Be alert for your own security in Mauritius. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would anywhere in the world. Be a smart traveller. Before your trip: Organize comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy. Register your travel and contact details, so that you can be contacted in an emergency.
Crime levels in Mauritius are getting higher. Most crime against foreign tourists is petty crime, although incidents of murder, assault and rape occur. In January 2011 an Irish tourist was murdered in her hotel room in in LUX Hotel in Grande Gaube in what looked like an attempted robbery. There is also crime in downtown Port Louis, and in the coastal tourist centres of Grand Bay, Pereybere, Flic en Flac and Tamarin. Security risks increase after dark especially on beaches, city streets and in other secluded areas. There have been incidents of tourists being assaulted and robbed while staying at beachside bungalows run by unregistered proprietors.
Some safety advice:
Avoid remote areas alone.
Do not leave valuables in view in your car.
Avoid unexpected offers of seemingly free guided tours. Ulterior motives are common.
Do not patronise unlicensed taxis taxi marrons. Some robbers use this trick to lure and attack their victims.
Mauritius is a risk area for infection with dengue fever also known as "breakbone fever" from the muscular paroxysms sometimes induced. No vaccine is available. However no cases of dengue fever have been recorded in the country for several years now.
Since 2005 during the high season a certain type of mosquito called the Aedes albopictus causes the viral illness Chikungunya and the insect is more likely to be around in the daytime.
It is important to use anti-mosquito protection at all times. Mosquitoes are more prevalent in rural areas but they can also inhabit the beach in the tourist zone and may lead to swollen joints and/or rashes. Symptoms last from one week up to several months depending how seriously you are affected. Some people recover quickly but it can take several months to recover completely.
It shouldn't put you off visiting Mauritius. Just take good care to cover yourself completely in the best mosquito repellent you can find and re-apply again after swimming. Sleep under a mosquito net. Spray the bedroom well before going to bed with a good repellent and take an electric repellent to plug into the power supply. You can buy plenty of repellents of all types locally in Mauritius quite cheaply including bracelets for kids.
Here is a website with comprehensive information on the Chikungunya virus - Health Protection Surveillance Centreâs website: (http://www.ndsc.ie/A-Z/Ve...)
In 1991 86% of the population had antibodies indicating that they had been exposed to the hepatitis A virus, following an epidemic of the disease in 1989. Hepatitis A vaccination is generally recommended for travel in East Africa and most other places by the CDC.
Depending on the time of the year, many of the beaches are infested with sea urchins, and it is not uncommon to see broken glass on the beach or in the water. It is a very good idea to either buy or bring plastic/wet shoes when venturing into the water. This is generally not a problem at the big hotels as the designated swimming areas on the beaches are regularly cleaned of urchins and debris. Use wet shoes nonetheless.
Reef fish in Mauritius have been found to contain a neurotoxin similar, but not identical, to that found in Caribbean reef fish.
It is important not to eat peanuts or take alcohol if you eat coral or reef fish like sea bass, snapper, mullet, grouper, there are many more. The fish eat the toxic algae that grows on the coral reefs. Don't eat intestines or testes of the fish as higher concentrations of the toxin collect here. The symptoms include gastrointestinal upset, vomiting and diarrhea and sometimes numb feelings of the arms and legs.
The official language in Mauritius is English. As such, all government administrative documents will be drawn up in English. However, French is the language most commonly used in formal settings, and is by far the dominant language in the mass media, as well as in corporate and business dealings. In fact, even English language television programmes are usually dubbed into French. Most subjects are taught in and examined in English in the education system.
The most commonly spoken language is Mauritian Creole, a French based creole which has incorporated some words from diverse sources including but not limited to English, Dutch and Portuguese, and has slight pronunciation differences from standard French. While there is no official written standard for Mauritian Creole, when written down for informal communication, words are often spelled differently from standard French. The next most commonly spoken language is French, which is spoken fluently by most locals, with English being a not too distant third. Virtually everyone working in the tourism industry will be able to speak fairly decent, albeit heavily accented English, and all government departments will have English-speaking staff on duty. Other languages spoken by much smaller numbers include: Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bhojpuri and Mandarin.Tamils constitute around 10% of population and speak Tamil.