Everything you need to know about your Mauritius holiday
Welcome to Discover Africa’s Mauritius holiday guide. A Mauritius holiday offers the intrepid traveller the best that Africa’s coastal destinations has to offer. From the legendary beaches with powder-white sand, to its rich cultural history. Curate your holiday experience and let us do the rest for you. It couldn’t be more easy.
- January is the hottest and wettest month in Mauritius, with an average maximum temperature of 30C. Although it rains often, it mostly doesn’t rain for long, and the sun soon comes out again. There is a chance of cyclones in January, but they don’t occur very often – typically Mauritius gets hit by a cyclone twice in a decade.
- January is a very busy month for tourism Mauritius and flights and hotel prices are at their highest.
- A wonderful event to experience in Mauritius is Chinese New Year, which takes place at the end of January or early February each year and is celebrated with fireworks, feasts and festivities.
- February is a hot and humid month in Mauritius, and it’s the second rainiest (after January). There is still a chance of cyclones in February although they aren’t that common.
- The weather in February isn’t ideal for a beach holiday, but the skies do tend to clear up after a rain shower and there are fewer people this month after the holiday crowds of December and January.
- The Maha Shivaratri pilgrimage takes place each February, when half a million Hindu people making a pilgrimage to the holy lake of Grand Bassin, in the south west of the island.
- The beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere heralds the celebration of Holi Festival in India, which also takes place in Mauritius in late February or early March: there’s music and festivities but the main event is when people throw coloured powder and water at one another in the streets.
- The month of March has warm temperatures and some rain, although less rainfall than earlier in the year. This month there is a chance of cyclones, although they aren’t that common – Mauritius typically gets hit with a cyclone once every five years.
- March is a popular time to visit Mauritius as it’s warm but not rainy or too busy. It’s an ideal time for scuba diving.
- April is a hot, humid month although there’s less rain than in earlier in the year. There’s still a slight chance of cyclones.
- The island is busy over the Easter holidays, so if you prefer quieter beaches then plan to travel outside of this period.
- April is the start of the best time of year for surfing in Mauritius, and it’s also a great month for scuba diving.
- Tamil New Year is celebrated in April with dance performances and live music.
- May sees a big decrease in rainfall and humidity, and a slight drop in temperatures (although with an average minimum of 19C, it’s far from chilly).
- May is an excellent month to visit Mauritius as it’s not busy, the temperatures are mild and there’s not much rain. It’s low season, which means that you may be able to get discounts at resorts and hotels.
- May marks the start of the best period of the year for wind conditions for kite surfers and surfers.
- Although it’s technically winter in Mauritius, June is still pleasantly warm, with day time temperatures of 24C and not much rain.
- June is low season in Mauritius and you can find discounted prices at some hotels and resorts. It’s a great month to visit the island if you’re a kite surfer or surfer because of the ideal wind conditions.
- July sees mild temperatures and low rainfall in Mauritius: days are sunny with averages in the low 20s.
- Some of the less sheltered beaches can get windy in July, so pick a resort or hotel on the north or west coast for more shelter. July is an good month for kite surfing and surfing.
- August is one of the driest months in Mauritius. Combined with mild temperatures, the lack of rain this month means it’s a perfect time to travel if you want sunny days without intense heat. Nights are cool, so bring along some warmer clothing for evenings.
- It’s best to stay on the west or north coast in August where the beaches are more sheltered from the winds. August is a great month for water sports such as kite surfing and surfing.
- September has the lowest rainfall of any month in Mauritius which means plenty of sunshine for long beach days. Day time temperatures are in the low 20s and night time temperatures drop to about 18C – bring along a sweater or jacket for nights.September is a wonderful month all over Zanzib
- September is still low season in Mauritius, so it’s a great time to travel for quiet beaches, good prices on flights and discounts on hotels. It’s a good month for kite surfing and surfing.
- Père Laval Feast Day is on the 9th of September, a Christian holy day when pilgrims travel to the shrine of Ste-Croix in Port Louis to ask for miracles.
- In September or October, the festival Ganesh Chathurti see Mauritian Hindus celebrating the god Ganesh with elaborate feasts.
- Low rainfall and warmer temperatures (maximum average of 26C) make October an ideal month weather-wise for Mauritius.
- October sees an uptick in tourist numbers but it’s still not yet one of the busiest months, so it’s a wonderful time to travel to Mauritius. It’s the last good month of the year for surfing and it’s also a great time to go scuba diving.
- Taking place in late October or early November, the Hindu festival of lights – Diwali – is sees a spectacular display of fireworks and lanterns as well as delicious festival foods.
- In November, warm weather (with highs of 28C) and not much rain make for an ideal beach holiday climate.
- November is one of the best months of the year to visit Mauritius because of the ideal weather and because it’s not yet too busy. November is a great month for scuba diving – especially if you’d like to see seasonal turtles.
- In early December, the weather is warm and dry, but as the month progresses so does the rainfall and humidity.
- December is one of the two busiest months in Mauritius and there’s a big spike in hotel prices and flights, especially around the Christmas and New Year holiday period. It’s one of the best months of the year to explore the island’s underwater life on scuba dives.
Mark Twain once said: “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven was copied after Mauritius.” This paradise on Earth is the kind of tropical island fantasies are made of: powdery icing-sugar white sandy beaches shaded by swaying palm trees, crystal-clear turquoise ocean, year-round sunshine, lush forests and volcanic mountain backdrops – and some of Africa’s best beach resorts. Lying off the coast of East Africa, Mauritius has something to offer just about everyone, from couples looking for romantic experiences, families in search of outdoors activities for kids, and adventure seekers who want to have an active, exciting holiday.
Mauritius has more than 300 kilometres of coastline, and much of it is covered in picture-perfect beaches. However, there’s far more to the island than just sun loungers and sand. Underwater adventures are a big draw, with snorkelling and scuba diving spots all over the island to explore two-centuries-old shipwrecks, beautiful caves and caverns, hundreds of coral species and more than 400 marine animals, including deep-sea fish, dolphins, turtles and humpback whales. Mauritius also offers more water sports than you can shake a water ski at – everything from water skiing and kite surfing to kayaking to offshore islets.
The island’s interior boasts beautiful landscapes and is packed with things to do, giving you plenty of reason to explore Mauritius beyond the beach. Think pretty hilltop villages, tea plantations, colonial houses, interesting museums, Hindu temples, artisanal rum distilleries, superb restaurants and botanical gardens for a start, and then there are the natural landscapes and wildlife: national parks and reserves where you hike through indigenous forest to spot rare birds, animal parks for kids of all ages and enough adventures to kick start your adrenaline, from horse riding and quad biking to canyoning down waterfalls.
The most popular part of the island is the northern coast around the town of Grand Baie, which is a tourist hub for hotels, resorts, restaurants, shops and bars. The west coast of the island, with its magnificent beaches, calm ocean and languid sunsets is most popular with families, while the east coast has some of the top luxury resorts and best beaches. The southern coastline is the least developed on the island, with a wild beauty that will appeal to nature lovers.
What makes Mauritius unique?
While Mauritius has some of Africa’s best beaches, the island has far more to offer beyond its beautiful stretches of sand, and the sheer diversity of experiences makes this island very special. In terms of ocean activities, your days will be filled with everything from stand-up paddle boarding and surfing to scuba diving and yachting. Meanwhile, the island’s lush interior provides endless opportunities for exploring the natural world: walk around a volcanic crater, go canyoning in dramatic gorges, abseil down waterfalls, hike in the hills of a national park to spot birds and in reserves of indigenous forest, feed giant tortoises and go horse riding through the trees. And though Mauritius isn’t known for its wildlife, the island has several species that have been saved from extinction, making a visit to one of its animal sanctuaries a fascinating and unique experience.
Unlike other East African island nations such as the Seychelles, Mauritius is a great value-for money destination. The island is also home to many budget-friendly lodging options, from self-catering apartments to small family-run guesthouses, while the luxury resorts offer some surprisingly affordable packages. And if you’re not on a budget, the best resorts on the island are truly world-class: think stylish and spacious villas, exclusive private beaches, manicured grounds, superb spas, award-winning golf courses and Michelin-quality food at a choice of multiple restaurants.
Out of all the Indian Ocean islands, Mauritius boasts the best gourmet cuisine: its food is a mixture of the island’s rich cultural influences, and the wide array of excellent restaurants spanning Mauritian and international fare will delight foodies. Resorts offer plenty of fine dining experiences, while excellent restaurants are tucked away in some of the most beautiful corners of the island, from hilltops to the gardens of old colonial mansions. A particular highlight are the tables d’hôtes – small family-run eateries – which are great for trying authentic Mauritian cuisine. Even the cheap eats in Mauritius are delicious: the street food sold in markets and on the side of the beach is something to write home about.
Mauritius is a unique mix of French, British, Indian, Chinese and Creole people and has a fascinating history spanning centuries. Throughout the year there are festivals celebrating the religions and cultural traditions of the island’s myriad inhabitants, while excellent museums and historical houses preserve stories from the past.
What wild/natural life can I see in Mauritius?
Mauritius is surrounded by coral reefs which teem with more than 400 marine species, including pinner and bottlenose dolphins, a variety of shark species (although these are rarely venture beyond the reefs and into the lagoon around the island that people swim in), sperm and humpback whales, colourful tropical fish and deep-sea fish such as tuna and marlin.
On land, the fruit bat is Mauritius’ only native mammal, while the island is home to several introduced species. While Mauritian giant tortoises have gone extinct, giant tortoises from the Seychelles have been introduced to the island and there are several places where you can see them (and feed them). More than 100 species of birds have been recorded on Mauritius, including seven endemic species: the Mauritius grey white-eye, Mauritius kestrel, pink pigeon, olive white eye, Mauritian fody, Mauritius parakeet and Mascarene paradise flycatcher.
The best place to see endemic Mauritian species (some of which were saved from the brink of extinction) is Île aux Aigrettes, a small island reserve which is being returned to its pre-human state, and which protects birds such as pink pigeons and Mauritian fodies, as well as Mauritian fruit bats, two Mauritian native reptiles (day geckos and Telfair’s skink), giant Aldabran tortoises from the Seychelles and a stand of old ebony trees. The lush forests of Black River Gorges National Park, in the south west of the island, are also a great place to go bird spotting.
In terms of plants, Mauritius has remarkable biodiversity for its size, with nearly 1000 species, around 300 of which are endemic. While the island has lost nearly all of its trees, Black River Gorges National Park protects the largest tract of native forest on the island, and there are other reserves where you can find native species as well as projects that are rehabilitating forest areas. The national park and the smaller reserves are the best places to immerse yourself in Mauritian plant life, while the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens is an excellent place to learn about rare and endangered species.