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Mauritius

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Mauritius. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions. See Safety and security.
  • The cyclone season is from November to May. Severe storms can put you at risk. Essential services can be cut off. If you're travelling during cyclone season, check the Mauritius Meteorological Service before you plan your trip. See Natural disasters.
  • Foreign tourists have died in water sports accidents. If you plan swimming with dolphins, scuba diving or other adventure activities, only use tour operators that hold a valid permit from the Ministry of Tourism and have proper safety equipment. See Local travel.

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Visas

You don’t need a visa for staying less than 60 days for tourism. For other types of visits you'll need a visa.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Mauritius for up-to-date information.

Other formalities

On arrival, you'll need to show immigration officials details of your accommodation. If you don't have evidence of an accommodation booking, you may not be allowed to enter Mauritius.

If you're arriving from a country known to have malaria, you'll receive a follow-up visit from the Mauritian Health Department to do a blood test to check for the malaria-causing parasite.

You'll need a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate to enter Mauritius if you're arriving from an area or country where yellow fever occurs. More information: Yellow fever risk and certification requirements (by country, WHO)

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The local currency is the Mauritius Rupee (MUR). Declare all amounts in excess of MUR500,000 on arrival and departure. Do not change money on the street. For money exchange use banks and official exchange bureaux.

ATMs are widely available in most towns and at large shopping centres. International credit cards are accepted by most hotels, restaurants and large retailers. Contact your bank to make sure that your cards will work in Mauritius.

Safety and security

Crime

Crime levels in Mauritius are low but pickpocketing, bag snatching, theft and other petty crime against tourists can happen. Street robberies near or at ATMs have been reported. There have been incidents of assault, rape and murder, including in resorts. Security risks increase after dark especially on beaches, poorly-lit city streets and in other secluded areas.

The rate of crime is higher in downtown Port Louis, and in the coastal tourist centres of Grand Bay, Pereybere, and Flic en Flac. There have been incidents of tourists being assaulted and robbed while staying at beachside bungalows run by unregistered proprietors.

Mauritian authorities have introduced camera surveillance around the country, particularly in high tourist areas.

  • Be alert to your surroundings and pay attention to your belongings at all times.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid displaying expensive watches, jewellery, phones and cameras.
  • Avoid walking alone at night.
  • Avoid using ATMs on the street. Use ATMs in banks, shops, hotels or shopping centres whenever possible. Stay alert when withdrawing cash.
  • Stay in accommodation that is registered by local authorities.

Civil unrest and political tension

Rallies and demonstrations occur sometimes. Large crowds can become violent with little warning.

  • Avoid protests, demonstrations and other large crowds.
  • Keep an eye on the media for reports of planned or possible unrest. Avoid affected areas.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat overseas

Local travel

Tours and adventure activities

The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators may not be met, especially for adventure activities such as diving and swimming with dolphins. Recommended safety precautions and maintenance standards may not be followed. Sufficient safety equipment such as lifejackets and seatbelts may not be provided.

Foreign tourists have died in accidents during water-based activities.

If you plan to participate in adventure activities:

  • first talk to your travel insurer to check if the activity is covered by your insurance policy
  • check operators' credentials and safety equipment before booking
  • use only reputable, registered tour operators
  • for water-based activities, make sure your operator has a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism and is equipped to contact the coast guard if necessary
  • don't be afraid to ask about or insist on minimal safety requirements
  • always use available safety equipment, even if others don't
  • if appropriate safety equipment is not available, use another provider.

Road travel

You're twice as likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Mauritius as in Australia. Hazards include narrow roads that are uneven and poorly lit, pedestrians and stray dogs on roads, and motorcyclists. Many roads lack guardrails and are bordered by deep ditches.  

  • Check you have adequate insurance cover before driving.
  • Familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices before driving.

More information: Road travel

Driver's licence

You can drive in Mauritius if you’re 18 years old, and have a valid Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You must obtain your IDP before departing Australia.

More information: Mauritius Police Force Traffic Branch (phone: +230 2081212).

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover you for accidents that occur while using these vehicles. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis

Use only registered taxis and limousines, preferably those arranged through your hotel. Book in advance if travelling at night.

Public transport

Buses (public and private services) are available between all main town centres from 5am to 11pm and in remote areas until 6pm.

Sea travel

Cruise liners stopover in Mauritius. There have been no pirate attacks in Mauritius' territorial waters to date but piracy is a significant threat in the Indian Ocean. Attacks have occurred as far as 1,000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia. Sailing vessels are particularly vulnerable. The International Maritime Bureau publishes piracy reports.

More information:

Air travel

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Mauritius. More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Judicial proceedings are long. If you become involved in a legal matter, you may have to stay in Mauritius until your case is resolved.

Drug laws

Drug offences are punishable by fines and imprisonment of up to 60 years. More information: Drugs

Other laws

The following activities are illegal:

  • purchasing counterfeited or pirated goods
  • the act of sodomy, regardless of the sex of those involved
  • possessing 'roll your own cigarette' papers or rolling machines used to manufacture cigarettes.

Homosexuality is not illegal. More information: LGBTI travellers

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Read Dual nationals.

Local customs

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Mauritius. Take care not to offend, especially when visiting rural areas or attending a religious site (shrine, temple, mosque) or event.

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Make sure your policy includes adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel

Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for the duration of your stay so you remain in good health. Carry prescription medicines in their original containers. You'll also need copies of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information:

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases

Mosquito-borne illnesses, including dengue fever, malaria and chikungunya fever occur, particularly in the warmer months (October to May). The risk of malaria is low, but a small number of cases are reported. There is no risk of malaria on Rodrigues Island.

Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is insect proof, including with treated mosquito nets
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • consider taking malaria prevention medication
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS exists in Mauritius. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

H1N1 (swine flu)

H1N1 (swine flu) occurs. Discuss your vaccination requirements with your doctor before travelling.

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis and hepatitis) are a risk. More serious outbreaks occur from time-to-time.

  • Use good hygiene practices including frequent handwashing.
  • Boil drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

The standard of public medical facilities in Mauritius is variable. Most visitors choose to seek treatment with private doctors or at private clinics. Generally, up-front payment is required.

There is only one decompression chamber in Mauritius, at the Victoria Hospital in Quatre Bornes.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to South Africa or another destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.  

Natural disasters

Mauritius can experience cyclones, very high rainfall that can cause severe flooding, and tsunamis.

If a natural disaster occurs:

If you're travelling during cyclone season or after a natural disaster, contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected.

Cyclones

Mauritius can experience cyclones throughout the year but most occur during cyclone season, from November to May. Cyclones can cause flooding, gale force winds, widespread property damage and disruptions to services. The direction and strength of tropical cyclones can change with little warning.

If there is a cyclone or severe tropical storm, you may not be able to leave the area: flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended and available flights may fill quickly. Access to sea ports could also be affected. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe cyclone may not be available for all those who stay.

Stay up-to-date on weather conditions and forecasts, cyclone watches and warnings throughout your stay in Mauritius. Monitor the:

If a cyclone is approaching or a cyclone warning is in place, follow the advice for all natural disasters above and:

  • make sure you know your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans
  • identify your local shelter
  • carry your passport at all times (in a waterproof bag) or secure it in a safe, waterproof location
  • phone 8996 from landlines or 171 from mobile phones for up-to-date cyclone information.

More information: Severe weather

Floods

Mauritius can experience very high levels of rainfall that can cause severe flooding. Stay up-to-date on weather conditions and forecasts throughout your stay in Mauritius. Monitor the:

Tsunamis

Mauritius is susceptible to tsunamis. Be alert to warnings as a tsunami can arrive within minutes of a nearby tremor or earthquake occurring.

To receive tsunami alerts, register with the Global Disaster Alert and Co-ordination System.

Move immediately to high ground if advised by local or regional authorities or if you experience any of the following:

  • feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up, or a weak rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
  • see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • hear loud and unusual noises from the sea

Do not wait for official warnings. Once on high ground, monitor local media and the Mauritius Meteorological Service.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Fire: phone 995
  • Police: phone 999 (police hotline), +230 210 3894 or +230 686 5500 (tourist police), or visit the nearest police station
  • Medical emergency: phone 114 (Service Aide Medicale d'Urgence) for free, government-funded, ambulance service and emergency assistance, phone 118 (Darne private clinic) for private emergency ambulance service, or go direct to a hospital

Tourism products and services

To complain about tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

For consular assistance, contact the Australian High Commission in Port Louis.

Australian High Commission, Port Louis

2nd Floor, Rogers House
5 President John Kennedy Street
Port Louis, Mauritius
Telephone: +230 202 0160
Facsimile: +230 208 8878
Website: mauritius.highcommission.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros
Twitter: @AusHC_MU

Check the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you're unable to contact the High Commission in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources