Mauritius Facts

Interesting Facts for Kids

Here are some interesting Mauritius Facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.

Mauritius flagMauritius flag
  • NameRepublique de Maurice (Republic of Mauritius)
  • Population: roughly 1.3 million people live in the country (2020)
  • Capital: Port Louis with 150,000 inhabitants
  • Motto: 'Star and Key of the Indian Ocean'
  • Government: Democracy
  • Language: English, French, Creole
  • Religion: mainly Hindus (49%)
  • Currency: 1 Mauritian rupee = 100 cents
  • History: The first settlements were established by the Dutch in 1638. The island is named after the Prince Maurice van Nassau, who governed Mauritius in 1598. Later the French and British arrived on the island. Mauritius became independent from Britain only in 1968. 
  • National Symbols: The extinct 'dodo' (national animal), (national flower), red, blue, yellow and green (national colours)
  • National Day: 12 March (Independence Day)

Mauritius Facts
Mauritius Geography

Mauritius is a small island country in Africa. The island of Mauritius, called Île Maurice in French, is situated in the Indian Ocean to the east of the African continent. It is located about 800 km/ 500 miles off the coast of Madagascar.

Mauritius Map: Mauritius and Rodrigues belong to the Mascarene islands in the Indian Ocean

Mauritius is the second biggest island belonging to the group of islands called the Mascarenes or 'Mascareignes' as they are called in French. Rodrigues island and some other smaller islands belong to Mauritius too. The biggest island of the Mascarenes islands group is La Reunion (which belongs to France).

The island was created by volcanic activity more than 8 million years ago. There are many scenic waterfalls especially in the south west of the island.

Mauritius has a coastline of about 150 km/93 miles in length and the Indian Ocean island is known for its stunning white sand beaches.

White sandy beach in Le Morne Mauritius with flame treeLe Morne beach

Mauritius is five times smaller than The Gambia, the smallest country in continental Africa. Comparing the land area of Mauritius with countries in Europe or North America, Mauritius is smaller in size than Luxembourg or a bit bigger than the state of Delaware in the USA.

To reach Mauritius, it takes a 4-hours flight from Johannesburg/South Africa, 12-hours flight from Paris/France or 13-hours flight from London/UK. 

Mauritius Superlatives

  • The largest city of Mauritius is Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius. It is also the most populous city of the island with roughly 150,000 inhabitants.
Port Louis - the capital city of Mauritius
  • Mauritius is the most densely populated country on the African continent and one of the most densely populated in the world. This Indian Ocean country is also one of the most prosperous and rich countries on the continent - together with the Seychelles.
  • The island's highest mountain is the Piton de la Petite Riviera Noire, which means 'Peak of the Little Black River', with a height of 828 m/ 2,717 ft. 
  • Mauritius is known for its underwater waterfall, which is in fact an optical illusion. The underwater currents off the coast of Le Morne create the impression of a huge underwater waterfall which in reality does not exist!
Morne Brabant and underwater waterfall of Mauritius which is an optic illusionLe Morne with Morne Brabant and 'underwater waterfall'
  • Mauritius is home to two of the rarest stamps in the world: the Blue Penny and the Red Penny stamps. These were among the first stamps distributed and were issued by the British government in 1847.

Mauritius Facts
Tourist Attractions in Mauritius

  • The Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis is the main shopping and entertainment hub of the capital city. A visit to the Post Office Museum which is located there is highly recommended. There you can see the famous 'Blue Mauritius' stamp, which is the first stamp issued. It shows Queen Victoria on a blue background.
  • The 'Seven Coloured Earths' in the Chamarel plains is known for the multi-coloured hues of the soil.
Coloured Earths in Chamarel MauritiusColoured Earths in Chamarel
  • Le Morne Brabant: Popular with people hiking and climbing the monolith in the southwest of the island. Le Morne is one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Mauritius - the other one is Apravasi Ghat in Port Louis which is another monument to the abolition of slavery.
  • Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens: Explore the tropical gardens and admire the giant waterlillies in the huge pond
Waterlilies in bloom in Mauritius Botanic GardensBotanical Gardens and Waterlilies
  • Cap Malheureux: Explore the fishing village in the north where you can also find the famous chapel with the red roof
  • Visit the Hindu temples: Hinduism is the main religion on the island with almost half of the population of Mauritians belonging to this religion
  • Try to visit also the food markets in the major towns such as Port Louis or Flaqc. Here is a good picture of a farmer selling his colourful harvest at a typical market in Mauritius.
Market in Mauritius

Mauritius Facts | People

Mauritians are friendly and welcoming people. The Mauritian people form a multiethnic society which means they are mainly of mixed races and have ancestors of Asian, Indian, French, British and Chinese origins. The majority are descendants from Indian people and are referred to as Indo-Mauritians.

Mauritius temple by Evgenia Bolyukh/Shutterstock.comMauritius Hindu Temple

Almost half of the population practise Hinduism, other dominant religions are Roman Catholicism and Islam.

Mauritians love to celebrate their religious traditions and also are famous for their love of dancing the sega.

Mauritian segadancer

The Mauritian folk dance is the sega dance. It has many influences from the Indian dance style, where the whole body moves with the music, interestingly however, the feet never leave the ground. The sega dance is also popular on the Seychelles islands and La Reunion.

The most famous Mauritian story is probably that of Paul et Virginie, or as they say in English 'Paul and Virginia'. These two characters stem from a French novel by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre dating back to the late 18th century. The tragic love story of the two is very famous on the island. 

Mauritius Language Facts

French, English and Creole are the main languages in Mauritius. English is considered by many as the main business language, however newspapers and TV and radio news are mainly in French. 

Mauritius Advertisement BoardRoadside Advertisement in Mauritius

In fact, most people speak Mauritian Creole at home. Further various Asian languages such as Tamil, Urdu, Hindi or Mandarin are spoken by the Indian and Chinese population. 

Mauritius Facts
Animals on Mauritius

Dodo - The extinct flightless bird

Mauritius is known for some of the rarest plants and wildlife. Due to human activities, the Mauritian national animal called dodo has become extinct already in the 17th century.

Less than 2% of the land is still covered by native forest and thus much of the habitat of the introduced animals has been destroyed.

The Mauritian flying foxes are the last remaining endemic mammals on the island.

Today, there are pink pigeons and geckos which you can encounter on a visit to the island. Pods of dolphins can be sometimes still be encountered in Tamarin Bay.

Giant Turtles

There is also a crocodile and giant tortoise park on Mauritius, however, there are no giant tortoises or crocodiles or even poisonous snakes or scorpions found on the island in nature.

Mauritius Facts | Mauritius Economy

The Mauritian economy is based mainly on tourism, sugar, fish processing, textile manufacturing as well as financial and IT services. Mauritius also houses some of the most advanced tuna processing facilities in the world. About one quarter of the Mauritius canned tuna is exported to the EU.

Sugarcane field in MauritiusSugarcane field

Sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes and bananas are the main agricultural products in Mauritius. Pineapple plantations can also be seen all over the island.

Pineapples grow in bushesDid you know pineapples grow in bushes?
Papaya fruits grow on trees

The main trading partners of Mauritius are France, the USA, the UK and South Africa for exports and China, India, France and South Africa for imports.

Mauritius Facts | Food in Mauritius

Mauritian traditional dishes mainly contain fresh vegetables, fruits and fish. The Mauritian cuisine is well known for its freshness and exotic spices.

The Mauritian cuisine has many influences. Asian, Indian, European specialties all can be found in the local cuisine. Here is some typical Mauritius food:

  • Achardpickled vegetable with spicy relish made with mustard seeds
  • Dholl puri: these flatbread are made with split-pea flour and served with a typical Mauritian curry
  • Mauritian Curry: stews mainly made with chicken, fish or squid marinated and served in a spicy red curry sauce 
  • Vindaye: usually made with fish that has been coated in turmeric, ginger, chilli and mustard seeds 
  • Rougaille: Fish or meat stew with a spicy tomato sauce with chilli, garlic, onion and thyme
  • Salade palmiste: this salad is also called 'Heart of Palm' salad and is an expensive delicacy, using only the inner parts of a palm tree
  • Coconut water: you simply must try the fresh coconut drink. Did you know that coconut 'milk' liquid looks transparent like water but has a sweet taste.
  • Boulet or Dim Sum: steamed filled dumplings, originating from the Chinese cuisine

For tasting the many different variations of sugar, go to 'L'Aventure du Sucre', a still working sugar factory with a wonderful museum with lots of interactive displays and don't miss a visit to a tea plantation on the island. Bois Cheri plantation has an amazing Vanilla Tea!

Read more about great Mauritian specialties here

Mauritius Facts - Resources

Resources for Mauritius Facts page:

  • Les Iles Vanillas. "Ile Maurice - Mauritius". Vanilla Islands. Last accessed 17 July 2020
  • Tourism Mauritius. "Culinary Experience." Tourism Mauritius. Last accessed 17 July 2020
  • Republic of Mauritius. "Landforms." govmu.org. Last accessed 17 July 2020
  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Mauritius" CIA WorldFact Book. 10 June 2020. Last accessed 17 July 2020

Picture Credits on Mauritius Facts: All Pictures, own photos and if not otherwise mentioned from sxc.hu and shutterstock.com

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