Driving in Mauritius
Many international tourists intending to rent a car in Mauritius ask themselves if their driver's licence is valid in Mauritius or if they need to obtain an International Driving Permit. Luckily, tourists are allowed to drive in Mauritius with their domestic licence for up to 4 weeks.
“Foreigners with a driving licence issued by a competent authority in their respective countries are allowed to drive during their stay in Mauritius”, according to Goinsamy Veerasamy, Commanding Officer of Mauritius Police Traffic Branch.
Mauritius is a country that recognizes the Geneva Road Traffic Convention of 1949 and the law stipulates: “Any person holding a valid International Driving Permit or Driving Licence issued by a competent foreign authority shall not be required to pass a test. Any such permit or licence shall entitle the holder thereof to drive within the State of Mauritius any vehicle of the types specified thereon.” (Sections 57 and 59 of Road Traffic Regulations 1954).
It doesn’t matter if you're from France, Germany, South-Africa, England etc., you will be able to drive throughout Mauritius during your holiday by using your own driving licence. If you intend to stay for a period longer than four weeks, you need to have either an International Driving Permit (issued in your home country) or apply for an extension with the Mauritian authorities (Mauritius Police Force, Traffic Branch, Line Barracks – Google Maps). We recommend doing the former one, since Mauritian bureaucracy can be cumbersome and you certainly don't want to spend your holiday time with that. It's also worth noting that we haven't witnessed a single case of the 4-week-rule being enforced for tourists since we started brokering cars in Mauritius in 2003.
There is a growing trend in the country’s tourism industry; the island has become an important tourist destination for countries like China and India. The visitors from these countries can also use their national driving licences in Mauritius. However, to avoid any confusion and problems at any potential road checks we recommend the licence to be written in Latin letters and to be readable without any special language skills in order to speed up a possible road check. Otherwise, it might make sense to obtain an International Driving Permit in your home country, especially if you're a frequent traveler.
It is important to know that additionally to Mauritian traffic regulations, our insurance company requires a minimum driving age of 21 years and a valid licence from a respective country that has been issued longer than one year. So, if you live in a country like South-Africa that periodically issues a new licence and the current one is less than one year old, please bring proof that you've been allowed to drive before that.
Here is some additional information you might need when driving in Mauritius:
- Cars drive on the left hand side and the priority is for vehicles coming from the right;
- Mauritius has only one motorway. The motorway starts from the airport situated in the South East of the Island and ends in the North of the Island at Grand Bay;
- All roads sign posts are of international standards;
- You are most likely to encounter heavy traffic during peak hours: 07:30 am – 09:30 am, and 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm. During these times there is heavy traffic mainly in Port Louis area and at the entrances/exits of the main cities;
- Mauritius now has zero tolerance for drinking and driving. If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol, you will pay a significant fine and may be held in police custody until you are completely sober. Our insurance policy also requires you to be 100 % sober.
- It is strictly illegal to use a hand held mobile phone when driving;
- There are no road tolls in Mauritius;
- Wearing seat belts is mandatory at any given time for all car passengers;
- In a police check, they often ask for your car rental contract in addition to your driver's licence;
- Some road traffic offences carry penalty points together with fines; Our GPS device will warn you about known speed camera spots.
Mauritius is a beautiful island with amazing beaches, and a rich vibrant history and if you want to make the most out of your holiday then self-driving is your cheapest and best option. Renting a car in Mauritius gives you the opportunity to explore everything the island has to offer and will make your holiday more pleasant.