The Republic of Mauritius is an Indian Ocean archipelago situated about 2000 kilometers east of the continental African coast and roughly 5000 kilometers south-eastern of India. Together with other major islands in the region like Reunion, Rodrigues, Agalega and Saint Brandon, Mauritius is part of the Mascarene archipelago.
Mauritius has been described as the pearl of the Indian Ocean and a sparkling crystal in the turquoise ocean-waters. It is one of the most prized scuba diving and snorkeling spots in the world. Divers and other holidaymakers come from all corners of the globe to experience its serenity and beauty every year. The region is characterized by a massive number of areas with mind-boggling natural coral formations, a diverse collection of undersea flora and fauna in clear ocean waters, as well as a kaleidoscope of colors and exoticism that form an underwater paradise like no other.
Due to its location within the tropics, Mauritius is an ideal diving destination almost every single day of the year, though the best diving seasons lie between March and April, as well as October to December. Ocean-water temperatures range between 21 to 28 degrees Celcius throughout the year.
Some of the marine life found in Mauritius include: emperor angelfish, giant moray-eels, stone-fish, sperm whales and nudibranchs.
The Mauritius Scuba Diving Association lists up to 23 diving spots, with some of the most fabulous being located in the North and the West of the country. They include:
Trou aux Biches: together with Flic en Flac, this dive site is very popular with holidaymakers, more so experienced divers. The spot has a number of caves and caverns with scintillating coral reef formations and an abundance of marine life. It also has a number of legendary ship-wrecks that one can explore.
Rivière Noire: apart from scuba diving and snorkeling, this site is also an ideal spot for those who want to enjoy a great deal of deep-sea fishing. Others are Grand Bay, Blue Water Diving Center, Mont Choisy, Colorado and Roche Zozo.
Aside from diving, there is a myriad of other non-diving activities that you can experience in Mauritius. They include: enjoying the scenery of the dramatic virgin forests at Black River Gorges National Park; a number of historic sights and a blend of cultural diversity.
Hotels, resorts and PADI diving operators in Mauritius include: Baystone Boutique Hotel & Spa, Constance Le Prince Maurice, Diving World Ltd, LUX Belle Mare, Blue Water Diving Center and Tamassa Resort.
Mauritius has two major airports: Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Int’l Airport and Sir Gaetan Duval Airport. Once inside, visitors can use ferries, boats as well as motorized road transport to navigate through the country.
Some Safety Precautions
– Don’t always choose the dive school offering the cheapest rates for diving just because you want to save on cost. Due to the high expenses involved in the maintenance and running costs in this area, a company that is offering very low rates may actually be compromising on other aspects like equipment and safety.
– It is advisable to take a medical examination before you travel to Mauritius to make sure you are fit and well to go diving. Click here for an example of a PADI Medical Form that you will need to complete before diving.
– Finally, be sure to verify your dive instructor’s dive qualification, as well as the membership of the dive school you choose. Look out for recognized diving organizations like PADI, SSI & CMAS.
So, if you are looking to be in a tropical paradise of scuba diving and snorkeling, then Mauritius is the place to be!