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Quick Facts
CapitalPort Louis
Governmentparliamentary democracy
CurrencyMauritian rupee (MUR)
Areatotal: 2,040 sq km
note: includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues
water: 10 sq km
land: 2,030 sq km
Population1,200,206 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageEnglish (official), Creole, French (official), Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bhojpuri
ReligionHindu 52%, Christian 28.3% (Roman Catholic 26%, Protestant 2.3%), Muslim 16.6%, other 3.1%

Mauritius is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Southern Africa, east of Madagascar.

Regions

There are 9 districts

  • Black River
  • Flacq
  • Grand Port
  • Moka
  • Pamplemousses
  • Plaines Wilhems
  • Port Louis
  • Riviere du Rempart
  • Savanne

And 3 dependencies

  • Agalega Islands
  • Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon)
  • Rodrigues
  • Diego Garcia - Controversially 'occupied' by UK/USA.

Cities

  • Port Louis - Capital

Other destinations

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Understand

History

Discovered by the Portuguese in 1505, Mauritius was subsequently held by the Dutch, French, and British before independence was attained in 1968.

Independence 
12 March 1968 (from UK)
National holiday 
Independence Day, 12 March (1968)
Constitution 
12 March 1968; amended 12 March 1992

A stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record, the country has attracted considerable foreign investment and has earned one of Africa's highest per capita incomes. Recent poor weather and declining sugar prices have slowed economic growth leading to some protests over standards of living in the Creole community.

Economy

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. For most of the period, annual growth has been in the order of 5% to 6%. This remarkable achievement has been reflected in more equitable income distribution, increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality, and a much improved infrastructure. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 25% of export earnings. The government's development strategy centers on foreign investment. Mauritius has attracted more than 9,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India and South Africa, and investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Mauritius, with its strong textile sector and responsible fiscal management, was well-poised to take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Geography

Mauritius is located at 20 17 S, 57 33 E. It has 177 km of coastline and a total area of 2,040 sq km (which includes the Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals, and Rodrigues Island) - almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC, 2.5 times the size of New York City, and a little more than 1.5 times the size of Los Angeles. Half of its land is arable, of which 20% is irrigated. Mauritius is one of a chain of islands produced by a volcanic hotspot that now rests beneath the French isle of Reunion.

Climate

Tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May); Natural hazards : Tropical cyclones (November to April);

Terrain

Small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau. The main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs that may pose maritime hazards

Highest point 
Mont Piton 828 m

Get in

By plane

The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport at Port Louis is the major gateway for travellers coming from abroad.

  • Air Mauritius (http://www.airmauritius.com) is the home carrier and operates a network of routes to the local islands and to international destinations in Africa, Europe and Asia.
  • Local airlines Air Austral (http://www.air-austral.com), Air Madgascar and Air Seychelles (http://www.airseychelles.net/) connect Mauritius with the surrounding islands.
  • International airlines like Air Europe, Air France (http://www.airfrance.com), Air Zimbabwe, Austrian Airlines (http://www.aua.com), British Airways (http://www.ba.com), Condor, South African Airways (http://www.flysaa.com) and Emirates (http://www.emirates.com) all serve Mauritius from their home bases.

By boat

Eat

At the Airport 
When leaving Mauritius, don't wait until you go through passport control if you want to have a snack. The coffee shop after passport control is not value for money. You would be better off visiting the snack bar before check-in and taking your purchases through with you.

Drink

Mauritius produces a wide range of cane rum. It is very cheap and is a nice drink when mixed with cola and ice.

Stay healthy

According to the WHO (http://mauritiushc.com/faq.html) Mauritius is a risk area for infection with dengue (also known as "breakbone fever" from the muscular paroxysms sometimes induced). No vaccine is available.

In 1991 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=1662829&query_hl=3), 86% of the population had antibodies indicating that they had been exposed to the hepatitis A virus, following an epidemic of the disease in 1989. Hepatitis A vaccination is generally recommended for travel in East Africa (and most other places) by the CDC.

Mauritius was declared free of malaria in 1973, but the malaria mosquito was not eradicated and the country is still potentially receptive (http://www.mauritiusnews.co.uk/Jun_01/12.htm) to the disease. Approximately 60 cases per year were imported from countries with ongoing disease from 1996-2000. In 2004 Health minister Ashok Jugnauth told Parliament that no indigenous falciparum cases (http://www.mauritiusnews.co.uk/FrontTest.asp?PageID=187) have been reported in the country since 1967. Concerns of possible indigenous transmission at that time were met with DDT, larvicide, and blood tests in the affected area. Mauritius provides antimalarial drugs free of charge to travelers from at-risk areas. The government of Mauritius (http://www.gov.mu/portal/site/mohsite/menuitem.07c8af8419951377440a600248a521ca/) and WHO (http://www.who.int/ith/countries/listm/en/index.html) state that no indigenous cases have occurred in the past five years and malaria prophylaxis is not required. The U.S. government (CDC) (http://www.cdc.gov/travel/regionalmalaria/eafrica.htm) warns of malaria risk in "rural areas only" (from chloroquine-sensitive P. vivax), with no risk on the smaller Rodrigues Island. Based on this entry, several general-purpose travelers'-health Web sites recommend use of antimalarials when traveling to rural areas in Mauritius in contradiction to the WHO recommendation.

There is no requirement (http://www2.ncid.cdc.gov/travel/yb/utils/ybGet.asp?section=YBAll&cssNav=browseoyb) for yellow fever vaccination when traveling to Mauritius. However, if you enter from a country in which yellow fever is endemic, such as Kenya, vaccination is required (http://www.travmed.com/maps/country.epl?c=Mauritius), even if you are only a transit passenger.

Despite some oddball recommendations, most sources examined on the Web agree that cholera is a thing of the past on Mauritius. According to the WHO (http://www.who.int/ith/countries/listm/en/index.html), no cases of cholera were reported in Mauritius in 2002-2003. In fact the WHO recommends cholera vaccination only for emergency relief workers or similar persons at extreme risk even in countries with active outbreaks, and the only vaccine licensed for use in the U.S. is no longer produced (although better vaccines are sold in other nations).

East African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) isnot (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/trypanosomiasis/factsht_ea_trypanosomiasis.htm) found in Mauritius

Due to recent efforts (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=7992322&dopt=Abstract) transmission of schistosomiasis in Mauritius has been "virtually eliminated", according to the WHO (http://www.who.int/tdr/dw/schisto2004.htm).

According to the Mauritius High Commission (http://mauritiushc.com/faq.html) "There are no cases of Malaria, Typhoid, Poliomyelitis, Filariasis, Rabies, or any other related diseases in Mauritius." The Commission also points out in its FAQ that you require permission to bring any prescription medicine into Mauritius before travel.