Mauritius is a small island located in the Indian Ocean, to east of Madagascar, northeast of Reunion and southeast of the Seychelles. The obvious beauties of this country are of course its jaw-dropping beaches with white sands and crystal blue waters. Here, you can enjoy diving and snorkeling to your heart’s content, and since Mauritius is by shallow waters, watching coral reefs, breathtaking underwater topography and a dramatic ocean drop-off can also be on your to-do list. In turn, when you’re on land, you can choose between hiking, horse riding and golf courses of high-standard.
However, there is another, truly wonderful quality about this island: its wildlife. The wildlife tourism in Mauritius is gaining in popularity, due to the fact that Mauritius has saved more bird species from extinction than any other country on earth. Today, you can spot two most beautiful birds of the Indian Ocean – the pink pigeon and the Mauritian kestrel – at different areas of the island. Expect to see giant tortoises, dolphins, and whales roaming free in Mauritius’ marine environment.
Warnings & Dangers in Mauritius
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Generally, Mauritius is very safe to visit. It is probably one of the safest countries in Africa to travel to, but it has its dangers. Use your common sense and keep your valuables closely by your side, since the most common type of crime is petty theft.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Transportation is generally safe in Mauritius, though keep an eye out for taxi drivers looking to overcharge their rides. Public transport in Mauritius is mainly reliable.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Pickpockets aren't too common but they do operate. Be especially cautious at Downtown Port Louis and central tourist areas since they do have a slightly higher crime rate. Apart from that, in general, it is not too dangerous when it comes to pickpockets.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There are several natural disasters that can hit Mauritius. Keep in mind that the cyclone season in Mauritius is from November to May. Cyclones can considerably damage people's properties and Mauritius authorities have a well-structured system of phased warnings. Always follow local advice. Also, watch out for stonefish stings in the water: they aren't common but their sting could be fatal!
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Mauritius is very safe when it comes to kidnapping and mugging: violent crime is extremely rare in this country.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Although there haven't been any terrorist attacks in Mauritius' recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out, so be aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
As in any tourist destination, there is a heightened risk of getting scammed. Check every change twice, negotiate everything beforehand and never give your money before you receive the service you're paying for.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should feel completely safe in this country, even at night. That does not mean you should let your guard down - keep to your wits and your common sense, and do not do anything you wouldn't in your own country.
So... How Safe Is Mauritius Really?
You can travel to Mauritius and rest assured there is very little risk of something going wrong. This is a very safe country and, on the whole, its crime rates are very low. What little crime there is, usually tends to be just petty theft. As anywhere, things get a little more dangerous after dark, especially at the beach or in secluded areas, so make sure you avoid those areas and keep your valuables in your accommodation. However safe this country may be, it is best to remain vigilant at all times and exercise the same precaution measures you would in any other destination.
Some other concerns for tourists may be health related, such as the risk of chikungunya, which is an insect born virus very similar to dengue fever, since this fever occasionally hits Mauritius, particularly during the warmer season lasting from October to May. Apart from that, be wary of stonefish stings in the water: they aren’t common but can be fatal and it is essential that you obtain urgent medical care if stung. Also, there have been cases of some reef fish in Mauritius containing a neurotoxin similar, though not identical, to that found in Caribbean reef fish, so it would be best not to eat them.
- Visas - Many countries need a visa to enter Mauritius, yet for some it is relatively easy to obtain it - just by arriving at Mauritius' airport, where you get a 60 day visa. Make sure your passport is valid beyond the intended period of stay in Mauritius. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Mauritian rupee is the official currency in Mauritius. ATMs are widespread throughout the main island, but are less common on Rodrigues. Credit cards are widely accepted by establishments such as hotels and restaurants.
- Weather - Mauritius has a mild tropical maritime climate characterized by two distinct seasons: a warm but humid summer, lasting from November to April and a somewhat cool and dry winter, lasting from June to September. The best time to visit this country is the entire period between May and December when the weather is cool, dry and sunny.
- Airports - Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is the main and busiest international airport in Mauritius. It is located about 48 km southeast of the capital city of Port Louis.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Mauritius, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.