Of volcanic origin and sheltered for its major by barriers of coral reefs forming natural, safe, crystal clear lagoons, Mauritius has for long been a dream destination. Known to the Arabs as
early as the 10th Century, but officially “discovered” in 1505 by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarehnas, the island was occupied successively by the Dutch (1598 – 1712), the French (1715 – 1810), and was ceded to Great Britain in 1814 through the treaty of Paris. On March 12, 1968 Mauritius acceded to Independence. Republic Day was proclaimed on 12 March 1992.
Mauritius is situated at approximately 2000 kilometers to the southeastern coast of Africa and lies east of Madagascar on 20°S, 57.5°E. The land has an area of 1865 square kilometers with 330 kilometers of coastline. Inland features include a vast central plateau, subtropical forests, rivers, streams and waterfalls. Bordering this tableland are several mountain ranges consisting of diverse shaped masses of basalt testifying the volcanic origins of the island. Three peaks emerge: Piton de La Petite Rivière Noire (828 mts), Pieter Both (823 mts) and Le Pouce (812 mts)
Mauritius is not far from the Capricorn. That means that the sun is longer at its highest point than anywhere else. Usually in winter (means May to October) the highest temperatures vary between 20°C and 26°C in the coastal regions. In summer (November to April) it’s slightly higher, meaning 26°C to 32°C. The water temperature of the Indian Ocean can go up to 28°C.
At different stages during the course of the history of Mauritius, people of diverse origins – Indian, African, European and Chinese – have settled on the island bringing in their culture, language values and traditions. The country today is recognized cultural melting pot and is often cited as a perfect example of peaceful coexistence of the main religions of the world.
Most people in Mauritius are bilingual being equally fluent in English and French. Creole and French is predominant in everyday life and several oriental languages are spoken too.
Mauritian rupee (Rs) is the currency of Mauritius. Coins of 5 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, one rupee, 5 rupees, 10 rupees and 20 rupees are used. Notes are in cuttings of Rs 25, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 200, Rs 500, Rs 1000 and Rs 2000. There are no restrictions on foreign currency, traveler’s cheques and other banking instruments. Credit cards are also widely accepted everywhere on the island.
Mauritius is a crucible of diverse cultures and religious which our immigrant population brought from ancestral soils. Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism are the most practiced religions. All year long their festivities are celebrated in peace and harmony.