Mauritius (French: Ilè Maurice) is situated in the south-west region of the Indian Ocean, at about 2.000 km from the African coast and 900 km from Madagascar. It is part of the Mascareignes Islands, just like Reunion Island, Rodrigues and St-Brandon.
Mauritius is 65 km long and 45 km wide and has a total surface area of 1.865 km2. The coastlines (330 km) are surrounded and protected by coral reef thus creating a magnificent turquoise lagoon.
Port Louis , the capital of Mauritius, was founded by the French governor and colonist Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais in 1735.
Mauritian rupee, introduced in 1877, is the local currency of Mauritius. Current currency exchange can be checked here.
The time zone is GMT +4 and there's no daylight saving time during the year.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (IATA: MRU) is located in the southeast of the Island. The airport was previously known as the Plaisance Airport, it was renamed in memory of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (a Mauritian politician who led Mauritius to independence in 1968). The airport, set to become a regional hub, has direct flights to several destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe and is home to the country's national airline Air Mauritius.
The power supply is 230 volts and the power sockets use the british 3 pin standard. If you bring electrical appliances with you then you will probably need an adaptor.
Mauritius is fairly unique for a tropical country in that it is free of such diseases as malaria, yellow fever and cholera. This is because of the very effective efforts of the government to combat these diseases: for most people therefore, vaccinations, etc. before departure are not necessary.
The official language of Mauritius is English. A large number of people can understand and speak it, even if the main language of the island however is Creole which is based on French. In addition the different ethnic groups speak such languages as Chinese and Hindi.
Mauritius is a religiously diverse nation with no religious group representing a majority of the population. The people of Indian descent (Indo-Mauritian) follow mostly Hinduism and Islam. The Franco-Mauritians, Creoles and Sino-Mauritians follow Christianity. A minority of Sino-Mauritians also follow Buddhism and other Chinese-related religions.
One of the great Creole cuisines, Mauritian food is a combination of native African, French, Chinese and Indian, with many dishes created that are unique to the island of Mauritius. Indian curries, breads and pickles are cooked alongside slow-braised European daubes and stir-fried noodles from China, all using locally available ingredients.
Street food is common in this country: Roti, Dhal Puri, Fried noodles and Briani rice can be found on the main beaches for a few rupees.
The island of Mauritius was first discovered by Arab sailors, at some time in the 9th century, the exact date is unknown. At that time the island was uninhabited and covered in a dense forest. The Arab sailors were not interested in settling on the island which they named Dina Arobi or Dinarobin.
Even if the first historical evidence of the existence of an island now known as Mauritius is on a map produced by the Italian cartographer Alberto Cantino in 1502, the first Portuguese explorers visited the island in 1507. The Dutch settled on the island in 1638 and abandoned it in 1710. Five years later, the island became a French colony and was renamed Isle de France.
The British took control of Mauritius in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars. The country remained under British rule until it became an independent Commonwealth realm on 12 March 1968 and a republic within the Commonwealth on 12 March 1992.
The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural; most Mauritians are multilingual, and English, French, Creole and Asian languages are used. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system. Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy and for economic and political freedom.
The island of Mauritius was the only home of the Dodo bird, became extinct fewer than eighty years after its discovery.
Thanks to a relatively stable democracy characterized by free and fair elections, and to a positive balance in the field of human rights, the country attracts foreign investments, and has one of the most important GDP of Africa.
The temperature of water range from 28°C in summer to 22°C in the winter, which are a pretty good temperatures to enjoy diving.
Mauritius is a wonderful place to discover scuba diving. There are large areas of natural coral, bursting with underwater sea life and clear underwater visibility. If you are a novice and wish to experience a scuba dive, Mauritius is a good place to try it out: at Dodo Divers we have regular introductory dive where you have a try out at the pool with the scuba equipment. It would be a taster to see if you like it and then go for a further dive in the Indian Ocean.
Scuba divers are spoilt for choice of dive sites: there are numerous dive sites strewn all over the island, even if the best spots are in the North, exactly where our diving centre is located.
Beginners can start at the shallow side of the ocean whereas experienced divers can head straight for the more adventurous dive sites such as cliffs, caverns, reefs, pinnacles and wrecks.
There are about 430 different underwater creatures including fishes and along with it there are 200 different spices of coral which makes retreat for all the scuba diving lovers. Some of the other uncommon water bodies spotted in Mauritius include Tuna, Wahoo, Marlin and Sharks of course. Wide range of corals and marine life, the water temperature makes a perfect match.
Those who love the indulge in wreck diving can also take advantage as there are 22 wrecks in water surrounding in Mauritius ensuring the maximum pleasure for professional to amateur diver.