Most visitors arrive in Mauritius by plane at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (SSR) International Airport in the southeast, which now has a slick new terminal building. Air Mauritius run daily flights onwards to Sir Gaetan Duval Airport on Rodrigues. As a winter sun destination, high season stretches from November to February, and fares are at their highest around Christmas and New Year. The cheapest time to fly is during the Mauritian winter months of May to October.
Transfer times to hotels and resorts from the airport range from ten minutes to an hour and a half, with an average of forty minutes; packages booked through tour operators will include either group or private transfers.
Direct flights take around twelve hours from London to Mauritius with direct services available from Air Mauritius (airmauritius.com) and British Airways (ba.com). A competitively priced once-weekly Thomson’s Dreamliner flight was also launched in May 2014. Airlines flying non-direct services from London include Emirates (emirates.com), Air France (airfrance.com), Virgin Atlantic (virgin-atlantic.com), Qantas (qantas.com.au), South African Airways (flysaa.com) and Lufthansa (lufthansa.com). Flying to Mauritius from other UK airports or from Ireland involves either catching a connecting flight to London or flying via the airline’s hub city. For those departing via Paris, the Vanilla Islands Pass from Air Austral (air-austral.com) provides discounted island-hopping in the Indian Ocean between Mauritius, Réunion, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros and Mayotte: a minimum of four flights must be booked to qualify.
There are no direct flights from the US and Canada to Mauritius; it takes around 24 hours to reach Mauritius from New York City, for example. The best options are via London or a continental European city such as Paris.
Irregular flights from Perth operated by Air Mauritius (airmauritius.com) are the only direct link from Australia, taking eight hours. Direct flights from Johannesburg and Durban with Air Mauritius take four hours. Flights from New Zealand require at least one change; common routes are via South Africa or Dubai.
Trips to Mauritius are commonly twinned with a Kenyan or South African safari and visit to Réunion Island. If you’re planning on doing this, an African Air Pass (staralliance.com) is useful: it allows four to ten discounted flights from a choice of 25 countries in the space of three months, and can be bought with any Star Alliance member ticket outside Africa. Using Air Mauritius’s network, Mauritius can also be a stopover on an RTW flight, combined with Asian destinations, from Shanghai to Singapore, and even Australia.
The most cost-effective way to visit Mauritius is with tour operators who usually offer unbeatable packages including flights, hotels and car hire, and some great freebies such as room upgrades, an extra room for kids, free meals, spa treatments and activities ranging from golf to water skiing.