Driving in Mauritius
If you are used to driving on the right, stay cautious, since you will have to drive on the left in Mauritius whilst priority is for vehicles coming from the right - a totally new experience!
Mauritius being a small island of approximately 60km in length and under 50km across, makes it possible to drive around the four corners of the island in a single day. Getting an opportunity to drive in Mauritius is a great experience as you get to see amazing scenery, a beautiful landscape, breathtaking mountains, and beautiful sugarcane plantations along the roads.
If you get to drive along the coast, it’s even better as you will never forget the scintillating sight of sparkling waters and gorgeous sandy beaches. Prior to travelling to Mauritius kindly check with the relevant authorities of your country whether it has signed a convention with Mauritius regarding your national driver’s license enabling you to drive on the island with that license because at times your national driver’s license is not sufficient for driving here, then an International driver’s license will have to be obtained before coming to Mauritius. If you have a valid driving license, then the streets and highways of Mauritius are open for you to drive through and have an amazing experience. If you are used to driving on the right, stay cautious, since you will have to drive on the left in Mauritius whilst priority is for vehicles coming from the right. – a totally new experience!
One of the best ways to explore Mauritius is by taking a car on rental. There is so much to admire on this small island and having your own means of transport will make it easier for you to visit the island at your own pace. When planning your road trip across the island, you should take into account some factors such as the speed limitations and the heavy traffic during rush hours.
Traffic: During week days there is heavy traffic during in the morning from 07:30 to 09:30, and the afternoon from 15:00 to 18:00 mainly in Port Louis and Ebene area and at the entrances/exits of the main cities (Phoenix, Rose Hill, Beau Bassin, Quatre Bornes & Curepipe). You may avoid major traffic halts during rush hours, by taking sideroads, through beautiful small villages, giving you a taste of the rural part of the country at the same time. During week end there is still traffic jams in the above mentionned places but to a lesser extent. While planning your itinerary make sure to leave some spare time to visit many of the sights, attractions, and beautiful viewpoints you will encounter along the way.
Speed limits: The normal speed of your vehicle should be between 40 km to 60 km per hour on Mauritian roads across villages and city centers. You can drive up to 110 km per hour but on the highway only. Mauritius has only one highway. The highway starts from the airport situated in the South East of the Island and ends in the North at Grand Baie. Make sure to follow the speed signs, avoid over speeding on the roads as there are many sharp curved roads, which go through thick jungles, along the coast, and flank steep hills.
Roads conditions & Signs: Mauritius has well-built main roads, marked with sign boards which are of international standard for safety and indicating attractions such as public beaches and public places of interest. However, lateral roads are often too narrow and not well maintained.
Parking: Free parking is available in many places around the island like the public beaches and shopping malls. However in the main city centers (Port-Louis, Curepipe, Quatre-Bornes and Rose-Hill), you will have to pay for parking your vehicle using prepaid parking coupons. The parking coupons are sold at all the petrol stations and in some shops in the city centers. The charge for parking is normally at 20 / 30 Rupees per hour depending on the location. You will find clear sign posts indicating the paid parking slots, information on zone type (Parking Zone 1 / Zone 2) and corresponding fees which apply. This will enable you to know which parking coupon to use. There are also private car parks in the city centers where you can park your car for a higher charge of about 50 Rupees / hour.
Fuel / Petrol: Petrol stations are open everyday from 06:00 to 20:00 (some are open until 22:00 and some24hrs/24 like the one next to Bagatelle shopping mall). Unleaded fuel and diesel are available in all petrol stations. Most petrol stations accept payments by cash but also through major credit cards but make sure to confirm same with the station’s attendants prior to filling in your tank.
Driving Precautions & Rules in Mauritius:
- Drinking is prohibited while driving. You are not allowed to have more than 50mg of alcohol in the bloodstream. Don’t drink and drive!
- Mobile usage while driving is not allowed
- Kids under the age of 10 cannot occupy the front seat
- Be cautious of motor bikes while driving on Mauritian roads, as they tend to violate driving rules and overtake on the left
- Fasten your seat belt and use baby car seat. Wearing seat belts is mandatory at any given time for all car passengers.
- Do not leave precious belongings in the car unattended
- There are no road tolls in Mauritius.
This being said, you can even ride bikes and bicycles to explore the island’s beautiful natural sceneries and landscapes, which remain a great source of enjoyment for both locals and tourists.