Travel Mauritius - Guide to the island in the Indian Ocean

This travel guide is full of up-to-date travel information and travel inspiration for first-time visitors to Mauritius, the tropical island, in the Indian Ocean.

The Republic of Mauritius is an island country. The island of Mauritius lies off south-eastern Africa 800 km east of Madagascar and is about the size of Berlin. Mauritius and Rodrigues are the larger islands of the Republic, there are also many smaller ones. The volcanic island is surrounded by coral reefs. When standing on a beach, there are 160-kilometres of soft white sand, you can see waves on the horizon. These giants mark Mauritius' outer limits.

Travel Mauritius – Guide to the island in the Indian Ocean

In 1598, the Dutch admiral Wybrandt van Warwyck landed on the southeast coast. That was when the island got its name. To honor the Dutch Prince Maurits (English Moritz) of Orange, he named it Mauritius.

Mauritius has the most amazing climate, fantastic beaches and so much more to offer. Visit the traditional South with its mountain ranges and immerse yourself in different cultures. Relax at one of the dream beaches of the west coast. Experience the buzz in the vibrant North. Go wild in the remote East. Mauritius is popular with honeymooners looking for loneliness and a picture-perfect tropical backdrop for their trip, and Water sports enthusiasts, divers, and hikers looking for an adventure in nature. Come for the beach – stay for the history and rich mix of cultures.

Unmissable places for your trip to Mauritius. Poste Lafayette, Bois Chéri, Grand Bassin also known as Ganga Talao, Cascade Chamarel, Terres des Sept Couleurs, Restaurant Le Chamarel, Viewpoint Gorges, Le Morne Brabant, Slave Route Monument, Le Pouce, Port Louis, Central market in Port Louis.

Poste Lafayette – Rock pooling

Powdery white sand, black volcanic rocks, and oftentimes huge waves. This is a wonderful place for beach walks and a picnic and to enjoy the scenic view. Rock pooling is the perfect seaside activity to explore the hidden world of the Indian Ocean’s creatures. The rocky shore at Poste Lafayette allows you to find creatures you otherwise wouldn’t have known were there. Do not touch the wildlife but savour it all with your eyes. Mauritius offers an abundance of beautiful places and views. This is certainly one of them. Info: Poste La Fayette, Coastal Road (B15), Poste La Fayette, Mauritius.

A wave breaking ashore running slowly over black lava rocks covered in yellow algae under a light blue sky with two small islands on the horizon.

Ocean rock pools in black lava rocks covered in yellow-green algae, lush green vegetation and mountain ranges in the distance under a bright blue sky with fluffy cumulus white clouds over the land mass.

Bois Chéri – Tea fields forever

Bois Chéri, only about ten kilometres from the Black River National Park, was the first tea plantation in Mauritius when founded in 1892. It was a French priest who first brought tea to Mauritius. Today, there are parts of the island where you drive through tea fields, and that is as far as the eye can see.

Did you know that black, white, and green tea are all made from the same plant? Are you interested to learn more about tea and how it gets from the field into your cup? Visit Bois Chéri to see how tea grows, is harvested, and produced. Not only that, but this is also the ideal place to drink tea with a view over lush green fields of tea that grow around a crater lake. Don't forget to exit through the gift shop. Buy different ranges of tea produced by Bois Chéri to take home as a souvenir.

This farm is for tea lovers and for all the ones who have yet to fall in love with tea.

More about tea? Read Visiting a Rooibos Tea Farm in the Western Cape Province (in South Africa).

Info:  Bois Chéri, Bois Chéri Road. Savanne district. Grand Bois, Mauritius. Hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 2pm. Saturday 9am to 11am.

Tea bushes grown around a lake next to a palm tree lined driveway leading to a large double storey property, under a light blue sky with fluffy cumulus white clouds.

Palm trees on the edge of a field of lush tea bushes growing all the way to the horizon under a bright blue sky with fluffy white cumulus clouds.

Grand Bassin - Ganga Talao

A sacred lake. You find yourself in a different world. One moment you drive along a sleepy country road, and only moments later, you hear loud chanting. An intense scent from incense sticks travels through the air.

Bring enough time to take it all in. You are going to encounter an array of impressions. Study the altars, temples, and the 33 meters high statue of Lord Shiva on the shore of this sacred lake. Hindu pilgrims come here to offer fruits and flowers to deities. Mauritius' Hindus are descendants of labourers who were lured here by the British Empire. They needed them to work on sugar cane farms. Not really a surprise but the British treated the Hindus rather inconsiderate. The Hindus searched for comfort and found it in their religion. They celebrate their beliefs at this crater lake ever since. It is said that water from the river Ganges in India was poured into the lake at one point. The Ganga Talao crater lake is the site of Maha Shivaratri, the island's largest Hindu festival. Today, two-thirds of the approximately 1.2 million Mauritians come from India. Together with people from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Mauritian Creoles, they create a unique atmosphere: a mix of India and Africa.

Many tourists had lines (symbols/marks) painted on their foreheads. As they posed in front of deiti statues that made it seem like a visit to a theme park.

Info: Ganga Talao, Bois Cheri Road (B 88). Five kilometres from Black River National Park. Hours: 24/7. Hours for entry to the temple might be different. Tickets: Free. Parking: Free. 

A light gray concrete staircase leads down to a footpath and along a water  basin to a colorful in orange, red, blue, and yellow decorated temple surrounded by lush vegetation.

Three midsize yellow-beige temples surrounded by lush vegetation on the edge of a large water basin, all is reflected in the water.

Cascade Chamarel – Chamarel waterfall

An avenue lined with palm trees, and fields with pineapples, mangoes, passion fruit, and coffee bushes eventually leads to a viewing point from where you can admire this twin waterfall. It is Mauritius' highest waterfall at 100 metres. To give you a better idea of its height, that is about the length of the Elizabeth Tower in London in England (also known as Big Ben). The layer of basalt near the base is eight to ten million years old. And all around you the tropical rainforest. Magnificent.

Info: Chamarel waterfall. Chamarel Geopark. Chamarel. Off the B 104. Hours: Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 5pm. Tickets: MUR 500 (together with Terres des Sept Couleurs and the Ebony Forest.

A waterfall that cascades down high yellow-brown cliffs from a plateau, surrounded by lush green vegetation of a tropical rainforest.


Chamarel Coloured Earth - Terres des Sept Couleurs

Depending on the time of day and the sun the ground shimmers in several different more or less rusty red colours, from blue to violet to orange-green. It is believed this phenomenon is a result of remains of different layers of lava, some are as old as eight million years. Expect different experiences on an overcast day compared to a bright and sunny one. 

Info: Seven coloured earth road. Chamarel Geopark. Chamarel. Off the B 104. Hours: Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 5pm. Tickets: MUR 500 (together with the Chamarel waterfall and the Ebony Forest.

Hills of multicoloured earth, from rusty red, blue-ish to violet to orange-green surrounded by lush green vegetation of a tropical rainforest under a bright blue sky.

Restaurant Le Chamarel – Food with a view

A restaurant with a view. Picture sitting on a stilted wooden decking overhanging a lush green palm-strewn landscape with a view over a tropical island landscape, towards the Indian Ocean and the UNESCO-listed Le Morne Peninsula on one side to Tourelle du Tamarin Mountain on the other. Enjoy the scenery, the tranquillity, and the food. Book in advance to avoid the disappointment of being sent away. I went here for the view and loved everything else too. Tip: Book for breakfast, chances are that you are going to have the whole place all by yourself.

Info: Le Chamarel Restaurant. La Crête, Main Road, Chamarel, Mauritius. Hours: Monday to Sunday 9am to 4pm. 

Two white teapots, cups and waterglasses on a dark brown wooden round table with four matching chairs under a reed roof on a deck that offers a view of a tropical island landscape with palm fringed light blue-turquoise ocean.


Viewpoint Gorges - Black River Gorges National Park

This is a remarkable place in the Black River Gorges National Park, the popular nature reserve in the heart of Mauritius. You are in the middle of a proper rainforest with countless umbrella-shaped trees "Bois de Natte" and about 3,000 different flowering plants. In days gone by, the park's hardwood was used to build warships around the world.

If you travel along the road between the towns of Charamel and Le Pétrin, you see a spot with several souvenir stalls and you better stop. Browse the colourful stalls before you make your way to the viewpoint of the Black River Gorge. In front of you lies the rainforest and you can see that it grows almost all the way down to the Indian Ocean. On your left stands the Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire, the highest mountain in Mauritius at 828 meters. On the right, just as majestic, the Black River waterfall plummets into the dense rainforest.

Info: B103 - Plaine Champagne Road, Mauritius (road between Chamarel and Le Pétrin). Open 24 hours. Tickets: Free.

Lush green vegetation of a tropical island rainforest and in various locations pointy mountains covered in vegetation, under a soft blue sky with a few white fluffy cumulus clouds.


Le Morne Brabant - Slave Route Monument

There is a mountain in Mauritius with a rather characteristic plateau. Right in front of it is a unique underwater waterfall - at least that's what it looks like. It is an optical illusion. Satellite images give the impression that a waterfall has formed in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Its official name is "Le Morne Brabant". The 555-meter-high mountain sits on the Le Morne peninsula at the southwestern tip of the island. Neither its plateau nor the white sandy beaches or the inviting Indian Ocean nearby makes the mountain so momentous. It is historically important, and in 2008, the mountain became a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It is a beauty of a mountain, but this place has a shocking and painful, and gruesome history. During the French occupation, runaway slaves sought refuge on the mountain. When the English abolished slavery in 1835, they went up the mountain to deliver the news. The escaped slaves lost all hope. In assuming they were about to be chained again, and in utter despair, they threw themselves off Le Morne Brabant. The mountain is a symbol of the slaves' fight for freedom and their resistance to slavery.

Info: Slave Route Monument. Opposite the Public Beach in Le Morne. Le Morne, Mauritius. Tickets: Free. Parking: Free. Hours: 24 hours. 

A white soft sand beach fringed by lush green vegetation and palm trees with a red boat, turquoise-green shallow water next to a large in green vegetation covered plateau mountain under a bright blue sky with a few fluffy white clouds.

A large in green vegetation covered plateau mountain under a bright blue sky with a few fluffy white clouds.

Le Pouce – The mountains are calling

Le Pouce Mountain, one of the highest in Mauritius with its peak at 812 meters, is named for its peak's shape, a thumb. Part of the Moka Mountain Ranges, Le Pouce offers a stunning view from its top over the capital Port Louis, St. Pierre, Le Morne, and Coin de Mire.

If you start to hike up the mountain, you see that at its base how it is overgrown with exotic plants, endemic species, and dense forest. Once you reach the first plateau and the thicket gets lighter you get to enjoy the best view. Very little original forest is left, only one-fifth of the land. The island is almost entirely planted with sugarcane.

Info: Le Pouce. Drive to Moka, from there Le Puce is signposted. Tickets: Free. There is free parking at the base. The hike is signposted. Climbing up is relatively manageable with proper hiking boots. After rainfall, the rock-covered ground becomes rather slippery, and all is muddy. Please be aware that you have to climb over small and large wet rocks. Carry a sufficient amount of drinking water and wear sunscreen and a hat. The hike is about two to three hours.

Thousands of white houses with different coloured roofs from red to green to grey and white.

Lush green fields growing all around a village with white houses and the lush green vegetation of a tropical island rainforest grwoing all around a pointy mountain covered in lush green vegetation, under a soft blue sky with large white fluffy cumulus clouds.


Central Market in Port Louis – Sensory overload

Enticing scents, mysteriously unusual spices, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, and good-humoured vendors who love to haggle - welcome to Port Louis Central Market. The market is a giant fruit- and vegetable hall, where they also sell clothes and handcrafted accessories next door. This is a place where colours and shapes know no bounds. Devour your way through mountains of pineapples, mangoes, bananas, passion fruits, and coconuts. 

Fresh green bitter melon, yellow lemon, pink dragon fruit, red plum tomatoes, green guava, red strawberry guava? You surely also find numerous fruits and vegetables you haven't eaten before. 

Check out all the different spices and while you are at it, see how many varieties of sugar you can find. There is white, light, and dark cane sugar and even some with vanilla flavouring. Sugar cane fields cover almost 80 per cent of Mauritius. It is understandable that no one around here can imagine a life without sugar.

This place is fit for an epicure. Enjoy. The Central Market is well worth the visit, to eat, buy souvenirs, have a browse, and take photos.

Info: 9 Corderie Street, Port Louis. Hours: 5am to 5.30pm. Sunday 5am to 11.30am. Tickets: Free. Park at the waterfront, it is only a five-minute walk from there.

Fresh green bitter melon, yellow lemon, pink dragon fruit, red plum tomatoes, green guava, red strawberry guava offered in light brown woven baskets.

Travel Mauritius – Travel Info

The official language in Mauritius is English. Mauritian Creole is spoken by most of the population. Languages such as Hindi, Tamil, French, Urdu, and Chinese are also spoken by various population groups.

The Mauritius flag: red stands for independence, blue for the Indian Ocean, yellow for the country's bright future, and green for the island's lush vegetation.

Mauritius is not only the country with the highest population density in Africa, but also the richest country on the continent in terms of per capita income. As everywhere and all over the world, pickpocketing can occur – make sure to keep an eye on your valuables. Keep money and documents in a safe (hotel/rental apartment). Carry photocopies of documents or store them electronically. Avoid less frequented parks, streets, and beaches.

Drink boiled, bottled, or filtered water only.

Check with your local travel clinic or the website of the World Health Organization whether your vaccinations are up to date. Standard vaccinations such as tetanus, polio, diphtheria, and hepatitis A are recommended. Mauritius is yellow fever free and has also been malaria-free since 1999.

Wear DEET mosquito repellent (day and night). Chikungunya and Dengue virus are transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes which are active during the day. Chikungunya fever: There is neither vaccination nor chemoprophylaxis nor a specific therapy. For dengue fever, check with your travel doctor whether vaccination is available where you are.

Visa requirements for Mauritius

Visit this website to see whether you need a Visa to visit Mauritius. You need to hold a passport valid for in some instances three to six months, and a valid return/onward flight ticket.

How to get to Mauritius

Mauritius is easy to reach by plane. The airport is SSR International Airport, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, and the airport code is MRU. SSR International Airport is in Plaine Magnien, about 50 kilometres southeast of the capital Port Louis.

Flight times to Mauritius

From Cape Town in South Africa: about five hours.

From Melbourne in Australia: about eleven hours.

From London in England: about twelve hours.

From Madrid in Spain: about twelve hours.

From Berlin in Germany: about 13 hours.

Visitors will have to complete a Mauritius All-in-One Travel Digital Form online or on arrival at the SSR International Airport. It is used for the purpose of screening infectious diseases.

Getting around Mauritius by car/rental car

Mauritius is ideal for a road trip. When you jump into a car to make your way around Mauritius, please keep in mind, that you must bring an international driving licence.

Traffic drives on the left in Mauritius. There is heavy traffic in the capital Port Louis, consider driving outside the business hours to avoid ending up in a traffic jam.

Driving after dark: You find cyclists driving without lights. Pedestrians on the roadside, there are no footpaths outside villages. Stray dogs can appear out of nowhere (and they will). Drive with care.

How long should I visit Mauritius?

The good news, there are enough highlights that are easy to reach by car. Plan at least a week to take it all in, and more time to venture further and explore deeper.

Best time to visit Mauritius – The weather in Mauritius

Mauritius is in the zone of the summer humid tropics. The island nation is warm and sunny all year round but consists of a rainy and a dry season. The humidity is around 80%. Being in the southern hemisphere, winter from May to October is dry and summer from November to April is wet. The average annual temperature is 23.3 degree Celsius on the coasts and 19.4 degree Celsius in the highlands.

Mauritius has a microclimate, while it rains in one part of the island, the sun shines brightly in other parts. Mauritius is a rather small-sized island, however, there are differences between the east and west coasts. Less rain falls on the west coast, due to its mountains than on the east coast. In general, one can also say that the west and north are warmer than the south and east.

Cyclones are possible in Mauritius, moving across the southwestern Indian Ocean. The cyclone season lasts approximately from mid-November to mid-May. Visitors are advised to contact their airline for up-to-date flight information prior to leaving for the Airport during a Cyclone Warning.

Mauritius – Currency and how to pay

The official currency in Mauritius is the Mauritius Rupee (MUR). In general, contactless payment is accepted all over Mauritius. Chances are that a few smaller venues might expect you to pay cash and only accept cash payments - carry some cash and you are on the safe side.

From Berlin with love