Interesting Facts for Kids
Here are some interesting Mauritius Facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.
- Name: Republic of Mauritius; also Republique de Maurice (French) or Republic Moris (Creole)
- 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 (official), French, Creole
- Religion: mainly Hindus (49%)
- Currency: 1 Mauritian rupee = 100 cents
- National Anthem: "Motherland"
- National Day: 12 March (Independence Day)
- National Symbols: The extinct 'dodo' (national animal), Trochetia Boutoniana (Boucle d'orville - national flower), red, blue, yellow and green (national colours)
- 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.
Mauritius is a small island country in Africa with the main islands called Mauritius and Rodrigues. The island of Mauritius, called Île Maurice in French, is the biggest island of the Republic of Mauritius.
Mauritius is situated in the Indian Ocean to the east of the African continent. It is located about 800 km/ 500 miles to the east 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. The biggest island of the Mascarenes islands group is Réunion, which belongs to France.
The island of Mauritius was created by volcanic activity and emerged from the water more than 8 million years ago.
Mauritius has a coastline of about 150 km/ 93 miles and the Indian Ocean island is known for its stunning white sandy beaches such as the one at Le Morne.
Le 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.
- 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 Riviere 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 Brabant mountain create the impression of a huge underwater waterfall which in reality does not exist!
Le 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 worldwide and were issued by the British government in 1847.
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 at the Waterfront comes highly recommended. There you can see the famous 'Blue Mauritius' stamp, which is the first stamp ever 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
- Le Morne Brabant is 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 Aapravasi Ghat in Port Louis which is another monument to the abolition of slavery.
- In Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens you can explore the endemic tree and plant species of the island and admire the giant waterlillies in the huge pond
Botanical Gardens and Waterlilies
- Cap Malheureux is a great landmark where there is the famous chapel with the red roof and a picturesque fishing village
- Visit the Hindu temples and the Lord Shiva Statue at Grand Bassin. Hinduism is the main religion on the island with almost half of the population of Mauritians belonging to this religion. Many colourful festivals are celebrated by the local population and this is a good way to experience the local cultures and to learn about local traditions.
- Try to visit also the food markets in the major towns such as Port Louis or Flaqc. Below 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 the local people have ancestors of Asian, Indian, French, British and Chinese origins. The majority of Mauritians are descendants from Indian people and are referred to as Indo-Mauritians.
Mauritius Hindu Temple
Almost half of the population practise Hinduism, other dominant religions on the islands are Roman Catholicism and Islam.
Mauritians love to celebrate their religious traditions and also are famous for their love of dancing the sega.
The Mauritian folk dance is the sega dance. This dance shows influences from the Indian dance style, where the whole body moves with the music - interestingly however, the feet of the dancer don't leave the ground. The sega dance is also popular on the Seychelles islands and La Réunion.
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. This is a tragic love story which is very famous on the island.
Mauritius Language Facts
French, English and Creole are the main languages in Mauritius. English is the official language and considered by many as the main business language, however newspapers and TV and radio news are mainly broadcasted in French or Creole.
Roadside Advertisement in Mauritius
Most people speak Mauritian Creole at home. Furthermore various Asian languages such as Tamil, Urdu, Hindi or Mandarin are spoken by the local Indian and Chinese population.
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 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.
There is also a crocodile and giant tortoise park on Mauritius, however, in nature there are no giant tortoises or crocodiles or even poisonous snakes or scorpions found on the island.
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 canned tuna processed in Mauritius is exported to the EU.
Sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes and bananas are the main agricultural products in Mauritius. Pineapple plantations can also be seen all over the island.
Did 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.
Mauritian spices: Cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, star anis, cardamon with beans, nuts and lentils - which ones do you recognise?
The Mauritian cuisine has many influences. Asian, Indian, European specialties all can be found in the local cuisine. Here is some typical Mauritius food:
- Achard: pickled 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
- Boulet or Dim Sum: steamed filled dumplings, originating from the Chinese cuisine
- 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. And coconut is used in many dishes too!
Fresh coconuts are transported by bike
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. 4 August 2020. Last accessed 20 August 2020
- Government of Mauritius. "Overview of Mauritius." Ministry of Tourism. Last accessed 20 August 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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