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ABC Guide to Vacations in Mauritius
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Our unusual A,B,C view of things to do, where to go and what to see on a holiday in Mauritius.

ABC of Mauritius - A guide to Mauritius

A is for ..Arrival
On the plane you'll receive a form to fill out. You'll need to provide your personal details, where you're staying in Mauritius and how long you're staying for. You’ll also need to fill out a health card, about what you're allergic to, if you've been ill, where your last holiday was etc. Both forms must be presented at the airport with your return ticket and a booking confirmation. Once the officer has stamped your documents, then you may leave the airport.

B is for ...Bus
The buses run from morning to night. Bus fares are not expensive. Especially if you come from England, where the bus fares are almost more expensive than driving; you'll be shocked how cheap it is to get the bus. A journey of 10 - 15 minutes usually costs no more than 50 cents. The buses are not in perfect condition (but then neither are the taxis). Each bus holds approx. 60 people.

C is for ...Camping
Camping holidays are not usually possible in Mauritius because you have to provide an exact address for where you're staying when you arrive at the airport. But if you really want to put up your tent, then you could take your tent down to the beach and spend a night there. You'll probably see lots of tents on the beach. Mauritian's come to the beach with their family, put their tent up and enjoy a family holiday/outing.

Mauritius is well known for its beautiful catamaran tours. A catamaran is a boat made of two hulls which are connected by a supporting deck. Catamaran day tours are offered, which are particularly popular among couples.

If you want to eat something in Mauritius and you are asked if you want Piment (French for chilli), then don't nod your head too much because you may get a lot. Chilli is definitely spicier here than it is in the UK. It brings a new meaning to the word spicy. But if you like it spicy, which is very important here, there are no limits.

The official language is English. But everyone speaks Creole. This language sounds like badly spoken French. However, it consists of other languages, like English or Portuguese. This language is so open that it will probably soon take on elements from other languages too.

Due to the many different religions and people, you will find an incredible cultural diversity in Mauritius. Hindus, Creole, Chinese, Muslim and Europeans live here. It shows in the food. Typical Mauritian food means that a little of each culture is thrown into the meal. A little bit of curry, some Chinese noodles, some chicken. For this reason, you'll always experience something new in Mauritius. Therefore, one holiday is just not enough.

The currency in Mauritius is rupees. 37 rupees are equivalent to 1 Euro (as of 2012), but this always varies.

During summer Mauritius is ravaged by cyclones. When large masses of water heat up to 26 degrees over long periods of time, then the water on the surface evaporates faster than the water underneath. This causes towering clouds which bring storms, rain and swirling wind.

D is for ...Dholl Puri
Dholl Puri is a typical Mauritian snack. You can get in on the street for 12 rupees (equivalent of 3 cents). It is a thin paste consisting of mainly yellow peas and flour. The end result looks like a pancake, in terms of shape and consistency. Then it is filled with mixed vegetable, sauces and chilli. If you don't like spicy things then it's best to just try a little bit, or just not try it at all.

Whether you’re an experienced diver or a novice; you really should go diving while in Mauritius. Around the island you'll find diving schools which offer diving courses for every ability. Be it a beginner’s course, advanced, underwater walks, feeding fish ...there's something for everyone at these diving schools.

There are many stray dogs in Mauritius. Wherever you go you'll see stray dogs – they are a big problem.

The dodo was a flightless bird which was only found in Mauritius and in Réunion in the Indian Ocean. However, dodos no longer exist. But you'll still find some in various locations throughout Mauritius. On the Mauritian coat of arms, the dodo serves as a supporter, and you'll find dodo souvenirs being sold on the street.

In Mauritius we drive on the left. For this reason, it is not necessarily advisable to rent a car on the day you arrive. The roads are not in the best condition and people seem to follow different traffic rules to those you may have learnt at driving school or practiced on European roads. Beeping the horn is normal in the city. Actually, the horn is used everywhere and on every occasion. People tend to make up their own rules when it comes to overtaking and speed limits. For this reason, you should really think it over before you hire a car.

E is for ...Emergency
General Emergency ☎999
Ambulance: ☎114
Fire Service: ☎995

Based on skin colour, it's easy to distinguish the Mauritian's from the tourists. As a woman you are seen as an attraction, you'll be whistled at, invited for a meal or a cup of tea, or you'll be offered a free boat ride. Therefore, as a woman, you should always be careful. Don't get into strangers cars, don't go out alone after 7 pm and don't accept the offers from Mauritian men.

You increasingly hear about the idea of being 'eco-friendly'. If hotels are being built, we don't want to destroy nature any further by cutting down trees, but we want to adapt the hotel complex to its environmental surroundings. One example is the Sofitel in the south.

F is for...Fish
You can eat them, swim with them and catch them. There is an abundance of fish in Mauritius.

The Mauritian flag consists of 4 colours, which are draped horizontally. Red is at the top. The red represents the blood that was shed. Blue is underneath the red. Mauritius lies in the Indian Ocean. Blue represents the water. Yellow is underneath the blue. Mauritius is independent. The yellow metaphorically represents a light which shines over Mauritius and expresses this independence. Green is at the bottom. Due to the wealth of flora and fauna species, the last colour represents nature.

...Flora and Fauna
Whether mahogany trees, palms or shrubs, no location is 'spared' from the colour green. Be it just a tree, a whole row of trees or flowers. The numerous colourful birds will also catch your eye. Sometimes you can stand under a tree and a bird song can make you think there's a whole flock of birds above you. As well as birds, there are also lots of lizards.

Here you can taste that the fruit is not imported. The bananas are a lot smaller and they taste different. Just like the pineapple. You can buy 6 apples for approx. 1.10 in Super U (supermarket) so it's not expensive.

G is for...Golf
The golf trend is increasing in Mauritius, where there are increasingly luxurious golf courses. It is quite common for golf courses to be part of a hotel.

...Glass-bottom boat
A glass-bottom boat has a glass panel in the middle so you can watch the fish as they swim under the boat. If you go on a tour, the fish are fed so that as many fish as possible stay under the boat so the tourists can see them properly.

H is for ...Hinduism
The majority of the population are Hindus. You'll discover many influences of this religion through the country. You’ll see women in saris and religious figures in the brightest colours and clothes.

I is for ...Indian
There are lots of Indian restaurants.

J is for ...January or July?
January is the peak season in Mauritius. It is very hot, up to 42 degrees and the tourists drove in flocks to the island, to spend their annual leave here. Why not? While your friends in England freeze and become even paler, you could be laying in Mauritius getting a tan. However, the island may be hit by cyclones. You should expect that. In July it is still winter in Mauritius. But here winter is still 30 degrees. You can go out wearing shorts. Coming from the UK, you'll probably feel more at home here in July...not too hot and not too cold.


K is for...Kite-surfing
Kite-surfing is recommended in the South-East or the South-West. In the summer, it is highly dependent on the wind. But there is also a kite-surfing school in the North. ‘Kiteival Mauritius’ is a kite-surfing festival which attracts many passionate kite-surfers.

L is for ...Lagoon
Lagoons are shallow waters, which are usually separated from the sea by coral.

...Les Enfants Terribles
Les Enfants Terribles is a nightclub in Point aux Cannoniers. It has 3 rooms. In one room, there is always live music, in the other you can dance normally and in the third you can sit and chat. Normally you have to pay a little more in the 3rd room. There are young and old people in Les Enfants Terribles. Not just young people but also adults. On Fridays you usually need a ticket but on Saturdays entry is free.

M is for ...Music
What is typically Mauritian? Sega of course! Sometimes it sounds like this music comes from Reggae. Originally it was funeral music for the slaves and was native to Africa. Emotional elements are meant to animate the body, to move in the 'Sega' dance. Originally it was improvised music which was accompanied by instruments like the rattle or the drums.

Mauritius Postal Museum – Here you can see, among other things, the famous red and blue stamps → https://www.mauritiuspost.mu/postal-museum The National History Museum – A look into Mauritian history is very exciting… learn about the dodo and what Portugal and Holland have to do with the island state…this museum is worth a visit!

N is for ...Nature
Sugarcane, rice, teep, flowers, pumpkins and watermelon plantations ...you'll find all this in Mauritius. Palm trees, forests, bushes, mountains, lagoons, nature parks are home to giant tortoises, monkeys and other animals...here's even a lion walk, where you can walk with lions (whilst adhering to some rules). Mauritius offers pretty much everything you could wish for. However, the palm trees, for example, have been largely planted and even on the lions walk it's clear that they wouldn't be in Mauritius if it wasn't for someone trying to make a profit.

O is for Opportunity to explore

P is for...Port Louis
Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius. This is where most people live. It lies on the north-west coast. If you want to go shopping then this is the place to go, as the prices are more affordable. If you want to buy a shirt that costs 40 Euros in Grand Baie, chances are you can buy it for 20 Euros in Port Louis (of course, it depends if the shirt is a particular brand). The Waterfront is in Port Louis. This is a shopping centre, which is located right on the port, where you can go shopping and eat. It has a lovely atmosphere, if you sit in a cafe, have something to eat or drink and watch the boats on the water.

Q is for...Quad
For those who like to be adventurous, you can also go quad-biking.

R is for...Roti
Roti is the equivalent of Dholl Puri, or Dholl Puri is the equivalent of Roti? Whatever. If you want to buy Dholl Puri from a stand, you will usually be offered Roti too. The only difference is that the dough is made without yellow beans, so it looks more like a pancake compared to Dholl Puri. It tastes less like corn and more like flour.

You'll soon realise that different cultures live together in Mauritius. You'll meet Africans and Indians, as well as Chinese people and even Europeans. 50 % of the population are Hindus. Approx. 25 % of people are Christians and 17 % are Muslims. You'll find Hindu temples, as well as churches and mosques. There are also Chinese Buddhists. The wonderful thing is that so many different people live together in peace in Mauritius, even though the country was once running a slave trade. Nowadays more countries should look to Mauritius as an example. Such a tolerance towards other people and their cultures is rare.

Just as there are sugarcane plantations, there are also rice plantations. A lot of rice is consumed in Mauritius. Rice meals are sold in Indian restaurants, but also on the street and on the beach. It's eaten with meat, vegetables, with chopsticks, fork and spoon or with your hands. In the supermarket you'll see there are also 20 KG sacks of rice for sale.

Those who love rum specialties will feel right at home in Mauritius. Due to the excellent climatic conditions, a number of rum varieties can be cultivated. White rum, in which sugarcane is widely used, is produced here. As there are so many coconut trees here, many rum varieties have a coconut taste. Whether in cocktails, as a shot or in a long drink...in the supermarket you can buy a bottle of rum for as little as approx. 4 Euros...the prices increase upwards with no limit, so there is something for everyone.

S is for...Sega
Sega is not just the music; it is also the dance. It's all about feeling the music. You move your hips a lot, but you also move other parts of your body. Sega is a dance of pleasure. Virtually every Mauritian likes the music or the dance. In most cases they like both. On Saturday from 4 am there is always Sega played in Les Enfants Terribles. Most Mauritian's stay longer, just to hear the Sega. The most famous Sega singer is Alain Ramanisum.

Indian women wear saris. It is 5 - 6 metre long piece of material, which you wrap around your body to create a graceful look. On the streets you will see women wearing saris, otherwise they are worn at Indian weddings. Every woman over 18 years old should wear a sari, alternatively the girls wear a dress. Saris come in all different colours and every possible material. Under the sari you wear a long slip and a tight blouse. Saris can vary; sometimes people have their tummy visible. You can wear it so your back is visible or you can completely cover your skin with the material. The woman lays the end of the sari over her left forearm, which lends a more elegant look.

Like any other holiday destination, there is a variety of souvenirs to choose from…be it maps of Mauritius, posters, towels. You'll find the dodo on most souvenirs as it is the emblem of Mauritius.

Those who don't want to dive can go snorkeling instead! You can go on a guided snorkeling trip or just go on your own. On the beach at Trou aux Biches, for example, you only have to swim a few metres out before you see the beautiful colourful fish. Or you can see some underwater wonders in Bluebay, in the south.

They are called the Red and Blue Mauritius. 500 blue and red were initially printed. The red were used within Mauritius and the blue were used for overseas. As the first series depleted, a second series was printed. On the second series prints it says "Post paid" rather than "Post Office". People began to regard the stamps from the first series as valuable and began to collect them. Today, there are only 8 used and 4 unused blue stamps and 12 used and 2 unused red stamps.

...Sugar cane
Sugar cane has been around since the start of Mauritian history. Wherever you look you'll see sugar cane plantations. In some hotels the roofs are made from wood from the sugar cane plants. As described above, they try to exploit all of the plant according to 'eco-friendly' principles. On one hand, it is used for sugar production and, on the other hand, it is used to try and decorate hotel rooms.

T is for...Tea
The most common teas you'll find are green tea and vanilla tea. Tea is very popular because it's cheap. This is partly because there are tea plantations. And the tea which is not imported is affordable.

The taxis are all different. There are those in good condition and those in which you might fear for your safety. There are taxi drivers everywhere in Mauritius. Sometimes a car which isn't a taxi will stop. The driver will take the tourists and pose as a taxi. These are known as "taxi trains" and often offer the same price as a bus fare. You should only get in the car if it is clearly marked as a taxi. When they see that their passenger is fair-skinned, they usually charge a higher price. You should enquire in advance how much the bus costs for the journey, or else you may end up paying 100 - 200 rupees too much. It is also important to settle the price beforehand. Ultimately, think about whether you really need a taxi, because the buses run very regularly.

U is for ...University
Mauritius has a university near Port Louis, in Réduit. There are a variety of courses on offer. You can also study German there. About 15,000 students go to this campus.

V is for ...Volcano
Mauritius is a volcanic island. The highest mountain on the island is Piton de la Rivière Noire at 828 metres. Another excursion destination is the Trou aux Cerfs crater in Curepipe. In the car you can almost drive to the top.

Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your date of entry. You will need to present a return ticket and proof that you have accommodation. You have to present all this at the airport when you arrive. If you want to stay for longer than 3 months, then you need to apply for a visa.

W is for...Water sports
Those who love watersports will not be disappointed in Mauritius. Be it surfing, deep-sea fishing, kite-surfing, wind-surfing.

The climate is also completely different in Mauritius. There are only 2 seasons; summer and winter. Winter is from May till November. Sometimes there are a few days around August which measure 30 degrees. Winter here, some rain and wind in the worst case scenario, is nothing compared to England. Summer is from November till May and is a little too hot for most Europeans at 40 degrees.

X is for...Xmas
Spend Christmas in Mauritius? Why not? Christmas is now celebrated here, with Christmas trees and Christmas shopping. Those looking for a break from Europe with their family and loved ones; Mauritius is the perfect place. Christmas time is one of the most popular travel times. You can leave rainy England and come to hot Mauritius. And if it's too hot, you can just jump into the sea.

Y is for ...Yacht Charter
Why not a little exclusivity? Why not a little luxury? It's not every day you're in Mauritius. Will you travel by small boat, catamaran or yacht? You'll definitely be able to find a yacht charter on the internet.

Read our other pages about Mauritius.
ABC Guide to Mauritius: East Mauritius Beaches: Entertainment: Grand Port District: Mauritius explored: Markets in Mauritius: Cuisine in Mauritius: Airport in Mauritius: Black River District: Central Mauritius: Coral Reefs: Mauritius Culture: Mauritius History: North Mauritius Beaches: Pamplemousses District: Pereybere: Port Louis: Savanne District: Shopping in Mauritius: South Mauritius Beaches: Sport in Mauritius: Travel Seasons and Transport:: West Mauritius Beaches: Why Mauritius:
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