Mauritius Information - Page 1
The African island of Mauritius is in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. The Republic of Mauritius also includes the small islands of Rodrigues, Agalega and Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon).
Port Louis is the capital and the country's only commercial port.
The island, of volcanic origin, is surrounded by coral reefs. There is a small coastal plain, mountains and a central plateau. The Grand River South East is the longest river.
The climate is tropical with southeast trade winds.
The National Parks and Conservation Service is responsible for the protection of flora and fauna in Mauritius.
The Black River Gorges National Park was the first National Park to open on the island. Over three hundred species of flowering plants grow in the park and nine species of native birds inhabit the area.
The National Heritage Fund applied for inscription of Le Morne and Black River Gorges as a World Heritage site. Flat Island and Gabriel Island were also on the application list. (2006)
Mauritian architecture was influenced by Colonial styles. Houses were constructed in wood with big verandahs and shuttered windows.
Many buildings are listed as National Monuments of Mauritius. These include the Sugar Factory (Grande Rosalie), the Windmill Tower of Forbach, the Lighthouse at Ile aux Fouquets and Government House in Port Louis.
In 2006 Aapravasi Ghat, in the district of Port Louis, was added to the World Heritage List. The complex, consisting of an entrance gateway, immigration sheds and service quarters, was a depot for indentured labour before dispersal to plantations.
The population of Mauritius was estimated at 1,303,717 in 2011.
English and French are the official languages. Other languages spoken are Creole, Hindi, Urdu and Hakka.
Around half of Mauritians are Hindu. There are also Christians and Muslims.
The cuisine of Mauritius is influenced by Indian, Chinese, Creole and French cooking. Dishes are varied, for example, Indian curry, Chinese sweet and sour, Creole stew and French creme caramel.
Rice is served with meat and fish. Creole rougaille (tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, chili and thyme) often accompanies meals. Samosas and rotis are favourite snacks.
Fresh fruit juices, such as tamarind juice, are available. Alouda, a syrupy milk drink, is popular. Beer and rum are brewed locally.
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