COUNTRY DESCRIPTION ^
The Republic of Mauritius is a small island nation of three inhabited and several other islands located in the southwestern Indian Ocean. Mauritius has a stable government and growing economy. Facilities for tourism are well developed. In order of frequency, Creole, French, and English are spoken; English and French are common in the main towns and tourist areas but may not be understood in outlying villages. The capital city is Port Louis.
SECURITY AND SAFETY ^
U.S. citizens should avoid crowds and street demonstrations and maintain a low profile.
Petty crime is a problem. It is unwise to walk alone at night outside the immediate grounds of hotels. There is a potential for pickpocketing at the central market in Port Louis.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES ^
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Mauritius laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Mauritius are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Under the PROTECT Act of April 2003, it is a crime, prosecutable in the U.S., for U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens to exploit children sexually via pornography, the Internet or other means or to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a person under the age of 18 in a foreign country, regardless of whether there was intent.
MEDICAL FACILITIES ^
Medical facilities are available, but more limited than in the United States. Emergency assistance is limited. While public hospitals and clinics provide free care, many visitors may choose to be treated by private doctors and hospitals. Service Aide Medicale Urgence (SAMU) is a government organization that provides ambulance and emergency assistance in response to calls to 114 (Address: Volcy Pougnet Street, Port Louis ). MegaCare is a private organization that provides assistance to subscribers only (Address: 99 Draper Avenue, Quatre Bornes; phone: 116; 464-6116).
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS ^
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Mauritius is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside/Ambulance Assistance: Fair
In Mauritius, one drives on the left side of the road. Roads are sometimes narrow and uneven with inadequate lighting. Speed limits are posted in kilometers per hour, but all road and traffic signs are posted in English. Drivers and front-seat passengers are required to wear seat belts. Drivers and passengers on motorcycles are required to wear helmets. Babies and toddlers should be placed in child safety seats.
Drivers involved in an accident are required by law to remain at the scene until the police arrive. However, if an angry crowd gathers and those involved in the accident feel threatened, police and judicial authorities have in the past not taken action against drivers who leave the scene if they have proceeded directly to a police station. While there are organizations that provide emergency or roadside assistance, their resources and capabilities are limited and they are on occasion unable to respond in non-life threatening incidents.
Public transportation by bus is available between the main towns until 11:00 p.m. and in remote areas until 6 p.m. Taxis are also available.
For additional information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at
For specific information concerning Mauritian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority via the Internet at
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT ^
As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and Mauritius, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Mauritius' Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
Please also refer to the separate Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.
May 7, 2004