Best time to go: April – June and September – December.
Best for: Island Relaxation, water-based activities.
With world-class hotels offering top class service and sumptuous food, as well as top spas and golf courses, Mauritius also offers more to do than many tropical islands, with trekking, mountain climbing and ecotourism thrown in. And with its plentiful sunny days, the world`s third largest coral reef surrounding a turquoise lagoon and silky, white, sandy beaches, this island certainly comes close to paradise.
Head to Grand Baie, for water sports such as parasailing, an underwater walk, submarine and semi-submersible scooters, or to La Cuvette, a long soft beach with clear water between Grand Baie and Cap Malheureux, for sailing, windsurfing and water-skiing.
Swim at the northern beaches such as Trou aux Biches, shaded by casuarinas, Mont Choisy, a 2km narrow white stretch of sand curving north from there, and Péreybère, a little cove between Grand Baie and Cap Malheureux. Of course the resort hotels have their own beach frontage so you don`t really have to venture out at all.
Take a water taxi from Trou d`eau Douce to the popular island playground of Ile aux Cerfs for beaches, golf and water sports. Or, for a quieter day, a catamaran to the Northern Islands – Gabriel Island, Flat Island and Gunner`s Quoin.
Hike in the Black River Gorges National Park, a 6,794-hectare forest, to see indigenous plants, birds and wildlife. Black River Peak trail goes to Mauritius` highest mountain, while the Maccabee Trail starts nearby and plunges into the gorge to Black River.
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Capital: Port Louis (MRU)
Currency: Mauritian Rupee (MUR)
Language: English and French. Creole is also widely spoken
Dialling code from SA: + 230
Time Zone: UTC/GMT +4 hours (2 hours ahead of South Africa)
Side of the Road: Left.
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. UK-type three-pin plugs are commonly used in hotels.
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Bottled water is available.
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended.
Customs: Normal social courtesies should be observed. Respect should be shown when visiting Hindu religious sites.
Local Offences / Laws: Drug trafficking carries very heavy penalties. Certain scheduled medications require pre-authorisation before import. Visitors bringing in personal medication should have an accompanying prescription. Firearms and ammunitions require import permits and must be declared upon arrival. Nudism is prohibited. Homosexuality is illegal.
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Mauritius by travellers aged 18 and over without incurring customs duty:
• 250g of tobacco products
• 1L of spirits and 2L of wine or beer
• Other goods to the value of Rp7,500 (Mauritians under 12 years old or foreigners) or Rp15,000 (Mauritians over 12 years old)
Prohibited Imports: Prohibited items include obscene publications and films, underwater fishing guns, and sugarcane cuttings and plants. Restricted items requiring a permit include arms and ammunition, drugs, and live or stuffed animals.