One such exquisite destination for prospective travellers across the world is the tropical island of Mauritius in the azure Indian Ocean. With a climate opposite for vacationing all year round, an abundance of natural beauty and truckloads of fun-filled activities, Mauritius seems like the perfect vacation spot for people of all ages and interests.
However, while it is essential to have loads of fun and enjoyment during your trip, it is also vital to ensure the safety of you and your co-travellers. Any unfortunate mishaps in a foreign land can invite unwanted complications and spoil your trip.
Safety On The Road
- While making bookings for taxis on the island (including your trips to and from the airport), ensure that you decide on the fare beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings later.
- Abstain from hitch-hiking or asking for rides from strangers. Also, if you are driving a rented vehicle, it's best to ignore requests of strangers for lifts and rides.
- Always carry photocopies of your essential documents such as passports and driving licenses (driving license of the native country is acceptable) while travelling. These may be checked by security personnel.
- Avoid driving at night on unlit roads and roads in need of repair.
- Hand-signals and red flags are common for indicating a vehicle is about to turn (especially true for trucks, lorries and other heavy vehicles)
- Mauritian law prohibits children under the age of 10 to occupy the front passenger seat.
- Due to a shortage of sidewalks and pavements, you'll share the road with pedestrians, jaywalkers and invariably, animals. Watch out for these.
- The universal driving etiquettes such as respecting speed limits, wearing the seatbelt, refraining from using phones while driving and not driving under the influence of alcohol or other narcotics apply here as well and are strictly enforced.
- Ensure that you obtain comprehensive vehicle insurance before you sign up for hiring a self-driven car in Mauritius.
- Leaving things of value visible in plain sight inside a car can cause attempts of theft. Do not leave behind valuables or if necessary, consider hiding them beneath the seats or inside the boot.
- Do not park on double yellow lines as this is prohibited and can invite unwanted fines and penalties.
Safety At Your Accommodation
- While Mauritius has a well-developed tourism industry, it is a good practice to ensure that the Tourism Authority of Mauritius licenses your place of accommodation. This will guarantee a peaceful and safe stay while you are on the island.
- To ensure the safety of your valuables such as passports, cash and jewellery, lock them inside the safes provided to you by your hotels or resorts. Also, the pin codes to these safes should be changed to codes which aren't easily crackable such as '0000' or '1234'.
- While carrying regular prescription drugs is allowed, you are required to carry a copy of the prescription.
Safety While Sightseeing
- Obtain a comprehensive medical and travel insurance before embarking on your journey.
- While visiting the island's hallowed beaches, it is important to ensure that your valuables do not remain unattended while you are enjoying in the water.
- Avoid public display of wealth in the form of expensive jewellery/watches while sightseeing. This can attract the unwanted attention of people with ulterior motives.
- Travel with modest amounts of cash while visiting places of attraction.
- It is best to avoid poorly-lit and deserted areas at night to avoid any mishaps.
- It is advisable to stay clear of beaches where lifeguards and appropriate security personnel are not on duty.
- While travelling aboard ferries and boats, ensure the presence of life-jackets on board for your safety.
- Mauritius experiences its cyclone season from November to May each year. Observe caution if visiting during this period. Obey warnings and guidelines issued by the relevant local authorities.
- Mauritius possesses an abundance of pubs and clubs where you get the best of spirits from across the world. It's advisable to keep a check on the amount of liquor you consume to avoid any health issues or conflicts.
- Keep a hand-sanitizer handy and use it before consuming edibles. Diarrhoeal illnesses are common among tourists.
- Mauritius adopts a conservative outlook towards the LGBTQ community. While the law does not criminalise homosexuality, the level of acceptance of people from the LGBTQ community varies across the island. Thus you are advised to exercise discretion during your visit.
- Mauritius' religious landscape is diverse and tolerant. While the nation doesn't possess any national or official religion, Hinduism is the dominant religion practised by Mauritians, followed by Christianity, Islam and Buddhism respectively.
- While modest swimwear is accepted and widespread across the island, nudity in any form is not accepted. It's best to stay conservative in this regard to avoid offending anyone.
- Care concerning your attire should also be observed during your visit to places of religious significance. It's best to cover up and remove any clothing made of leather.
- Mauritians are proud citizens, and it's best not to offend them by insulting their religious or patriotic sentiments.
- Travellers are required to carry a minimum of USD 600 or a credit card with a limit of minimum INR 75000 spending limit when travelling as a couple.
- Carrying more than 250g of tobacco products, 50 cigars or 200 cigarettes is not allowed and can lead to confiscation of assets.
- Keep the emergency contact numbers mentioned below handy. Save them in your cell-phone to be on the safe side.
- Police - 999 or 112
- Fire Services - 995 or 115
- SAMU Ambulances - 114
- Tourist Information - 152
- Airline Data - 6033030
- National Directory - 150
- Tourist Police - 230 210 3894, 230 213 7878