From the Horse’s Mouth – Mauritius

Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent. The capital and largest city is Port Louis. Just off the coast of the country lie some 49 uninhabited islands and islets, of which several have been declared natural reserves for endangered species. Mauritius is home to some of the world’s rarest plants and animals, but the arrival of humans in the 15th century introduced non-native species to the land which has threatened its indigenous flora and fauna. Mauritius is also the only known habitat of the extinct flightless Dodo bird.

How are birthdays celebrated?

Birthdays in Mauritius are always a special occasion, and mostly celebrated at home with family.

When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?

We normally offer a friendly handshake. Kisses are mostly kept for family members.

What languages are spoken in your country?

Most Mauritians are multilingual. Languages spoken on the islands of this country include Mauritian Creole, English, French, and Asian languages are the most common. English remains an administrative language and is also used as support in schools.

What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in Mauritius?

We drive on the left-hand side of the road. The most important thing to know when driving here is that most drivers believe that they are in possession of a racing car. The easy-going way of life and the friendliness of the Mauritians can, however, also be seen when they are driving. When asking a Mauritian for directions they might just go in front of you to make sure you do not get lost!

How important is punctuality?

Very few people in Mauritius know what punctuality is.

What types of music are popular? Who are some of your most popular musicians?

A great majority of Mauritians listen to Bollywood music, because 60% of Mauritians are Hindu. Most of the remaining 40% listen to European or mainstream music. Very few are actually fond of Sega, the local music. A few of our popular local musicians are:


Are there any traditional dances in your country?

The Sega remains the main traditional dance.


What traditional festivals are celebrated in your community?

That’s a long list. We celebrate almost all main Hindu, Chinese, Christian and Muslim festivals. We also celebrate some special occasions like the Abolition of Slavery and the first arrival of indentured Indian workers.

What are your seasons like?

There are two seasons in Mauritius: winter and summer. In recent years our summertimes are getting very, very hot and the winters more windy. In summer temperatures vary between 25°C – 32°C and in winter between 20°C – 27°C.

What are Mauritius’ major industries?

The main sectors that contribute to Mauritius’ economy are the agriculture, sugar, textiles, tobacco, tourism, and mining industries.

How do people spend their free time?

Mauritians spend their free time at beaches and engaged in all related sea and sand activities. Most men partake in football, social media for youngsters, and window-shopping which is quite a new thing with the new shopping malls opening in the last two years.

What do people drink?

People in Mauritius usually drink a lot of sodas like Coke and Fanta, but the spirits consumption curve is constantly climbing.

What is a popular local dish?

Traditionally, Mauritian food is spicy, with influences from Indian, Creole, African and Chinese cuisine. Many of the staple fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, and meats are grown or caught locally and there are dishes to suit all tastes. Curry is a favourite food and there are plenty of side dishes to choose from, including rice, roti, niouk nien (dumplings) or mine-frit (Chinese fried noodles.). Lentil or bean curries are popular, along with meat, fish or seafood varieties.

Rougaille is also a very popular traditional dish. Served hot, this Creole tomato dish also contains onions, chillies, garlic and spices.

With their French name but Indian origins, all visitors should try gateau piment. Made with split peas (dhal or dholl), they also contain red or green chillies, coriander, onions and cumin. Shaped into balls, gateau piment are then deep fried until golden brown.

What do you pay for?

In a restaurant, a cup of coffee usually costs: 100 Rs

  • A can of Coca Cola usually costs: 45 Rs
  • A 2-Course meal for 2 people at a midrange restaurant usually costs around: 1500 Rs
  • At a shop, a loaf of bread will usually costs: 30 Rs


What is the general safety and security like in Mauritius?

Average. Unfortunately, criminals are always on duty in some specific areas like the north and west. As everywhere though, despite a fairly strong police presence, one should be aware and careful, especially at night.


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Written by Eloise Williams

Edited by Saudika Hendricks

Contributions by Fontana Agathe