Traveling Luck for Mauritius

Mauritius is located in Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.

Land in Mauritius is small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau.

Mauritian land covers an area of 2040 square kilometers which is almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC

As for the Mauritian climate; tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May).

Mauritian(s) speak Creole 80.5%, Bhojpuri 12.1%, French 3.4%, English (official; spoken by less than 1% of the population), other 3.7%, unspecified 0.3% (2000 census).

Mauritian National Map

Mauritian Map

Regions of Mauritius

Although known to Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century, Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in 1505; it was subsequently held by the Dutch, French, and British before independence was attained in 1968. A stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record, the country has attracted considerable foreign investment and has earned one of Africa's highest per capita incomes. Recent poor weather and declining sugar prices have slowed economic growth, leading to some protests over standards of living in the Creole community.


Mauritius Country Profile

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. For most of the period, annual growth has been in the order of 5% to 6%. This remarkable achievement has been reflected in more equitable income distribution, increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality, and a much-improved infrastructure. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 25% of export earnings. The government's development strategy centers on expanding local financial institutions and building a domestic information telecommunications industry. Mauritius has attracted more than 9,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India and South Africa, and investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Mauritius, with its strong textile sector, has been well poised to take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Mauritian natural resources include arable land, fish

the main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs

Mauritian religion is Hindu 48%, Roman Catholic 23.6%, other Christian 8.6%, Muslim 16.6%, other 2.5%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.4% (2000 census).

Natural hazards in Mauritius include cyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime hazards.

Travel Advice on Mauritius

Mauritius

This advice has been reviewed and reissued.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • Drug trafficking carries severe penalties.

  • Although crime levels are low, you should be aware that thefts, assault and rape do occur.

  • The threat from terrorism is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • The Cyclone season in Mauritius is generally between November to May.

  • Around 95,000 British tourists visited Mauritius every year.  Most visits are trouble free.  The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Mauritius is petty theft of passports and other belongings.  Other occurrences include water-sports and road traffic accidents.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime

Crime levels are low in Mauritius, although incidents of theft, assault and rape are increasing.  You should take sensible precautions against theft particularly in parts of downtown Port Louis and other tourist centres.  There have been some attacks involving the use of weapons.  Take care of bags and valuables when visiting popular tourist areas such as Grand Baie, Pereybere, Flic en Flac and Tamarin.  Break-ins at self-catering accommodation can occur.  Avoid renting accommodation from unregistered proprietors.  All accommodation should be registered with the Ministry of Tourism.  Only transact business with enterprises that have a permanent place of business, rather than street or beach vendors.  Ensure that water-sport operators hold a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism.

Report any incidents to the Police du Tourisme on the hotline number 213 2818 (available from anywhere on the island).

Take sensible precautions.  Safeguard valuables and cash.  Deposit them in hotel safes, where practical.  Keep copies of important documents, including passports separately.

Political Situation

Mauritius Country Profile.

Relations with the UK are close, though demonstrations outside the British High Commission occur sporadically because of issues relating to the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Local Travel

You can drive on your UK driving licence, but you must have it with you at all times.  The standard of driving here varies and there are frequent, though minor accidents (19,000 per year) so you should take special care when driving yourself.  After dark, pedestrians and unlit two-wheeled vehicles can be a particular hazard.

Air Safety

The EU has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the community.  You should check the following link to see whether this will affect your travel:  http://europa.eu.int/comm/transport/air/safety/flywell_en.htm


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

The importation of illicit drugs carries severe penalties.  Trafficking carries life sentences (i.e.  up to 45 years).  Prosecutions take a year or more to come to court, with detention the norm up until the trial.  Bail is not usually granted for drug-related crimes, regardless of the type of drug.  By way of example, the importation of 15 grams of cannabis could attract a one-year custodial sentence and a fine of 100,000 Mauritian rupees.  It is also illegal to possess or import cigarette papers.
You may carry common medicinal drugs for your own personal use provided that use is covered or justified by a prescription and the drugs were obtained legally from a pharmacy.  Scheduled drugs, such as psychotropic preparations (eg tranquillisers, hypnotics), narcotics (eg morphine) and other strong pain killers require by law authorisation before import.  You are advised to contact:  Mauritian representation in the UK, for information.  Requests for special authorisation and import permits are usually processed in 24-48 hours if all supportive documents are submitted with the application.  The basic information required is the name and address of the applicant, photocopy of the personal details page of the applicant’s passport, flight details, address in Mauritius, length of stay, description and quantities of drugs to be carried.  You are also expected to carry copies of valid medical prescriptions or certificates.  Requests to carry medicines used for drug rehabilitation treatment (eg methadone) should be submitted well in advance as their processing may require security clearance.  In all cases the quantities of drugs carried must be compatible with the duration of stay.
Homosexuality is illegal in Mauritius.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

British nationals do not need to obtain visas before arrival.  A visa, normally valid for 3 months, will be issued on arrival to holders of valid British passports in possession of return tickets.  You may be refused entry to Mauritius if your passport has less than six months validity remaining or if you do not have a return ticket.  If you intend to work in Mauritius, you must arrange a work permit in advance.
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration, please contact the Mauritian High Commission:  Mauritian representation in the UK.


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.
All passengers arriving from an area where yellow fever exists will need a yellow fever certificate.  Further information can be obtained from the Mauritian High Commission (co-located with the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority), Mauritian representation in the UK.
Chikungunya, a viral infection spread by mosquitoes, is mainly a problem in the warmer months (October-May).  Precautionary measures to avoid being bitten should be taken throughout the year.  You should be aware that mosquitoes are active during both day and night.  Further information on Chikungunya can be found on the World Health Organisation website at:  http://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_02_17a/en/.
Although there are no malarial mosquitoes in Mauritius, on arrival at the airport an officer from the Ministry of Health may ask you for a blood sample if you have travelled from a country where malaria is prevalent.
Stonefish stings are uncommon but can in some cases be fatal.  You should obtain urgent medical attention if stung.  Many hotels stock anti-venom serum.
Stray and sometimes vicious dogs are common in Mauritius.  However, rabies is not a risk.
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at: www.dh.gov.uk.
NATURAL DISASTERS
Cyclones may strike Mauritius between November and May.  They can cause extensive damage to property.  The authorities have a well-structured system of phased warnings.  During a cyclone, you are not allowed to leave your accommodation and car insurance policies often cease to be valid.  Cyclone information for the Indian Ocean Region is available at:  http://metoc.npmoc.navy.mil//jtwc.html.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas please see:  What We Can Do To Help.

The police sometimes ask foreigners to show some identity.  You should carry photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport and driving licence and leave the original in a safe place.
Money
ATMs are widely available in most towns in the island and at large shopping centres.  Visa cards are accepted by most hotels, restaurants and large retailers.