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  • Hey everybody,

  • Years ago, do you remember how we did the Comoros episode

  • and said I couldn't find anybody from Comoros

  • and I got the next best thing:

  • A dude from Mauritius?

  • Well,

  • You guys remember Nick, my one Mauritian friend.

  • Say Hi!

  • Hey guys! Great to see you again!

  • Nick will be co-hosting with me for this episode.

  • Nick, what is one thing about Mauritius you'd like everybody to know?

  • Well actually, I'm born and raised British

  • but you know my heritage?

  • Yep

  • WooHoo!!!

  • Meh, good enough.

  • It's time to learn Geography!

  • NOW!!!

  • Everybody, I'm your host Barbs.

  • And I'm Nick.

  • Now if you don't know anything about Mauritius, it's basically like the Singapore of Africa:

  • small yet economically thriving with lots of luxury accommodations.

  • Nick, you've been here, right?

  • Yep.

  • How would you describe Mauritius?

  • I'd say it's a beautiful little island, a good cross-section of people, beautiful food, completely tropical.

  • Well, let's find out more about this tropical island.

  • Shall we?

  • WELCOME TO DODO-LAND!

  • [POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY]

  • Now, although Arab traders and Portuguese

  • had already passed by Mauritius,

  • it wasn't until the Dutch came in and actually colonized it in 1598

  • and named it after the Prince of Holland, Moritz van Nassau.

  • And a LOT has changed since then.

  • First of all:

  • Mauritius is an island nation located about 700 miles east of Madagascar

  • and includes the main island of Mauritius with the second largest, Rodrigues,

  • and the outer islands of St. Brandon, which is an atoll of desolate reefs and small islets.

  • Temporarily populated and only about 70 people,

  • and the furthest island, Agaléga, which has about 300 people.

  • Otherwise there are 49 smaller uninhabited islands and islets that lie off the coast of Mauritius.

  • Further off to the center and northeast, Mauritius has a dispute with Tromelin Island,

  • which is administered by France,

  • and the Chagos Archipelago, which is administered by the U.K.

  • as part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

  • The country is divided into 9 districts

  • (one is called Pamplemousses, which means "grapefruit")

  • with the capital and largest city, Port Louis, located in the northwest part of the country.

  • If you fly to Mauritius from abroad, though,

  • you will fly to the largest and busiest international airport:

  • Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International,

  • which is located on the complete opposite southeast side of the country

  • about 26 miles away from the capital.

  • Otherwise, the only other airports they have are:

  • Sir Gaëtan Duval Airport, located on Rodrigues,

  • which only flies to and from Mauritius Island and seasonally tounion,

  • and a small airstrip on Agaléga.

  • The second and largest cities are Beau Bassin and Vacoas,

  • located roughly near the general Port Louis metropolitan area.

  • Speaking of which, kind of like how we studied in the Jamaica episode,

  • a lot of town names in Mauritius are kind of funny-sounding if you translate them.

  • Many are either in French or Mauritian Creole.

  • And each have a backstory as to why they were named that way. Places like:

  • Mon Goût (which means "my taste"),

  • Mon Desert ("my desert"),

  • Bel Ombre ("beautiful shadow"),

  • Nouvellecouverte ("new discovery"),

  • and the last one: Brittania.

  • All the roads kind of spiderweb outwards from Port Louis with modern skyscrapers,

  • the tallest one being the 22-story hurricane-resistant Bank of Mauritius building,

  • reaching over 124 meters in height.

  • Not only that, but all around the main island, you find way too many

  • amazing historical sights and places of interest, such as:

  • the Eureka House,

  • the Botanic Gardens,

  • the Champs de Mars,

  • the Flacq Market,

  • Waterpark Leisure Village,

  • Pointe aux Piments Aquarium,

  • the Bazaar of Port Louis,

  • the Triolet Shivala Hindu Temple,

  • shopping at Grand Bay,

  • the Balaclava ruins,

  • the Dutch ruins of Vieux Grand Port,

  • and if can, see if you can make it to Agaléga Island,

  • check out the cliffs and shores of Rodrigues,

  • and if there's one thing you definitely need to check out, though,

  • it would have to be the nature and landscape loaded with lots of beauty and tragedy.

  • Let's discuss it now.

  • [PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY]

  • Mark Twain once said, "Heaven was copied after Mauritius."

  • And if you come, you'll find out why.

  • First of all:

  • the country is located on the Mascarene Plateau,

  • an elevated underwater ridge that used to harbor volcanic activity,

  • though today Mauritius only has dormant volcanoes.

  • The country may be small but harbors a few mountain ranges like the Moka up north.

  • But the Black River Range holds the highest peak at 800 meters: Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire.

  • Just a skip away, you find the largest water body: the Mare aux Vacoas Reservoir.

  • And east of that, the longest river: the Grand River South East.

  • All while the entire country is surrounded by coral reefs.

  • The country has about 335 kilometers of beaches all around the coast.

  • However, unfortunately about 12% of it is truly public,

  • as many of the beaches have been taken away for private use,

  • which causes outrage among many citizens.

  • Otherwise, the other outlying dependent islands like Agaléga and St. Brandon are flat,

  • while Rodrigues has small hills and both have easier access to beaches.

  • Now, besides beautiful waterfalls like Tamarind or the scenic volcano craters like Trou au Cerfs

  • or La Morne Underwater Waterfall,

  • Mauritius has a lot of strange things going on.

  • For one, the seven-colored earths:

  • this fascinating natural phenomenon of sand, decked in seven different colors,.

  • It never erodes and stays the same way even after rainfall.

  • La Pouche Peak is where you can have a 360° view of the entire main island,

  • and La Morne Brabant Mountain has a sad story of slaves that hid and jumped off

  • when seeing police that were actually coming to tell them that slavery had been abolished.

  • In terms of flora and fauna, the country has about 700 species of flowering plants.

  • 246 are endemic,

  • including the last two Bois Dentelle trees left in nature and the world, possibly the rarest.

  • These are found on Piton Grand Bassin Hill, known for their fluffy detailed bell-shaped flowers.

  • Due to the introduction of foreign plants that have overrun the environment like guava trees,

  • almost all the Bois Dentelle would have disappeared if it weren't for human interaction.

  • And of course, we cannot talk about Mauritius without mentioning the national animal

  • and unfortunately extinct Dodo bird.

  • This three-foot tall flightless wonder went extinct in the 17th century

  • due to the number of factors like hunting and invasive species,

  • and today is not only the mascot of the nation found all over souvenirs and merchandise,

  • but has lived on in worldwide recognition through literature, pop culture, and media.

  • Yes, always in our hearts. Dear, sweet dodo.

  • Otherwise, with Mauritius, the economy is pretty diverse.

  • They have the third-highest GDP per capita in all of Africa

  • with an average annual salary of about $22,000.

  • Industry, banking, and service sectors employ the most people

  • especially after Mauritius has seen a huge tourism boom in the past few decades.

  • The largest exports are textiles, fish, and sugarcane.

  • Mauritian food is very diverse as well. We have national dishes like:

  • Mauritian-style roti with seven curries,

  • gateaux piment,

  • Mauritian-style Chinese fried noodles

  • salted fish and lentil soup,

  • the national street food: dhal puri,

  • mereveilles,

  • boulette poisson,

  • bol renversé,

  • and aigre doux.

  • And they all look so good, distinctly derived from multiple people groups.

  • Which makes the perfect transition into:

  • [DEMOGRAPHICS]

  • Now when it comes to Mauritius, the biggest question usually is:

  • What does it mean to be Mauritian?

  • Well the answer may shock you. Click here to find out...

  • Nah, I'm just kidding......

  • First of all,

  • The country has about 1.3 million people

  • and is the most densely populated country in all of Africa with about 624 people per km².

  • Now here's the part that kind of frustrates me:

  • Mauritius hasn't really had an ethnic background questionnaire on its census since 1972.

  • So today, there are no statistics that accurately specify what the percentages are on ethnical makeup.

  • However, its generally accepted somewhere around two-thirds of the country are Indo or Indo mixed Mauritian as in from India.

  • Whereas the remaining third comes from the whites, mostly British or French descent.

  • Asians, mostly Chinese descent and black Africans, most of East African descent

  • They use the Mauritian rupee as their currency,

  • they use the types C and G plug outlets

  • and they drive on the left side of the road.

  • Now here's the interesting thing:

  • Mauritius doesn't have an indigenous population.

  • Nobody knows exactly knows who discovered the island first.

  • Wax tablets were found that may have belonged to the Greeks or Phoenicians.

  • But the Arabs were the first ones to officially record landing on it

  • but they didn't really care and left.