IS IT SAFE TO VISIT MAURITIUS?

Mauritius is one of the few places today that is known for an extremely low crime rate, making it one of the most popular and safe holiday destinations. The tropical island destination is a favourite spot for many tourists from all over the world who want to experience a real paradise island vacation.

However, like anywhere in the world, the island is not completely free from the occurrence of some petty crimes. They do sometimes happen and incidents of pickpocketing, bag snatching, and theft have been reported in the cities and especially in crowded markets. 

Although the more violent crimes do happen, they have not affected foreigners and tourism on the island. Demonstrations can occur like in any country in the world, and even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. This can also lead to traffic congestion.  

 

WEATHER

The cyclone season normally occurs between November until April.  Cyclones can put you at risk and disrupt necessary services. If you are planning to travel during this period, stay aware of the weather forecasts for the area. Make sure you communicate with your tour operator in case you have to make different arrangements.

 

NO-GO AREAS WHEN VISITING MAURITIUS

On the whole, Mauritius has no real major danger zones.  Downtown Port Louis and central tourist areas logically do have a marginally higher crime rate, but most of the time it is also safe to go to.  

A visitor should be perfectly safe walking along the well-lit beachfront and bustling streets at night.

 

SAFETY TIPS TO REMEMBER IN MAURITIUS

Like any place in the world, security risks increase after dark, especially on secluded beaches or areas.

Take normal safety provisions, like not walking alone at night. Lock up your valuables in your hotel room and preferably in a safe. Stay vigilant and apply the same caution you usually would, to avoid becoming a victim of crime.

Do not go for hikes alone and always tell someone where you plan to hike even in a group. Make sure your passport and other travel documents, are safe at all times and avoid renting non reputable accommodation.

When withdrawing money at ATMs, be cautious and do not allow strangers get too close to you.

If by any rare chance there is a demonstration happening, avoid the area. Follow the instructions of local officials.

Apply extra caution when swimming and avoid swimming outside marked areas. Stonefish stings are not common but can be fatal. You should get immediate medical attention if stung. Luckily, many of the reputable hotels carry anti-venom serum.

Be vigilant when hiring aquatic equipment offered at the beach and not arranged by your accommodation. It may not meet international safety standards.

 

SAFE TRANSPORT OPTIONS IN MAURITIUS

Safe public transportation and taxis are available between cities and to remote areas. If you decide to rent a car, make sure you get vehicle insurance and remember traffic drives on the left side of the road.

You should carry an International Driving Permit. Some roads are uneven and narrow and at night have poor lighting.  Bad drivers, pedestrians and animals on the road also heighten the risk. Remember that roadside assistance is limited.

If a vehicle accident does happen, you must remain at the scene until a police official arrives. If you feel unsafe then go directly to the nearest police station to report it.

If you decide to test your maritime skills, remember there have been pirate attacks and armed robberies against ships in the coastal waters there. Take the appropriate precautions.

 

TAKING PHOTOS IN MAURITIUS

Ask permission before taking photographs of the local people. There are amazing places and landscapes to test your photographic skills. Remember to take a garbage bag or cover for your camera in case of rainy weather. Do not wear your camera around your neck in crowded areas. Keep it safely in a bag to prevent it from getting stolen.

 

LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

The local population’s religion is mostly Hindu, and they are known to be mild mannered and somewhat conservative. 

When you are not at your hotel or on a tourist beach, dress modestly with long skirts and tops that cover your shoulders. Men should wear long sleeve shirts and long trousers.

 

LGBT RIGHTS IN MAURITIUS

Mauritian law prohibits some sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, hence same sex couples visiting the country should exercise extreme discretion in public.

 

DRUGS

 Penalties for drug offences are severe and include heavy fines or can lead to lengthy prison sentences. Some pharmaceutical drugs are prohibited, and the importation of these drugs could lead to prosecution and a fine. Do not offer to carry a package from an unknown of suspicious source in your luggage as you risk being used as a drug mule.

 

CUSTOMS

The following items are duty free for Mauritius: 200 cigarettes, 250g of tobacco products or 50 cigars. If you exceed this limit, it will lead to them being confiscated. You also can bring 100 ml of perfume and 250 ml of eau de toilette. Remember it is illegal to possess or import cigarette papers.

Make sure you keep prescription medicine in its original container and have a copy of the prescription readily available for inspection by customs officials.  For more information on the importation of medicines, contact the High Commission for the Republic of Mauritius

 

LOST PASSPORT

Always keep your passport with you wherever you go. Keep a certified copy in a safe place.   If you do lose your passport, report it to your nearest police station and get a copy of the police report. Also report it to your embassy to obtain another passport.

 

MEDICAL FACILITIES IN MAURITIUS

Mauritius has very good medical services for tourists.  They have public and private hospitals, but foreigners have to pay for medical costs. Most private hospitals are in the coastal regions of Mauritius and not far from the majority of tourist areas.

Most hotels on the island do have an on-site doctor. Also, many doctors are willing to travel to your hotel or bungalow.

In actual fact, due to the high medical care and affordable price, dental work and plastic surgery is in high demand from tourists. The private hospitals and clinics have staff that speak English, French and Hindi.

Stay hydrated and remember it is a tropical island with almost constant sunshine, so drink lots of liquids. Make sure you use sunscreen especially when you are on the beach. Wear a hat and take an umbrella with you.

Take mosquito repellent since there will be mosquitos and bugs. Although malaria is not a big problem, it is always best to prevent it happening.

 

IMMUNISATIONS

The World Health Organisation recommends the following vaccinations for Mauritius: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

 

MALARIA

Mauritius is relatively low risk area for Malaria, so no medication is advised. Do take insect repellent for mosquitos and bugs.

 

CHIKUNGUNYA

Chikungunya is a disease transmitted by mosquito bites. It was rare until there was an epidemic in 2005, which affected Mauritius and some surrounding islands.  Symptoms are joint pains, rashes, high fever and flu.  Chikungunya is hardly ever fatal, but it is not a good experience.  

The best way to avoid it is to prevent getting bitten by mosquitos. Use lots of insect repellent and luckily most hotels do have mosquito nets.  

 

TYPHOID

Typhoid is a bacterial infection that can lead to a high fevers, diarrhoea, and vomiting. If left untreated, it can be fatal. The infection is often transferred through contaminated food and drinking water, and it is more predominant in places where there is a lack of hygiene. The two main symptoms of typhoid are a fever and a rash. The rash, which does not happen to every person, has rosy spots especially on the neck and stomach area.  Other symptoms are abdominal pain, weakness, constipation and headaches

 

FOOD AND WATER IN MAURITIUS

Most of the time tap water in Mauritius is safe to drink, but if you visit shortly after a cyclone, main water supplies could have become contaminated that could put you at risk of waterborne diseases.

Food and beverages at main hotels are safe, but if you get adventurous and eat and drink local food, you must be aware of the following: Thoroughly cooked hot foods can be eaten as it will mean most infections can be avoided. Raw fruits can be eaten only if they have an unbroken skin and are peeled. Raw vegetables and salads should be avoided due to contamination.

If food has been left out of a refrigerator for longer than an hour especially eggs, chicken and dairy do not consume them

 

AVOID STRAY DOGS AND CATS

Rabies, which is life threatening, can be found in dogs and other mammals in Mauritius. Don’t go near pets or stray dogs or cats, they may bite and scratch you. 

 

HEAT EXHAUSTION OR HEATSTROKE

Heat exhaustion is a common problem on the island, especially among tourists that come from cooler climates. Symptoms include a bad headache, dizziness, vomiting and extreme tiredness. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of bottled water or beverages. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and apply sunscreen lotion to prevent yourself from getting sunburn.

Chronic dehydration makes you feel weak, tired, and lightheaded and increases your risk of developing kidney stones.

Move into a cool area or room and elevate your feet and legs. Drink lots of fluids until your body temperature drops. Seek medical treatment if the symptoms persist

 

HIV/AIDS

AIDS infection rates in Mauritius are generally low, but tourists are still advised to abstain from any new sexual encounters while travelling. If not, use the necessary safe precautions.

 

IS MAURITIUS SAFE FOR WOMEN?

Mauritius is safe destination for solo female travellers.  Women should still take necessary precautions like anywhere else in the world. Avoid walking alone at night outside resort areas. Also do not go walking in forests alone.

 

NOTE ON CORONAVIRUS

Since the beginning of 2020 visitors to any country should be aware of and help to avoid the spreading of the coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found in both animals and humans. Some infect people and are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

WHAT CAN A VISITOR DO TO PROTECT HIM OR HERSELF FROM THE VIRUS?

Wash your hands with soap and water or sanitiser as often as possible, since it can eliminate the virus if it is on your hands. 

Cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or a tissue when coughing and sneezing, and discard tissues into a closed bin immediately, then clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. Sneezing or coughing into your hands may contaminate objects or people that you touch.

Maintain a fair distance between yourself and other people, since coughs or sneezes from infected people may project droplets containing the virus.

If you experience some fever, cough and difficulty of breathing, immediately seek medical care.

Always practice general hygiene measures, but especially when visiting live animal markets, wet markets or animal product markets. Wash your hands with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands and avoid contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products.

Strictly avoid any contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the soil or structures of shops and market facilities and avoid consumption of any raw or undercooked animal products. You should even handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

 

ENJOY A SAFE HOLIDAY IN MAURITIUS WITH A REPUTABLE TOUR OPERATOR

MoAfrika Tours is a leading tour operator in South Africa that offers an outstanding selection of tours to Mauritius We have a close association with the most reputable tour operators in Mauritius who make safety a priority.

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