Tips for Driving in Mauritius

Most of us feel slightly anxious when we drive in a foreign country. What you need to know is all here:

Roads are in fairly good condition with safety signs and a network to take you through the island. However expect to get lost a few times even with a map. A GPS is not essential. The software can’t keep track of the changes on our roads.

Driving routes and directions could do with improvements

Our warm hospitality extends to our busy city streets where we welcome everyone and everything. Trucks, cars, buses, motorbikes, mopeds, bicycles, snack vendors, portable shops, pedestrians, the odd cart, dogs, goats …

Four types of roads

Highways

We have two highways where the speed limit is 110km/hr on some sections. From the airport in the South East all the way to the North via Port Louis our capital. Plus a new link freeway which bypasses busy Port Louis. They are well signposted.

Primary Roads

Our primary roads are single lane with a speed limit of 60 to 80 km/hour. There are no footpaths so you’ll quickly learn to share your side of the road.

Secondary Roads

Some secondary roads could be a little bumpy with the odd potholes. Nothing serious. Rather enjoy the scenery.

City and Village Roads

• There is a speed limit of 40 km hour in residential areas and villages.
• There are no pavements. Watch out for pedestrians who walk between your car and the storm drains alongside the road.

Car Hire

Never forget we drive on the left side of the road. Mauritius was a British colony when cars were introduced to the island. At times it looks as if we drive where there is the most shade …

As elsewhere in the world you should follow the speed limit. There are hidden cameras and radars lurking around.

Driver and passengers must wear a seat belt. Speaking on your mobile phone when you drive is a no-no. You must stop at zebra crossings to let pedestrians cross the road.

Drinking and Driving

By law the alcohol limit must be less than 50mg/100ml alcohol in your bloodstream.The equivalent of a small glass of wine.

Avoid driving through towns at peak hours from 07 30 am to 09 30 am and from 15 00 to 18 00 pm. Keep these in mind if you need to travel across the island to join an excursion.

More driving information, for when you’re driving in Mauritius

Many international tourists intending to rent a car in Mauritius ask themselves if their driver’s licence is valid in Mauritius or if they need to obtain an International Driving Permit. Luckily, tourists are allowed to drive in Mauritius with their domestic licence for up to 4 weeks.

“Foreigners with a driving licence issued by a competent authority in their respective countries are allowed to drive during their stay in Mauritius”, according to Goinsamy Veerasamy, Commanding Officer of Mauritius Police Traffic Branch.

Mauritius is a country that recognizes the Geneva Road Traffic Convention of 1949 and the law stipulates: “Any person holding a valid International Driving Permit or Driving Licence issued by a competent foreign authority shall not be required to pass a test. Any such permit or licence shall entitle the holder thereof to drive within the State of Mauritius any vehicle of the types specified thereon.” (Sections 57 and 59 of Road Traffic Regulations 1954).

It doesn’t matter if you’re from France, Germany, South-Africa, England etc., you will be able to drive throughout Mauritius during your holiday by using your own driving licence. If you intend to stay for a period longer than four weeks, you need to have either an International Driving Permit (issued in your home country) or apply for an extension with the Mauritian authorities (Mauritius Police Force, Traffic Branch, Line Barracks – Google Maps).

It is important to know that additionally to Mauritian traffic regulations, our insurance company requires a minimum driving age of 21 years and a valid licence from a respective country that has been issued longer than one year. So, if you live in a country like South-Africa that periodically issues a new licence and the current one is less than one year old, please bring proof that you’ve been allowed to drive before that.

Here is some additional information you might need when driving in Mauritius:

• Cars drive on the left hand side and the priority is for vehicles coming from the right;
• Mauritius has only one motorway. The motorway starts from the airport situated in the South East of the Island and ends in the North of the Island at Grand Bay;
• All roads sign posts are of international standards;
• You are most likely to encounter heavy traffic during peak hours: 07:30 am – 09:30 am, and 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm. During these times there is heavy traffic mainly in Port Louis area and at the entrances/exits of the main cities;
• Mauritius now has zero tolerance for drinking and driving. If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol, you will pay a significant fine and may be held in police custody until you are completely sober.
• It is strictly illegal to use a hand held mobile phone when driving;
• There are no road tolls in Mauritius;
• Wearing seat belts is mandatory at any given time for all car passengers;
• In a police check, they often ask for your car rental contract in addition to your driver’s licence;
• Some road traffic offences carry penalty points together with fines; Our GPS device will warn you about known speed camera spots.

Mauritius is a beautiful island with amazing beaches, and a rich vibrant history and if you want to make the most out of your holiday then self-driving is your cheapest and best option. Renting a car in Mauritius gives you the opportunity to explore everything the island has to offer and will make your holiday more pleasant.

For more information or queries and we would love to be of assistance to ensure that your Mauritius travel experience is as smooth and hassle-free as possible. Find Mauritius Specials, Mauritius Holiday Specials and Mauritius Holiday Packages at www.mauritius.co.za