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.
Official name :
Republic of Mauritius
Capital city :
Ethnic groups :
Indo-Mauritian (68%), Créole (27%),
Sino-Mauritian (3%), Franco-Mauritian (2%)
Mauritius, a volcanic and mountainous island in the
Indian Ocean, lies 2000km (1240 miles) off the southeastern coast of Africa,
due east of Madagascar.
Mauritian Rupee (MUR); 1 MUR = 1.4924 Indian Rupee =
0.03429 US $ = 0.02840 Euro (subject to change).
English is the official language. French, Creole, Hindi
and Bhojpuri. Urdu and Chinese are also among the languages spoken.
51 per cent Hindu, 31 per cent Christian, 17 per cent
2040 sq km (788 sq miles).
Famous for : Gi ant water lilies, a spice garden and the Talipot
Major cities : Beau Bassin-Rose Hill, Curepipe, Port Louis, Quatre
Clothing : Summers: cotton; Winters:
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Air : Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is the
international airport in the country which makes it accessible from various
parts of the globe.
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.
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.