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Mauritius - Health and safety
The only proof of vaccination required is against yellow fever for those over one year of age arriving from areas at risk of yellow fever transmission. This includes most of sub-Saharan Africa and parts of South America. The decision whether to take the vaccination will depend on which country you are coming from and whether the vaccine suits you. If you are arriving into Mauritius from an endemic zone then seek specialist advice as to whether you need the vaccine or can take an exemption certificate.
The traveller to any tropical country will benefit from the following vaccinations: tetanus, diphtheria and polio and hepatitis A. For longer trips, ie: four weeks or more, typhoid and hepatitis B vaccine should also be considered. You are advised to visit your doctor well in advance of your trip to plan the vaccine schedule.
According to the Mauritian authorities, there is no malaria risk in Mauritius or Rodrigues. Visitors generally do not take anti-malaria medication.
Travel clinics and health information
A full list of current travel clinic websites worldwide is available on www.istm.org. For other journey preparation information, consult http://travelhealthpro.org.uk (UK) or http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ (US). Information about various medications may be found on www.netdoctor.co.uk/travel. All advice found online should be used in conjunction with expert advice received prior to or during travel.
Although Mauritius enjoys a relatively low crime rate, petty crime is on the increase. Many attribute this to an increase in drug taking. Pickpockets are reported to target tourists in busy areas such as Port Louis market and Grand Baie, whilst self-caterers should be aware of the increase in reports of housebreaking. Visitors should take sensible precautions, including avoiding walking alone at night, not leaving valuables visible in cars and taking care of bags and valuables when walking in towns and tourist areas.
Lone women travellers receive a fair amount of attention from males. It is usually well-meaning curiosity but don’t take chances that you would not take in your home country. For instance, don’t accept a lift from a lone male or group of men. Don’t walk alone at night and try to avoid dimly lit areas, such as beaches. Even
during the day, make sure that you are not too isolated on a beach. Dress standards in Mauritius are conservative. While swimwear is perfectly appropriate on the beach and around the pool, it is not appropriate elsewhere. Women who are expecting to visit a temple or sacred site should dress appropriately or carry a shawl to cover their shoulders and/or head, if required.
Travellers with a disability
While most modern buildings in Mauritius conform to international standards for disabled access, there is no requirement for hotels to construct rooms equipped for the disabled. Even large modern hotels built in the last few years lack specially designed rooms. However, most hotels claim that they can accommodate disabled guests by giving them a room on the ground floor. This is all very well but many hotels have numerous steps linking their facilities and lifts are not always on hand. Contact the hotel direct in order to gather as much information as possible.
Mauritians are generally friendly and welcoming to all travellers. However, traditional values are tightly held and homosexuality is not accepted by everyone. There are no gay clubs or bars on the island but gay parties are sometimes organised at one of the clubs or privately. The Mauritian gay community has a strong online presence and websites such as www.gaystaymauritius.com can provide further information on travelling to the island. Travellers should avoid public displays of affection and note that, while the law does not criminalise homosexuality in itself, the act of sodomy is illegal regardless of sexual orientation.