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Port Louis, Mauritius. Photo: Peter Kuchar / Creative commons

Mauritius

10 months ago
Written by Ronald Toppe
Ports > Mauritius

Mauritius

10 months agoPorts
Written by Ronald Toppe
Port Louis, Mauritius. Photo: Peter Kuchar / Creative commons

Statsraad Lehmkuhl visits Mauritius December 2 - 5 2022

The Republic of Mauritius is an island state in the Indian Ocean, 2,000 kilometers off the coast of Africa - east of Madagascar. The republic consists of the islands Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agaléga, St. Brandon and a number of smaller islands. The island of Mauritius is the largest and most populous. A total of 1.3 million people live here, most of them in Port Louis on the north-west coast.

Gris Gris Beach Photo: Simisa / Creative Commons
Gris Gris Beach Photo: Simisa / Creative Commons

Large economic zone

The Republic Mauritius is small, only 2,040 square kilometers, like the Norwegian municipality of Voss. But since the islands are spread out, the economic zone is enormous, a whopping 2,300,000 square kilometers. That is as much as Norway's economic zone, and among the largest in the world.

Here, Mauritius has exclusive rights to the natural resources, both the fish in the sea, minerals on the seabed, oil and gas.

Uninhabited

Mauritius was uninhabited until 975, when Arab sailors came to the island. But it was not until the early 17th century that people settled there. First the Dutch, and then the French in 1715. As part of the settlement after the Napoleonic Wars, Great Britain took over Mauritius in 1814, and the country was a British colony until 1968.

French plantation owners brought African slaves to Mauritius. The descendants of the slaves, creoles, and of the Indian guest workers who came to the islands after slavery ended in 1833, are the two largest population groups now. English is the official language of Mauritius, but most people speak a creole language based on French on a daily basis.

Long Mountain Photo: Simisa / Creative Commons
Long Mountain Photo: Simisa / Creative Commons

Volcanic

The island of Mauritius is volcanic, and was created only eight million years ago. There are no active volcanoes on the island now, but its origins are evident in the form of 800 meter high mountains and a rugged lava landscape.

Along the coast there are more than 150 kilometers of lovely white sandy beaches, protected from the ocean by the world's third largest coral reef outside.

The beach is endless. Photo: Portang / Creative Commons
The beach is endless. Photo: Portang / Creative Commons

Extinct

The island has a unique wildlife, with several species that can only be found here, what we call endemic. Many of the animals had few natural enemies before humans arrived, such as the dodo.

Dodo, painted by Roelant Savery in 1626
Dodo, painted by Roelant Savery in 1626

The large bird could not fly and was easy prey, and was extinct only a few decades after the first Dutch settled. Rats and cats that came with the ships exterminated several other species of birds and reptiles.

Phelsuma Ornata, and endemic gecko. Photo: Luke J. Harmon / Creative Commons
Phelsuma Ornata, and endemic gecko. Photo: Luke J. Harmon / Creative Commons

Only two percent of the original forest now remains, and more than a hundred endemic species of animals and plants are gone forever.

Tourism

Mauritius is a popular destination, and tourism is, together with agriculture, fisheries and finance, an important business. More than 1.4 million people visit the islands every year, both to enjoy life on the beaches and to go for walks in the national parks.

Black River Gorges national park. Photo: Adamina / Creative Commons
Black River Gorges national park. Photo: Adamina / Creative Commons

Agreeable

The climate in Mauritius is tropical, with a humid summer from November to April, and a dry winter from June to September. Annually, 900 millimeters of rain falls along the coast, roughly the same as in Oslo, and 1,500 millimeters in the mountains. The temperature is pleasant all year round, and varies around 25 degrees in summer and 20 degrees in winter.

There is no reason not to take a swim, the sea temperature varies between 22 to 27 degrees.

Normal maximum temperature in December: 31 ℃
Normal rainfall in December: 85 mm

Next port: Maputo
Previous port: Jakarta

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The One Ocean Expedition is a circumnavigation by the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl. We aim to to share knowledge about the crucial role of the ocean for a sustainable development in a global perspective.

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