Geography Located just off the southeast coast of Africa, some 900km east of Madagascar, is the island nation of Mauritius. Surrounded by the warm Indian Ocean, the island is 2040km2 in size and forms part of the Mascarene Islands, with La Réunion to the southwest and Rodrigues to the northeast. As a Republic, it also includes the islands of Cargados Carajos, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands, while its capital is the city of Port Louis. Climate Mauritius enjoys a mild tropical climate all year round. The winter months are typically warm and dry from May to November, while summer is hot and quite humid from December to April. Coastal temperatures: 22°C in winter to 34°C in summer. Sea temperature: 22°C to 27°C. Language Mauritian Creole, French and English are mostly spoken on the island. While English is the only official language, the lingua franca is Mauritian Creole and the newspapers and television programmes are usually in French. Rodriguan Creole is a minority language and is spoken in certain parts of the country only. Culture The island is a melting pot of cultures with Indian, African, Chinese and French citizens adding to its unique diversity. As a former French and then British colony, the island also shows strong European influences. Money The local currency is the Mauritian Rupee (MUR) which is divided into 100 cents. Credit cards are accepted by most businesses. Driving The island has a network of well maintained roads, with a main dual-carriage way going across the island from the airport in the south through the capital city of Port Louis in the west and further towards the popular north coast. Multi-coloured buses and taxis are a safe and popular way to get around the island, while cars can also be hired. What to do Mauritius offers a wealth of natural beauty and exciting activities for every traveller. Visit the island's several unique natural features, including the 7-Coloured Earths of Chamarel, the Black River Gorges and two UNESCO World Heritage status monuments. For the sporty set, there are a number of world-class golf courses to enjoy, as well as a host of water sports such as deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling and kite surfing to name a few. Go trekking through the lush forest, or explore the nearby villages and markets on bicycle. The island offers a rich colonial history to be explored with fascinating local culture and a variety of exotic and colourful religious festivals. Hundreds of shopping centres sell locally made textiles, jewellery, sugar and local preserves. Visit the nature reserves where you can spot some of the native endangered species, both in the ocean and inland. Every moment in Mauritius is an opportunity to discover something new. Direct Flights Air Mauritius is the national carrier for the island. It operates a network of routes to the local islands and international destinations in Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia, with daily or weekly flights to most major cities in these destinations.