Indeed true that tourist brochures usually present Mauritius as a stretch of paradisiacal white sandy beach lost in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but there’s more to it… Another striking fact when looking for the island on a map is its isolation. The volcano died there two hundred thousand years ago, and there are no recorded volcanic activities anymore. It has 330 km of coastline, mostly sandy and bordered by clear water: the brochures are right!
The island was formed since 8 million years and is located 900km east of Madagascar and 220 km northeast of Reunion Island. It is anchored in the southern hemisphere (north of the Tropic of Capricorn). It is part of the Mascarene Islands (named after the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas) together with Rodrigues, St Brandon, Agalega (Mauritian territories) and Reunion (French territory). These islands are in fact only the top part of a vast volcanic chain linking Seychelles (in the north) to Reunion (in the south).
- Capital of Mauritius : Port Louis (148 000 inhabitants).
- Continent / Location : African / Indian Ocean, Mascarene Islands
- Area : 1,865 km2 (330 km coastline). 108 km2 for Rodrigues.
- Highest point : Piton de la Rivière Noire (828m).
- Status : Republic of Mauritius since 1992 (parliamentary system). Rodrigues, autonomous, has a regional assembly since 2002.
- Population : 1,290,000 inhabitants (in 2013).
- Languages : English, Creole and French.
- Religions : Hinduism, Catholicism, Islam and Buddhism.