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Island Info:

The Island

Maurtius is a small island of approximately 720 square miles, almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs. It is situated in the Indian Ocean approximately 1,240 miles from Durban and 1,120 miles from Mombasa.

In the centre a great plateau rises to a level of some 2000 feet. Bordering this central tableland are three mountain ranges with fantastically shaped masses of basalt which testify to the volcanic origin of the island.

Map of Mauritius

The People

The vistor is soon conscious of the fact that for such a small place there is a great diversity of people. According to the figures available on 31st December 1969 (at the time we were in Mauritius) the population was estimated at over 799,000, divided into the general population comprising people of European descent and of mixed and African origin, the Indo-Mauritians and the Sino-Mauritians.

Piton de la Petite

Mauritius, together with Réunion and Rodrigues, is part of the Mascarene Islands. This archipelago was formed in a series of undersea volcanic eruptions, as the African plate drifted over the Réunion hotspot. Mauritius and Rodrigues were formed 8-10 million years ago. They are no longer volcanically active, and the hotspot now rests under Réunion. The island of Mauritius itself is formed around a central plateau, with its highest peak in the southwest, Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire at 828 metres (2,717 ft). Around the plateau, the original crater can still be distinguished from several mountains.


The local climate is tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; there is a warm, dry winter from May to November and a hot, wet, and humid summer from November to May. Cyclones affect the country during November-April.

The island's capital and largest city is Port Louis, in the northwest. Other important towns are Curepipe, Vacoas, Phoenix, Quatre Bornes, Rose-Hill and Beau-Bassin.

The island is well known for its exceptional natural beauty; "You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius", as Mark Twain noted in Following the Equator.

The official language of Mauritius is English but the real language of the people is Creole which is understood and spoken by all Mauritians, whatever their mother tongue. Though, strange but true, it is neither taught in schools not officially recognised as a language, and has no popular written form. The Creole language evolved from the pidgin used by the French masters of the 18th century to communicate with their slaves, also borrowing words from African and Malagasy dialects. French is also widely spoken. The main mother tongue of the country's largest ethnic group is Hindu. Tamil was actually the first Indian language spoken in Mauritius.

Mauritians have their own brand of music and dancing which is known as the Sega. It is believed to have come from Africa. It is a wild, sensual dance inherited from the slaves who expressed their feelings of sadness, fears, hopes and expectations in the form of song and movement. It is traditionally perfumed by pairs of the opposite sex.


The mixture of the island's various races is reflected in the Mauritian cuisine: spicy curries, tropical fruits and vegetables, chinese and European food.

Many religious festivals are public holidays and each culture has been very well preserved without allowing one to swamp the other.Festival of Pere Laval is celebrated by Roman Catholics, Cavadee by the Tamils, Maha Shivaratree and Ganga Asnan by the Hindu, Chinese Spring Festival by the Chinese, Divali (Festival of light) by the Hindus and Tamils, Eid-Ul-Fitr by the Moslem.

Mauritius enjoys a tropical climate which can be divided into two seasons: summer and winter. The hot summer months are from November to April with temperatures of up to 35 degrees centigrade on the coasts. The winter months are from May to October with temperatures of up to 25 degrees centigrade with cooler nights.

The crest of Mauritius reflects its past more than its present, flanked by a dodo and a stag, both clutching shoots of sugar cane. The shield portrays a medieval ship, presumably representing the island's discoverers, and three stylistic trees. There are also a key and a shining star, depicting the country's motto which appears below it:  STELLA  CLAVISQUE  MARIS  INDICI . Page 2>>>>>>>