FACT FILE — MAURITIUS -LES LES MAURICE

Mauritius is an island located located approximately 2000 kilometres to the south eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. The country covers an area of 1865km_ with 330 kilometres of coastline. Mauritius is 45km in width and 65km in length. It is of volcanic origin and generally sheltered by barriers of coral reefs forming natural, safe, crystal clear lagoons,

It was discovered by the Portuguese in 1505 and occupied by the Dutch, French, and was ceded to Great Britain in 1814 through the Treaty of Paris before independence was attained in 1968. Republic Day was proclaimed on 12 March 1992.

Mauritius is a blend of diverse cultures and religions. The population consists of Hindus, Creole, Chinese, Muslims and Europeans. In 2003 the population was 1.2 million, in 2006 1.25 million. The Mauritian economy is based on four sectors: Textile, Tourism, Sugar *and Services**. Since independence from the UK in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low income agricultural based economy to a middle income diversified economy. It has one of the most educated and multicultural workforces in the world with descendants from the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Madagascar,China, the Uk and France. It now has Africa's second highest per capita earnings

The Capital is Port Louis on the northern west coast .It is a thriving cluster of markets, street markets and streets choked with hawkers, buyers, tourists and cars. The rest of the island is a blur of lush greenery, much of it on hillsides and 2,000 ft mountains that plummet down to the glorious coastlines and hundreds of underdeveloped coves and bays.

Climate:The temperature on the coastal areas varies between 22C in winter and 34C in summer. The average daytime temperature is 30C. The sea temperature varies between 22C and 27C. In the central part of the island, the maximum daytime temperature varies from about 19C in August to about 26C in February. The western and northern regions are warmer and relatively drier than the East and the South.

The beaches are golden and the sea is opal. Mauritius remains genuinely unspoilt. Mauritian *sugar cane is still grown in about 80 per cent of the cultivated land and accounts for more than 20 per cent of export earnings. The country **is home to more than 9,000 ofshore companies. These deal mainly with India and South Africa.

Language:Most people in Mauritius are bilingual and are equally fluent in English and French. Creole and French are the main languages in the everyday environment and several oriental languages are also spoken.

Driving : People in Mauritius drive on the LEFT hand side of the road and give way to the right. Foreigners with a driving licence issued by a Competent Authority in their respective countries are allowed to drive during their stay in Mauritius.

Electricity: 220 volts.

Currency: The monetary unit is the Mauritian Rupee (Rs.) which is divided into 100 cents. Credit cards are normally accepted by banks and most hotels, restaurants and tourist shops.

Telephone Country Code: (Including Rodriquez Island + 230 — Mauritius has international direct dialling facilities to most parts of the world as well as high speed fax and internet services.

Time: Mauritius is four hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and three hours ahead (2 hours in summer) of mid-European Time.

Flights from Europe:Air Mauritius operates over 30 weekly flights to and from all the European major cities including 15 combined flights with Air France to and from Paris. British Airways operates four weekly flights, Emirates Airlines three and Condor one.

Banking hours:Monday to Thursday : 9.15 am -3.15 pm, Friday: 9.15 am -3.30 pm , Saturday :9.15 am -11.15 am (Some banks only). Banks are also open to coincide with the arrival and departure of international flights at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Airport.

Shopping: Shopping hours in the main cities range from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm (Monday-Saturday). Some shops are open till noon on Sundays and public holidays.

Visa and entry requirements: A visitor must be in possession of a valid passport and a return or onward ticket. A visitors visa is normally granted for a period of two weeks to one month upon arrival, to almost all holders of a valid passport, with one or two exceptions. Visitors are strongly recommended to contact the Passport and Immigration Office in Mauritius or the nearest Mauritian Embassy or Consulate.

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Enjoy your visit to Mauritius


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