Jetty at Maritim Hotel, Mauritius
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Jetty at Maritim Hotel, Mauritius

© Creative Commons / timparkinson

Mauritius Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

2,040 sq km (788 sq miles).

Population

1.3 million (2014).

Population density

652.5 per sq km.

Capital

Port Louis.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim since 2015.

Head of government

Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth since 2014.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are commonly used in hotels; you can often find European-style sockets (two round pins) as well.

A hypnotic blend of Indian, Chinese, African, French and British influences, Mauritius is a dazzling Indian Ocean island that enchants nearly all who visit. But while its famous white-sand beaches and luxurious hotels are its top attractions, Mauritius offers far more to do than most tropical islands, with superb hiking, mountain climbing, diving and ecotourism opportunities.

Off major shipping routes, Mauritius remained uninhabited until the 16th century, allowing it to develop into one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. It was favoured by pirates and occupied briefly by the Dutch before the French brought African slaves to work the sugar plantations. Captured by the British in 1810, Mauritius achieved independence in 1968.

Mauritius today is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, a successful, multicultural society where the friendly co-existence of peoples and religions expresses itself in croissants for breakfast and curry for dinner, and brightly painted Indian temples sitting alongside French colonial mansions.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 03 September 2015

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime

Petty crime is common. Take care of bags and valuables in popular tourist areas including Port Louis, Grand Baie and Flic en Flac. Use a hotel safe, where practical. Keep copies of important documents, including passports, separately.

Make sure accommodation and hotel rooms are secure. Avoid renting accommodation that isn’t registered with the Ministry of Tourism.

Most crime is non-violent, but weapons have been used in some burglaries. Although uncommon, there have been some instances of sexual assault. Avoid walking alone at night on beaches or in poorly lit areas especially in the back streets of the business district of Port Louis.

There have been local media reports of street robberies near or at ATMs. Take extra care when withdrawing cash.

In 2011, an Irish tourist was murdered in her hotel room at a resort in the north of the Island. Incidents like this are very rare, but you should remain vigilant.

Avoid doing business with street or beach vendors. Make sure water-sport operators hold a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism.

Report any incidents to the Police du Tourisme (telephone: 213 2818).

Road travel

You can drive using your UK driving licence, but you must have it with you at all times. The standard of driving varies and there are frequent minor accidents. Be particularly careful when driving after dark as pedestrians and unlit motorcyclists are serious hazards.

Sea travel

In August 2014, a young British tourist drowned whilst swimming with the Dolphins in Tamarin Bay. If taking part in such activities you should ensure that the operator holds a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism, there are life jackets on board and the captain has a means to contact the Coastguard if necessary.

There have been attacks very close to the Exclusive Economic Zone (200 mile limit) of Mauritius and piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, and has occurred as far as 1,000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia. Sailing vessels are particularly vulnerable. The FCO advise against all but essential travel by yacht and pleasure craft on the high seas (more than 12 nautical miles from shore) in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean.

See our Piracy in the Indian Ocean page.

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