Index


Introduction



On the islands of Mauritius, the climate is tropical, with a hot and rainy season which reaches its peak from January to March, and a relatively cooler and less rainy season from June to September. In fact, being that the islands are in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed in comparison with Europe or North America. The rains, as is common in the tropics, occur primarily in the form of downpours or thunderstorms, which usually do not last long, so the sun shines for a good number of hours even in the wettest months.

The archipelago is located in the zone of the trade winds, constant winds which in this hemisphere blow from the south-east, especially in the cool season.

Main island



The main island is located at a latitude of 20 degrees south, so it's not far from the Tropic of Capricorn. The island is hilly in the interior, and the highest point is Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire, 800 meters (2,600 feet) high. In inland elevations, rainfall increases, while along the coast it rains a bit less, and there is also a difference between the two sides, in fact, annual precipitation ranges from 1,200 millimeters (47 inches) on the north-west coast to 1,700 mm (67 in) on the south-east coast, which is directly affected by the trade winds. In particular, in the cool season, showers are more frequent on the east side (see Plaisance) than in the west one (see Port Louis). The rainiest months are January, February and March, when more than 200 mm (8 in) fall per month.
Here is the average precipitation of Plaisance, where the airport is located, on the south-east coast of the main island.
Plaisance - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)23526520521015595100906060751701720
Prec.(in)9,310,48,18,36,13,73,93,52,42,436,767,7
Days161617171414161510101012167

On the main island, at least at sea level, the average maximum temperature is around 29/30 °C (84/86 °F) across the island from December to March, while from June to September it drops to 24/25 °C (75/77 °F) on the southeastern side (see Plaisance), and only to around 26/27 °C (79/81 °F) in the north and west sides, which are more sheltered from the south-east trade winds.
Here are the average temperatures in Plaisance.
Plaisance - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)232323222019181818192022
Max (°C)303029282725242425262829
Min (°F)737373726866646464666872
Max (°F)868684828177757577798284

The amount of sunshine is not great, nor poor, which reflects the fact that the rains may be intense, but do not last long. On the north and west sides of the island, the amount of sunshine is decent and stable, in fact, there are 7-8 hours of sunshine per day throughout the year. On the south and east sides, instead, the least sunny period is winter, when they are directly affected by the trade winds, as we can see from the data of Plaisance.
Plaisance - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours877676667898

The sea temperature on the main island is high enough for swimming all year round, although it drops to 23/24 °C (73/75 °F) from July to October.
Port Louis - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)272827272625242323242527
Temp (°F)818281817977757373757781


Mauritius

In addition to the main island, we find some smaller islands.

Rodrigues



Rodrigues Island is located 600 kilometers (370 miles) to the north-east, and has a similar climate, a bit less cool in winter. Here are the average temperatures of Port Mathurin.
Port Mathurin - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)232424232220191919202123
Max (°C)292929292726252525262728
Min (°F)737575737268666666687073
Max (°F)848484848179777777798182

The climate of Rodrigues Island is also more sunny and less rainy, in fact it receives only 1,100 mm (43 in) of rain per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Port Mathurin - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)13517015513590808565404065951155
Prec.(in)5,36,76,15,33,53,13,32,61,61,62,63,745,5
Days1617161412111110991012147

The sea temperature on Rodrigues Island is practically the same as on the main island.

Further to the north, the small islands of St. Brandon (or Cargados Carajos Shoals) are less cool from June to September, and they too receive relatively little rainfall, approximately 950 mm (37.5 in) per year.
Much further to the north, that is to say, closer to the Equator, the islands of Agaléga are warmer throughout the year, and especially in the cool season, in fact the maximum temperature is around 27 °C (81 °F) from June to September. However, precipitation is more abundant, around 1,600 mm (63 in) per year, though it drops below 100 mm (4 in) per month from June to October.

Tropical cyclones



The Mauritius are in the path of tropical cyclones, whose official season runs from November 1 to May 15, although they are more frequent from late December to mid-April. Some particularly intense cyclones that struck the islands were Claudette in December 1979, Daniella in December 1996, Hollanda in February 1994, and Dina in February 2002.

Best Time



The best times to visit the main island of Mauritius are the second half of May and the month of October.
From June to August, and a little less in September, ie in the Southern Hemisphere winter, the weather can get a little cool, and clouds alternate with the sun, with some brief showers. In this period, you can go hiking or you can visit the many attractions of the island (Pamplemousses, Chamarel, Grand Bassin, Île aux Cerfs etc.) with more ease. For swimming and sunbathing, given that the wind blows steadily from the southeast, it is preferable to choose a beach along the north-west coast, on the same side as Port Louis, which is more sheltered and more sunny (but not in the northernmost tip, which is windy as well). On the contrary, surfers will appreciate exactly the wind that blows in this period.
In December, it is hot and nature is in bloom, the air is humid and the rainy season has already begun, but the amount of sunshine is still acceptable. However, in November the cyclone season begins, and this is a threat to be reckoned with, though cyclones rarely hit a particular location.
From January to March, not only the rains are frequent, but also the air is humid, so the heat is definitely muggy.

In winter, Rodrigues Island has a slightly better climate, in fact, it is a little less cool and rainy. It goes even better on the more northern islands of Saint Brandon, and even more on the almost equatorial islands of Agaléga.

What to pack



In winter (June to August): bring light clothes, a sweatshirt or sweater and a light jacket for the evening, a scarf for the breeze, a raincoat. When going to the reef, you can bring snorkeling equipment, including water shoes or rubber-soled shoes.
In summer (December to February): bring tropics-friendly, loose-fitting clothing, light shirts and pants of natural fibers (cotton, linen), a light sweatshirt for the evening, a light raincoat or umbrella for the rain showers.

Back to top