Mauritius, a former French and English colony, is situated just above the Tropic of Capricorn, South West of the Indian Ocean, some 2000 kilometres off the coast of South East Africa.
An independent sovereign state since March 12, 1968 and a Republic since March 12, 1992, Mauritius has a 70-member National Assembly elected by Universal Adult Suffrage.
The Head of State is the President of the Republic. The Prime Minister, who presides over the Cabinet of Ministers, is the Head of the Government, and holds executive powers.
Port Louis was founded by the French Governor, Mahé de Labourdonnais in 1735. It is the capital and main city of Mauritius. The harbor of Port Louis lies sheltered in a semi-circle of mountains. The city of Port Louis is the seat of Government Administration and houses the National Assembly and private sector offices. It is also the main commercial centre of the country and it still reflects the vestiges of the French epoch by the architecture.
Places of interest
Below is an indicative list of places of interest which delegates might wish to visit while in Mauritius.
Caudan Waterfront; Port Louis, Domaine Les Pailles; Eureka Maison Creole, Mahebourg Museum; Pamplemousses Botanical Garden; Casela Bird Park; Grand Bassin Sacred Lake; Black River Gorges National Park; Chamarel Coloured Earth; La Vanille Crocodile Park; Ile aux Cerfs; Domaines du Chasseur; L’Aventure du Sucre; Le Domaine de L’Ylang Ylang; and Le Val Nature Park.
English is the official language. French is extensively used and Creole is widely spoken. Asian languages also form part of the linguistic mosaic.
Weather and Climate
Mauritius has a maritime climate, tropical during summer and sub-tropical during winter. The summer months extend from November to April and winter, from June to September with October and May being transition months.
In the centre of the island, the temperature varies between 13°c and 19°c in July-August and between 19°c and 25°c in January. Along the coast, the temperature is about 5°c higher.
Mean summer temperature is 24.7 degrees Celsius and mean winter temperature is 20.4 degrees Celsius.
Banking and currency
The banking hours are from 0900 hrs to 1515 hrs from Monday to Thursday, and from 0900 hrs to 1700 hrs on Friday. Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are widely accessible across the countries.
The unit of currency is the Mauritian Rupee (MUR) divided into 100 cents. The approximate rates of exchange are as follows and may be subject to daily fluctuations.
|1 US Dollar||MUR ±34.00|
|1 Pound Sterling||MUR ±47.00|
|1 Euro||MUR ±41.00|
|1 South African Rand||MUR ±3.00|
Local banks will provide the exact rates.
Banks, hotels, restaurants and tourist shops accept credit cards.
Value added tax
Value-Added Tax (VAT) is charged on a number of goods and services at a standard rate of 15%.
Business and shopping hours
Public offices open from 09 00 hrs to 16 00 hrs while businesses open from 9 30 hrs to 1730 hrs on Weekdays.
Several shopping centres exist in the towns and around Mauritius. Duty Free shops intended for tourists offer a wide range of products, including ancient ship models, jewellery, textiles and handicrafts.
Shopping hours are as follows:
Monday – Thursday : 09.30 – 1800 hrs
Friday : 09.30 – 2100 hrs
Saturday : 09.30 – 1700 hrs
Sunday : 09.30 – 1200 hrs
Power supply is 220 volts, 50 Hz and electrical sockets are of British Standard with three square pins. European style sockets (two round pins) are also available.
Restaurants offering Creole, Indian, Chinese and European cuisine are within walking distance from Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa.
Potable water is supplied through pipe network in all parts of Mauritius. The water meets international standards of safety.
Mauritian time is four hours ahead of GMT.
Fire Arms and ammunitions will not be permitted to be brought in Mauritius.
In case of emergency, please contact the telephone numbers listed below:
Police: 999 or 112
SAMU (Ambulance/Health Emergency): 114
Fire Services: 115