Mauritius or Ile’Maurice, as it is known in French, is a small island located in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Densely populated, it is one of the wealthiest countries of Africa. Geographically, it lies to the east of Madagascar Island near South Africa. The Portuguese explorers unearthed this beauty of an island in the early 1500’s; then the French and lastly the British annexed it until it became independent in 1968 and a republic in 1992, after which it was renamed the ‘Republic of Mauritius’. The small city of Port Louis is the capital of this island country. Here are some intriguing facts on this tourists’ paradise:
1. The Island was a result of volcanic eruption in the Indian Ocean, millions of years ago.
2. The extinct bird of Dodo found only in this island is the national bird of Mauritius.
3. The small capital city of Port Louis is the economic seat of the island housing more than 40% of its population.
4. Sugarcane is the most important cash crop cultivated in this island, occupying almost 80 percent of this charming island. Both Tea and Sugarcane are the main crops exported from here contributing to the country’s economy
5. Tourism is the next bigger earner as it is surrounded by breath-taking turquoise- coloured ocean waters, white sand and mesmerizing beaches
6. The island, though small in area, has diverse flora, climate and variations in topography
7. Interestingly, there are no wild animals in the country, and snakes that inhabit the island are, by nature, non-poisonous.
8. There were no terrestrial animals before the Portuguese invasion in 1507. This allegedly helped in the import of large number of large reptile species and flightless birds
9. There are no railways in Mauritius currently.
10. The most popular form of musical style here is Sega Music. Other popular musical genres are its Seggae, Bhojpuri songs and fusion music.
11. Mauritius is the only country within the African continent having the largest number of Hindu population.
12. The average life expectancy of people in Mauritius is 73 years making it the highest amongst developing countries.
13. The social structure of the country is made of innumerable ethnic groups whose actual figures are still unknown; thanks to the constitutional amendment of 1982 which prohibits the survey of these ethnic groups.
14. It does not maintain armed forces
15. The population of Mauritius is made of Muslims, Hindus and Creoles, who are primarily Catholic. The official languages of the island include French, Bhojpuri, English and Creole.
16. The island is full of coral reefs which keep the temperature of ocean water comparatively lower than the high seas, and protects the tourists from attacks by jellyfish, sharks and other aquatic lives.
17. The island is prone to be hit by topical storms mainly because it lies in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
18. The local food of the islanders is a mix of Indian, Chinese and Creole with many dishes that are island-exclusive. An assortment of spices flavours the island’s local cuisines.
19. The island’s public holidays comprise local cultural festivals, in addition to those celebrated by the Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Chinese.
20. The island’s Parliament is a 70-member constitution that elects a president through elections held every five years.
21. Another intriguing sight here is the presence of ‘seven coloured earth’ in Charamel where the relatively small area of sand dunes, formed by volcanic activities, has sands of seven distinct colours. The samples are collected and sold as souvenir in local shops.