Mauritius

Flag of Mauritius
Still current at: 05 February 2013
Updated: 05 February 2013
No restrictions in this travel adviceAvoid all but essential travel to part(s) of countryAvoid all but essential travel to whole countryAvoid all travel to part(s) of countryAvoid all travel to whole country

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Mauritius.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)
 

Travel Summary

Safety and security

Terrorism
There is a low threat from terrorism, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Crime
Petty crime is common. Take care of bags and valuables in popular tourist areas including Port Louis, Grand Baie and Flic en Flac. Use a hotel safe, where practical. Keep copies of important documents, including passports, separately.

Make sure accommodation and hotel rooms are secure. Avoid renting accommodation that isn’t registered with the Ministry of Tourism.

Most crime is non-violent, but weapons have been used in some burglaries. Although uncommon, there have been some instances of sexual assault. Avoid walking alone at night on beaches or in poorly lit areas especially in the back streets of the business district of Port Louis.

On 10 January 2011, an Irish tourist was murdered in her hotel room at a resort in the north of the Island. Mauritius is a country with low levels of violent crime, and incidents such as this are very uncommon, but as when travelling anywhere you should remain vigilant and exercise caution. In 2011, an Irish tourist was murdered in her hotel room at a resort in the north of the Island. Incidents like this are very rare, but you should remain vigilant.

Avoid doing business with street or beach vendors. Make sure water-sport operators hold a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism.

Report any incidents to the Police du Tourisme (telephone: 213 2818).

Road travel
You can drive using your UK driving licence, but you must have it with you at all times. The standard of driving varies and there are frequent minor accidents. Be particularly careful when driving after dark as pedestrians and unlit motorcyclists are serious hazards.

Sea travel
There have been attacks very close to the EEZ (200 mile limit) of Mauritius and piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, and has occurred as far as 1,000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia. Sailing vessels are particularly vulnerable. The FCO advise against all but essential travel by yacht and pleasure craft on the high seas (more than 12 nautical miles from shore) in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean. See our Piracy in the Indian Ocean page

Political situation
Country Profile

Local laws and customs

Punishments for drug smuggling can be severe. Trafficking carries a life sentence (up to 45 years) and importing 15 grams of cannabis could attract a one-year sentence and a fine of 100,000 Mauritian rupees. Prosecutions take a year or more to come to court, with detention until the trial. Bail is not usually granted for drug-related crimes, regardless of the type of drug.

It is illegal to possess or import cigarette papers

You can bring common medicines for your own personal use but you must carry a copy of the prescription and the drugs must have been obtained legally from a pharmacy. Other drugs like tranquillisers hypnotics, narcotics and other strong pain killers will require prior authorisation.

If in any doubt, you should seek advice from the Mauritius High Commission in London.

The police sometimes ask foreigners to show identification. You should carry a photocopy of your passport and your driving licence and leave the original documents in a safe place.

While the law does not criminalise homosexuality, the act of sodomy is illegal regardless of sexual orientation.

Entry requirements

Visas
British nationals can get a visa on arrival, which is normally valid for 3 months. You will need to be able to present a return ticket. If you intend to work in Mauritius, you must arrange a work permit in advance.

Passport validity
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required. It should have at least 2 blank passport pages.

Yellow fever certificate

Yellow Fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from, or who have transited through, countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Health

Contact your GP around 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.

Good private healthcare is available, but can be costly if you are not insured. More complex cases could require evacuation to Reunion or South Africa. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Although there are no malarial mosquitoes in Mauritius, the Ministry of Health may ask you for a blood sample either at the airport or at a later stage during your stay if you have travelled from a country where malaria is common.

Stonefish stings are rare but can be fatal. Seek urgent medical attention if you are stung. Many hotels stock anti-venom serum.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 or 114 and ask for an ambulance. Private and state ambulance services are available, but are of varied quality and speed. If you can you should go directly to the hospital. Otherwise, seek advice from your hotel reception. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Natural disasters

The cyclone season in Mauritius normally runs from November to May. Cyclones can cause extensive damage to property. There is a well-structured system of phased warnings. You should follow advice issued by the local authorities. During a cyclone you are not allowed to leave your accommodation and car insurance policies often cease to be valid.

Monitor local weather updates at Mauritius Meteorological Services and from the World Meteorological Organisation. Information is also available on Telmet by dialling 8996 from land lines or 171 from mobiles.

See our Tropical cyclones page for advice about what to do if you’re caught up in a storm.

Some areas are prone to landslides, especially during cyclones and torrential rains. Mauritius Meteorological Services distribute 5-stage landside warnings and local authorities may organise evacuations of threatened areas if necessary.

General

IMoney
ATM's are widely available in most towns in the island and at large shopping centres. Visa cards are accepted by most hotels, restaurants and large retailers.

Consular assistance statistics

Around 100,000 British tourists visit Mauritius every year (source: Government of Mauritius). Nine British nationals needed consular assistance in Mauritius in the period 1 April 2011 - 31 March 2012 for the following types of incident: 2 deaths; 2 hospitalisations and 2 arrests.

Mauritius

Flag of Mauritius
Still current at: 14 January 2013
Updated: 11 January 2013
No restrictions in this travel adviceAvoid all but essential travel to part(s) of countryAvoid all but essential travel to whole countryAvoid all travel to part(s) of countryAvoid all travel to whole country

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Natural Disasters section (landslides). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Mauritius.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

  • The cyclone season in Mauritius normally runs from November to May. See Tropical cyclones.

  • Drug trafficking carries severe penalties. See Local Laws and Customs

  • Around 100,000 British tourists visit Mauritius every year (source: Government of Mauritius). See Consular assistance.

  • There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism.

  • We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. See Insurance.

Terrorism
There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. For more general information see Terrorism Abroad.

Crime
Petty crime is common. You should take precautions against theft. Take care of bags and valuables when visiting popular tourist areas including Port Louis, Grand Baie and Flic en Flac. Deposit your valuables and cash in hotel safes, where practical. Keep copies of important documents, including passports, separately.

Ensure self-catering accommodation and hotel rooms are secure. Avoid renting accommodation from unregistered proprietors. All accommodation should be registered with the Ministry of Tourism.

Most crime is non-violent, although the use of weapons is evident in some burglaries. Although uncommon, there have been some instances of sexual assault/rape. Avoid walking alone at night on deserted/public beaches or in poorly lit areas especially in the back streets of the business district of Port Louis.

On 10 January 2011, an Irish tourist was murdered in her hotel room at a resort in the north of the Island. Mauritius is a country with low levels of violent crime, and incidents such as this are very uncommon, but as when travelling anywhere you should remain vigilant and exercise caution.

It is advisable to do business only with enterprises with permanent premises, rather than street or beach vendors. Ensure that water-sport operators hold a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism.

Report any incidents to the Police du Tourisme on the hotline number 213 2818 (available from anywhere on the island).

See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.

Road travel
You can drive on your UK driving licence, but you must have it with you at all times. The standard of driving varies and there are frequent minor accidents. Be particularly careful when driving after dark as pedestrians and unlit motorcyclists are serious hazards. See our Driving Abroad page.

Air travel
The EU has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the community. You should check the following link to see whether this will affect your travel - European Commission Transport - Air.

For more general information see Airline Security.

Sea travel
While there have been no attacks around the waters of Mauritius, piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, and has occurred as far as 1000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia. Sailing vessels are particularly vulnerable. We therefore advise against all but essential travel by yacht and pleasure craft on the high seas (more than 12 nautical miles from shore) in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean. See our Piracy in the Indian Ocean page

Political situation
Country Profile

Drug smuggling is a serious offence. Punishments can be severe. Trafficking carries life sentences (up to 45 years) and the importation of 15 grams of cannabis could attract a one-year custodial sentence and a fine of 100,000 Mauritian rupees. Prosecutions take a year or more to come to court, with detention the norm until the trial. Bail is not usually granted for drug-related crimes, regardless of the type of drug. It is also illegal to possess or import cigarette papers.

You may carry common medicinal drugs for your own personal use but you must carry copies of valid medical prescriptions and the drugs must have been obtained legally from a pharmacy. Scheduled drugs, such as psychotropic preparations (e.g. tranquillisers, hypnotics), narcotics (e.g. morphine) and other strong pain killers require, by law, authorisation before import. Failure to obtain prior authorisation may result in arrest.

If in any doubt, you should seek advice from the Mauritius High Commission in London. Requests for special authorisation and import permits are usually processed in 24-48 hours if all supportive documents are submitted with the application. The basic information required is the name and address of the applicant, photocopy of the personal details page of the applicant’s passport, flight details, address in Mauritius, length of stay, description and quantities of drugs to be carried.

Requests to carry medicines used for drug rehabilitation treatment (e.g. methadone) should be submitted well in advance as they may require security clearance. In all cases the quantities of drugs carried must be compatible with the duration of stay.

The police sometimes ask foreigners to show identification. You should carry photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport and driving licence and leave the original in a safe place.

While the law does not criminalise homosexuality in itself, the act of sodomy is illegal regardless of sexual orientation.

See our Travel Advice Relevant to You.

Visas
British nationals do not need to obtain visas before arrival. A visa, normally valid for three months, will be issued on arrival to holders of valid British passports in possession of return tickets. If you intend to work in Mauritius, you must arrange a work permit in advance.

Passport validity
You must hold a valid passport to enter Mauritius. Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

If you intend to travel to South Africa from Mauritius, you should be aware that although the South African authorities officially state that only one blank passport page is required for entry, recently several visitors have been refused entry and sent back to Mauritius as some officials are insisting on two blank pages. We advise that you have two blank pages in your passport on arrival in South Africa.

Yellow fever certificate

All passengers arriving from an area where yellow fever exists will need a yellow fever certificate. Further information can be obtained from the Mauritian High Commission in London.

Travelling with children
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration, please contact the Mauritian High Commission in London.

Contact your GP around eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.

Good private healthcare in Mauritius is available, although this can be costly if you are not insured. More complex cases could require evacuation to Reunion or South Africa. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Although there are no malarial mosquitos in Mauritius, on arrival at the airport an officer from the Ministry of Health may ask you for a blood sample (or contact you later for such a sample at some point during your stay) if you have travelled from a country where malaria is common.

Stonefish stings are uncommon but can in some cases be fatal. You should obtain urgent medical attention if stung. Many hotels stock anti-venom serum.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 or 114 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Our Travel Health pages offer further advice on how to stay healthy when overseas.

The cyclone season in Mauritius normally runs from November to May. Cyclones can cause extensive damage to property. The authorities have a well-structured system of phased warnings. You should follow advice issued by the local authorities. During a cyclone you are not allowed to leave your accommodation and car insurance policies often cease to be valid. You should monitor local weather updates at Mauritius Meteorological Services and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation and the National Hurricane Center. Information is also available on Telmet by dialling 8996 from land lines or 171 from mobiles.

For more general information see Tropical cyclones.

Landslides
Following changes to the local infrastructures, some areas have become prone to landslides, especially during cyclones and torrential rains. Mauritius Meteorological Services distribute 5-stage landside warnings and local authorities may organise evacuations of threatened areas if necessary.

Insurance

You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should for check any exclusions and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See
Travel Insurance.

If things do go wrong when you are overseas then see How We Can Help.

Registration
Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency. More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here.

Money
ATM's are widely available in most towns in the island and at large shopping centres. Visa cards are accepted by most hotels, restaurants and large retailers.

Consular assistance statistics

Although crime levels are low, you should be aware that incidents of theft, assault and rape do occur. Nine British nationals required consular assistance in Mauritius in the period 1 April 2011 - 31 March 2012 for the following types of incident: two deaths; two hospitalisations and two arrests.

Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2012 08:51:10 +0200 (METDST)

Hong Kong, July 26, 2012 (AFP) - A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck Thursday in the Indian Ocean off the island of Mauritius, the US Geological Service said. The quake's epicentre was only 10 kilometres (six miles) deep, but was 387 kilometres from Port Mathurin on the island of Rodrigues, and 976 kilometres from the Mauritius capital Port Louis. No tsunami warning was immediately issued.
Date: Wed 18 Jan 2012
Source: Grand Baie.mu [in French, trans. ProMed Corr.SB, edited]
<http://www.grandbaie.mu/2012/01/un-cas-de-chikungunya-rapporte-a-lile-maurice/>

The Barnwell hospital has announced the 1st case in 2012 [of a chikungunya virus infection], treated on 11 Jan [2012], according to the minister of health [of the Island of Mauritius]. The patient is aged over 60 and was hospitalised for 3 days at Moka. He lives in the region of Ebene.

The minister of health says everything has been set in motion to fumigate around the ill man's residence. Private doctors ask the population to take precautions against the breeding sites of mosquitoes, which transmit this virus infection by their bites [only female mosquitoes bite].
===========================
[There have been isolated cases as well as outbreaks of chikungunya virus infection on the Island of Mauritius in recent years. The last reported cases were in January last year (2011). One hopes that the above case is another isolated one and not the index case of an impending outbreak.

Chikungunya is an Alphavirus of the Togaviridae family, transmitted by _Aedes aegypti_ and _Ae. albopictus_ mosquitoes. The above report makes no mention of the relative abundance of these vector mosquitoes on Mauritius at the present time. - ProMed Mod.TY]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:
<http://healthmap.org/r/1m89>.]
Date: 30 Oct 2011
Source: MBC - Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation [transl. ProMed Mod.SC, edited]
<http://www.mbcradio.tv/browse/news/local/de-nouveaux-cas-de-tuberculose-sur-des-vaches/>
-----------------------------------
Detection of new cases of tuberculosis (TB) in cows on the farm of the prison Riche Lieu. The officers and inmates of this prison will undergo a screening test for tuberculosis.

After a site visit yesterday [29 Oct 2011] by Ministers Faugoo and Bundhoo, the decision was taken to slaughter all the livestock of the farm as a precaution. The [herd] is composed of 43 cows and 16 goats.

Health services say the tests will continue to try to find the source of the TB cases. The officers reassured, however, that other livestock are not at risk.  [Byline: Ramirez, Vikash Bhageerutty]
=====================
[According to the most recent periodic OIE report from Mauritius (January-June 2010), bovine tuberculosis is included among the OIE-listed animal diseases absent in Mauritius during the reporting period; its last reported occurrence in Mauritius dates back to 2000.  A suspected case was reported in October 2011; ProMED-mail's RFI has remained, so far, pending. This related, inter-alia, to the identification of the causative agent as _Mycotuberculosis bovis_ or otherwise. - ProMed Mod.AS]
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