Mauritius is considered the ideal island getaway. Postcard-perfect beaches and world-class resorts ensure that this palm-fringed oasis of beautiful bleached sands, sapphire waters, kaleidoscopic coral reefs and tropical rainforests is immensely popular. When considering an island holiday to Mauritius, a few standard images will come to mind, such as endless stretches of powdery sand, turquoise water bursting with coral life and colourful fish – all topped off with that easy-going island hospitality. Mauritius does, without a shadow of a doubt, hold true to its idyllic island image.
The sheer diversity of the island can be baffling. The northern and western coasts thrum with activity, proffering a kaleidoscope of shops and restaurants, touts and nightclubs. The eastern coast is quieter, home to some of the most luxurious resorts on the island and the iconic Blue Bay Marine Park. On the other hand, the southern coast remains an unspoiled retreat of rugged and rocky shoreline, wild forests, and towering cliffs.
There are endless opportunities to connect with the culture and history of the island, from the day-to-day dealings of sugar production, towers and forts built in the 1800s, and mysterious shipwrecks scattered amid the islets. Mauritius speaks to the adventure-seeker, beach-lover and honeymooner, boasting trails through pristine forests, around tumbling waterfalls, and up mystical mountain paths. The island's crystalline waters surround coral-studded coasts that explode with life, offering some of Africa's best diving and snorkelling.
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Mauritius
The best time to visit Mauritius is widely considered to be towards the end of the year, from October onwards. Although it’s technically a year-round destination with sunny beach weather almost the entire time, it does have a winter and summer season. Winter is from May to October, and summer is from November to April. However, there isn’t a significant difference as expected, with temperatures and humidity only slightly higher in summer. From January to March, the wind picks up along with heavy rain showers.
The short answer? Almost everything you can think of! Here are some of the top activities you can enjoy in Mauritius.
Lazing on the beaches: The obvious reason why many guests go to Mauritius is for its powdery white beaches and the warm Indian Ocean. You can spend days just soaking up the sun and sipping on bottomless cocktails!
Water-based adventures: Adventurers won't get bored, with a host of water-based activities, from sailing to snorkelling, and scuba diving, to name just a few. The ocean is your oyster!
Land-based activities: There's also much to do on land for the adventurous types, from quadbiking to hiking and horse riding.
Island hopping: Why stick to one island when you can explore more? Whether you decide to do so on a luxury cruise or helicopter, spend your day seeing more of this slice of paradise.
Explore the Black River Gorges: The Black River Gorges National Park is a protected area with dense forests, fascinating flora and fauna and waterfalls.
Birdwatching: Birdwatching is spectacular in Mauritius, with plenty of bird species to see, including three endangered ones, namely the echo parakeet, pink pigeon and Mauritius kestrel.
Marvel at the Seven Coloured Earths: A unique geological formation in south-western Mauritius, you will be in awe of these dunes comprising seven different colours.
Mauritius is the classic dream island holiday. It’s especially popular for honeymoons and romantic holidays because of its sultry warm weather, pristine beaches, spectacular sunsets and wide range of activities. However, it’s also the perfect family holiday destination because there’s something for everyone!
If you love summer and watersports, Mauritius is a must. It’s also the perfect destination to add on to your African safari so you can combine bush and beach and end your holiday with much-needed R&R before you head back home.
The most convenient way to reach Mauritius is via air. Sir Gaëtan Duval Airport situated in Plaine Corail on Rodrigues and Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport are Mauritius’ two main airports and are well-connected to all the major cities around the globe through both direct and indirect flights.
Flights from Europe
Direct flights take around 12 hours from London to Mauritius, with direct services available from Air Mauritius and British Airways.
Flights from the US and Canada
There are no direct flights from the US and Canada to Mauritius, and it takes around 24 hours to reach Mauritius from New York City. The best options are via London or a continental European city such as Paris.
Flights from Australia
Irregular flights from Perth operated by Air Mauritius are the only direct link from Australia, taking about eight hours.
Flights from South Africa
Direct flights from Johannesburg and Durban with Air Mauritius take four hours.
Depending on your hotel of choice, time, and cost, our Rhino Africa Travel Experts will gladly advise you on the best way to get to Mauritius or the surrounding islands.
North, east, south and west, which area in Mauritius is best? Well, it all depends on what you are looking for!
The North Coast is the most popular destination in Mauritius and can be reached from Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International airport within one and a half hours by road.
Here visitors gravitate to Grand Baie, a shopping and leisure paradise with a host of restaurants, bars and discos. There is also Péreybère, one of Mauritius' most popular family beaches, and the Balaclava Ruins, a national monument dating to the 18th century.
The South Coast is less developed than any of the other coastlines, and it's known for its spectacular mountain scenery, remnants of the island's colonial past and its lush vegetation. It is also a prime destination for kitesurfing.
Visit the Dutch Ruins, the oldest settlements in Mauritius, Île aux Aigrettes, a nature reserve home to a few of the world's rarest birds, and Mahebourg, one of the main fishing villages. Another highlight is the Martello Towers, a symbol of the ancient rivalry between old colonial powers and the ingenuity of humankind.
The East Coast is home to some exclusive getaways straddling the dramatic and tempestuous Indian Ocean coastline, offering a retreat from the elements. Attractions here include the Flacq Market, Mauritius' largest open-air market, the Waterpark Leisure Village, Île aux Cerfs, a paradise for watersports, and the most beautiful beach in Mauritius.
Enjoying beautiful sheltered beaches fringed by palm trees and calm, turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, the West Coast is home to a calm coastline and an array of fantastic geological wonders, nature reserves, and parks.
Highlights here include a visit to The Seven Coloured Earths, a small area of whimsical dunes of seven distinct colours, as well as the Salt Pans in Tamarin – the heart of salt production in Mauritius. Casela Nature Park is a massive bird park containing more than 140 bird species from all five continents. Then there's Yemen, a game reserve with unobstructed ocean views and home to various Mauritian fauna and flora.
You are not limited to a particular side of the island
You will be delighted to know that the island is well connected. Transfer times to hotels and resorts from the airport can take ten minutes to an hour and a half. You don’t have to restrict your holiday in Mauritius to only one area, but knowing the different coastal regions will help determine your home base.
Based on your preferences, our Rhino Africa Travel Experts will gladly advise you on the best locations.
There are several languages spoken throughout Mauritius with the main the primary being English, Creole, and French.
No vaccinations are required when travelling to Mauritius. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over one year of age who arrive from areas with reported yellow fever cases.
The currency is the Mauritian rupee. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants and tourist shops, and ATMs dispensing local currency are common.
A visitor must have a valid passport and a return or onward ticket. Most nationalities don't need visas for a visit of two weeks to one month.
However, we strongly suggest you contact the Passport and Immigration Office in Mauritius or the nearest Mauritian Embassy or Consulate before travelling to the country.
Mauritius was known to the Arabs as early as the 10th century but officially discovered in 1505 by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas.
The Dutch occupied the island between 1598 to 1712, whereafter the French took over from 1715 to 1810. In 1814, it was ceded to Great Britain through the Treaty of Paris. Then, in 1968, Mauritius finally became independent, with Republic Day proclaimed on 12 March 1992.