About Mauritius

About the Geography of Mauritius

Located on the eastern regions of Madagascar at a distance of 800 km, the island of Mauritius lies between 19° 59′ S and 20° 32′ S latitude and between 57° 18′ E and 57° 49′ E longitude. The island is 61 km long and 46 km at its widest with a total land area of 2040 square km. The island itself is formed around a central plateau which is about 600 meters above sea level, with about 350 km of coastline safely surrounded by the coral reefs. There is about 46% of total land area that is taken up by the gentle slopes and lowland plains. The actual crater can still be distinguished from several other mountains, around the plateau.

Mauritius is quite a mountainous island but not with very high mountains. The highest peak is at the southwest of the Island, the mountain of Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire at 828 meters (2,717 ft), second is the Pieter Both at 823 meters and Le Pouce is the third highest mountain on the island at 812 meters. The island has quite a lot of rivers and streams, many of them are formed in the gaps between lands created by old lava flows. There is a large expanse of coral white sand beaches, shallow lagoons and dunes in the island. It is also pointed that the natural resources of the country are its fertile land and fish. There is a major cultivation of tea and sugarcane crops in the hilly plains while some mixed vegetables are also grown in some interior regions.

However, Mauritius has got only two natural crater lakes, namely Grand Bassin and Trou Aux Cerfs. There is a man-made reservoir called Mare aux Vacoas and its one of the largest on the island. The capital of Mauritius is Port Louis which is situated at the northwest. Other major cities include Rose-Hill and Beau-Bassin, Curepipe, Vacoas, Phoenix, Quatre Bornes. The main harbor is Port Louis.


In 2014, the estimated population of the Republic of Mauritius was estimated to be around 1,331, 155 (approx. 1.3 million).

Religion: 48.5 %Hindu, 26.3 % Roman Catholic, 17.3 % Muslim, 1% Buddhist and 6.4% Christian

Ethnic Group: Indo- Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino- Mauritian 3%, Franco- Mauritian 2%

History of Mauritius

The island is located about 2000km off the southeast coast of the African continent and is east of Madagascar. The country extends on a surface area of about 1900 km. It was first discovered by the Arabs in the 10th century, but it was the Portuguese who first landed on the island in 1510. However, the island was free from colonization until the arrival of the Dutch in 1598, who afterwards named the country Mauritius in honor of their Prince Maurice Van Nassau. The Dutch were the ones who introduced and cultivated sugar cane on the island. Eventually due to cyclones, droughts, pest infestations, lack of food, and illnesses, the Dutch end up leaving the island in 1710. Abandoned by the Dutch, the island became a French colony, when, in September 1715, Guillaume Dufresne d’Arsel landed and claimed this port of call on the route to India naming it ‘Isle de France’. However, it was not until the 1735, upon the arrival of the French governor, Mahe de Labourdonnais, that developments started namely Port Louis was established as a naval base and a shipbuilding centre and the building of the government house among others. Slaves were also brought to work in the sugar cane fields belonging to the French Colonists. During that time, there were also increasing cases of raiding and piracy of British commercials ships until the British finally decided to retaliate and successfully overpowered the French in the battle of Grand Port in 1810. 

By the Treaty of Paris in 1814, the “Isle de France” which was renamed ‘Mauritius’ was given to Great Britain, together with Rodrigues and the Seychelles. In the act of surrender, the British guaranteed that they would respect the languages, the customs, the laws and the traditions of the citizens. Slavery was prohibited yet it was still going on to help the development in the island. Slaves were being mistreated and a lot of time they would run away to forests and mountains to hide. 

Finally, between 1834 to1910, slavery was definitely abolished and instead indentured laborers, mostly coming from India, were recruited to come and work in the Sugar Cane fields of the French colonists. Later on, the Chinese immigrants also came to the island to engage into commercial activities. This is how Mauritius became a melting pot of different religions, and ethnicity giving birth to a unique blend of cultural identity known as Mauritianism. 

Finally, between 1834 to1910, slavery was definitely abolished and instead indentured laborers, mostly coming from India, were recruited to come and work in the Sugar Cane fields of the French colonists. Later on, the Chinese immigrants also came to the island to engage into commercial activities. This is how Mauritius became a melting pot of different religions, and ethnicity giving birth to a unique blend of cultural identity known as Mauritianism. 

The first step towards independence of Mauritius was the elections in 1947 due to which the Legislative Assembly was created. Eventually, the campaign for the Independence of Mauritius progressed when the British gave their approval for self-government.  In 1967, an alliance was formed, comprising of the Muslim Committee of Action (CAM), the Mauritian Labor Party (MLP) and the Independent Forward Bloc (IFB) against the Franco- Mauritian and Gaetan Duval’s Mauritian Social Democratic Party (PMSD). However, despite their disagreement the alliance won the majority votes. Finally, on March 12, 1968, Mauritius gain independence and Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, the MLP leader and chief minister in the colonial government was appointed as the Prime Minister of the country.

After being a member of the Commonwealth for 24 years and demonstrating a stable democracy and human rights record, Mauritius got declared a republic on March 12, 1992.

The island has a history of struggle and transformation which is the evidence of its current economic successes, developments, and continuous dynamism in all its different sectors is it economic, political or social.

Time Zone

GMT+ 4


220 Volts AC, 50 Hz, UK- type three- pin plugs are commonly used in hotels.

Banking Hours And Currency

Monday to Thursday:  9.15 a.m. – 3.15 p.m.

Friday: 9.15 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Banks at the SSR international Airport are open to be concurrent with arrival and departure of international flights.

Our ATMs are plentiful and quite straight forward to use. Also, there might be a charging fee to process cash withdrawn from ATMs and it is advised to first check with your bank.

The monetary unit of Mauritius is the Mauritian rupees (I rupee= 100 cents). US/ EURO/GBP or US$travelers’ cheques and cash money can be changed upon arrival. You will see a host of money exchange bureau. If you were not able to change your currency upon arrival, you can still do so in banks or money exchange bureau branches to name a few, Shibani Finance, Money Time, Thomas Cook and British American Exchange. 

Credit Cards

Generally, credit cards are accepted by banks and most hotels, restaurants and tourist shops.

Opening Hours Of Shops

Weekdays: 9.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Weekends: 9.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

Public Holidays: 9.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. (some shops are closed)

Some of our shopping malls include Super U, SO FLO Floréal, Bagatelle, Cascavelle and Grand Bay La Croisette,

Jumbo Phoenix and Riche Terre, Plaisance Shopping mall.

Driving And Road Safety

We follow the British driving system which is driving on the left-hand side of the road and giving way to the right. Foreigners are allowed to drive during the stay in the country only if they are in possession of a driving license issued by a Competent Authority. Make sure to always wear seat belts, do not use your phone while you are driving and do not drive when you are drunk.

Security And Safety

Crime levels in Mauritius are low although petty crime can happen. Do take care of bags and valuables. Try to use a hotel safe where necessary. Do make copies of important documents including passports. You should also take extra care when withdrawing cash from ATMs. When renting and booking, make sure accommodations and hotel are secure and registered with the Ministry of Tourism. Most crime is non-violent but it will be safer to avoid walking alone at night on beaches or in badly lit areas and streets.


There is a 15% charge of tax value-added on all purchased goods and services. There are certain shops where they will be displaying a ‘Duty Free or Tax Refund’ logo. The total amount of purchases should be to a minimum of Rs 2300 (VAT included).  However, this can be refunded upon departure at the airport. You have to make sure that you bring your purchase receipts clearly displaying your passport number and flight details.


Although being a tropical country, we are lucky enough not to be affected from diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and cholera. It is thanks to the efficient help and support of the government that we are able to keep these diseases at bay. Thus, for most people, vaccinations and so on are not compulsory. However, if it doubts, it is advised to check the relevant information with your local embassy.

Sun Screen Lotion

It is strongly recommended to bring along a SPF 50 sunscreen lotion as the sun in Mauritius is extremely strong. You could also wear protective clothing such as hats, sleeves, scarves, and bandanas or use an umbrella. It is advice to use your sunscreen even on cloudy days as you can still get sunburn. Use a cooling cream/gel in case of sunburns such as aloe vera gels.


Unfortunately, as it is in all tropical countries, we also are at the mercy of mosquito bites. We strongly recommend using mosquito anti repellant creams, sprays and lotions to keep them at bay. If you did not bring any with you, repellents and antihistamine tablets can be bought in any local pharmacy and supermarkets. Some of the repellents include Jungle Formula, Moustidose, Mosi-Guard and Citronelle based creams to name a few.

Health Care & Precautions

We have a quite advance system of medical healthcare and our hospitals are free of charge for both local citizens as well as foreign visitors. There are also other health care facilities available such as private clinics which offer a more welcoming environment. However, these are not free and it is advised to check with your medical insurance whether it is valid in Mauritius. The local water in the country is fairly clean and drinkable. Most Mauritians drink the local water, so it is safe to use the water for brushing your teeth and so on. However, it is advised to boil the water before drinking it or buy bottled water which is readily available in any local shops. Drink plenty of water as it is easy to get dehydrated in the hot weather. When walking on the beach, be careful of not stepping on sea urchins, sea gherkins and stone fish.

Legal System

The age limit for buying alcohol and cigarettes is 18.

The marriageable age is also 18.

Public Holiday 2024

08 MARCH 2024 FRIDAY MAHASHIVRATREE (Hindu Pilgrimage)
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