The environment in
Mauritius is typically tropical in the coastal regions with forests in the
mountainous areas. Seasonal cyclones are destructive to the flora and fauna,
although they recover quickly. There are 2 seasons: a warm humid summer from
November to April, with a mean temperature of 24.7° and a relatively cool
dry winter from June to September with a mean temperature of 20.4°. The
temperature difference between the seasons is only 4.3°. The warmest months
are January and February with average day maximum temperature reaching 29.2°
and the coolest months are July and August when average night minimum
temperatures drops down to 16.4°. Annual rainfall ranges from 900 mm on the
coast to 1,500 mm on the central plateau. Although there is no marked rainy
season, most of the rainfall occurs in summer months. Sea temperature in the
lagoon varies from 22° to 27°. The central plateau is much cooler than the
surrounding coastal areas and can experience as much as double the rainfall.
The prevailing trade winds keep the East side of the island cooler and also
tends to bring more rain. There can also be a marked difference in
temperature and rainfall from one side of the island to the other.
Occasional tropical cyclones generally occurs between January to March and
tend to disrupt the weather for only about three days bringing a lot of
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The country includes the islands
of Mauritius, Rodrigues, 560 kilometres (350 mi) east of the principal
island, the islands of Angalega and Saint Brandon.
Mauritius claim sovereignty over the
Chagos Archipelago situated 1,287 kilometer (800 mi) to the north east, the
United Kingdom excised the archipelago from it territory prior to Mauritius
independence and gradually depopulate the island's population. The islands
of Mauritius, Rodrigues and La Réunion 170 km (110 mi) form part of the
Mascarene Islands. The area of the country is 2’040 km2, with its
capital Port Louis.
The island of Mauritius is relatively
young geologically, having been created by volcanic activity some 8 million
years ago. Together with Saint Brandon, Réunion and Rodrigues, the island is
part of the Mascarene Islands. These islands have emerged from the abysses
as a result of gigantic underwater volcanic eruptions that happened
thousands of kilometres to the east of the continental block made up by
Africa and Madagascar. They are no longer volcanically active and the
hotspot now rests under Réunion island. There has been no active volcano on
Mauritius island for more than 100,000 years. Mauritius is encircled by a
broken ring of mountain ranges, varying in height from 300 meters to 800
meters above sea level. The land rises from coastal plains to a central
plateau where it reaches a height of 670 meters, the highest peak is in the
southwest, Piton de la Petite Riviére Noire at 828 metres (2,717 ft).
Streams and rivers speckle the island, a lot of them are formed in the
cracks created by lava flows.
The island of Mauritius is situated
some 2,000 kilometers (1242 miles) off the south east coast of the African
continent, it is 65 km long and 45 km wide, its land area is 1,864.8 km.
Mauritius is surrounded by more than 150 kilometres (93 miles) of white
sandy beaches and the lagoons are protected from the open sea by the world's
third largest coral reef, which surrounds the island. Just off the Mauritian
coast lie some 49 uninhabited islands and islets, some of them are used as
natural reserves for the protection of endangered species.
The first Portuguese explorers found no
indigenous people living on the island in 1507. The Dutch settled on the
island in 1598 and abandoned it in 1710. Five years later, the island became
a French colony and was renamed Isle de France. The British took control of
Mauritius in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars. The country remained under
British rule until it became an independent Commonwealth realm on 12 March
1968 and a republic within the Commonwealth on 12 March 1992.
The country is multi-ethnic and
multi-cultural, most Mauritians are multilingual; English, French, Creole
and Asian languages are used.
Some people will remember the story of
the Dodo bird, which became extinct fewer than eighty years after its
Being both an English-speaking and
French-speaking nation, Mauritius is a member of both the Commonwealth of
Nations and the Francophonie.
English is generally accepted as the
official language of Mauritius and as the language of government
administration, the courts and business. The Mauritian population is
multilingual and most people are equally fluent in English and French. In
Mauritius, people switch to languages according to the situation; French and
English are favoured in educational and professional settings while Asian
and Creole are also common languages.
Transport in Mauritius has been free
for students, the disabled and seniors since July 2005. There are currently
no railways in Mauritius, there were previously industrial railways, but
these have been abandoned. To cope with increasing road traffic congestion,
a Light Rail Transit system has been proposed between Curepipe and Port
Louis. The main harbour where international trade is handled and Cruise
Terminal is found at Port Louis. The main airport is Sir Seewoosagur
Ramgoolam International Airport with its new airport since 2013.
When to Go to
Mauritius is a good year round destination. The water is warmest during the
summer months from November to May, but this is also the wet season, so it's
more humid. If you want to enjoy the towns of Mauritius as well as the
beaches, the best time to go is during the drier winter months (May -
November). Temperatures can still reach 28 Celsius during the day.