Mauritius Travel Advice
There’s nothing like up-to-date, relevant travel information direct from the experts – get Go2Africa’s essential Mauritius travel advice before you go.
Money & Spending
The local currency is the Mauritian Rupee and you’ll find that your hotel or resort will exchange cash or travellers cheques without any problems. (As a general rule, travellers cheques get a better rate than cash.) Many visitors however tend to pay for any extras with their credit cards as both Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted throughout the island.
Hotel rates generally include breakfast, dinner, all non-motorized water sports and unlimited waterskiing. You can sometimes opt for an all-inclusive rate which also covers lunch and drinks (except imported beers and spirits). Although it’s obviously a slightly higher rate, paying the all-inclusive price upfront means that apart from souvenirs, tips and taxi fares, you won’t have to worry about money on your Mauritius holiday.
Although it is not compulsory, tipping is highly appreciated in Mauritius. For good service, we recommend a tip of between 10% and 15%, which is the charge that top-end hotels and restaurants will sometimes add to a bill.
For in-depth tipping guidelines, enquire with one of our Africa Safari Experts – they’d be happy to share their knowledge with you.
Average year-round temperatures: 17°C to 30°C
Rainy season: December to April
Refer to “best time to visit Mauritius” for climate charts and more detailed advice.
What to Pack
As most of your Mauritius holiday will likely be spent on the beach, light beach wear and cotton clothing will be most comfortable during the day: shorts and t-shirts, swimming costumes, sun hats, sunglasses and sandals are essential. A pair of walking shoes will come in useful too, and include a few slightly more formal outfits for the evenings.
Flights & Getting Around
Did you know you can book your flights through Go2Africa? For more information and frequently asked questions, please see our Flights section.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport: set in the south of the island 4km from the coastal town of Mahebourg, it takes approximately an hour to get to your resort or hotel, regardless of what coast it is on. Fly in direct from Europe or Dubai as well as from Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Nairobi.
Road transfers whisk you from door to door but the manageable size of Mauritius makes it easy to explore the island on your own steam – hire a scooter, car or even a bicycle. If you’d prefer to let someone else do the driving, take one of the many taxis available but be aware that although they all have meters they are seldom switched on. Agree on a price before you start your journey.
Visa & Passport Requirements
Visas to enter Mauritius are not required for citizens of the USA, EU, Canada and Japan, among others. Initial entry is granted for one month but extensions for a further three months are available at Port Louis. Visitors from most other countries can obtain a tourist visa upon arrival at the airport for a period of up to 60 days – for a full list of visa requirements, visit the Mauritius Embassy website.
All visitors to Mauritius require a passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended period of stay.
History & Economy
Unknown and uninhabited until the Middle Ages, Mauritius was subject to waves of European settlement – Portuguese, Dutch and French – until the British takeover in 1810. Colonialism triggered rapid economic development and slaves were soon brought to the island from Africa, Asia and Madagascar, followed by indentured labourers from India. Built on sugar production, the capital Port Louis grew into a sophisticated and prosperous trading port and, with an increasingly identifiable ethnic character, Mauritius eased its way to independence from Britain in 1968.
Sugar production is still an important part of Mauritius’ economy, though less so than in the 1970s when it made up a quarter of the island’s wealth. Textiles and financial services are part of the modern mix but it is tourism, accounting for nearly a third of total GDP and 30% of direct and indirect employment, that has perhaps most helped transform Mauritius into one of the most stable and successful economies in Africa.
People & Culture
Despite being part of the British Empire, there was no real British colonisation of Mauritius and the French character of the island remains to this day. English however remains the language of law, business and government. The Mauritian population, numbering less than 1.3 million, is multilingual and most are equally fluent in English and French. Mauritian Creole, a French-based language, is spoken by the majority and considered the country’s native language.
It’s also a multi-ethnic population: most Mauritians are descendants of people from Africa, France, China and India, the latter accounting for around 70% of the population. Religious belief is diverse – some 50% of Mauritians are Hindu and many Hindu and Tamil celebrations have become part of Mauritian cultural life. Of the remaining Mauritians, a third are Christian, 15% Muslim and there are small Buddhist and Sikh communities.
There are also a number of cultural practices and superstitions originating in beliefs brought from Africa and Asia. Mauritius’ famous sega music has deep African roots while local sorcerers, known as longanistes or traiteurs, are sometimes used by Mauritians to settle arguments, exact revenge or administer love potions.
Landscape & Wildlife
Rising from coastal plains to a central plateau encircled by mountains, Mauritius is ringed by 150km of sandy beaches and the world’s third largest coral reef. Some of its beaches rank among the best in the world and the scenery in Mauritius tends to be that of a classic tropical island – lush, green and filled with flowers.
Mauritius’ geographical isolation resulted in high biodiversity but – as best illustrated by the fate of the dodo – the island’s wildlife has been under threat since the arrival of humans. Mauritius’ reefs are now well protected and offer excellent diving and snorkelling while away from the beaches, there are several parks and reserves that protect the island’s remaining forests and make for wonderful hiking.