Top Twelve Tips To Know Before Traveling To Mauritius, Africa
Welcome folks to the Mauritius “what-to-know” devoted post! If you’re into traveling, or even if you have an internet connection, odds are you’ve bumped into the gorgeous island of Mauritius. Situated in the middle of the Indian ocean, Mauritius is literally heaven. However, as we all know, all good things come with a price. And unfortunately, so does the African island, Mauritius. Read the top twelve must-know things before visiting one of the most stunning islands on earth for a guaranteed good time!
You don’t need a visa to enter Mauritius, if you’re staying for less than 60 days. All you need is a valid passport from wherever you’re coming from, and a valid return ticket out of the country. That is applied to all citizens.
One. Two: Passport Control
Although you don’t need a visa to enter, you would think that the line at passport control would swoop by quickly. Well, that’s not the case. I don’t know what happened with our flight, but the amount of people waiting in line for the passport control was ridiculous! Also, the system is pretty slow, so try to rush quickly to minimise that waiting time.
Two: Rent a car
If you want to explore the island, you most definitely need to have your own means of transport. Although Mauritius isn’t ridiculously big, there’s literally something to see in each corner of it, so having a car is a must. However, you need to be careful with who you rent with. We went with Penguin cars, and although we got what we asked for, the older gentleman on the counter tried to get a few more bucks out of us. Thankfully, the younger gentleman interrupted him twice to correct him, all the while the older “gentleman” (which I shouldn’t even be calling him) was giggling.
Last but not least, and this is a no brainer but don’t forget your driving license!!!
Three: Exchange your money at Mauritius
The deal is, like most places, it’s much better to exchange your currency in Mauritius, as the exchange rate is much better there. There’s so many exchange bureaus at the airport, all offering the same rate. They also claim that there is 0% commission fee to the transaction, but that’s not always the case. What you could do is check the live conversion and double check with the exchange clerk. Also, Mauritians do accept other currencies, but its sometimes tricky. I suggest you just exchange some there, and pay with your Revolut card (in Euros) for emergencies.
Four: Sim Cards
So Mauritius, being in the middle of nowhere, would truly hurt your current Sim card provider or better yet, your wallet. I would opt in to purchase a Mauritian SIM, either from Orange or from EMTEL. We opted in to purchase from Emtel as our car rental provider sold these. It takes a few minutes to set up, as you need to register with them initially. However, packages are limited, especially with the internet (offering 500MB per card) but you can always top up. I just only used my mobile data whenever it was truly needed, connected to all WIFIs I could and took the rest of the time to just disconnect. It cost us about 10 euros per card, but i’m pretty sure we were a little ripped off.
The water in Mauritius is non-drinkable. This is because Mauritius is a cyclone prone island and their water system isn’t the best, and by that I mean clean. That is not clean enough to drink! In some cases, snails and other animals can get stuck in the drains and thus contaminate the water, so it’s best to only drink bottled water.
However, locals do drink tap water, but that’s because they developed antibodies that can withstand the water whilst tourists, well, don’t. Apparently, most luxury hotels double filter their water and claim that it is safe to drink, but I played it safe and stuck to bottled water all the way.
Six: Mauritius is expensive
To my suprirse, Mauritius is a relatively expensive island! Yes, I have traveled to relatively cheaper destinations such as Indonesia and India, and I expected Mauritius to be the same. However, considering it being an island in the middle of the Indian ocean, perhaps their resources aren’t as abundant. Anyway, a typical dinner at a typical restaurant costs about 40 GBP per person, whereas at a good restaurant, it costs as much as 60 GBP. So be prepared to spend that extra few bucks.
Six. Two: What is costs
Try to do a little research on prices before you go. It’s best to have some idea of how much each thing should cost i.e., Sim cards, Taxis, Sun-beds etc. I have noticed the typical conversation between locals prior to paying for something, i.e. them discussing how much they should charge tourists.
Seven: The weather is freaking weird
Whether you’re traveling in March, April or August, the weather will be approximately the same. That means cloudy with a chance of a little rain, but then a shit-load of sunshine to brighten up your life. See, the clouds literally come and go, and so does the rain. So if you’re having clouds, just wait a little. If you’re experiencing sunshine then you’re a lucky SOB!
Eight: Beaches – Private vs Public
There’s no doubt that the beaches in Mauritius are absolutely stunning, whether it’s a public beach or a private. Public beaches, especially in the North, are more crowded with both locals and tourists. The natural scenery is utterly beautiful, with trees right by the beach, local food stands and people enjoying their day. However, if you’re looking for the luxurious white-sand-crystal-clear beaches that you see online, these are situated on private properties owned by hotels. They are carefully taken care of and thus come with a price. Some hotels offer beach club day passes, but it would be best to book in advance. This is because popular destinations are fully booked and reserved for guests, and there’s limited spaces left for non-hotel guests. Lux Le Monte and Shangri-La are amongst the most beautiful beaches there are.
Nine: Book stuff in advance
If you’re not staying at the typical resort, and are looking to dine in one, book in advance. Mauritius is a very popular destination, gaining more and more tourists by the year. Thus, most hotels and resorts are fully booked. I must admit that resort restaurants are significantly better than non-resort, so if you’re looking for a special night, don’t wait till the last minute. If you’re staying on the West side, Cintronella restaurant is amazing. If you’re staying on the East side, all of Shangri-La’s restaurants, including their buffet at Le Bazaar are even more amazing!
Ten: Saturdays and Sundays are closed
Despite being a touristy destination, almost everything is closed during public holidays, and especially on Sundays. Even trying to pre-book for an activity or good restaurant, you’ll find it hard to do so as everyone is off on holiday! Wish that happened in London too! So try to pre-book anything you should need prior to the weekend. For weekends (Sunday), opt in to stay at the hotel/apartment to dine in-house or cook something special!
So here’s the deal with this. Apparently, you need to have some vaccines before you visit Mauritius, but I didn’t know that. According to CDC and WHO, they recommend you get hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis and a bunch of others here. However, I suggest you talk with your physician before you visit Mauritius for the best advice on what to do. I already had the hepatitis vaccines from my other travels, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t have all of the recommended vaccines.
Saving the best for last. Mauritius is a cyclone prone island, that unfortunately, can’t really predict (in advance) when a cyclone will hit. Cyclones typically hit Mauritius during their summer months, but as mentioned, they are super unpredictable and might not even hit for a period of 2-3 months, or even 1-2 years! So, odds are, there won’t be one when you’re there. However, In cases of a cyclone occurring, there’s really no need to worry. A cyclone sounds much more scary than it really is. They aren’t dangerous to the point of fatalities (that is of course if you’re being careful). However, they are definite vacation ruiner.
You will receive news of a cyclone approaching up to 48 hours prior, and get updates whether the cyclone is definitely approaching Mauritius or whether it took a turn towards another part of the world. If a cyclone does hit, just be sure you’re home, with all windows closed, a torch, bottled water and food to wait it out.
For more information about cyclones in Mauritius, click here!
That’s all folks! Thanks for reading my post on what to know before traveling to Mauritius! I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope it has given you some insight on your future trip!
Thinking about visiting other parts in Africa? Click here!