Mauritius… A breath-taking hideaway.

Mauritius, a sparkling crystal in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, will fascinate you. The contrast of colours, cultures and tastes makes the island so charming that the scene is set for an unforgettable holiday. Here, you have the opportunity to experience unparalleled luxury: a level of refinement that is head and shoulders above that on offer in other tropical holiday destinations. Here, you will discover the true meaning of ‘beauty’

Location

Indian Ocean, off southeast coast of Africa; due east of Madagascar.

Time

GMT + 4.

Area

2,040 sq km (788 sq miles).

Population

1.35 million (approx).

Capital

Port Louis.

Geography

Mauritius, a volcanic and mountainous island in the Indian Ocean, lies 2,000km (1,240 miles) off the southeastern coast of Africa, due east of Madagascar. The island state stands on what was once a land bridge between Asia and Africa called the Mascarene Archipelago. From the coast, the land rises to form a broad fertile plain on which sugar cane flourishes and beyond, crater edges form a mountainous backbone. Some 500km (310 miles) east is Rodrigues Island, while northeast are the Cargados Carajos Shoals and 900km (560 miles) to the north is Agalega.

Government

Republic established in 1992. Gained independence from the UK in 1968.

Head of State

President Sir Anerood Jugnauth since 2003.

Head of Government

Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam since 2005.

History

Post-independence Mauritian politics have been dominated by the Ramgoolam family (Navin being the son of the revered Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, the first prime minister following independence) and by the two principal figures of the Mauritian Left, Paul Bérenger and (later Sir) Anerood Jugnauth. After over a decade of dominating Mauritian politics, Jugnauth handed the premiership over to Bérenger in 2003 (who became the first non-Hindu to hold the post), and the leadership of the Socialists to his son, Pravind. In the most recent election in 2005, Navin Ramgoolam won his second non-consecutive term.

Language

The official languages are English and French (with French being the most dominant), the most commonly used are Creole (pidgin French with other languages added to the mix), Hindi and Bhojpuri. Urdu and Chinese are also spoken.

Religion

48% Hindu, 32% Christian (mainly Roman Catholic), 17% Muslim, 2% Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism, 1% other.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. UK-type three-pin plugs are commonly used in hotels.

Social Conventions

Handshaking is the customary form of greeting. Visitors should respect the traditions of their hosts, particularly when visiting a private house. The type of hospitality the visitor receives is determined by the religion and social customs of the host, which are closely related. It is appropriate to give a gift as a small token of appreciation if invited for a meal. Dress is normally informal although men will need to wear a suit for particularly formal occasions.