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Practical information Mauritius

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Mauritius : Travel Information before you go!

Area

787 sq mi

Flights

The flight takes between 13 and 16 hrs from London. Mauritius is 6,053 mi from the United Kingdom and 125 mi from Réunion Island.

Population

1,250,882

Airports

Plaisance International Airport is located in the south of the island, 4 miles from Mahébourg, 28 miles from Port Louis and 40 miles from Grand Baie. Allow about £20 for a taxi ride to Port Louis and about 40p by bus.

Security

Beware of pickpockets on the markets. There are no problems on the beaches, although valuables should not be left unattended. Hotels often have an employee in charge of regulating the peddlers coming in and out of the hotel. Mauritians are usually quite amicable people, but like everywhere be careful when going out late at night alone.

Languages

The official language is English, but the Mauritians speak Creole and French in everyday life. English is still used for administration purposes. Multilingualism is a particularity of the island since, as well as English, French and Creole, spoken by most of the Mauritians, people also speak the language of their ancestors, depending on which ethnic group they belong to, from India or China.

Required travel documents for

A valid passport and a return ticket are required for British citizens.

Religion

There is a majority of Hindus amongst Mauritians (52%). More than 150 temples are dedicated to their worship and the great religious festivals gather congregations of hundreds of thousands of people. The Catholics (26%), Muslims (16%), Protestants (2%), and a handful of Buddhists also have their places of worship.

Currency

The currency is the Mauritian Rupee (MUR). Credit cards, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners and travellers cheques are accepted in hotels and larger stores. ATM machines are available in all major towns, in Mauritius and Rodrigues, and cash can be withdrawn quickly and easily over the counter banks using a bank card. Banks are open from 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday to Thursday and from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Fridays.

Local transportation

Air Mauritius flies to Rodrigues several times a week.

A cargo boat, which takes vehicles and passengers on board, sails from Mauritius to Rodrigues or to Reunion. The boat crosses from Port Louis to Port Mathurin (Rodrigues) and from Port Louis to Port Reunion (11 miles away from Saint Denis). The trip is usually a night or a day's journey. Crossings happen as often as twice a week.

The taxi fares are similar to Europe's. If you want to cross the island, from the south to the north, expect to pay about £40, though it is possible to rent a car for a day with unlimited mileage for the same price. However, in case of an accident, an international driver's licence will be required. You can also rent two-wheelers, for £12-20 per a day. Driving is on the left and the country has fairly good quality roads. The speed limit is 25 mph in built up areas and 50 mph on country roads. Be careful on the small country lanes of the island, they are quite narrow and sometimes full of potholes. When the sugar canes are high, you cannot see anything at crossroads. When Mauritians are overtaking, they seem to think they benefit from divine protection and, as a result, many accidents happen.

Health

An epidemic of chikungunya (kind of dengue fever) is currently under supervision in the Indian Ocean. The epidemic started in the Comoros islands in February 2005 and then spread itself to Mauritius and Reunion. It develops near the coasts (though cases have been reported up in the mountains). Passed on by mosquitoes, it is characterised by a sudden high temperature and joint pain. Consult a doctor if you are feeling the symptoms. With appropriate treatment, the disease can be cured quickly.

No particular vaccinations are required, but it could be a good idea to make sure you are up to date with the traditional vaccines. Vaccines against hepatitis A and B are recommended. Tap water is not drinkable in most areas. It is preferable to boil it before hand. In big hotels and renowned restaurants, food is regularly checked. Be careful of the stalls of travelling sellers who offer samosas and spicy pineapple. You're never too far away from Delhi-belly!

Electricity

220 V. Continental plugs with two pins or British style with three pins. Bring an adaptor.

Tourist numbers

In 2007, the island received 906,971 tourists.
The French are the main clientele of the island with 240,028 visitors per year.

Taxes and tips

A 4% governmental tax and a value added tax of 10% are applied on the local prices. Tipping is a common practice.

Telephone

To call Mauritius from the UK, dial 00230 + number you are trying to reach.
To call the UK from Mauritius, dial 00 44 + number you are trying to reach without the initial 0.

Mauritius : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Mauritius High Commission
32/33 Elvaston Place
London
SW7 5NW
Tel: (020) 7584 3666
Mauritius Embassy
Same address
Tel: (020) 7581 0294-8

At the destination

British High Commission
Les Cascades Building
Edith Cavell Street
Port Louis
PO Box 1063
Tel: (230) 202 9400

Mauritius Tourism Office
Quays of Caudan Waterfront
Port Louis
Tel: 210 15 45

There is also an information point at the airport.