History and Country
The island was known to the Arabs in the 10th century. Discovered in 1505 by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas, the island was occupied successively by the Dutch (1598-1712), the French (1715-1810) and was ceded to Great Britain in the1814 by the Treaty of Paris. On March 12, 1968, Mauritius acceded to Independence; Republic Day was proclaimed on 12 March 1992. The constitution is based on the Westminster pattern, where power rests with the Prime minister and the cabinet.
Mauritius is an island of approximately 1865 square kilometers with 330 kms of coastline surrounded by
coral reefs, a central plateau and impressive mountains. It is situated in the South West Indian Ocean (20°S\57.5°E) approximately 2000kms from Durban, 1800 kms from Mombassa, 6000kms from Perth and4700 kms from
Bombay. The Central Plateau rises to a level of some 6000 metres marked by extinct volcanic craters, crisscrossed by rivers, streams and waterfalls. Bordering this tableland are three mountain ranges with
fantastically shaped masses of basalt which testify to the origins of the island. From these mountains, several peaks emerge: Piton de la Riviere Noire (828 mts), and Le Pouce (812 mts).
In the central part of the island, at about 600 metres above sea level, the average maximum daytime
temperature varies from about 20°C in August to about 26°in February. Along coastal areas, the temperatures are generally 3 to 5 degrees higher. The western and northern regions are warmer and relatively drier
than the East and the South. A green cover of vegetation is maintained over much of the country throughout the year.
On 31 December 1999, the population of the island of Mauritius was estimated at 1145199 comprising
indo-Mauritius, Creoles, i.e., people of mixed European and African origin and Sino- Mauritians.
The Mauritius economy is based on the export of sugar, products from the Export processing Zone and
Tourism. Presently Mauritius is at an industrial crossroads. Since 1989, the Government has established a Stock Exchange the main objective of which is to finance the increased investment needs of the
economy. The offshore banking business aims at making Mauritius an offshore financial centre.
As a major tourist destination Mauritius has air connections with most of the major European, African
and Asian cities as well as Australia and other islands of the Indian Ocean. Its national carrier, Air Mauritius, services 28 different destinations.
Passengers of 16 years of age and over may import duty free; 250 grammes of tobacco (including cigars
and cigarettes), 1 litre of spirits, 1 litres of wine, ale or beer, one quarter litre of Eau de Toilette and a quantity of perfume not exceeding 10 cl.
A plant import permit must be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture, prior to the introduction of
plants and plant material including cuttings, flowers, bulbs, fresh fruits, vegetables and seeds. All plant material must be declared to Customs immediately on arrival and is subject to examination.
It is prohibited, by law, to introduce sugar cane and parts thereof, soil micro-organisms and
invertebrate animals. Facilities for examination and certification of plant material are available at le Réduit and Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport offices of the Plant Pathology Division of
the Ministry of Agriculture. All animals including animal material need an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and a sanitary certificate of country of origin. All animals must be declared to the Customs
Authorities immediately on arrival and landing is allowed if certificates issued by the Veterinary Authorities of the exporting country are in conformity with Import permit. Dogs and cats undergo a six month’s
quarantine; Birds and other animal / species up to 2 months. Fire arms and ammunitions must be declared on arrival.
Persons not requiring a visa to enter Mauritius:
*Ex Czechoslovak Socialist republic is now composed of:
(i)Czech Republic (ii) Slovak Republic.
which is now known as Commonwealth of independent States (CIS), is now composed of : (i) Republic of Armenia, (ii) Republic of Azerbaijan, (iii) Republic of Belarus, (iv) Republic of Kazakhstan, (v) Republic of Kyrgystan, (vi) Republic of
Moldova, (vii) The Russian Federation (Russia), (viii) Republic of Tajikistan,
(ix) Turkmenistan, (x) The Ukraine, (xi) Republics of Uzbekistan, and also
(xii) Georgia Former Soviet Republics, presently independent Baltics States:
(a) Estonian Republic, (b) Republic of Latvia, (c) Republic of Lithuania.
- Citizens of Mauritius,
- Persons who are residents of Mauritius under the Immigration Act,
- The spouse of a citizen of Mauritius,
- The child or step child or lawfully adopted child of persons referred to at (i) and (ii) above,
of Diplomatic passports other than those issued by the Government of Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Sudan,
- Crew of a vessel traveling on duty or in transit to join another vessel,
of Laissez Passer issued by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are exempted from visa requirements,
who intend to remain in Mauritius only during the stay of a vessel by which they arrived and depart,
- Such other persons as the Prime Minister’s office may approve,
of passport issued by the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Botswana, Brazil (visa up to three months will be issued at the
points of entry into Mauritius to the nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany (United), Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica,
Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Monaco, Mozambique ( visa up to one month will be issued to citizens of the Republic of Mozambique upon
arrival at the point of entry, and the cumulative duration of stay of the above citizens in any calendar year is up to sixty (60) days), Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands; New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Papua-New Guinea,
Paraguay, Portugal, Qatar, Samoa (Western), San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, St Christopher, Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & Grenadines,
Switzerland, Sweden, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad& Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom (and dependent territories), Unites States of America, Vanuatu, Vatican, Zambia,
Zimbabwe Holders of passports of the mentioned countries including the homelands of any European country may be granted a visa for two weeks on arrival. Any application for extension of stay may be made to
the Passport and Immigration Officer, Sterling House, 11-19 Lislet Geoffroy Street, Port Louis, Tel: (230) 210-9312 to 210-9317 Fax: (230) 210-9322, provided nationals of these countries hold valid return
tickets, valid passports or internationally recognized travel documents and have adequate funds to meet the cost of stay: Albania, Bulgaria, Comoros, Ex Czechoslovakia*, Fiji, Hungary, Madagascar, Poland,
Romania, Ex USSR**.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is requested from travelers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas. Malaria risk exclusively in the
benign form (P.Virax) exists through out the year in some areas, except in Rodrigues Island.
The monetary unit is the Mauritian Rupee (Rs) which is divided into 100 cents (cs). Coins exist as: 1-rupee, 5-rupees, 10-rupees: 5,10,20 and 50
cent-pieces. Notes come in the following dominations: Rs 10, 25, 50,100, 200,500, 1000, and Rs 2000. Foreign currency notes, drafts, traveler’s cheques and other banking instruments may be imported into
Mauritius without restriction.
Private Sector: Monday to Friday: 08.30 – 16.30 Saturday; 09.00 – 12.00 (some offices)
Public Sector: Monday to Friday: 09.00 – 16.00 Saturday; 09.00 – 12.00 (Reduced staff)
Monday to Thursday: 09.15 – 15.15, Friday: 19.15 – 15.30 (some banks: 09.00 – 17.00) Saturday :09.15 – 11.15 (Some Banks only). Banking facilities
exist in all towns and villages. Banks operate at the arrival and departure of international flights in the sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Airport lounges. Traveler’s cheques and bank notes may also be
exchanged in the main hotels. Credit cards are accepted by banks, hotels, restaurants and tourist shops.
The following credit card are negotiable in Mauritius: American express, Dinners, Master Card and Visa.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Air Terminal, Plaisance (Code:MRU) is 3 kms from Mahebourg, 48 kms from Port-Louis. Facilities include duty-free shops ( both
on arrival and departures), bars, banks and Post Office.
Mauritius is 4 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 3 hours ahead of mid-European time.
English is the official language and is widely understood. French and Creole predominate in every day life. A number of oriental languages are also
Power supply throughout the island is 220volts.
What to wear
Take your best beach and casual wear. In the winter, months of June, July, August and September carry some light woolens for the cool evenings.
Visitors are requested to dress properly when visiting religious shrines (no shorts, mini-skirts etc) and to remove their shoes when entering mosques and
A 12% Valued Added Tax is added to all hotel and restaurants bills. Tipping is not compulsory and still remains a gesture of appreciation from the
The Civil Status Act provides that the marriage of non-citizens and non-residents may be celebrated on the day immediately following the day of
publication of bans. The intending spouses should however produce to the Civil status Officer at the time of publication a certificate issued under the Authority of the Prime Minister to the effect that they are not
citizens or residents of Mauritius. Such a certificate is obtainable on application to the Registrar of Civil Status 7th level, Emmanuel Anquetil Building, Port-Louis.
The documents to be forwarded on application are 2 photocopies of each birth certificate and 2 photocopies of each passport and any other document in
case of divorce or widow/widower. The application for a certificate of non-resident should reach the Civil Status Office not less than 10 days before the date of the proposed wedding. The wedding may be
celebrated at the Civil Status Office of the locality where the parties are holidaying. When two Catholics wish to celebrate their religious wedding in a catholic church in Mauritius, their tour Operator or the epis
copate in Port –Louis can provide them with information on the procedure to follow.