Former colonial outpost of three different nations and home to an array of colourful cultures, Mauritius is a truly diverse destination. Named after Dutch prince Maurice Van Nassau, the island was first discovered in the ninth century, and settled in the sixteenth, when the Dutch established a colony here. After introducing foreign fauna (and, unfortunately hunting the dodo to extinction), the Dutch departed in 1710 and the French arrived, settling in 1713 and renaming the island Ile de France. Some hundred years later, the British defeated the French, taking the island in December 1810 and renaming it Mauritius.
Now an independent Commonwealth nation (since 1968), Mauritius is today home to nearly 1.3 million people. Of Indian, African, Asian and European descent, our population enjoys multiple languages, faiths, customs and cuisines, plus Creole traditions that emerged from this cultural melting pot.
Aside from our fascinating heritage, Mauritius boasts a fascinating topographical make-up of volcanic peaks, river gorges, waterfalls, salt pans and sand dunes, with islets, lagoons and coral reefs off our shores. Our flora and fauna includes a number of endemic species, including the black-spined flying fox, the Mauritius kestrel, the pink pigeon, the Mauritius parakeet and an array of rare native reptiles.
Enjoying a balmy tropical climate, the island of Mauritius has two seasons – a hot and humid summer from November to April, and a cool, dry winter from May to October. The different sides of the island experience different levels of rainfall, with the eastern side being slightly wetter due to prevailing trade winds.