Fact file: Mauritius

Did you know?
Once a year the entire coral reef reproduces in the same night, releasing millions of tiny eggs that float to the surface of the water, changing colour dramatically as they go.
Language
English and French are the official languages; Creole/patois is spoken widely; Bhojpuri, Urdu, Gujarati and Chinese dialects are also represented.
Visas
None required but you need a valid passport and an outward ticket to be allowed in to the country. You may be asked where you are going to stay and even to show that you have sufficient finances for your trip, if you are not part of a package tour/holiday.
Getting there
Direct flights from the UK to Mauritius from London.
Flying time from London
Twelve hours
Getting around
Daily flights to Rodrigues Island. Buses are good but slow. Car hire is reasonably priced but the main roads can be very busy and a bit dangerous, so be careful. Taxis are cheap but only if you negotiate a price before undertaking your journey. Cycling is a great way to go around the coast as there are few hills, but beware potholes and drivers. There are daily ferries to the nearby Ile aux Cerfs and many small pirogues for hire to cross small rivers and lagoons - as with taxis, agree a price before starting the journey.
Currency
Rupee. Major credit cards widely accepted; cash advances on credit cards available from most major banks.
Costs
As a guide: Litre of petrol 40p; moderate restaurant meal £15; beer £1.50-£2; camera film £2; short taxi ride £3.50.
Weather
On the plateau around Curepipe temperatures are usually 5C lower than on the coast. It can be rainy up on the plateau and clear on the coast, and vice-versa. The east coast is drier during January and February when winds dump rain on central and western Mauritius. Hottest months are Jan-April (25-35C/78-95F) with high humidity and cyclones. July to September is the Mauritian winter, with average temperatures 24C/78F in the daytime and 16C/62F at night; it is also less humid and has less rainfall.
Time difference
Four hours ahead of GMT
International dialling code from the UK
00 230
Voltage
220V or 125V, 50 Hz.
Opening hours
Office hours are 9am-4pm Mon-Fri and, for private businesses, 8.30am-noon on Saturday. Shops and cafes are usually open at 9am, close between 3-6pm and then open again. Check restaurant times before arranging evening meals, as some are open only for lunch.
Health - Before you go
Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A, polio and typhoid. Anti-malarial tablets are needed in some areas - check with your GP, or the Foreign Office on 020 7238 4503/3, as it depends on which region you are visiting.
Health - When you are there
The main public health service is free to residents and visitors but there'll be a long wait - you may prefer to get insurance and go private. The public hospitals are The Jeetoo in Port Louis, the Princess Margaret in Candos, the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam at Pamplemousses and the Jawaharlal Nehru at Rose Bell.
Warnings
When diving, be careful of the coral, shells and fish - some just sting but others are deadly. Make sure you know which are which, and what to do and where to go for help. Drugs are illegal and there are stiff penalties for possession, use, buying or selling. Showers in some cheaper rooms are electrically heated in the shower head itself with predictably dangerous results. Beware, and ask how to use this kind of shower or you may get a shock.
Emergency
Police - dial 999. British Embassy, Les Cascades Building, Edith Cavell Street, Port Louis. Tel: 211 1361.
Customs
Ask before taking photographs of people; many women find it offensive, as you probably would if someone started snapping away at you. Dress codes are conservative away from beach resort areas. Bargaining is part of life on Mauritius; even daily accommodation rates should drop by around 20-30% after a week's stay.
Pets
Mauritius is in the PETS travel scheme under long-haul regulations. However, this is a long and complicated procedure requiring vaccinations, medical check-ups and route planning; it is not as simple as walking on and off a plane with your pet. Therefore the scheme is more suited to those returning from a long stay abroad, rather than the two-week holidaymaker. It takes several months to set up the relevant documentation; see your vet for further details.
Tipping
It's not necessary to tip. Most restaurants add a government tax to the bill.
Tourist office
Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, 32 Elveston Place, London SW7 5NW. Tel: 020 7584 3666.


Telephone

+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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