Living in Mauritius
Lowdown from a local7th Oct 2020
Living in Mauritius is basically like living in paradise, but there is more to this lovely island than the beaches and luxury resorts. When I go overseas and tell people I am from Mauritius, they’re pretty envious that I get to wake up to white sandy beaches every day. Yet, there is so much more to Mauritius than what you see in the pages of travel brochures.
For me, and the 1.2 million other Mauritians who call this beautiful island home, Mauritius is just the same as any other country. We work here, send our kids to school here, and lead pretty ordinary lives.
Day-to-day life in Mauritius
I live on the north coast of Mauritius, in an area called Saint-Antoine, with my husband and two young children. Saint-Antoine is much quieter than the busier neighbouring villages of Grand Baie and Pereybere, where you find everyday conveniences like schools, shopping malls, restaurants and bars.
Something that is often not mentioned or seen by tourists is the traffic in Mauritius. We don’t have an operational railway system on the island, so the main mode of transportation is by road, and nearly everyone has a car. Traffic can be heavy, especially during peak times, so choosing to live somewhere that is in close proximity to schools, clinics and shopping amenities is essential.
A typical working day in Mauritius will generally start at 8:30 and end at 17:00 but some people will work after hours. Shops are generally open until 17:00 but our shopping malls and supermarkets are open much later, until 21:00 or 22:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. Even though we are a laid-back island, we still have all the amenities you need to go about your everyday life, and we also have a lot of South African brands, including Woolworths, Steers, Ocean Basket, Debonairs Pizza and even Mugg & Bean.
Schools in Mauritius
Mauritius has a well-established network of international schools that have been around for decades, and even most of the local schools on the island work according to international standards. My son goes to Green Coast – an international English-medium school situated in the Beau Plan Smart City in the north – and my daughter attends Petit Poucet, an English- and French-medium kindergarten in Labourdonnais, also in the north.
Language and culture in Mauritius
Our country was first colonised by the Dutch, then by the French, and subsequently by the English. So, even though English is the official language, only administrative formalities are done in English. You will find that most of the locals feel more comfortable speaking French or Creole, which is a dialect derived from the French language. I love that my kids are trilingual – they tend to speak French at home with me and my husband, Creole with their nanny, and mainly English at school.
Without sounding arrogant, I believe the Mauritian people are incredibly warm, open, and welcoming. Even though there is huge ethnic and religious diversity, there is still a strong harmony between different cultures and religions, and the majority of Mauritian people choose to live peacefully. It is one of the reasons why crime is relatively low here, especially in comparison to that in South Africa. We have an alarm system, although many of our neighbours don’t, and there has been no crime in our neighbourhood. We do not live in a security estate.
Bottom line – Mauritius really is a tropical paradise
I love Mauritius and the outdoor lifestyle that this warm climate brings. We tend to go to the beach on the weekends all year round, and really enjoy the different cultural festivals, foods and music. Our capital city, Port Louis, has on many different occasions been voted one of the world’s greatest cities for street food, and I love that my kids get to enjoy this, and so much more. So, yes, even though our weekdays are much like those of the people in almost any city of the world, we get to have mini-breaks in a tropical paradise with lovely sandy beaches and turquoise waters – every weekend!