Mauritius, officially known as the Republic of Mauritius, is an island country located off the coast of the African continent to the southwest of the Indian Ocean. It is a volcanic island, with lagoons and beaches lined with palm trees and coral reefs surrounding most of the coasts.
Mauritius is located about 2,400 kilometers off the southeast coast of Africa. The island covers a total surface area of about 1,865 square kilometers. What more interesting is its 330 kilometers of coastline, the most of which are powdery sandy beaches.
Mauritius is a densely populated island of about 1.3 million inhabitants. It has a reputation for stability and racial harmony among its population. Mauritius is known as a pluricultural society where many ethnic groups are represented. Hindus, Muslims, Creoles, Chinese and Europeans live in peace and where all ancestral cultures have been well preserved. These features make this island a unique place in the world, and Mauritians are known for their tolerance and goodness.
Mauritius has preserved its image as one of the pillars of Africa thanks to its social and economic successes; being an exporter of sugar and clothing and a center for high-end tourism.
Multilingualism is a basic fact. The most widely spoken languages are, in order, Creole, French and English.. Asian languages are also very present: Bhojpuri, Tamil, Hindi, Urdu and Chinese. All of these languages and including Arabic are integrated in the school curriculum.
68% of the inhabitants are of Indian origin: Bhojpuri, Tamils, Hindis, Urdu, Telugu. The remaining 27% are Creoles, of French origin or from Rodrigues. Add to that 3% of Chinese and 2% of Europeans.
Hinduism is the major religion in Mauritius: More than 50% of the population adheres to Hinduism. Among the descendants of Indian immigrants of Hindu religion, the Mauritians distinguish those who come from northern India, the "Hindus" and those who come from the south, the "Tamils". Christians make up about 28% of the population. 16.6% of the population is Muslim (Sunni). The rest are either Buddhists, Jews, Jehovah Witnesses, Telugus, Marathi or atheists.
Calendar of Events
The festivals are, for the most part, religious and reflect the diversity of the population of the island.
- January 1st and 2nd: New Year's Day.
- January-February: Cavadee, Thimiti (Tamil festival);
- Chinese New Year or Spring Festival: between 21st January and 21st February.
- February-March: Maha Shivaratree (Hindu festival).
- 12th March: National Day.
- March-April: Ugadi (Hindu festival). Easter.
- May 1st: Labor Day.
- August-September: Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu festival, birth of Ganesh). Pilgrimage to Père Laval, in Sainte-Croix.
- October-November: Divali (Hindu festival).
- November 1st: All Saints Day.
- 2 November: commemoration of the arrival of the first Indian immigrants in Mauritius.
- Eid el-Fitr : Depends on the visibility of the Moon
- December 25: Christmas.
After the Arab sailors (from the fifth century), the Portuguese discovered the island in the sixteenth century, but it was the Dutch who took up possession of it in 1598 and named it Mauritius in honor of their then crown prince Maurice van Nassau (1567-1625).
They find there a point of support for their connections with the Indies. They also find precious woods and meat, which the dodos in particular provide them.
In 1638, a governor and twenty families settled on the island. Africa, India and Indonesia quickly sent slaves to them. Not more than half a century was required to destroy the native wealth of the island.
The woods cut and the dodos devoured, they fall back to the Cape (1710). During the seventeenth century, some French settlers had settled in Mauritius. They had remained after the Dutch departed. So that in 1715, France easily took possession of Mauritius which became “Isle de France”.
From 1735, La Bourdonnais began the economic development of the island and strengthened its infrastructures. But the Seven Years War (1756-1764) sounded the death bell of French overseas trading posts. The English challenge the supremacy of the French in the Indian Ocean. “Isle de France” is shaken. However, the French retreat on the Mascarenes gave Port Louis an increased military and economic importance, but precarious. In 1810 the English landed at Rodrigues, then seized “isle de France” (which again became Mauritius). The French are authorized to remain, under the administration of his gracious majesty. The latter generalizes the cultivation of sugarcane. The abolition of slavery in 1833 caused the "importation" of indentured Indian laborers. From then on, the population has never ceased to grow.
The government is administered by a parliamentary regime. The president has an essentially protocolary function. He is elected for five years by the parliament. The parliament has 70 democratically elected members (62 elected representatives + 8 representatives of minorities) and has legislative power. The executive role is assumed by the Prime Minister (parliamentary majority) and his government.
Tipping is at your discretion. For all persons involved in the benefits purchased through us, you can be assured that it will never replace the salary. Nevertheless, in almost all countries of the world it is usual to tip when satisfied with the service.
The best way is to align your tip with the local economy: the price of a beer or tea, a pack of cigarettes, will give you an overview of the standard of living and will allow you, as you do naturally to estimate its amount. However, between 3 and 4 euros for a baggage handler or maid in a 4-star hotel (within 5 euros for a 5-star hotel) are the norms. Some hotels have a box where you can deposit something for the staff and the amount of these tips being shared amongst the employees at the end of the year.
If you want to bring back a small souvenir of your holiday, whether it is a diamond necklace, a pashmina in cashmere, an assortment of spices or a braided basket in bright colors, Mauritius is really a good opportunity for all to do some shopping!
Mauritius is one of the leading exporters of clothing. Burberry, Hugo Boss, Gap, Napapijri, Harpers, Café Cotton ... Many of the famous brands have their production unit in Mauritius and sell part of their production on site at unbeatable prices.
Mauritius has become a specialty in the manufacture of models of boats and in particular replicas of old boats reconstructed according to the plans of the time.
Some parts are made up of an assembly of thousands of elements. While Curepipe concentrates most of the model "factories", the largest factory remains “Histoire Marine” at Goodlands. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, inquire very precisely on the price of the taxes to pay and the amount of the shipping costs. Also note that the airlines take an overload on the models according to the volume and the weight.
Audio-visual equipment and accessories, watches and clocks, telephones, paints, engravings and antiques, glasses and binoculars are items that can be purchased free of tax in Mauritius.
Taxes are also not applicable on leather clothing and jewelry. In addition, import taxes have been reduced on perfumes and cosmetics.
Visitors returning home after staying in Mauritius can claim VAT refund at the airport by showing the receipts and the corresponding items.
Major Shopping Centers:
- Grand Baie la Croisette (Grand Baie)
- Super U Coeur de Ville (Grand Baie)
- Mont-Choisy Mall (Grand Baie)
- Phoenix Les Halles
- Jumbo Shopping Mall (Riche Terre and Phoenix)
- Cascavelle Shopping Mall
Mauritian cuisine is a fusion of Indian, European, Chinese and African cuisines. A great variety, therefore, with a general note rather high. Rice is the main staple food, the most common condiments are garlic, onion, chilli and ginger.
Among the classics of the island the rougaille is a spicy sauce, with tomato. It accompanies meats, fish, sausages ... The vindaye is made of oil, mustard, ginger, garlic, onions, green pepper and a little vinegar, served with fish or octopus, often cold. Curry like in India can be cooked with chicken, sheep or beef. We also have the most famous Briyani, the “Sept Curry” and some Chinese specalities like Cantonese Rice, Fried Noodles and dumplings.