Scuba Diving Mauritius
A sparkling crystal in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, will fascinate you. The contrast of colors, cultures and tastes makes the island so charming that the scene is set for an unforgettable holiday.
Mauritius, so far away, yet so much at home…
Here, you have the opportunity to experience unparalleled luxury: a level of refinement that is head and shoulders above that on offer in other tropical holiday destinations. Here, you will discover the true meaning of ‘beauty’ – a realization that will compel you to return to Mauritius’ shores time and again.
With 330 kilometres of coastline encircled by a coral barrier reef that protects the turquoise lagoons of the island, Mauritius offers exclusive diving experiences to its visitors all year round.
With its safe lagoons stretching up to the barrier reef, its passes, drop-offs and wrecks, the island provides a wide variety of dives for both beginners and those with more experience.
What is great about diving in Mauritius is the proximity to shore. Although most of the more challenging dive sites are found outside of the barrier reef, they are still invariably reached with a 20 minute boat ride.
When you dive in Mauritius you can explore coral reefs, multi-colored marine life, ship wrecks dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, or some ships sunk more recently which create beautiful artificial reefs. There are numerous dive sites strewn all around the island. Mauritius is almost completely encircled by a barrier coral reef which is home to many sponges, sea anemones and a variety of brightly colored fish such as Damselfish, Trumpet fish, Boxfish and clown fish, as well as the orange Mauritian scorpionfish.
North / north-west region
A wide variety of dives: The northern region offers some fascinating dives from depths of just 13 metres. Colourful corals, abundant aquatic life and wrecks scuttled in order to create artificial reefs all provide a platform for year-round diving here.
West / south-west region
Canyons, caves and chimneys: The west is the lee shore of Mauritius and, as such, enjoys the benefits of a year-round micro-climate. In this area, all dives are performed outside the barrier reef. The underwater landscapes of Flic -en- Flac have been formed by the currents; here, one will discover canyons, chimneys and an impressive array of caves. Further down, close to Le Morne Mountain and up to Black River, the coral sites are more colourful than on the east coast and are often visited by dolphins.
East / south-east region
A spectacular concentration of species: Just off the east coast, the beautiful lagoon that runs along the coast is scattered with numerous passes through the reef, providing easy access to the deep sea. These areas are rich in plankton and attract a wide variety of pelagic species. Of all the passes, the Belle Mare Pass is arguably the most stunning. Diving here is a real experience due to the strong currents that exist around it and the spectacular concentration of fish and invertebrate life it draws as a result.
DIVE SEASON: For the best diving conditions visit us anytime during October, November and December. Give a miss to our peak cyclone months which are January and February. March and April are also good for diving in Mauritius. June, July and August are our coldest months. May and September are our transition months.
VISIBILITY: It is a paradise for underwater photographers as water conditions for scuba divers are excellent all year round with water temperatures a constant 21-25 C°, with little or no currents and clear waters with an average of 20 – 30 meters or 60 feet to 90 feet visibility.
WATER TEMPERATURE: Depending on the season, Mauritius water temps range from the low 70s in winter to the low 80s in summer
WEATHER: Mauritius coastal temperatures range between 25°C and 33°C in summer and between 18°C and 24°C in winter. On the plateau it will be some 5°C cooler. The highlands are also the wettest part of the island – it can rain here at any time of year, and even when it’s not raining the area can be cloaked in low-lying cloud.
HOW TO DIVE MAURITIUS Most of the dive sites are located on the west coast around Flic-en-Flac or in the north, at Trou aux Biches or at the Northern Islands. The best time to go diving is from November to April with very good visibility underwater. The Mauritius Scuba Diving Association (MSDA) can provide further information.
CLIMATE: Mauritius enjoys a typically tropical climate with year-round heat, although the southeast trade winds help it never to feel too muggy.
The best months to visit Mauritius are May to early December. January and February, the peak cyclone months, are best avoided by water-sports enthusiasts and divers. Cyclones rarely hit Mauritius but cyclones way out at sea can bring days of squally rain.Coastal temperatures range between 25°C and 33°C in summer and between 18°C and 24°C in winter. On the plateau it will be some 5°C cooler. The highlands are also the wettest part of the island – it can rain here at any time of year, and even when it’s not raining the area can be cloaked in low-lying cloud. When the winds are at their strongest in July and August it can be blustery on the east coast, though the breeze brings welcome relief in summer.
LANGUAGE: The official language in Mauritius is English. As such, all government administrative documents are in the Commonwealth variety of English. However, French is the language most commonly used in formal settings, and is by far the dominant language in the mass media, as well as in corporate and business dealings. In fact, even English language television programs are usually dubbed into French.
ELECTRICITY: The Mauritius power supply 230V/50Hz (European or UK plug)
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: The Mauritian unit of currency is the rupee (Rs), which is divided into 100 cents. Visa and MasterCard are the most useful cards to carry, though Amex is catching up. Nearly all tourist shops and the more upmarket restaurants and hotels accept payment by credit card, as do car-hire companies, tour agents and so forth. Anywhere outside the main tourist haunts and small businesses still expect payment in cash.
GRATUITIES: Salaries are generally quite low in Mauritius, so extra tips are very much appreciated and will often help them reach the end of the month. Do not feel obliged, however a good trip is well appreciated by them.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: Mauritius’s telecommunications and internet industry is one of the most developed in Africa.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: Upon arrival in Mauritius, visitors undergo a security check and are requested to present a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of their departure. You don’t need a visa to enter Mauritius if you are a citizen of the EU, the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or a number of other countries.
CUSTOMS: Alcoholic beverages – up to one liter for hard liquor, and up to two liters for wine, per person aged 17 and over. Tobacco of all types – up to 250 grams per person aged 17 and over. Presents and other commodities – items other than alcoholic beverages, alcoholic perfumes, tobacco, and television sets, costing up to $200, as determined by the clerk at the entrance terminal, according to lists in his possession. Food – up to a total weight of three kilograms, on condition that the weight of each type of food does not exceed one kilogram.
GETTING THERE: Mainland Mauritius has only one airport, the well-run Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. There are two domestic airlines, Air Mauritius and Catovair, both of which connect mainland Mauritius with the island of Rodrigues. The national airline is Air Mauritius (MK), which has daily flights from London Heathrow. British Airways (BA) also flies directly from London Heathrow three times a week. There is no cheap time to fly to Mauritius, so in general terms book early to get the best fares and avoid Christmas.
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