A yacht charter to Mauritius offers great beaches and some wonderful opportunities for diving. It is also one of the leading big game fishing centres in the world. The beaches are protected by extensive coral reefs that form one of the largest barrier reefs in the world.
Mauritius is a small island situated just above the Tropic of Capricorn 500 miles from Madagascar, in the south west of the Indian Ocean. The Republic of Mauritius comprises of the main island Mauritius, together with Rodrigues, St. Brandon Island, and Agalega Islands as its dependencies. Mauritius is volcanic in origin and covers an area of 720 square miles. 200 miles of coastline are almost entirely surrounded by one of the largest unbroken coral reefs in the world.
The island is well known for its exceptional natural beauty; and Mark Twain said "You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.
The first record of Mauritius comes from Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century. The Portuguese first visited it in 1505 and established a visiting base leaving the island uninhabited. 3 ships of the Dutch Second Fleet to the Spice Islands were blown off course during a cyclone and landed on the island in 1598 and named it in honour of Prince Maurice of Nassau, the Stadtholder of the Netherlands. In 1638 the Dutch established the first permanent settlement. Because of the tough climate including cyclones the settlement declined and was abandoned some decades later.
The French moved in to seize Mauritius in 1715 and later named it Ile de France or Isle of France. The French got the economy well underway with a flourishing sugar production industry. However the French harboured the outlawed "corsairs" who regularly sank gold, precious stones, silk and spice laden British vessels on their way to Britain from India. The British set to gain military control of the island. Despite winning the famous Battle of Grand Port, Napoleon's only naval win over the British, the French were defeated by the British in the north of the island, at Cap Malheureux three months later, and thus lost possession to the British in 1810.
In 1965, the United Kingdom split the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius to create the British Indian Ocean Territory in order to use the strategic islands for defence purposes in cooperation with the USA. Mauritius attained full independence in 1968 and the country became a republic within the Commonwealth in 1992.
Mauritius is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with a population of around 1.2 million. It is one of the rare authentically cosmopolitan societies where many ethnic groups are present and live in an enviable harmony. Indian, African, European and Chinese cultures are well preserved and respected. Although it is located not far off the South East Coast of Africa, the British and French influences are felt the strongest along with the presence of a predominantly Indian workforce.
English is the official language, but French and Creole are widely spoken. A number of oriental languages are also spoken.
The international airport of Mauritius is located in the south east of the Island, near Mahébourg. There are daily flights from France and several other flights per week from other European countries.
The currency is the Mauritian Rupee (RS). Credit cards and travellers cheques are accepted in many places.
Electricity is 220V.
Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your planned departure date from Mauritius.
Summer, from January to April, can be hot and humid with daytime temperatures averaging close to 30°C. The western and northern regions are warmer and relatively drier than the east and south. There is a risk of cyclones in the summer and although rarely a direct hit has been seen, these months will have days of squally rain. Mauritius doesn't really have a change of Season, there are no distinct monsoons and rain is possible on any day of the year. July to September, have the least amount of rain and daytime temperatures are more comfortable. Daytime temperatures average 25°C, falling to 15°C at night. These months are some of the more popular times to visit. December through March is the best time for diving as the waters are at their clearest.
The relative pleasant and stable climatic conditions that prevail year round and steady winds make Mauritius ideal for yacht charter. Mauritius has many crystal clear lagoons that make great yacht anchorages. Catamarans are particularly popular as their shallow draft makes them perfect for slipping in and out of shallow lagoons. Mauritius is served by south east trade winds. The south east trades blow a steady 15 to 25 knots for 70% of the time from May to October. In addition to the consistent winds, the island's broad lagoons and long coastline Mauritius is ideal for yacht charter and offers a wide variety of conditions.
October to April are the best months for Big Game Fishing, when the large “trophy” fish approach to shore. Mauritius is one of the world's leading game fishing centres and record-breaking marlin, sailfish, sharks and other big fish are regularly caught off its coast.
Dive charter is very popular in Mauritius and there are approximately 27 dive centres located around the island. In addition to exploring the natural formations and reefs, ships have been sunk deliberately to create wrecks. There are at least 10 such wrecks around the. Beware that from June to October, the southeast trade winds make for rough seas and more difficult dives.
The cuisine of Mauritius is a blend of Indian Cuisine, Creole, Chinese and European. It is not uncommon for a combination of cuisines to form part of the same meal. The "cari poule" or chicken curry, for example, is a very popular dish. The "mine-frit" (Chinese fried noodles) and "niouk nien" (dumplings) are loved by all and readily bought by the Mauritian community either in restaurants or on the sidewalks of main streets. 'Alouda' (a milk-based drink with basil seeds) has become a typical Mauritian drink and the 'dholl puri' can be considered a favourite with all communities.
The sega is the folklore music of Mauritius. Sega has African roots, and the music is produced using goatskin percussion instruments called ravane and metallic clicks using metal triangles. The song usually describes the miseries of slavery, and has been adapted nowadays as social satyres to voice out inequalities as felt by the blacks. The rhythm, however, remains very festive and while the men are at the instruments, the Creole women gyrate in large fluid and revealing skirts with bright colours. Shows are regularly hosted in the coastal hotels.
Be aware that everything is being done to protect the reef and coral life of Mauritius. A Code of Conduct is enforced; do not take or break living corals, do not purchase shells, corals, etc, from a vendor, do not litter beaches.
Port Louis has evolved as the economic and administrative capital of Mauritius partly because of the quality of its harbour. Until the 1860s, when the Suez Canal was built, Port Louis was an important stopover for ships from Europe on their way to India. This role earned Mauritius the title of 'Star and Key of the Indian Ocean.' Today, the new Caudan Waterfront is considered by many to be the city’s main tourist attraction. With trendy shops, cinemas, restaurants and a casino, it has become the hub of the city. Not too far away are older neighbourhoods with their own separate charm. Throughout the city high rise towers contrast with buildings from the colonial times. Be sure to include a visit to the Central Market full of exotic fragrances and activity. Stalls sell a range of things from fake designer items to herbal cures for every imaginable illness to real vanilla pods.
Cap Malheureux is the yacht charter centre of Mauritius and is located to the extreme north of the island at Cap Malheureux. It is not known just for its full service marina but also as a fishing village with magnificent views of the nearby volcanic islands rising from the sparkling emerald sea. Cap Malheureux is the yacht charter starting point to Coin de Mire, Ilot Gabriel, Pain de Sucre, Ile Plate, Ile d'Ambre, Pain de Sucre, Ile ronde, Ile aux Serpents, Riviere Noire and Port Louis.
Grand Baie is known for its emerald waters and a variety of distractions from boutiques to craft shops, to restaurants, to nightclubs. Helicopter excursions are popular here.
Serpent Island is a great dive spot and has a row of coral and boulders that snake across a sand bottom. There are masses of stonefish and the very rare Mauritius scorpion fish.
Coin de Mire is wedge shaped island that offers a variety of excellent dives for all levels. There is a large French anchor nearby that's about 200 years old and encrusted with coral.
Flat Island is located off the northern tip of Mauritius and those one a yacht charter can observe sharks, schools of barracuda, kingfish and big parrotfish that regularly patrol the island by the dozens.