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Port Louis

The Capital City

Jummah MosquePieter BothBlue Penny MuseumChamarelCentral MarketBotanical GardenBotanical Garden
  • General Information

    Other Name: -, District: NA, State: Port Louis, Mauritius
    Area: 49 km²
    Languages Spoken: English,French and Creole
    Long Distance Code: +230
    Importance: Major tourist destination and the financial hub of Mauritius.
    Best Time to Visit: April to October and March
    International Access: Well connected to rest of the world by air.
  • Description

    Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius. It is the largest city of the country and main port, which borders the Indian Ocean. It is located in the Port Louis District. The population is 147,688 (2003 census).
  • Location

    It is located in the Port Louis District.
  • Climate

    Tropical Climate
Blue Penny MuseumThe lively Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis features the Blue Penny Museum, which is primarily devoted to Mauritian art and history, but whose place of pride is given to two of the rarest stamps in the world: the Mauritian 1847 ''Post Office'' Penny Orange and Twopence Blue, estimated to be worth more than US$1million apiece. Mauritius was the fifth country in the world to begin issuing postage stamps, back in 1847, and some of the few remaining early island stamps are now highly valued around the world. The museum is run by the Mauritius Commercial Bank, which formed a consortium of local companies to purchase the stamps at an auction in Switzerland in 1993, and bring them home for posterity.

Address: Caudan Waterfront, Port Louis
Telephone: +230 210 8176
Opening time: Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm

ChamarelIn the southwest corner of the island a twisting road winds from the village of Case Noyal to an interesting geological attraction, the ''Seven Coloured Earth''. This is an undulating mound of varied coloured sand, swirled with patches of blue, green, red, purple and yellow earth, apparently caused by the weathering of volcanic rocks. There is also a scenic waterfall nearby set amid jungle vegetation.

Central MarketThe diversity of the Mauritian population is never more obvious than during a visit to the lively, bustling and colourful Central Market, accessed from Farquhar Street, near the harbour in Port Louis. When you enter take note of the ironwork on the gates, erected in 1844, dedicated to Queen Victoria. Inside the market is a whirl of Muslim traders, swarthy Indian touts, Chinese and Creoles, all demanding attention as they offer their wares. It is advisable to visit the market early, before the heat of the day descends (it opens at 6am every day including Sundays), and be prepared to have your senses assailed with a variety of odours from the fruit, herbs, spices, potions and lotions and various other goods offered for sale.

Port Louis'' Natural History Museum is well visited mainly for one single important exhibit: a replica of the flightless bird, the legendary Dodo, which has been extinct since the end of the 17th century. Researchers believe the Dodo was a member of the pigeon family, which weighed about 50 pounds (23kg) fully grown. The bird was found only on the island of Mauritius, and was discovered by the Portuguese explorers around 1505. The bird became extinct because of the predators such as dogs, pigs, rats and monkeys that were introduced to the island by European colonisation. Numerous other Mauritian bird species have also been driven to extinction, including two related to the Dodo.

Address: Chaussée St
Telephone: +230 212 6912
Opening time: Monday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm. Closed on Wednesdays

Royal Botanical GardensAbout seven miles (11km) northeast of Port Louis, and easily reached by regular buses, lies the island’s premier tourist attraction, the Pamplemousses gardens (now officially called the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens in honour of the late Prime Minister, but still colloquially referred to by their original name). The gardens are enclosed by beautiful wrought iron railings which are today in bad repair but when first manufactured in 1862 won a prize at an international exhibition at Crystal Palace in London. The gardens were first laid out in 1735 around a mansion house called Mon Plaisir as a vegetable garden to supply ships calling at Port Louis. Later the house was bought by horticulturalist Pierre Poivre, who introduced plant species from around the world interspersed with indigenous species. The garden is redolent with the perfume of fruit and spice trees, and the 24 hectares (60 acres) also sport a collection of stately palms, ebony, mahogany, latania and pandanus. A great attraction is a pond full of the Giant Amazon water lily.

Opening time: Daily, 9am to 6pm