Care should be taken of bags and valuables when visiting popular tourist areas such as Péreybére, Grand Baie, Flic en Flac and Tamarin.
There has been an increase in break-ins in self-catering accommodation and visitors are advised to only rent accommodation from registered proprietors.
Coming though Customs: Penalties for drug trafficking and use are severe, and any personal medicinal drugs should be covered by a prescription. Scheduled drugs, such as psychotropic preparations (e.g. tranquillisers, hypnotics), narcotics (e.g. morphine) and other strong painkillers require by law authorisation before import.
Travellers to Mauritius over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; 1 litre spirits and 2 litres of wine, ale or beer; perfume and eau de toilette for personal use.
Prohibited items include sugarcane and parts thereof, soil micro-organisms and invertebrate animals, and fresh fruit from parts of Asia. No dogs or cats from a 62-mile (100km) radius where rabies has occurred in the past 12 months are allowed into the country. Firearms and ammunition need import permits and must be declared on arrival.
Read more: Questions answered about a trip to the Island of Mauritius…
Communications: The international access code for Mauritius is +230. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00 27 for South Africa and 00 44 for the United Kingdom). Area codes are not required.
The whole island is covered by the mobile network; the local mobile phone operators use GSM networks, which are compatible with most international operators. Handsets and SIM cards can be hired at the airport. Internet cafes are widely available.
Notable dates in the Mauritian Calendar
The people of Mauritius have several events which they celebrate each year. The island enjoys a blend of diverse cultures and religions, which the immigrant population brought from their ancestral countries.
Their festivities are celebrated in a spirit of peace and harmony throughout the year. Here are some notable dates in the Mauritian calendar.
Maha Shivatree: Is Celebrated in honour of Lord Siva (February). Following an all night vigil, Hindu devotees, clad in white, carry the “Kan – war” – wooden arches covered with flowers -in pilgrimage to Grand Bassin, to fetch holy water from the lake. The whole scene is reminiscent of the great rituals on the banks of the Holy Ganges in India.
Eid-Ul-Fitr: Is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan, The Muslim holy month of fasting. Prayers are offered at mosques during the day.
Father Pere Laval: In September people of all faiths flock to the shine of Father Jacques Desire Pere Laval in Ste. Croix, Port Louis. You can almost catch a glimpse of Lourdes in the fervour of the great crowds who attribute miraculous healing powers to this holy man.
Chinese Spring Festival: The Chinese New Year’s Day (January / February), which every year falls on a different day because of the adjustment of the lunar days to solar days, is preceded by a thorough spring – cleaning of the home.
No scissors or knives are used on the day. Red, symbolic of happiness, is the dominant colour. Food is piled to ensure abundance during the year, and the traditional wax cake is distributed to relatives and friends. Firecrackers are lit to ward off evil spirits.
Diwali in Mauritius
Divali: The most jovial of all Hindu festivals. Celebrated in October / November, it marks the victory of Rama over Ravana and also commemorates Krishna’s destruction of the Demon Narakasuran. Clay oil lamps are placed in front of very home turning the island into a fairyland of flickering lights.
Holi: This Hindi festival is as colourful as the numerous legends which inspire it. Essentially, it is a festival of revelry when men and women enjoy themselves by squirting coloured water and powder on one another. It is a time for rejoicing and exchanging greetings. Read More: Book A Mauritius Honeymoon
Cavadee: Cavadee is celebrated in January / February. Along with the fire walking and sword-climbing ceremonies, Cavadee is among the most awesome Tamil events.
Their bodies pierced with needles and their tongues and cheeks with skewers, devotees trance-like and in penance, trek along bearing the “Cavadee”, a wooden arch covered with flowers with a pot of milk at each end of its base, to place it before the deity in the temple. At this point, despite the long hot trek, the milk should not have curdled.
Ougadi: The Telegu New Year. It is usually celebrated in March.
Ganesh Chaturthi: Is celebrated on the 4th day of the lunar month of August / September, as the birthday of Ganesha, the God of Wisdom and remover of all obstacles by Hindus of Marathi faith.