Detailed Map

Full Name
Republic of Mauritius

Area
1860 sq km

Capital City
Port Louis

People
Indo-Mauritian (68%), Créole (27%), Sino-Mauritian (3%), Franco-Mauritian (2%)

Languages
English, Créole, French, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bojpoori

Government
Parliamentary Democracy

President
Karl Offmann

Prime Minister
Sir Anerood Jugnauth

 

Mauritius is the most accessible island in the Indian Ocean, boasting as much tropical paradise as Maui or Martinique.

Here, you can enjoy a dish of curried chickpeas or a nice Yorkshire pudding on the terrace of a French café, sipping imported wine or a thick malt ale while listening to Créole music and the conversation of locals in any number of lingoes.

Unlike neighboring Réunion, Mauritius has no active volcano, although remnants of volcanic activity - such as Trou Aux Cerfs Crater in Curepipe and millions of lava boulders - pepper the island. Mauritius is surrounded by a coral reef and lined by a few long stretches of white sand beach.

The abundant marine life found in Mauritian waters includes corals, molluscs, turtles, dolphins, four types of whale and innumerable fish.

Of the island's 900 plant species, almost a third is endemic to Mauritius. Some of the most common examples are giant Indian banyans, beach-hugging casuarinas and brilliant red-flowering flamboyants.

Many hotels provide windsurfing and kayaking equipment for their guests, and for those who prefer less strenuous communing, there's usually a glass-bottom boat to be found.

For Jules Verne fans, lead-booted, bubble-headed 'undersea walks' can be arranged near Grand Baie reef, as can a ride on La Nessee, a semi-submersible boat - sort of like a submarine - that allows a close-up tour of the reefs without the nuisance of getting wet.

On Mauritius, the best dive sites are around Flic en Flac on the west coast. Snorkeling is a better proposition, with over-the-side boat trips running from most major hotels and from Grand Baie beach.

Serious anglers will love the superb deep-sea fishing in the waters off Mauritius, where there are healthy populations of blue and black marlin, bonita and yellowfin tuna, several species of shark and spectacular sailfish to hook into.