For the first-timer, Mauritius holidays can seem about as exotic as travelling to the moon. As such, there are inevitably thousands of questions to be asked in order to clear concerns and generally come to terms with the basics – of which the following represents a select few of the most frequently asked and pressing examples:
In a nutshell?
Mauritius is a thriving multicultural island which is blessed with some of the most stunning natural beauty on Earth, along with friendly locals, unique culture and practically wall-to-wall sunshine all year-round. The cuisine and hospitality customs of the island are the culmination of French, African, Chinese and Indian influences and are therefore unlike any others to be found the world over. Every year, millions of tourists arrive at the island’s various resorts for a taste of heaven on Earth.
Where is it?
Mauritius can be found in the Indian Ocean just to the east of Madagascar, off the South African coast.
How Big is it?
Not very big at all – the whole island measures in at little more than 2,000 square kilometres, making it about double the size of Hong Kong or the same size as Luxembourg.
What’s the capital of Mauritius?
The capital city through which most tourists arrive and depart is Port Louis.
How many people live there?
At last count, in the region of 1.3 million people are lucky enough to live in Mauritius.
What language is spoken?
The first language of the island’s residents is Creole – accounting for at least 80% of the entire population. There are however many other international languages spoken such as French and English – particularly in popular tourist areas.
What is the island’s religion?
The most prominent religion in Mauritius is Hinduism, which is followed by approximately 48% of the total resident population. Among the other practiced religions are Muslim which accounts for 17%, Christian at 8.6% and Roman Catholic in second-place at 23.6%.
What’s the weather like?
One of the most enviable traits of any holiday to Mauritius, the island is blessed with temperatures that barely change from around the 30 degree Celsius mark throughout the entire year. The months between November and May represent the rainy season and bring the highest temperatures, while the rest of the year is drier and slightly cooler.
When’s the best time to visit?
There really isn’t a wrong time to go to Mauritius, but for those looking to a do a little exploration inland as opposed to just spending time on the beaches, the dry season is more highly recommended.
How can I travel to Mauritius?
Most visitors arrive through the catchy-titled Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, which is serves by dozens of major airlines form all over the world. There is also a major cruise terminal at Port Louis that welcomes thousands of cruise liners every year.
And getting around?
Mauritius is a place where car hire comes very highly recommended – driving is an absolute joy on the island. The best advice is to always book in advance to avoid being overcharged. There is however also an excellent bus system that’s as cheap as it gets, while taxis and bike-hire line pretty much every street so you’ll never be stranded.
By Sandeep Patel
Sandeep Patel is a former travel consultant with a specialization in Mauritius holidays who recently took a career break to focus on raising a family. However, she and the kids still take regular holidays in Mauritius, after which Sandeep is committed to sharing her musings and advice by way of various high-profile travel blogs.