Written by Scott Angell

Mauritius is one of Africa’s more affluent destinations; a tropical paradise in the southwest Indian Ocean. A popular honeymoon destination, Mauritius has lots to explore - unique wildlife, dense forests, lavish beaches and Rocky Mountains. Its vast sandy shores, historical artefacts and incredible local cuisines make it a truly wonderful holiday destination.

With a population of around 1.3 million people, it’s no surprise that this beautiful island attracts a similar number of tourists each year. However, when venturing to any holiday destination it’s really important to consider the differing laws and customs; things that are totally accepted in British culture and law could get you into serious trouble elsewhere. Despite foreign prisoners making up only 6.4% of the prison population in Mauritius, it’s important to know how to stay safe and out of trouble on the island…

The police will sometimes ask foreigners to show identification, so you should carry identification with you at all times to avoid trouble – remember to make photocopies of your passport and your driving licence so you can use these, if you need to leave original documents in a safe place.

Who knew? But, in Mauritius It is illegal to possess or import cigarette papers, so bear that in mind.

Mauritius is a relatively conservative society. While the law does not criminalise homosexuality, the LGBT community should bare caution. In 2018 the Pride march in Port Louis was disrupted and stopped from going ahead by protestors. Levels of acceptance vary across the country, but discretion is advised. For more information around LGBT travel visit the FCO’s information and advice page

Common medicines can be brought into the country for personal use. However, you must carry a copy of the prescription to prove that any drugs were obtained legally from a pharmacy. If there’s any concern that your medication may cause problems when entering the country, make sure you prepare in advance and check full details here: Mauritian Health Ministry

Sentencing can vary depending on the seriousness of crimes, however, for drug related offences sentences can amount to up to 45 years in prison. Punishments for drug related offences such as smuggling are notoriously severe.

And if you were to get yourself into any trouble whilst travelling here’s some information about the penal system:

When a British citizen is arrested and detained in Mauritius, the prisoner should make a formal request to the Mauritian authorities to inform the British High Commission of their arrest. It’s worth knowing that if you’re under police investigation in Mauritius you can be provisionally charged and told not to leave the country without consent from a judge – and it can take up to two years (!) to decide if it is a formal charge or not.

Court hearings are normally carried out in English, and there is a Prisoner Transfer Agreement between Mauritius and the UK. Prisoner Transfer Agreements allow prisoners to transfer to serve the remainder of their sentence in their own country, but this can take some time to organise. All prisons on the island are Human Rights standards compliant.

Sources:

Prison studies statistical source: http://www.prisonstudies.org/country/mauritius Mauritius Prison Service website: http://prisons.govmu.org FCO prison pack source https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mauritius-prisoner-pack

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mauritius