Traveling to Mauritius? Consider these tips.
If traveling to Mauritius is in your bucket list, consider these 7 useful tips about the Republic of Mauritius.
It is no secret that Mauritius is a beautiful country. From the weather, the food, to the people, there are a lot of interesting experiences I have gathered so far from my time living here.
Today, I will be sharing some helpful tips to better understand living in Mauritius.
1) It’s is an African country.
This might seem like an obvious point, but very little is known about the island of Mauritius. So let’s break it down.
The first question I get asked a lot is, Where is Mauritius? Mauritius or ile Maurice in French, is a tropical island country in the Indian Ocean, just over 1,130 kilometers east of Madagascar. This means it is in Africa, but off the south-eastern coast of Africa.
Understandably, due to the distance between Mauritius and other African countries, most people, including some Mauritians, do not consider themselves to be Africans.
The second common question I get asked a lot is, do you need a visa to travel to Mauritius? No you do not.
Unlike some African countries, you do not need to apply for a tourist visa to Mauritius. You will be given this on arrival at the airport, this is valid for 30 to 90 days, provided you have the necessary travel requirements.
For visas above 90days, for example, student permits, you will need to apply for this at the Mauritian passport office before arriving at Mauritius. How to do this and more information can be found here.
Another question I get asked is, how are the citizens like?. Honestly despite living here for two years I still can’t give a definite response.
One thing I can say though is the high influx of tourists,(pre-covid), has over time made Mauritians very curious to know about the countries of the different people that visit. This has its advantage as you are given the opportunity to share the positive aspects of your country and learn from them as well.
So if you are a foreigner, especially from other African countries be prepared for questions relating to your country. Most of the questions I have had to answer are: “how far is Nigeria to Mauritius?”. ” How is Nigeria different from Mauritius?“. How do you travel to Mauritius from Nigeria? These questions most times are not aimed at been rude but from a place of curiosity.
But just like every country, there are some interesting people you will encounter with offensive behaviors, mostly acting out of different stereotypes they have heard. I wrote about it a bit here.
2)Relaxation activities in Mauritius.
Mauritius has a wide range of relaxing activities to do, all you need to do you is choose and have the resources to afford them.
If you are told about Mauritius chances are it will be in relation to it being one of the world’s best places to visit or for having a lot of popular vacation spots in Africa, etc.
Therefore, If you are relocating from a fast-paced city, for any activity other than for a vacation, it can be a bit difficult adjusting to the lifestyle of Mauritius.
To give an example, I relocated from Lagos Nigeria which is popularly called “the city that never sleeps“, for even at the early hours of the morning, you will encounter some commercial activities going on. So it was quite an adjustment for me to travel to a country that was the opposite of this.
This is not a bad thing don’t get me wrong, as Mauritius is the country you escape to relax and unwind with loved ones. This aspect is taken seriously by the Mauritian people and government, as the tourism sector has been encouraged and developed over the years, that it now makes up 14% of overall GDP.
What this means is activities such as visiting the beach, going on a boat cruise, visiting historic sites, snorkeling, are very popular here with a lot of options to choose from.
So you might be wondering, when is the best time to visit Mauritius? The best time to visit Mauritius is from September to May when the weather is sunny and dry. These are the periods you have sun-drenched days.
If you want something cooler and won’t mind wearing a hoodie, then the best time to visit is from May to December. Generally, the island has a classic tropical climate with warm weather year-round.
Therefore, have this in mind when considering relocating to Mauritius.
3)Mauritius food guide.
If you are a food lover, especially of Indian cuisine, then traveling to Mauritius should be on your bucket list
Here you will see a lovely mix of Indian, French, and Chinese cuisine, perfect if you are curious to try out a lot of different meals. From Creole Curries to Camorons to Daube da Poulet, there are so many meals to try out.
If this seems too much and you simply want a snack while relaxing at the beach, there are various shops where you can get different snacks ranging from Chana Puri, Samosas, to Roti, all served by really friendly street vendors.
Sadly, there are no African meals here, or if there are it’s in very small quantity. This I found unusual, for I expected to find some home meals or basic ingredients sold here, so I did not pack any from home.
How wrong was I.
If you are traveling to Mauritius, especially if you are an African, I will advise you to come prepared with everything you need to adjust to here for a maximum of 6months. Having comfort food helps with the adjustment phase, in my opinion.
4) General Lifestyle.
I think this will have to be one of the downsides to relocating here. The average Mauritian system is very laid back. This you will see in many aspects, most especially the transport and banking system.
There are various modes of transportation in Mauritius from Buses, Taxis, Rails, Boat and Motorbikes. The most used means are the public buses, followed by the Private Taxis.
The buses are popularly used due to the wide areas they cover around the Island and their economical fares. So I feel a bit guilty when I complain about the time it takes to get from one area to another. .
You will typically wait at the bus stop for a bus for a minimum of 5mins on a good day, a maximum of 20mins the rest of the time. This can be a huge problem if you have an appointment or are on your way to work.
If you, unfortunately, miss the bus there is no way of knowing when the next bus will be coming. This could be very difficult to adjust to if you are from a country with a different transport system. Therefore you will have to plan your appointments accordingly.
A tip that has worked well for me is to give an extra hour to your scheduled time. For example, If you have an appointment that starts at 9 am, you need to leave home by 8 am to get there early.
Other transport options such as private taxis and renting a car offer a quicker alternative, but these options are pricey. Public transport offers a cheaper option, if you’re on a budget.
The banking system.
The banking system in Mauritius is another aspect I found frustrating. To understand this let’s start with the basics. Most banks here, open at 9 am and close by 3 pm, unlike in some countries where opening time starts by 8 am and closes by 5 pm.
Plus, I feel that the efficiency of the bankers has been tailored to accommodate the small population of Mauritius, for context the total population in Mauritius is 2million. So the pressure, (if I can call it that) that comes with attending to a large number of customers for example over 5000+ customers, is unavailable.
Problems are not solved as fast as you would expect, sometimes taking a week to resolve. The onsite services are slow on most days, as will have to wait a while to be attended to.
However, due to the encouragement of technology by the Mauritian government, the online services provided are really good. Plus the efficient banking apps available cater to what you might need, decreasing your reasons to visit a bank.
On a positive note, after a couple of months here you will adjust well to this aspect.
5)Accommodation in Mauritius.
Because tourism is greatly encouraged, there are various options when it comes to accommodation for foreigners.
From shared apartments to a studio, you only just have to decide what you want and how much your willing to spend. As an additional benefit, most of these apartments come fully furnished, so all you need to do is pay and move in.
However, the rents are paid per month.
Yes, every month!.
This was something I found I don’t like, I still don’t, as it was different from what was applicable in some countries, where your rent is paid either every six months or once a year.
A brief estimate to consider when searching for an accommodation: prices for an accommodation ranges from 6,000Rs ($150) to 9,500 ($238) for a shared apartment, to 10,000Rs ($250) to 15,000 ($375) for a studio.
6)A peaceful country.
You might be wondering, why should I travel to Mauritius? Other than it being a prime spot for vacation lovers, Mauritius is a peaceful country, with a little crime rate.
In terms of security as a foreigner, you will have no worries about a war or a terrorist attack happening when you visit populated areas. You can comfortably leave your home with no worries that tribal fights or xenophobia might happen.
This is a very important aspect to mention, as a lot of African countries currently experience one form of conflict. Plus on the rare occasion where you are stopped by a police officer, you don’t have to say your last prayers, especially if you are a person of color.
Other than seasonal cyclones and heavy rainstorms happening in certain areas of the Island, you are safe.
Again this is something to consider when making your decision to relocate.
7) An Inclusive society.
Other than the instances where I have experienced “funny” behaviors from people which I have explained previously, the Mauritian environment generally is inclusive.
Yes like every country there are aspects of discrimination and corruption, but it does not affect the way they accommodate each other and foreigners.
All religions are accepted here, with each religious activity equally celebrated. People of different sexualities are not stigmatized, well not openly, as can be found in other countries. It is a place where you can be yourself, within acceptable moral and legal boundaries.
Overall my experience here has been peaceful, a complete blend of good and unpleasant. If you’re relocating here, come with an open mind and the ability to adjust to possible experiences.
With this in mind, you would have a lovely time here.
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