Mauritius

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Monday, 27 October 2014.   This advice contains new information in the Summary and Local travel (travellers taking part in water-sports should ensure that operators hold a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism and proper safety equipment, and have the means to contact the coast guard if necessary). We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Mauritius.

Mauritius overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Mauritius. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • Cyclone season is November to May. See the Additional information: Natural disasters, severe weather and climate section for more detailed advice.
  • The outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in west Africa is the most serious in recorded history. In an effort to prevent the spread of the disease into Mauritius, authorities have banned the entry of any person who has visited Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria or the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the previous two months. For more information on the outbreak and other travel restrictions and preventative measures, see the Ebola outbreak in West Africa travel bulletin.
  • Ensure that water-sport operators hold a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism and proper safety equipment. You should also ensure that operators are able to contact the coast guard during activities which require venturing further out at sea such as swimming with dolphins or diving.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Mauritius for the most up to date information.

Immigration officials at port of entry require all visitors to Mauritius to provide accommodation details. Failure to do so may result in denial of entry to Mauritius.

If you are arriving in Mauritius from a country known to have malaria, you will receive a follow-up visit from the Mauritian Health Department and will be required to give a blood test to check for the malaria-causing parasite.

If you are arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic, evidence of a yellow fever vaccination is required.

The outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in west Africa is the most serious in recorded history. In an effort to prevent the spread of the disease into Mauritius, authorities have banned the entry of any person who has visited Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria or the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the previous two months. For more information on the outbreak and other travel restrictions and preventative measures, see the Ebola outbreak in West Africa travel bulletin.

Make sure your passport is valid for your proposed duration of stay in Mauritius. It should have at least one blank visa page. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin for more information on terrorism and our General advice to Australian travellers for tips on staying safe overseas.

Crime

Crime levels in Mauritius are low, although petty crime against tourists, such as pickpocketing, bag snatching and robbery, can occur. There have been incidents of assault, rape and murder, including in resorts. There have been local media reports of street robberies near or at ATMs. Take extra care when withdrawing cash.

The rate of crime is higher in downtown Port Louis, and in the coastal tourist centres of Grand Bay, Pereybere, and Flic en Flac. Security risks increase after dark especially on beaches, poorly-lit city streets and in other secluded areas. You should avoid walking alone at night. There have been incidents of tourists being assaulted and robbed while staying at beachside bungalows run by unregistered proprietors. Money and valuables should be secured at all times.

Mauritian authorities have taken steps to enforce law and order by introducing camera surveillance around the country, particularly in high tourist areas. The Tourist Police service (Police du Tourisme) can be telephoned on +230 210 3894 or +230 686 5500. The police emergency hotline is 999.

Money and valuables

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Review the general advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.

Local travel

While road infrastructure continues to improve, most roads are narrow, uneven and poorly lit, except the motorway. Many are bordered by deep ditches and lack guardrails. Pedestrians, motor cyclists and stray dogs are additional road hazards. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Australians may be able to drive in Mauritius with a valid Australian driver’s licence. For more information contact the Mauritius Police Force Traffic Branch on +230 2081212.

Transport by bus (public and private services) is available between all main town centres from 5am to 11pm and in remote areas until 6pm. Taxis are also available during the day, but it is recommended that you book in advance if travelling by taxi at night.

The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators, including adventure activities such as diving, may not be of the same level as in Australia. Prior to engaging in ocean sports activities, you should ensure that the water-sport operators hold a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism and proper safety equipment. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, you should use another provider. You should also ensure that operators are able to contact the coast guard if necessary, particularly during activities which require venturing further out at sea, such as swimming with dolphins or diving.

Accessibility and accommodation for individuals with disabilities are limited in Mauritius. The government has partially implemented a law requiring wheelchair access to new buildings. However, many older buildings remain inaccessible to wheelchairs.

While there have been no pirate attacks in Mauritius' territorial waters, Australians are nonetheless advised to exercise caution when travelling in the vicinity owing to pirate attacks that have occurred elsewhere in the Indian Ocean. For more information the International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports. See also our bulletin on piracy for more information.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Mauritius.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Mauritius, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.

Lengthy delays in judicial proceedings are common and may result in individuals having to remain in Mauritius until their case is resolved.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Penalties for drug offences are severe. Penalties for drug trafficking include a prison sentence of up to 60 years and a fine. Bail is not usually granted for any drug-related crimes.

Some pharmaceutical drugs are illegal. You should carry prescription medicines in their original containers and have a copy of the prescription available for inspection by customs officials. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Mauritius for more information.

It is illegal to possess or import cigarette papers.

It is illegal to purchase counterfeited or pirated goods in Mauritius.

While the law does not criminalise homosexuality, the act of sodomy is illegal regardless of sexual orientation. See our LGBTI travellers page.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties for up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Local customs

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Mauritius and you should take care not to offend, especially when visiting rural areas or attending a religious place (shrine, temple, mosque) or event.

Information for dual nationals

Our Dual nationals page provides information for dual nationals.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

The standard of public medical facilities in Mauritius is variable. Most visitors choose to seek treatment with private doctors or at private clinics. Generally, up-front payment is required. While most hospitals and clinics are able to treat patients in the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation by commercial airline (usually to South Africa and at considerable expense) may be necessary for complex cases.

Emergency assistance is limited. Service Aide Medicale d’Urgence (SAMU) is a government organisation that provides free ambulance and emergency assistance. The emergency assistance phone number for SAMU is 114. Private emergency ambulance services are also available through private clinic Darne by calling 118 and private clinic Apollo Bramwell on 132. The police emergency hotline is 999.

There is only one decompression chamber in Mauritius which is located at the Victoria Hospital in Quatre Bornes.

The mosquito-borne illnesses malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya fever occur in Mauritius, particularly in the warmer months (October to May). In March 2014 over 40 cases of dengue fever were reported in the northern village of Triolet. The risk of malaria is considered low in Mauritius, but a small number of cases continue to be reported. There is no risk of malaria on Rodrigues Island. We recommend that you take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing, and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis) are a risk with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We encourage you to discuss your vaccination requirements with your doctor before travelling. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

The outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in west Africa is the most serious in recorded history. In an effort to prevent the spread of the disease into Mauritius, authorities have banned the entry of any person who has visited Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria or the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the previous two months. For more information on the outbreak and other travel restrictions and preventative measures, see the Ebola outbreak in West Africa travel bulletin.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.

Service Aide Medicale d’Urgence (SAMU) is a government organisation that provides free ambulance and emergency assistance. The emergency assistance phone number for SAMU is 114. Private emergency ambulance services are also available through private clinic Darne by calling 118 and private clinic Apollo Bramwell on 132. The police emergency hotline is 999.

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.

Australian High Commission, Port Louis

2nd Floor, Rogers House
5 President John Kennedy Street
Port Louis, Mauritius
Telephone: +230 202 0160
Facsimile: +230 208 8878
Website: www.mauritius.embassy.gov.au

See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the High Commission, you can call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

If you are travelling to Mauritius, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

The cyclone season is from November to May when flooding, widespread damage and disruptions to essential services may occur. Cyclone information for the Indian Ocean region is available from the Mauritius Meteorological Service. Information on natural disasters can also be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. Information is also available on 8996 from landlines and 171 from mobile phones. These lines are only made operational when a cyclone warning is in place.

If you are travelling during cyclone season, you should contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected.

In the event of an approaching cyclone, you should identify your local shelter. We encourage Australians in affected areas to follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor the media for the latest developments. During a cyclone you should stay indoors. You should be aware that car-insurance policies may become invalid during a cyclone. Flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. The cyclone could also affect access to sea ports in the region. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe cyclone may not be available to all who may choose to stay. Familiarise yourself with your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans. You should carry your travel documents at all times (i.e. passport, photo identification) or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. We also suggest that you contact friends and family in Australia with updates about your welfare and whereabouts. For further information, see our severe weather page.

Mauritius can also experience very high levels of rainfall that can lead to severe flooding. In 2013, Port Louis received more than 150 mm of rain in less than 2 hours. Eleven people died in the ensuing floods. Australians should monitor the weather through local and international media. Weather information is also available on the following websites:

All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches. See the Tsunami Awareness brochure.

If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.