Imagine driving through roads lined by tropical palm trees and surrounded by endless sugarcane fields; then cruising beside azure blue coastal shores with sandy white beaches, to see rugged mountains emerging in the distance.
Welcome to Mauritius.
Renting a car in Mauritius is such a simple process, that we would highly recommend it to any visitor of this Indian Ocean island, especially if you’re from the UK! We rented a car during our 5 day trip to Mauritius, and had a much more enjoyable experience than if we’d only booked tours or hired a driver with car.
If you’re not convinced already, here are 8 reasons why you should consider renting a car to road trip through Mauritius.
1) It is relatively cheap
Renting a car with fully comprehensive cover cost us just under £30/day for a 5 door, 1.1L engine car. We used Maki Car Rental, which had an easy to use website to book online, and they also throw in a sat-nav for no additional fee (opposed to other car rental companies which charge extra for this). Make sure you book at least 3 days, if not more, in advance.
Our top tip would be to, not rely too much on the provided sat-nav in case they haven’t been updated and don’t show the new roads. We always use Google Maps to navigate wherever we travel, and on this occasion, we downloaded an offline map of Mauritius, which proved very handy.
2) Picture postcard views to yourselves
The scenery you will come across in Mauritius is so drop dead beautiful, you will want to stop every 2 minutes to get a photo from the roadside. With your own car, you can start and stop wherever and whenever you want,. If you spot the perfect sunset, you can keep driving towards a more secluded spot if the stretch just behind you is full of tourists. If you’re in a tour, you probably won’t want to keep asking your driver to stop all the time, nor would you get any private moments amongst a group.
As we were driving away from Le Morne, we spotted a gorgeous sunset – so we found the best and nearest parking area to stop at and take some photos of us.
3) Convenience of reaching your destination
A lot of the beach-side resorts you might stay in, are located along country roads, with no easy access to public transport. Having a car handy in your resort parking lot, means you can just jump in and head off exploring, whenever you fancy. Even if you are staying within the city, with access to local buses, you’ll have to search for specific routes to get you to your destination – and that’s only if there is a bus that will get you there. Some scenic places are off the beaten track and may not be served by public transport.
4) Be your own tour guide
Although booking a tour can take the hassle of planning out of your hands, you are restricted to the activities and destinations they offer, and have to stick to their itinerary and timings. Having your own car gives you the flexibility of creating your own itinerary based on the beaches you want to sunbathe on, the adventure sports you want to do, and the shopping locations you want to check out. You also aren’t forced to start your day early in the morning, when all you want to do is sleep in and catch the sunset later on.
5) Storage space galore
We loved the fact that there was a waterfall or a beach at every corner of the island (and in between!). Everyday we would have a different beach to check out, in the area we were driving to. This meant we would make sure to be wearing our swimwear underneath our clothes and/or take a change of clothes, just in case we decided to sunbathe or go waddling in the water.
Having your own boot space means you can take as many change of clothes are you want, as well as beach towels, footwear, food and drink. This is also perfect because when you’re in Mauritius, you might find (like we did) that you start your day with adventure sports, hence need trainers, and finish off on a beach, requiring flip-flops – so carry it all!
6) Pick up and drop off your car at location of choice
Most car rental companies based in Mauritius, offer a choice of locations where you can pick up and drop off your car. So, if you don’t fancy driving from the airport for the first time, your car can be brought to your hotel/resort (the cost of this is usually included in your rental fee, but differs between companies).
In our case, we had airport/hotel transfers included as part of our holiday package, so did not need a car to drive from and back to the airport. So, we had a very straightforward process of meeting our rental car in the resort parking lot, and on returning it, simply handing the keys back into reception.
7) Drive instantly with your own driving license
Although we paid for international driving permits (which are cheap as chips), you don’t even need them! Wherever in the world you are travelling from, you can drive with your own driving license – for up to 4 weeks. Just make sure you keep it with you at all times (as well as your car rental papers). If you are staying beyond 4 weeks, you should get an international driving permit.
8) (For the British travellers) – you drive on the left!
A big frustration of having to drive abroad, is getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road. Mauritius still holds on to their rules from the British colonization days, whereby you drive on the left side of the road. So, if you’re from the UK, it’s just like driving at home – especially when you get to those roundabouts, and you know exactly which way around to go!
However, one thing we might change next time, is getting a car with a bigger engine, as our little car made some funny noises whilst struggling to get up hills and around hairpin bends – but it all added to the adventure!
All opinions in this post are based on our experiences, and not sponsored.