Geography

Together with Réunion and Rodrigues, Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands. This archipelago was formed in a series of undersea volcanic eruptions, as the African plate drifted over the Réunion hotspot. Mauritius and Rodrigues were formed 8-10 million years ago. They are no longer volcanically active, and the hotspot now rests under Réunion. The island of Mauritius itself is formed around a central plateau, with its highest peak in the southwest, Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire at 828 metres (2,717 ft).

 

Around the plateau, the original crater can still be distinguished from several mountains. The local climate is tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; there is a warm, dry winter from May to November and a hot, wet, and humid summer from November to May. Cyclones affect the country during November-April.The island's capital and largest city is Port Louis, in the northwest. Other important towns are Curepipe, Vacoas, Phoenix, Quatre Bornes, Rose-Hill and Beau-Bassin.

 

The island is well known for its exceptional natural beauty; "You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius", as Mark Twain noted in Following the Equato.