Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometres east of Madagascar. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the Republic includes the islands of Cargados Carajos, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands. Mauritius Island is part of the Mascarene Islands, with the French island of Réunion 200 km to the southwest and the island of Rodrigues 570 km to the northeast. Mauritius's capital city is Port Louis. The British took control of the islands during the Napoleonic Wars, and Mauritius became independent from the UK in 1968. It is a parliamentary republic and is a member of the Southern African Development Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the African Union, La Francophonie and the Commonwealth of Nations. The island of Mauritius is renowned for having been the only known home of the dodo. This bird was an easy prey to settlers due to its weight and inability to fly, and became extinct fewer than eighty years after the initial European colonization.
Port Louis has plenty going for it, but it’s a city that profits from exploration: those who only visit the fantastically Disneyesque Caudan Waterfront will get a very bland impression of the national capital. The bustle and chaos of the streets, the city’s famous market, Chinatown, the collection of museums and some wonderfully preserved colonial buildings make Port Louis far more than a place to come for some pricey shopping away from the beach.