Mauritius is off the coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean. It is part of the Mascarene Islands (which includes Reunion and Rodrigues) and lies just above the Tropic of Capricorn.
Diving is most popular on the west coast. Due to strong currents and exposure to the south easterly trade winds (which are a common feature of the weather pattern), the south coast and several parts of the east coast can make diving here dangerous.
The coastline is characterised by a fringing reef a few hundred metres out to sea. Within the boundary of the reef, the water is calm, with excellent training spots for novices.
Visibility is mixed although not up to Red Sea standards. The same could be said of the reefs, which are rocky in parts and coral growth can be patchy. However, the existing coral is healthy, with mature table corals, fans and plenty of anemones.
[Thanks to Oliver Payne for the photograph]
- Silverstar wreck - an old fishing boat which sank in 1990.
- Bull sharks in the south of the island - but, beware, the currents are strong so this is an advanced dive.
- The Cathedral - a vast cave, penetrated by shafts of dancing light which can be reached through a small opening, 35 metres down a steep coral encrusted wall.
- The wreck of the Sirius, a 19th century British frigate, teeming with marine life thanks to the strict enforcement of the marine conservation policy, which has drastically improved the marine environment surrounded the island.
- Rempart Serpent - this site has a large concentration of several species of morays, Lionfish, stone fishes. An excellent place to observe dolphins is near Tamarin Bay in the southwest, where a large group of dolphins can be found.
- Risk of Malaria may exist in certain rural areas. Check for up-to-date information before travelling.
- The best time to travel is outside of the windy seasons (between February/March and September/October). The west and north of the island are generally warmer.
- The seas around Mauritius were not affected by the 1998 El Nino.
|Language:||French is the official language but Creole is mainly spoken.|
|Climate:||Tropical modified by SE trade winds; warm, dry winter (May-Nov); hot, wet, humid summers (Nov-May)|
|Natural hazards:||Cyclones (Nov-April)|
|Diving season:||Year round|
|Water temperature:||27C/80F (Jan-March)|