The prominent Mark Twain eternalized Mauritius after quoting a Mauritanian: “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius.”
It’s arguably the most beautiful place on Earth, the land of the turquoise lagoon, where you’d be hard pressed to find a spot that doesn’t look perfect. Scuba diving Mauritius is just as heavenly, and should be on every divers to-do list.
A little about Mauritius
It’s comprised of the two main islands Mauritius and Rodrigues, and the outer islands Agaléga and St. Brandon (and two disputed territories, and is also considered part of the Mascarene Islands – also known as the Mascarenhas Archipelago – together with Réunion Island.
The inner parts of the islands are covered in rainforests and waterfalls, and they were the only known living location of the Dodo, unfortunately made extinct after the islands’ habitation. Today, the interiors of the islands are a big draw for naturalists because of the national parks and the many endemic species they protect.
Its culture is interesting and unique and add an extra layer to Mauritius’ charm, because its population is multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multicultural, and multilingual, making this destination a treat, because every encounter with a local or a visitor tends to be unique.
Guide to Scuba Diving Mauritius
A fantastic destination for scuba diving and snorkeling, Mauritius has it all. The warm waters are filled with all kinds of distinct flora and fauna with varying shapes and sizes, and the bottom of the sea is filled with crevasses, reefs, caverns, and corals.
Its underwater topography is a sight to behold, and that’s the case on every side of the island.
Diving is well regulated and of a good standard in Mauritius, and takes place the entire year, but the best times for Scuba diving Mauritius are from October to December, and from March to April. Visibility is almost always great, and can be as high as 40m, making the island’s popular dive sites easy to spot and navigate in.
The more popular sites tend to be in the North and West part of the island, but that’s not to say that the other parts are not worth checking out. Exploring the sites is a treat, and really interesting, because there are different things to see, including ship wrecks, like at Troux aux Biches.
The beautiful turquoise waters of Mauritius hosts some wonderful marine life. There are over 430 different underwater creatures alongside over 200 different types of coral.
These are found in the reefs, as they provide the perfect breeding grounds for proliferation of marine animals. Special steps are being taken to protect the marine life, because delicate balance is required to allow the underwater creatures to thrive in.
In the waters there all kinds of fish, eels, and sharks. Because there too many of them to list here are some examples:
- Giant Moray-eel
- Spotfin porcupinefish
- Yellow-edged lyretail
- Crown squirrelfish
- Indian Lionfish
- Moorish Idol
- Blacktip Grouper
- Checkerboard Wrasse
- Giant Trevally
- Bluestripe Snapper
Dive sites in Mauritius
Scuba diving Mauritius offers plenty of chances for different types of underwater experiences. There is a plethora of dive locations scattered all around the island.
There is no one single best place – all of them are amazing. It’s important to note that not all sites are suitable for beginners, as some of them might be difficult to navigate in without more experience. In no particular order or ranking, here are some fantastic places to dive in Mauritius.
Flic en Flac – This is the highlight of Mauritius diving, and is even listed on our top 100 list of best dive locations. If you are coming to Mauritius for scuba diving, this is the one not to miss.
St. Jacques – One of the most popular sites to dive in, St. Jacques is an excellent drift dive. The dive starts in shallower parts of the lagoon at about 5m (15 feet) depth, and divers go with the current that carries them over the reef pass, past the coral walls and rock pinnacles, all while keeping an eye out for the local grey reef sharks.
Hoi Siong No 6 – at the bottom of the ocean, this intentionally sunk fishing vessel has been given a new lease of life as an artificial coral. At a depth of 29m (95 feet) the Hoi Siong wreck has transformed from a seafaring vessel to a marine life sanctuary that draws all kinds of sea creatures and divers alike.
The Cathedral – a stunningly beautiful diving location, the Cathedral is known for its wonderful topography. It features grand caverns, caves, and arches, and is a beloved dive site that hosts all kinds of flora and fauna. The dive itself starts at about 18m (60 feet) and finishes at about 30m (100 feet) on the neat, sandy floor.
Sirius Wreck – a unique dive site to visit, this is not an intentionally sunk ship but rather sunk on the battle Maeburg in 1810. The HMS Sirius was a British navy vessel, and today it lies 25m (80 feet) bellow the sea. The dive starts from a depth of 18m (59 feet) and finishes at 25m. It’s recommended to dive here from November through May, because the average temperature stays around 28°C (82°F) making the dive an enjoyable experience.
L’Aquarium – a thoroughly relaxing dive, the Aquarium is located in a deep canyon down a very narrow gorge at a depth of about 20m (65 feet). The diving conditions are generally good the entire year even though the high season is from November to mid-January, and the water temperature ranges from 22C to 28°C (71°F to 82°F).
Djabeda Wreck – located off the village Cap Malheureux, the Djabeba Wreck is considered an advanced dive spot that sits a depth of 25 to 35m (82 to 115 feet). The Djabeda was Japanese fishing boat that sunk in 1998, it’s a spot that’s teeming with life. Diving on this spot is available throughout the entire year, but the best months are from October to March, and the water temperature ranges from 24°C (75°F) to 28°C (82°F).
Coral Garden – located on the coast of Grand Baie village, the Coral Garden is a magnificent site to dive that consists of large rock structures that form giant steps, hosting hard and soft corals. It’s the unique coral formations like the gourgonian fan coral that make this dive spot a fantastic site for divers to experience.
Silver Star Wreck – a more advanced dive site, the Silver Star Wreck sites at a depth from 22m (72 feet) to a maximum of 39m (127 feet). The best time for diving from mid-October to mid-May, because that’s when the water reaches ideal diving temperatures of around 27°C (80°F) making the dive a thoroughly enjoyable one.
Water Lily and Emily Wrecks – an interesting and unique dive spot even for a wreck, this is a site that consists of two old water barges lying at an angle to each other on the sandy bottom of the ocean at a depth of 25m (85 feet), and because of their adjacency they can be reached in one dive, however it’s not recommended for beginners, because the Water Lily and Emily Wreck as considered an advanced dive spot.
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Travel information about Mauritius
Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean is known for its lagoons, reefs, and beaches. The total area is 2,040km² and a population of approximately 1,262,132.
Explore the mountainous interior where Black River Gorges National Park is to be found, rainforests, waterfalls, wildlife, and hiking trails. Visit also the Pereybere where Mangrove forest visits, water skiing, and swimming are possible.
Capital city of Mauritius: Port Louis
Best times to visit Mauritius: Best time to go is from May to December where the weather is cool, dry and sunny.
How to get to Mauritius: Direct flights are only served from London to Mauritius so no direct flights from the US and Canada. One will have to travel via London or Paris.
Visa requirements for Mauritius: Visa free for US nationals and some other countries for 90 days.
Currency of Mauritius: Mauritian rupee (MUR) is the currency of Mauritius.
Official Language of Mauritius: No official language but French, English, and Mauritian Creole are spoken.
UNESCO World Heritage sites in Mauritius
There are 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mauritius and 1 on their tentative list.
- Aapravasi Ghat (2006)
- Le Morne Cultural Landscape (2008)
Dive Shops in Mauritius
There are plenty of dive shops in Mauritius and the best way to discover them is through the Mauritius Scuba Diving Association (MSDA).
The reputable dive shops are affiliated with the MSDA and must abide a set of statutes and rules that allow good diving business practices that include diver safety and environmental care.
There are plenty of dive shops to choose from, and scuba diving is considered a reputable part of the tourism industry.
Prodive Limited is one of the more popular dive shops that offer both PADI and Naui instruction at three locations that include Trou aux Biches and Grand Baie. They do daily diving excursions to many different dive sites, and they offer accommodation packages at the Casuarina Hotel.
Orca Dive Clubs is a popular dive shop on the North side of the island that offers PADI and SSI training, and daily boat drives from the Merville Beach Resort.
Emperator Diving Center offers PADI instructions daily boat diving tours, and operates at three locations, and they do boat trips to some of the northern islands.
Atlantis Diving Center operates in the northern area that offers PADI training and diving in Trou aux Biches.
Sun Divers LTD. is the first PADI diving center and has been in business for over 20 years. They are located in the southern area and have two diving boats that have tours for over 30 dive spots.
Getting to Mauritius
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airpot (MRU) is located in the South-eastern part of the island and receives daily flights from Africa, Asia, and Europe.
It’s easy to rent a car in Mauritius and is a popular choice, and because the island’s small size, taxis operate everywhere and easily reach any destination. Also, there is an available bus service.
Mauritius is a fantastic destination for everyone, diver and non-diver alike. It has an appeal like few other places in the world, and is a place that will be a prime destination for years to come.
Its amazing resorts, tourist avenues, and water sport spots make Mauritius a destination that will stick with a traveler for a long time after visiting.
It’s one of those must-see places of the world that is popular for a reason and one you won’t soon forget.
Scuba diving safety tips
Keep these rules of thumb in mind whenever you are on or by the water:
- Think safety at all times. Planning reduces risk and gives you more worry-free fun.
- Bring the necessary equipment. It should be in good condition and easily accessible.
- Respect the sea and the weather. Only go out with your boat when it is safe.
- Follow the rules of the sea, and make sure you know what they are.
- Wear life jackets or other flotation devices.
- Make sure you are rested and sober. Do not drive a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Be considerate, and remember that safety, the environment, and the well-being of everybody is a common responsibility.