Driving in Mauritius

Under the French colony, we drove on the right side. Under the British empire, we drove on the left side. Now independent, we drive on the middle of the road!

Mauritius is a relatively small island, just over 60 km long and less than 50 km wide. This is why it is perfectly possible to reach the four corners of the island in one day. However, when planning your itinerary by car in Mauritius, you should consider factors such as speed limits, small roads and rush hour traffic. Also, when planning your itinerary, please allow enough free time to visit most of the sights, attractions, centers and magnificent views that you will see along the way.

With many attractions and tourist places to visit, driving is very pleasant on Mauritian roads. The island is relatively small and car hire is probably the best deal to make the most of your vacation time. 

Driving License

Generally, a valid national driving license is required to rent a car and drive on the Mauritian roads. If you have an international driver's license, it's even better. Maurice was a British colony for the last two centuries. In this regard, expect to see the signs and directions displayed in English. As in Great Britain, Mauritian drive on the left of the road and the driver's seat is on the right of the vehicle. So, if you're not used to it, be careful when you get into a roundabout or leave a parking area. 

Highway V. Secondary Highways

The Mauritian Highway is a significant time saver, but driving on the highway is not as fun or interesting as driving on the gravel tracks lined with fields sugar cane, or hugging behind the yellow buses on narrow roads or stopping in the small, welcoming villages. Driving on the secondary highways will reveal a more intimate facet of Mauritius in these many hidden villages. That said, driving on secondary highways takes longer time than driving on the Highway.

Maps - A Precious Help!

Mauritius is a small island with numerous signposts along the main roads and each major interaction; so it's pretty easy to find your way. However, when you decide to leave the main roads, you will find fewer signs and you might easily get lost in between the narrow streets. That's why, a decent road map/ a GPS or even Google Maps can be very useful.

The friendly locals will be happy to help and show you the way - If you are not sure where you are and where to go, or if you are lost, simply ask the local directions to follow. Mauritians are very friendly people and are always happy to help you and show you the way to your destination. Many time you will find that you will not even need to ask for instructions as locals will be happy to advise you and show you the way before you even ask.

Road Rage

You will never ever find Road Rage in Mauritius. Mauritian are polite drivers that know. 

Horning

Unlike Europe, you should prepare yourself for some horning on the Mauritian Roads. While this phenomenon has considerably diminished over the past years, it is still incrusted in the genes of Mauritian drivers. This usually happens in during traffic jam and every now and then without any advertisement. Don’t worry, you will get used to it. 

Parking

Parking is available almost everywhere in Mauritius except in major downtown areas. In the downtown areas of Port Louis, Curepipe, Quatre-Bornes and Rose Hill there is a fee for street parking. The parking fee changes depending on the exact location. In most cases you will find signs clearly indicating the exact amount to pay and also the type of zone (parking zone 1 / zone 2). 

Depending on the type of parking area, you will know which parking ticket to use. Parking tickets are available at all service stations and with certain suppliers in the city centers. There are also available, private car parks in all downtown areas where you can park your car for an amount of about fifty rupees per hour.

Parking in Port Louis

When visiting Port Louis, it is advisable to park the car in the car park of the Caudan shopping center because it is more secure and so you avoid the worries of driving in the small streets and the chaotic circulation of Port Louis.

Tips and advice

  • With the exception of big cities, do not worry yourself to find parking
  • Never park on double yellow lines and yellow boxes
  • Virtually, every beach has a free parking space on the island.
  • Gas stations are found throughout the island. La Croisette, Pamplemousses, Calebasses, GRNW, Bagatelle, Curepipe and La Preneuse have gas stations which open 24/7.
  • Mauritians often use hand gestures to indicate the direction they intend to turn.
  • Mauritian often flash their headlights to signal problems ahead or speed controls. 
  • Rental cars have yellow license plates.
  • The limitation of alcohol is 50 mg
  • Aside from the airport, there are no road tolls in Mauritius
  • Seat belt use is mandatory
  • Speed limits are indicated everywhere. 
  • Mauritian motorists often honk. Do not be surprised if someone horns before you pass.

Speed limit

Speed limits are 40 km/h in urban areas and 80 km/h on main roads. On the highway of Mauritius, the average speed limit is 100 km/h and 110km/h in some areas. Please follow the speed indications as speed cameras are installed in certain areas.

Drive to the left

In Mauritius, as in most of the former British colonies, you drive to the left. But the priority remains for vehicles coming from the right. You should always overtake on the right.

Highways

Mauritius has only one highway. The only highway crosses the island diagonally, from the airport located in the southeast of the island and ends in the north of the island to Grand Bay. It's free of use.

Road signs

All road signs in Mauritius comply with international standards.

Rush Hours

You are more likely to experience heavy traffic during rush hour: between 07:30 - 09:30 and 15:00 - 18:00. During these busy periods, the entrances/exits of the cities are usually jammed.

Alcohol limitation

You are not allowed to have more than 50 mg of alcohol in your blood. Make sure you do not drink and drive!

Mobile phones

It is strictly forbidden to use hand held devices while you are driving.

Road Tolls

There are no road tolls in Mauritius.

Seat belts in Mauritius

Seat belt use is mandatory at all times for all passengers in the car.

Fuel

Unleaded gasoline and diesel are used at service stations.
Service stations are open daily from 6 am to 8 pm (some service stations are open until 10 pm).
There is no need to leave the car to refuel, simply park the car near a gas pump and an employee will come to your window and ask you the amount to put in to fill the tank.
Most petrol stations accept payment made using all major credit cards.