The first Europeans to have visited Mauritius were the Portuguese at the beginning of the sixteenth century (most probably in 1510). The Dutch who settled in the island in 1598 named it Mauritius after Prince Maurice of Nassau.
In 1715, the French occupied the island, renaming it “Isle de France”. It was under the French Governor that Mauritius knew its first development: a harbour was built. Port Louis, named after the ruling king Louis XV, became the capital of Mauritius.
In 1810, the British conquered the island which they occupied, and Mauritius was formally ceded to them in the “Traiti de Paris” of 1814. Most of the French settlers remained on the island and were allowed to keep their customs, religion and laws.
A few years later, in 1835, the British abolished slavery – slaves at the time came from Madagascar, Senegal and Mozambique mainly – and this led to the importation of Indian indentured laborers to work in the sugar cane fields. They eventually settled in Mauritius and their descendants constitute nowadays the majority of the population.
Mauritius achieved independence on 12 March 1968 and adopted a constitution based on the British parliamentary system.
Being of a volcanic origin, Mauritius has a central plateau which is about 400 metres above sea level. Mountains scattered throughout the island, tropical forests and plants are other features that add to the natural beauty of the island. With more than 90 miles of white sandy beaches the transparent lagoons are protected from the open sea by the world’s third largest coral reef which almost surrounds the island.
The maximum coastal temperature averages 33 degrees Celsius in the summer and 24 degrees in the winter. The coolest months are July, August and September but even then the sea water is warm and most enjoyable, with a temperature of not less than 20 degrees Celsius.
Mauritian cuisine is very tempting and mouth watering. Playing a role in everyday life, food is an important part of Mauritian culture. Diversity is the keyword in the Mauritian cuisine, which consists of a mixture of Indian, European and Chinese cuisine. Once you try Mauritian food… you won’t be able to give it up.
The idea of nightlife varies, for some it means drinking in a pub or a bar, for others it means dancing and partying in discos and clubs with friends and for some it means gambling at casinos. Whatever suits you best, Mauritius has it all for you. The nightlife is quickly adapting to the increasing younger generation and to the millions of tourists visiting every year.
The monetary unit is the Mauritian rupee (Rs).
All the usual credit cards are taken at restaurants, shops, hotels etc. and ATM’s are available almost everywhere on the island.
English is the official language but French and Creole are the languages in everyday life.
Mauritius time is GMT plus four hours.
Power supply throughout the island is 220 volts, using the three pin British type plug or the two pin European plug.
No vaccination certificates are required for entry into Mauritius, unless travelling from a country infected by yellow fever or where yellow fever is classified as endemic.