Mauritius is an East African nation situated in the Indian Ocean. Despite its size, the country has some of the best white sand beaches in the world. However, beyond its pristine beaches, there are many fun facts about Mauritius that you should know.
Common Facts About Mauritius
Officially known as the “Republic of Mauritius,” this lovely African nation has a population of just under 1.3 million people.
Mauritius is renowned for its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and intriguing history. It is a favorite honeymoon location and one of the world’s most tranquil countries. That said, there are numerous exciting Mauritius facts worth exploring.
Several countries in Africa are prone to armed conflicts and civil/social unrest. Always double check the latest situations from both your government and the local government advisories.
Historical Facts On Mauritius
Did you know that before the three European powers (Dutch, French, and British) ruled over Mauritius, the Arabs and Portuguese had already been there?
In the 9th century AD, the Arabs first landed in Mauritius but they deemed it uninhabitable. However, they had a name for the island, they called it Dine Arobi.
After that, the Portuguese came around, they also concluded that it was uninhabitable. At the time only pirates and buccaneers were rampant there as they take their time on the Indian Ocean to unwind.
Named After A Prince
Mauritius is one of the very few countries named after a person. The Dutch were one of the many Europeans to land in present-day Mauritius. On their arrival, they claimed the Island Country and named it in honor of a Dutch prince from the 17th century, prince Maurits Van Nassau.
Different European Rule
You will find a lot of European influences within Mauritius, as the country has been through three separate European rulers.
The Dutch first took control of present-day Mauritius in 1638, giving the country its current name. They ruled over Mauritius until 1710 when the French arrived.
When the French took over, they renamed it Isle de France. The French rule did not last as the British invaded the country in 1810 to continue the power tussle.
After taking over, the British restored the original name “Mauritius.” They ruled the island country longer than the two countries before them.
Le Morene Brabant
This UNESCO world heritage site in Mauritius had a significant role in the country’s history. It served as a refuge for slave escape back in the 18th and 19th centuries. These escapees dominated the mountain and made it their settlement.
When slavery was abolished, soldiers went to Le Morene Brabant to inform the runaway slaves that they were free and no longer slaves.
However, some of the liberated slaves misunderstood their intention. They thought the soldiers came to drag them back to the sugar plantation they risked their lives to escape from.
Many of them jumped to their death, they felt that freedom in death was better than going back as slaves. This was one of the unfortunate historical facts of Mauritius. Although those who didn’t jump to their death returned as liberated individuals.
After Slavery Was Abolished, Indentured Labourers Arrived
When the British took control of Mauritius, they had a flourishing sugar plantation on the island. In 1835, the British abolished slavery in the country.
It looked like a rash decision at the time as they realized, without the slaves, they had nobody to work on their sugar plantations. As an alternative solution, they had to contract indentured laborers mostly from India.
This helps us understand why most Mauritius have a similar physical appearance and certain culture to the Indians. The laborers were contracted between 1834 and 1920. Within that period at least 500,000 indentured laborers were brought from India to Mauritius.
Useful Facts About Mauritius For Tourists
Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire
Also known as black river peak, this is an incredible mountain that offers an incredible nature experience for travelers. Hiking is one of the most fun activities to do in Mauritius, and the black river peak is a popular destination for that.
If you love tough adventures and you feel you are up to the task, you can access this mountaintop via the Black River Gorges National Park and Chamarel. This trail is considered the longest and toughest.
Alternatively, you can opt for the easier route of the Black River Peak hiking trail, it will take you about 90 minutes (1 and a half hours) to get to the peak. Regardless of your choice of trail, you’re sure to enjoy a great time in nature.
At the peak of the mountain is a resting area with different comfy benches painted with the color of the Mauritius national flag.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The island of Mauritius is known for having two of the world’s most historic UNESCO world heritage sites, Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne Brabant. These two landmarks are testimonies to the country’s rich history.
Aapravasi Ghat can be spotted on the bay of Port Louis on the Indian ocean. It served as an immigration office of the colonial British of Mauritius.
Le Morne Brabant is a Basaltic Mountain on the extreme easternmost part of the Indian Ocean. It stands at about 555 meters above sea level, and a beauty to behold.
Most Visited Island
How about this for an incredible fact about Mauritius? Considering we have many beautiful islands in the Caribbean, it makes for an interesting read that Mauritius is one of the most visited islands in the world.
The country has won the award of the world’s leading island destination at least 3 times. For many travel enthusiasts, the island of Mauritius has been pinned as an exceptional honeymoon destination.
Due to this reason, Mauritius ranks high as one of the most visited countries in Africa. When planning your next African travel bucket list, make sure to include Mauritius.
Underwater Waterfall In Mauritius
Here is an exciting fact about Mauritius, it is one of the very few countries with an underwater waterfall. Yeah! You heard right – underwater waterfall, hard to believe right? You can travel to Mauritius to witness this wonder for yourself.
The waterfall is technically an illusion underneath the water. Looking from the top you have an image that looks like the whole island is being sucked through a drain. On the shore of the Ocean, you can see the sand and silt that forms this waterfall.
You may be wondering if it’s safe to swim around this underwater waterfall, which is one of the most fun activities to do in Mauritius.
Surrounded By Coral Reefs
One of the lesser-known facts about Mauritius is that the country houses the third-largest coral reef in the world. Mauritius is surrounded by lagoons, and interestingly these lagoons are protected by coral reefs.
These reefs help protect the country’s amazing white sand beaches from sharks and jellyfish. It is no surprise that some of the most interesting activities to do in Mauritius include scuba diving and snorkeling.
Multiple Climate In Mauritius
Mauritius experiences multiple climates throughout the country all year round. Some of the climatic conditions in Mauritius include tropical climate, subtropical climate, and maritime climate.
The cyclone season happens between January and March in some years, and the south-east trade winds usually appear between March and November.
Here is a bonus Mauritius fact for travelers. The best time to visit this beautiful island country is between May to December.
Cultural Facts About Mauritius
Dholl Puri The National Dish
It is fair to say that Mauritian cuisine is a perfect multicultural blend. Due to its rich history, Mauritius cuisine has a blend of Indian, African, Chinees, and French influences.
Because of the unique location of this Island nation fruits and sea foods are ever present in Mauritius dishes.
However, the most popular and national dish in Mauritius is dholl puri, it is a pancake-style dish made with split peas, cumin, and turmeric. It is often stuffed with ingredients like curry and butter beans, usually, dholl puri is served with mango chutney and chilies.
More Women Than Men
Here is one interesting fact about Mauritius, it is one of the few countries in the world where they have more population of women than men.
As of 2022, there are 97 men for every 100 women, which makes for a good reading. It gives Mauritius a healthy gender ratio.
Religion In Mauritius
The country’s constitution did not place any embargo on religious practices in Mauritius. Citizens of the country have the freedom to practice whatever religion they like.
Religious diversity is one of the interesting facts about Mauritius. It is the only African country with Hinduism as its major religion.
At least 45% of Mauritius citizens practice Hinduism. 26.3% practices Christianity majorly Roman Catholics, and 17.3% are Muslim. Those are the 3 most prominent religions however, there are other religions practiced in Mauritius.
No Official Language
How about this for a fun fact about Mauritius? A country with many European rulers with no official language. Although English is one of the most spoken languages in the country, this island country has no official language. French is also widely spoken in the country.
The lingua franca of the Mauritius people is Creola (a French dialect). Despite the fact English and French are wildly spoken in Mauritius, there is no recognized official language in the country.
Festivals In Mauritius
If you are one for the culture and tradition, you can never go wrong with Mauritius. All year round in this island country, there is one festival or another to celebrate.
Some of the most popular festivals in Mauritius include Christmas. Chinese Spring Festival, Easter, Cavadee, and Holi among many other celebrations.
Dressing In Mauritius
Here is a funny fact about Mauritians. Because of their mode of dressing, many often mistake them for Indians. And you can’t be faulted for making a similar mistake.
Most Mauritians dress like Indians (wearing saris and churidaars) and have a similar facial appearance to Indians. To cap it all, Hinduism is the dominant religion in the country.
Saris and churidaars are an important part of the Mauritian culture. However, many still dress like westerners because of the influence of their colonial masters. Some wear saris on special occasions while some make it an everyday attire.
Football The National Sport
Football (soccer) is the national sport in Mauritius. Although that is not the only sport played in the country it is the most popular. Badminton, handball, basketball, and winter horse racing are some of the other activities enjoyed by Mauritians.
The Mauritius men’s national team is nicknamed Club M and Les Dodos (referencing the extinct dodo birds). However, they are not one of the football powerhouses on the African continent.
Their most notable achievement as a country was qualifying for the 1974 AFCON (African cup of Nations). That is not to say they have no trophies in their cabinet. Mauritius has won the Indian Ocean Island Games football tournament twice (1985 and 2003), and they were also finalists three times in the same competition (1990, 2011, and 2019).
Simple Mauritius Facts For Kids
Mauritius gained independence from the British on the 12th of March 1968. It became a member of the Commonwealth nations. The first Prime Minister of Mauritius is Seewoosagur Ramgoola.
Capital – Port Louis
Port Louis is the largest and most beautiful city in Mauritius. It is also the capital city of this island nation. It has a total land area of 46.7 square km, and it houses over 10% of the country’s population.
Highest Point In Mauritius
The highest point in the country is the Black River peak. It has an elevation of about 828 meters above sea level. The Black River Peak is one of the 3 different mountain ranges in the country.
High Literacy Rate
Here is a fun fact about Mauritius for kids, it is the country with the highest literacy rate on the African continent. At least 90% of the population in Mauritius is at the literacy level.
With that, the country has a good life expectancy, with an average of 75 years. This is enough to put Mauritius as one of the nations with the highest life expectancies in Africa.
The island of Mauritius has some beautiful landscapes from small coastal plains to discontinuous mountains. The country is enveloped by a ring of a mountain range, which can be attributed to volcanoes, waterfalls, forests, and rivers.
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Other Interesting Facts About Mauritius
Flag Of Mauritius
Mauritius flag is a beautiful four-colored flag, it is best known as the four bands or Les Quatre Bandes. It has four horizontal stripes of red, blue, yellow, and green. And like every other flag, all colors have their meaning.
Red represents the struggle for freedom, blues represent the Indian ocean, yellow represents the new dawn of independence, and the green represents agriculture and the greenness of the country all year round.
The nation ranks high on the list of peaceful countries in the world. That’s a cool fact about Mauritius. In 2017 it was tied with Botswana, Chile, Uruguay, Chile, and Botswana as the peaceful countries in the world. At the time there was no record of international or domestic conflicts.
Due to the rise in the number of homicides (from 1.8 to 2.9 per 100,000 people), it ranks as the 28th most peaceful country in the world. It still ranks 1st on the African continent. The closest is Ghana, which happens to be 40th on the world rank.
No Standing Army In Mauritius
That said, because of how peaceful the country is, they have no army. This is a fact about Mauritius you don’t often associate with African countries.
Security in Mauritius is provided by the police. And there are approximately only 10,000 police in Mauritius.
Fascinating Facts About Mauritius
Free Public Transportation
It is not a cliché when we say Mauritius is one of the most unique countries on the African continent. Here’s a thoughtful and interesting Mauritius fact. There are free public transports in Mauritius for students, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Students can commute from their homes to school free (On school days) on the Metro Express if they can provide their MECard. The disabled and pensioners can travel free without restriction as long as they can provide their concessionary pass or their free bus pass.
This law was passed in 2005 by the then-prime minister Dr. Beebeejuan. It makes Mauritius a special country in Africa.
Dodo The Extinct Specie
Here is a piece of important information about Mauritius and its wildlife ecosystem.
Before the dodo birds went into extinction, they could only be spotted on the island of Mauritius. If you have never heard of the dodo bird well, remember those big birds in the movie “Alice in Wonderland”? Yes, that’s a dodo.
Its extinction was quick and quiet. It was first recorded in 1589. Dutch sailors at the time described the dodo as the “flightless bird.” The last mention of the dodo was in 1662. There are a few skeletons and relics of this bird around the world however, just little is known about this bird.
Dodo went into extinction a few centuries ago, but there is more information about dinosaurs than the dodo.
Highest Population Density In Africa
With an approximate population of 1.28 million people and a land area of 2040 square km, Mauritius is the most densely populated country in Africa.
In fact, only 5 countries/ cities in the world (Singapore, Monaco, Bahrain, Malta, and Bangladesh) are more densely populated than Mauritius.
In Mauritius, you have a density of around 1,300 people per 2.6 square Km.
Close to 70% of the country’s population has an Indo-Pakistani origin. Majorly descendants of the British indentured laborers. Around 20% are of Creole (an Afro-French dialect) ancestry while the remaining (%) are either Chinese or Franco-Mauritian Descent.
The Island Of Mauritius
The whole country of Mauritius actually encompasses a merger of more than one island. However, the most famous of the islands is Mauritius.
The merged islands include Mauritius (the main Island), Rodrigues, and other outer islands Agalega, and Cargados Carajos Sholas islands.
Mauritius is claiming the Chagos archipelago on the country’s northwest, but Britain disagrees with that.
Important Trade Route
Before the emergence of the Suez Canal some 154 years ago (in 1869), Mauritius served as an influential base for businesspeople and countries trading across Europe and the East.
It was no surprise that the French and British had multiple fights and conflicts over the ownership of Mauritius in the Napoleonic era.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Mauritius
These are just some fascinating facts about Mauritius that demonstrate the complexity of its culture. Despite its small size and relative obscurity in comparison to other countries, it is full of incredible stories and offerings that are attractive to travelers.
From the beautiful beaches to incredible landscapes and interesting traditions, this is definitely one destination to explore. You are sure to uncover even more fun facts about Mauritius when you visit.