Mauritius is a tropical paradise that lies 1,490mi (2,400km) off the southeast coast of Africa. This small multicultural island in the Indian Ocean has great tourist infrastructure, and sunburn may be the biggest threat to your safety.
Before you go, here are a few things you should be aware of when it comes to personal safety, travel health, natural hazards and the law.
On the whole, Mauritius has a very low crime rate. What little crime there is tends to be petty theft and non-violent. Downtown Port Louis and central tourist areas understandably do have a slightly higher crime rate, but in general it is very safe to travel in and around the country.
Pickpockets love markets, because you're distracted by the sights. So while walking around markets, keep your bags close and zipped up. Try to avoid being flashy with large amounts of cash.
Like most places we visit, security risks increase after dark, particularly on beaches or secluded areas. Take normal safety precautions such as not walking alone after dark, locking your valuables in your hotel room or somewhere safe, and be very cautious of theft when staying at beachside bungalows. Remain vigilant and exercise normal cautions you normally would to prevent becoming a victim of crime here.
Drug smuggling or trafficking is illegal, and punishments include a life sentence. You should also be aware that prosecutions often take a year or more to get to court, and detention is the norm until the trial.
It is also illegal to possess or import cigarette papers.
If you have medicine for personal use, make sure you have copies of prescriptions and you have obtained them from a pharmacy. Scheduled drugs, such as psychotropic preparations (e.g. tranquillisers, hypnotics), narcotics (morphine) and other strong pain killers require, by law, authorisation before importing to Mauritius. Failure to obtain prior authorisation may result in arrest and detention.
Chikungunya (an insect born virus similar to dengue fever – symptoms include fevers and joint pain that can often last weeks or months) periodically occurs in Mauritius, particularly in the warmer months (October–May).
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 if you have traveled from a country where malaria is common.
See your doctor prior to traveling to find out if you require any booster shots or vaccinations before you go to Mauritius.
Cyclone season in Mauritius runs from November to May. Cyclones can cause extensive damage to property, and the authorities have a well-structured system of phased warnings in place. You should always follow local advice follow these safety tips:
Depending on the time of the year, many of the beaches are infested with sea urchins, and it's not uncommon to see broken glass on the beach or in the water. Pack a pair of water shoes just in case.
This is generally not a problem at the big hotels and resorts, as the designated swimming areas on the beaches are regularly cleaned of urchins and debris.
Stonefish stings are uncommon, but can be fatal, you should seek urgent medical attention if you are stung.
Some reef fish in Mauritius have been found to contain a neurotoxin similar, but not identical, to that found in some Caribbean reef fish, so don't eat them.
Stray and sometimes vicious dogs are common in Mauritius, however, rabies is not a risk. Do not pay any stray animals to be on the safe side.
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