque mountains. This alluring town has restored its past glory and elegance. At a close distance from the main square there are some exquisite French colonial buildings; especially the Government house and the Municipal Theatre, which were built during the 18th century. Besides these, there are two eye catching Cathedrals, Anglican and Catholic and a mosque too. The Supreme Court, natural history museum, the Worldwide Masks museum are also present in the capital town. more..

Chamarel : A twisting road leads from Case Noyal village to the coloured earth at Chamarel which is one of the oldest sites on the island and is also known as the Seven Coloured Earth. This is a piece of undulating land lying in contrasting layers of colours, and the patches of blue, green, red, purple and yellow earth are considered to be the result from the weathering of volcanic rocks. The closeby Chamarel waterfalls coming from the moors and native vegetation and is charmingly beautiful.

Pamplemonsses Garden : Pierre Poivre created this enchanting garden in 1767 in the Estate of the French Governor Mahe de Labourdonnais. His Chateau known as 'Mon Plaisir', which was built in 1735, can still be seen there. The garden owns a collection of native and exotic plants, including the giant Victoria Amazonica water lilies, many species of palm trees especially the unique talipot palm which flowers once every sixty years and then dies.

Grand Bassin : This enchanting site nestles in the crater of an extinct volcano and is a place of pilgrimage for large number of Mauritians of Hindu faith, particularly on the occasion of Maha Shivratree, which is celebrated in the month of February.

Ile Anx Cerfs : It pulls tourists on the east coast where people come to enjoy the beach and lagoon for water sports or sunbathing. Fantastic restaurants and several souvenir stalls can also be seen here. Moreover, on the island, there is a boathouse where one can hire water skis, sailboards, Laser dinghies, canoes and surfcats.

Black River George : Proclaimed in 1994, this 6,574 hectare park protects much of the remaining native forests of Mauritius and presents the visitor with a chance to relish the fantastic natural scenery and some of the unique endemic plants and bird life. A boardwalk provides access to the typical dwarf forest of the region and a fenced conservation management area which protects a sample of the remaining health land.

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