Mauritius, like in any place on earth, keeps its potential danger hidden behind the image of luxury and paradise that it casts around it. Staying safe during your stay is a priority. When first arriving at your destination, you will have to note down or to look for a phonebook containing the telephone numbers of emergency. Some of the numbers are listed below:
- Emergency : 114
- Ambulance : 999
- Police emergency : 999 or 112
Those telephone numbers concern immediate help. It will however be better to know the telephone numbers of any important branches found at the locality to speed up the process of getting into contact with a person who will be able to help you.
If you grew up abroad, you will be very surprised to see how Mauritian homes are set up. Nearly, all houses are surrounded by a wall and a main gate. The windows are framed with anti-theft bars. The upper middle class families often have an alarm system or cameras to guard their homes. It can sound creepy and maybe you ask yourself if ever Mauritians feel imprisoned in their own homes. But it is not the case. It has been an old habit to keep homes safe from thieves and attacks. Although those mean of security is strongly followed, theft or attacks still occur on a regular basis. It is not advisable to keep a spare key under a pot of plant or under the doormat. Keeping valuable belongings near the window is also to be avoided. While living here, you will have to get rid of some unconscious habits like e.g. simply closing a door and not locking it.
Unfortunately, pepper sprays are not allowed here. On the occurrence of attacks or indecent assault, your only weapon will be your voice. Especially in public places, screaming will help you enormously. It is not unknown to have perverts trying to touch or molest women on public buses. Generally, it is quite safe to use electronic devices such as laptops or smartphones in public places. The only thing is to know where and when. Walking alone at night, especially in areas where clubbing thrives, is to be avoided unless you are in a group or accompanied. Try to keep bank notes in your pockets instead of purses as handbags are often snatched. Be very careful when you walk on streets especially those which contain hawkers in Port Louis.
Since the 1st January 2014, a new law is being enforced on Mauritian roads. Drivers are required to have a high-visibility clothing in hand. Motorcyclists and cyclists are required to always wear them whenever they are driving. Backpacks are not allowed to be worn in those cases. Drivers who change their wheels at night should absolutely wear this clothing to be seen by upcoming drivers and avoid being knocked down.
Mauritian drivers are also not the most polite ones. Being diplomatic will help you when arguing with someone if ever an accident occurs or wait for the police to resolve the issue.
Mauritian roads are narrow and less spacious than European or American ones. You will need a lot of dexterity to control your car. Note that cars drive on the left hand side of the road and the priority is for vehicles coming from the right. Foreigners are required to have their international license or a license issued by a competent foreign authority to drive. British car license is accepted automatically. While renting for a car, you will have to check if the required accessories are present. They are the yellow chalk, the warning triangle, the fire extinguisher, an accident report and the high-visibility clothing. If ever one of them is missing, ask the car rental company to provide it to you.
Do not swim in any case when the weather is bad, especially if a cyclone alert has been declared and no matter how weak this alert is. The cyclone warning ranges from I to IV with the strength increasing in ascending order. Generally, a swimming area is most of the time demarked in the lagoon with the help of yellow floating balloons. Swim in those areas. Beach officers will guide you while doing aquatic activities such a kayak.
Holidays can be great and memorable. It is better to be prudent for it to stay so. Do not be scared to ask for help in any case. Most Mauritians will be willing to help you.