Mauritius Government Tourist Office
Emmanuel Anquetil Bldg. Sir S. Ramgoolam Street
Tel: (230) 2011703, Fax: (230) 2125142
Port Louis, Mauritius


Physical geography

Mauritius is roughly 65km long by 48km wide and is surrounded by coral reefs. It is situated in the Indian Ocean approximately 855km east of Madagascar, 1,800km from Mombasa and 2,000km from Durban. In the centre a great plateau rises to a level of 600m. Bordering this central tableland are three mountain ranges with fantastically shaped masses of basalt which testify to the volcanic origin of the island.


In the centre of the island at about 600m, in August the average midday temperature is 21°C and minimum temperature (dawn)14°C, increasing to 25°C and 18°C respectively by February. In February near sea-level all temperatures are about 5°C higher, reaching an average of 37°C at midday with an absolute value of 37°C in the Capital, Port Louis. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Economic geography</H3> Mauritius is an agricultural country with more than 50 per cent of the land under extensive cultivation of which 80 per cent is sugar cane. Tea, tobacco, food crops and flowers are also grown mainly to meet domestic demand. Manufacturing industry contributes about 25 per cent to GDP and is primarily export-orientated - mainly processing of sugar, textile and knitwear products of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ). Mauritius is now the world's third largest exporter of pure wool products. Other important industries include tourism, agriculture and an emerging financial sector. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Demography</H3> The population is 1,077,946 (30th June 1994) divided into the Indo-Mauritians (subdivided into Hindus and Muslims), the general population (people of European descent and of mixed and African origin), and the Sino-Mauritians. <H3>Population of main towns (30th June 1994):</H3> Port Louis (capital) 144,776 - Beau Bassin-Rose Hill 96,621 - Vacoas/Phoenix 94,042 - Curepipe - 76,610 - Quatre Bomes 73,501. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>A brief history</H3> The island was known to the Arabs in the tenth century. Earlier, 2,500 years ago, visitors may have been the Phoenicians and centuries later the Malays. Discovered in 1505 by the Portuguese Navigator Pedro Mascarenhas, the island was occupied successively by the Dutch (1638-1710), the French (1715-1814) and was ceded to Great Britain in 1814 by the Treaty of Paris. On 12 March 1968, Mauritius acceded to Independence and became the 27th member of the Commonwealth. Republic Day was proclaimed on 12 March 1992. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Religions</H3> There is complete freedom of worship in Mauritius. The majority worship the Hindu, Christian and Moslem religions. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Languages spoken by nationals</H3> English is the official language and is widely understood. French and creole predominate in everyday life. A number of oriental languages are also spoken. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Time</H3> The Standard Time is four hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and three hours ahead of Mid-European Time. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Currency</H3> The monetary unit is the Mauritian Rupee (Rs.) which is divided into 100 cents (cs.). There are 1-rupee and 5-rupee pieces: 5, 10, 20, 25, 50-cent pieces. Notes come in the following denominations: Rs 5, 10, 50, 100, 200, 500 and Rs1,000. One US dollar is roughly equivalent to Rs18.60. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Official holidays (all offices, banks, shops closed)</H3> January 1 and 2, New Year - 12 March, Independence Day/Republic Day - 1 May, Labour Day - 1 November, All Saints' Day - 25 December, Christmas Day. Dates to be confirmed for: Thaipoosam Cavadee - Chinese Spring Festival - Maha Shivaratree - Ougadi - Id El Fitr - Ganesh Chaturthi - Divali.</P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What one should not fail to see</H3> Beaches: White coral sand beaches bordering the translucent waters of the lagoon offer the possibilities of all-year-round swimming, fishing, sailing and water-skiing and yachting. <P>Port Louis, the capital: Government House, St. Louis Cathedral, St. James Cathedral, Champ de Mars, Fort Adelaide, Jummah Mosque, Mauritius Institute housing the Public Library and the Museum of Natural History, Central Market, Boulevard Edward VII, Chinese Pagoda, Robert Edward Hart Gardens, Pere Laval Tomb, Sockalingum Meenachee Amen Temple. <P>Plaines Wilhems: Town of Curepipe: Trou aux Cerfs, Botanical Gardens, Ship-Models fabrics, Diamond cutting factory and shop, Textile and Knitting shops. <P>Town of Beau-Bassin/Rose-Hill: Municipal Theatre, Balfour gardens, Grand River North West Gorges, shopping centres, Art Gallery. <P>Black River: Chamarel Falls and Coloured Earths, Macchabee Forest, Black River, Black River Gorges National Park, Alexandra Falls, Le Morne, Piton de la Riviere Noire, Casela Bird Park, Shell Museum. <P>Savanne: Plaine Champagne, Souillac village, Rochester Falls, Telfair Gardens, Gris-Gris, Robert Edward Hart Museum and Grand Bassin, one of the island's two natural lakes. La Vanille crocodile Park - Riv. des Anguilles. <P>Grand Port: Mahebourg (Historical Museum), Handicraft Village, Le Val, Domaine du Chasseur, Blue Bay. <P>Moka: Domaine Les Pailles, Piton du Milieu, Le Reduit, Soreze Falls, Eureka Creole House and Museum - Montagne Ory. <P>Flacq: Village of Centre de Flacq. <P>Pamplemousses: SSR Botanic Gardens - Pamplemousses, Creve Cur, La Nicoliere, Triolet (Hindu Temple), Trou aux Biches, Aquarium. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring</H3> For touring: all year round. <P>For sojourns: April-June; September-November.</P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>How to dress</H3> Suggested wardrobes for a short visit: <P><B>Women</B> - Winter: Woollen clothes, jerseys and cardigans. Summer: cotton frocks, beach clothes (shorts and slacks) at the sea, sunglasses. General: one or two cocktail dresses.</P> <P><B>Men</B> - Winter: loungesuits, pullovers, sports jackets, flannels. Summer: khaki shorts, palm beach or linen suits, sunglasses. A white jacket for evening wear is useful.</P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday resorts</H3> <B>Trou aux Biches Village Hotel</B> - 205 air-conditioned rooms and three suites in bungalow complex on the northwest coast. Golf, tennis, free water sports, casino. <P><B>Club Mediterranee:</B> 208 air-conditioned rooms in colonial bungalows at Pointe aux Canonniers.</P> <P><B>Le Canonnier:</B> 173 air-conditioned rooms + 30 suites situated at La Pointe aux Canonniers.</P> <P><B>Le Mauricia:</B> 188 air-conditioned rooms + seven suites situated at Grand Baie. Free water sports.</P> <P><B>Royal Palm:</B> 72 luxury room + 12 suites at Grand Bay in the North. Excellent swimming, free water sports.</P> <P><B>Merville Beach Hotel:</B> 166 air-conditioned rooms + suites at Grand Bay. Good swimming grounds. Free water sports.</P> <P><B>Le Grand Gaube Hotel:</B> 113 air-conditioned rooms + six suites. Free water sports.</P> <P><B>St. Geran Sun:</B> 163 air-conditioned rooms + 12 suites at Belle Mare on the east coast. Good swimming grounds. Free water sports.</P> <P><B>Belle Mare Plage Hotel:</B> 172 air-conditioned rooms + six suites at Belle Mare. Free water sports. Sea food. <P><B>Coco Beach:</B> 337 air-conditioned rooms a unique vibrant and exciting new beach resort hotel situated at Belle Mare, on the east coast (a mere three minutes from the renowned St Geran Hotel - set in its 30 acres of idyllic, lush tropical garden, along 1km of white-sand beach and secluded covers, it offers us an unprecedented array of outdoor and indoor sporting and leisure activities in a colourful happy and lively atmosphere. <P><B>Ambre Hotel:</B> 226 air-conditioned rooms + 20 suites on the east coast. Free water sports <P><B>Le Touessrok Sun:</B> 200 air-conditioned rooms on an islet off Trou d'Eau Douce on the east coast, 500 metres from Ile-aux- Cerfs. Free water sports. Seafood <P><B>Shandrani:</B> 181 air-conditioned rooms + eight suites at Blue Bay on the south east coast near Plaisance Airport. Free water sports <P><B>Le Paradis:</B> 263 rooms + eight suites on the south-west coast. Free water sports, golf, casino.</P> <P><B>La Pirogue Sun:</B> 250 air-conditioned rooms in thatched bungalows at Flic en Flac. Good swimming grounds. Free water sports, casino <P><B>Sofitel Imperial:</B> 136 air-conditioned rooms + five suites located on the west coast at Flic en Flac. Free water sports <P><B>Maritim Hotel:</B> 180 air-conditioned rooms located on the North West coast. Excellent snorkelling. Free water sports <P><B>Le Victoria:</B> 239 rooms + seven suites at Pointe aux Piments. Free water sports <P><B>Berjaya Resort Hotel:</B> 180 air-conditioned rooms at Le Morne on the south-west coast. Free water sports - Deep-sea fishing.</P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday sports</H3> Deep sea fishing, boating, sailing, water skiing, snorkling, windsurfing, horse racing, tennis, golf, yachting. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to eat and drink</H3> European, Oriental and typical creole dishes are served. Rum, Scotch, wines, liqueurs, beer, soft drinks, etc, are the usual drinks available on the local market. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to buy</H3> Tea, sugar, rum, spices, casual wear saris, silk shirts, indian fabrics, top quality pullovers, locally-made baskets, quilts, hand- embroidered table cloths, macrame work, pottery, wood work. Some shops offer duty-free facilities on electronic goods, cameras, watches and perfumes. A wide selection of exclusive handcrafted 18ct gold jewellery, unset diamonds, precious stones and pearls are also available duty-free. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Frontier formalities</H3> <H3>Passports and visas</H3> Visitors entering Mauritius for a period of one month should possess a valid passport, a visa and a return or onward ticket. Visas can be obtained from the Passport and Immigration Authorities, Port Louis (Mauritius) or from Mauritian Embassies in Washington, Paris, London, New Delhi, Canberra, Brussels, Cairo, Islamabad, Antananarivo, Kuala Lampur. For more information please contact the Passport and Immigration Office. Tel: (+230) 208 1212. Tlx: 4249 Extern IW. Fax: (+230) 212 23 98. No visa is required from: <OL TYPE="a" START="1"> <LI>British subjects. <LI>Nationals of the European Union, Scandinavian countries, Commonwealth countries, Gulf Corporation Council, Austria, Switzerland, Japan and the USA. </OL> <H3>Health regulations</H3> Yellow fever vaccination certificates are required if arriving from infected areas. Cholera vaccination is no longer required from any traveller coming to Mauritius. According to the recent epidemiological situation, there is no malaria risk in the country. <H3>Customs</H3> Passengers of 16 years of age and over may import duty free: 250 grammes of tobacco (including cigars and cigarettes) one litre of spirits, two litres of wine, ale or beer, one quarter litre of toilet water and quantity of perfume not exceeding 10 cl. Firearms and ammunition must be specially declared on arrival. <H3>Plants</H3> Import of plants and plant material including cutting, flowers bulbs, fresh fruits, vegetables and seeds only authorised under a plant import permit previously obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. All plant material must be declared to customs immediately on arrival and is subject to examination. <H3>Animals and animal material</H3> Import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, obtained in advance. Sanitary certificate of country of origin. All animals must be declared to the customs immediately on arrival and landing is only allowed if the certificate issued by the veterinary authorities of the exporting country is in conformity with the Import Permit. Quarantine: dogs and cats: six months, birds three weeks. Prohibited: invertebrate animals. <H3>Tax</H3> Airport Service Charge Rs 100 = US$5.35 levied on passengers embarking at Mauritius. Place of payment: airport of departure at Mauritius. <H3>Currency regulations</H3> There is no restriction imposed on the importation of foreign currency in the form of banking instruments - drafts, letters of credit, traveller's cheques, etc. <P>Visitors may bring in foreign notes up to any amount. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main travel routes</H3> <B>By air:</B> Mauritius is linked by air with the rest of the world by Air Mauritius, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Air France, Air India, Air Madagascar, Air Zimbabwe, Condor, Air Austral. <P>International routes: There is a good network of roads throughout the island. Adequate fleets of taxis operate in all principal towns and villages at reasonable fares. Bus services link up all villages and towns. Self drive or chauffeur-driven hire services are readily available at all centres. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Miscellaneous</H3> The solemn diocesan procession on the occasion of Corpus Christi is held in Port Louis. <P>Maha Shivaratree is a spectacular Hindu festival celebrated in honour of God Shiva (February). <P>Cavadee is another spectacular religious festival which marks: the end of the fast of the Tamils (January/February). <P>Chinese Spring Festival (between Jan-Feb). <P>Fire-walking ceremonies take place in different parts of the island between October and March. <P>Divali, the festival of light, is celebrated by Mauritians of Hindu faith (October). <P>In September, the anniversary of the death of Father Laval, a missionary priest, attracts groups of pilgrims to his shrine (Ste. Croix Village). <P>Power Supply throughout the island is 220 Volts.</P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Representatives abroad</H3> AUSTRALIA: The Mauritius High Commission: 2 Beale Crescent, Deakin ACT 2600. Tel: (+616) 281 1203. Fax: (+616) 282 3235. <P>BELGIUM: The Mauritius Embassy, Rue des Bollandistes, 68, Etterbeek, 1040 Brussels. Tel: (+32 2) 733 99 88. Fax: (+32 2) 734 40 21. <P>EGYPT: The Mauritius Embassy, 5, 26 of July Street, Lebanon Square, Cairo. Tel: (+20 2) 34 709 29. Fax: (+20 2) 34 524 25.</P> <P>ENGLAND: The Mauritius High Commission: 32-33 Elvaston Place, London SW7, SNW. Tel: (+44 171) 5810294 - 5810295. Fax: (+44 171) 823 8437. <P>FRANCE: The Mauritius Embassy, 127 Rue de Tocqueville, 75017 Paris, Tel: (+33 1) 42 27 30 1 9. Fax: (+33 1) 40 53 029 1.</P> <P>INDIA: The Mauritius High Commission: Kautilya Marg, 5, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 1100 21. Tel: (+91 11) 3011 112/3. Fax: (+91 11) 3019 925.</P> <P>PAKISTAN: The Mauritius Embassy: House number 27, Street number 26, sector f-6/2, Islamabad. Tel: (+92 51) 21 0145. Fax: (+92 51) 21 00 76.</P> <P>UN: Mauritius Mission to the United Nations: 211 East, 43rd Street, 1502 New York, N.Y. 10017, USA. Tel: (+1212) 9490190. Fax (+1212) 6973829.</P> <P>UN: Mauritius Mission to the United Nations: Geneva Chancery, 10 rue Le Corbusier, Geneva 1208, Switzerland. Tel: (+41 22) 734 8550. Fax: (+41 22) 734 8630. USA: Mauritius Embassy, Suite 441, Van Ness Centre, 4301 Connecticut Ave., Washington DC, 20008. Tel: (+1 202) 2441491/92. Fax: (+1 202, 966 0983).</P> <P>MALAYSIA: The Mauritius High Commission, Letter Box 122, Suite ABC 14th Floor, Bangunam Angkasa Raya, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Tel: (+60 3) 241 1870. Fax: (+60 3) 2415115.</P> <P>MADAGASCAR: Mauritius Embassy Ambatoroka, PO Box 6040, Ambanidia, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar. Tel: (+261 2) 321 57. Fax: (+261 2) 219 39.</P> <P>SOUTH AFRICA: The Mauritius High Commission, Suite 403, Infotect Building, 1090 Arcadia Street, Hatfield 0083. Pretoria, South Africa. Tel: (+27 12) 342 12 83. Fax: (+27 12) 342 12 86.</P> <I><P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><P>We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Mauritius thanks to the co-operation of the Mauritius Government Tourist Office.</P> </I> <!-- End of article --> <P> <CENTER><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="4"></CENTER> <P> <CENTER><A HREF=#TOP><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteTopbut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A> <A HREF="../../../watanetwork/NTOs/Countrieslist/"><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteNTObut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A></CENTER> </TD> </TR> </TABLE> </BODY> </HTML>