To enter Mauritius, you will need a passport valid for the full duration of your stay, proof of a return or onward ticket and the address of confirmed accommodation on the island. To be on the safe side, it is recommended ensuring your passport has at least six months validity beyond the end of your stay.
Tourists travelling on passports from the following countries are among those who do not require a visa: the UK, European Union countries, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Norway, Sweden, India, Russia and China. As the UK is no longer a member of the European Union, documentation requirements for UK citizens may change. Check before travelling.
Holders of passports from certain other countries are granted stays of a limited duration on arrival; for instance, visitors from Comoros, Madagascar and Nigeria are granted two weeks, while visitors from many Latin American and African countries are granted 60 days. For those travelling on passports from some other countries, a visa is required prior to travel; for instance, Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia, Mali, Somalia and Sri Lanka. Entry requirements change, so please check the MTPA website or the Passport and Immigration Office website.
Getting there and away
A package including flights and hotel accommodation is one of the most cost-efficient and popular ways of visiting Mauritius. Many tour operators offer visits to Mauritius in combination with another destination; it is an ideal spot for a week’s relaxation after a safari in Africa. Booking your flights and accommodation as a package need not restrict your freedom to explore the island.
It takes around 12 hours to fly to Mauritius direct from Europe. The fact that it is a long way and that there are few cheap charter flights has helped Mauritius preserve the qualities that make it attractive.
Air Mauritius and British Airways each offer non-stop flights from London: Air Mauritius operates direct flights from Heathrow, while British Airways flies direct from Gatwick. Additional flights via Johannesburg, South Africa, depart from Heathrow. Emirates offers flights via Dubai, where you can choose to stop over. It is also possible to fly via Paris with Air France.
In recent years, the Mauritian Government has pushed to improve port facilities and encourage more cruise ships to the island. The ships that call here are usually either on round-the-world voyages or cruising from southern and eastern Africa. A Costa Croisières ship is based in Port Louis from December to March and operates cruises in the region, taking in Réunion, Madagascar, the Seychelles and east Africa.
There are regular passenger sailings between Mauritius and Rodrigues, and a couple of services a year between Mauritius and Agaléga. For detailed information, contact the Mauritius Shipping Corporation.
There are around 2,000km of decent, tarred roads throughout Mauritius. A well-maintained motorway crosses the island diagonally from the airport in the southeast corner, travelling through Port Louis and north to Grand Baie. Little-used country roads are not in such good condition and signage is minimal. Wherever you are driving, it is worth allowing more time than you think as, aside from the motorway, the roads are slower than you might imagine. It seems that whenever you ask a local how long it will take to get somewhere, the response is always ‘1 hour’, which magically seems to be about right!
Car and motorbike hire
The minimum age for hiring a self-drive car varies from 20 to 25 years, according to the hire company. All companies require that the driver has been in possession of a valid driver’s licence for at least one year. The car-hire company will need to view your licence. The rental must be paid in advance. Payment of a daily premium reduces the insurance excess and a daily driver and passenger personal accident insurance is available. Cars can usually be delivered and recovered anywhere on the island and there are car-hire desks at the airport.
There are few places offering mopeds and fewer still offering motorbikes, and it is risky to hire from an unofficial provider. Mopeds are available from around Rs600 a day, including helmet. Crash helmets are compulsory when driving or riding a motorbike or moped. Please avoid riding at night.
One thing Mauritius is not short of is taxi drivers. Wherever you go, taxi drivers will wave animatedly at you, shout out to you, swerve in front of you, and do their best to persuade you that you need their services. Although most taxis now sport nifty modern meters, they are rarely used. It is as well to negotiate a fare before you start your journey but be prepared to bargain.