Driving in Mauritius (and travelling)

Probably the best way to discover Mauritius is by car. In Mauritius you drive on the left hand side of the road and give way to the right.

Driving in Mauritius, and that on left hand side, can be challenging for first timers notwithstanding the different driving culture in Mauritius.

Whilst driving through Mauritius, you may encounter road works where the traffic is manually controlled by 2 persons at either end, turning stop and go signs instead of traffic lights, you will see scooters loaded with families of three or weird things, people running across the motorway, at night in certain areas of Mauritius, and more so the villages, people playing cards on a table set up in the road's curb, just to mention a few experiences.

The Mauritians' easy-going way of life, friendliness and tolerance can also be experienced when driving. You may be asking for the way and they'll just lead and show you how to get there even if it means going out of their way to make sure you don't get lost.

Even though everything is easy, there are some traffic rules which should be observed.

Speed limits in Mauritius

In town you "should" only drive 40 km/h . The "Speed Zone 40 km/h" signs show that speed limitation. On country roads the speed limit is 80 km/h and on the dual carriage way  (motorway) it is 110 km/h, taxis have to drive slower..

Roundabouts

mauritius-roundabout

When driving on the dual carriage way (motorway)  there are many roundabouts. Drivers approaching a roundabout give way to those who are driving in it. As long as you would like to stay at the dual carriage way  (motorway) you can choose both lanes. If you would like to leave the motorway to turn to the left you should change to the left lane and if you wish to leave the roundabout at the third exit just take the right lane.

It sounds a bit complicated, but most of the time there are street signs which show which lane to choose and during rush hour the police will control the traffic.

Parking

parking-mauritius

Except for the cities Port Louis, Rose Hill, Curepipe and Quatre Bornes public parking is free of charge and easy accessible, but in those cities parking is only possible with a parking ticket. Those tickets can be bought at petrol stations. They are valid for either an half-hour or one hour and will be filled by the driver when he parks the car. There are two different zones and depending on the zone parking is either 10 or 20 Rupees an hour.

In Port Louis I would advise you to park your car in Caudan Waterfront. It costs 85 Rupees for the first 2 hours, but it is much more relaxed. The parking lot can easily be found and you won’t have to go into the city with all the traffic. Another opportunity for people who know Port Louis a bit would be parking at the racecourse (hippodrome) , which is only available when no race takes place generally in the summer season (See Peak season in Mauritius).

Refuelling

Petrol stations are usually easy to find. Nevertheless there are almost no 24/7 stations so you better refill the tank before going on a trip at night. There is one in Tamarin since 2015 .

Car Rentals

If you want to rent a car in Mauritius, you should know that all official rental cars have a yellow licence plate (no longer the case 2016) . If someone wants to give you a car with a normal black plate, you should ask for a huge discount. 

Unofficial traffic rules

There are some traffic rules which are matter of common knowledge:

Outstreched hand

while driving

I am turning!

in a traffic jam

Caution I am changing lane! You let me in, do you?

Car which is driving very much on the left side

I don’t really want to drive faster today. Plese just overtake me.

waving

Overtake!! Now! You can!

Honking shortly

while driving

Caution! I am coming! Please stay at your lane because I am overtaking!

at traffic lights

Go! It is gone green! Probably you know it, but just to make it a bit faster.

Honking

I had right of way!!

Policeman who waves during rush hour

Faster please! How else should this traffic jam ever end?

Travelling by bus

Mauritius has a good bus network, which is spread throughout the country. So most of the locals use the bus to get around Mauritius.

Travelling by bus in Mauritius is becoming more comfortable on main routes, as for the other routes it's "special adventure" which you should consider the experience. Furthermore, it is the cheapest way of travelling in Mauritius.

If you have a long distance to travel, make sure you have ample time to return. Depending on the region the last buses leave between 18:00 hrs and 20:00 hrs.

The fare for one bus ride varies between MUR 18 to 32 . If you have to change bus you need a new ticket. The ticket can be purchased with the bus controller. Signs on the front side of the bus indicates destination stop. There are timetables for buses however not "always" reliable.

Here you can find some information about the local public transport which might help you to find the right bus:

On the homepage www.govmu.org you can click on “Bus Timetable”. There you can download various bus plans as Word or PDF file.
Have a look at Mauritius Buses.

The major bus companies in Mauritius are:

· National Transport Corporation (NTC): (+230) 426 29 38.
· United Bus Service (UBS):  (+230) 212 20 26.
· Mauritius Bus Transport (MTB), Long Mountain (Mr. Dhiraj Dosieah): (+230) 245 25 39.
· Triolet Bus Service (TBS): (+230) 261 67 25
· Rose Hill Transport (RHT):  (+230) 464 12 21

Other related pages to driving in Mauritius

Pages for Driving - Africa - Mauritius - Traffic Offences and Fines  
Traffic offences and fines in Mauritius Page 1 of 3 
Traffic offences and fines in Mauritius Page 2 of 3 
Traffic offences and fines in Mauritius Page 3 of 3

Other interesting links:

Take away restaurants in Mauritius
Public Holidays in Mauritius