When is the best time to visit Mauritius?

This is probably the most asked question I have encountered in the 23 years I have lived in Mauritius.

Factors to consider:

  • Your holiday and travel schedule
  • Airfares – very high from about 10 December to 5 January
  • Where you intend to stay in Mauritius
  • What you intend to do in Mauritius.
  • Oh yes, and the weather in Mauritius.

Executive Summary:

  • West coast drier and less windy than East coast.
  • February is wettest most humid most cyclone-prone month.
  • Cheapest flights in February.
  • Coolest in the middle of the year.
  • Warmest at the beginning and end of the year.
  • Driest from May to October
  • Windiest in August, September and October.
  • Least windy, December to February (except during a cyclone).
  • Never cold.
  • Often hot
  • Never trust weather generalisations.

Now for the more detailed, pedantic bit:

Mauritius is an island where the wind usually blows from the south east to the north west. Mid summer often brings a warm gentle breeze from the north. Occasionally the wind blows from the west. This is a good time to get a great golf score as the courses are built to make them hard to play in normal south easterly trade winds. It is also a good time to go surfing in Tamarin Bay, as the swell picks up nicely with a west wind.

Mauritius Weather

The location of Mauritius Weather Stations “representing” the 5 different weather regions. Also shows my detailed analysis of prevailing winds and rainfall.

I have tried to use the information provided by the Mauritius Meteo Service, but have a few problems with the location of two of their weather stations, and also their wind data.

The “North” (Pamplemousses) and “South” (Airport) weather stations (see map) don’t represent the coastal micro-climates which interest me, or most tourists.

Grand Bay and Bel Ombre are very different from their distant weather stations. I refer to the stations as the “North” and “South” as a warning to their potential lack of relevance. Anahita is OK, close to Fuel, the East Coast station. The whole East Coast region is pretty similar, but choose a hotel that has at least one beach that faces away from the East and South (away from the prevailing wind), such as Le St Geran, Le Touessrok, Bel Mare Plage or Long Beach, to name a few. Black River/Tamarin is not too different from the Medine Weather Station in the West so that is OK too. The Centre (Vacaos Weather Station) is pretty much the same all over with some anomalies. Floreal, for example, always seems wetter and colder. This explains why most of the expatriates from the colder parts of Europe seem to live here.

The Meteo Service website has been updated, but the statistics are from 1971 to 2000. I don’t know why they are not updated, but this is all I have to work with.

Please don’t misunderstand me, this web-site is the best weather tool in Mauritius and I use it all the time. It is just that the Climatology statistics do not work well for me in this post.

Selected Statistics and Personal Observations:

Rainfall:

The wettest month in Mauritius is February with the Centre station reporting a mean rainfall of 400mm, double the means of January or March. The driest months are from May to November, with rainfall between 60 and 170 mm in the Centre. However, as a testament to the danger of taking average weather information too seriously, we have had many dry Februaries in the last ten years, and we had more than 300 mm in June this year (2015) in the North.

On the coast, the wettest regions in February are the East (334mm) and “South” (266mm). The West, with a February mean of 182mm is the driest. The “North” reports a mean of 244mm which is much too high for Grand Bay and better represents the weather inland near Pamplemousses, in my opinion.

Temperature:

Winter (April to September) is drier than Summer (October to March). In fact, unlike countries located away from the tropics, our summers are defined as warm and can be humid. Our winters are cool and can be windy. Cool is anything between about 18 C and 23 C. Warm is anything between 24 C and 30 C. Cold can go as low as 8 C (the record low in August for Centre station) or as hot as 35.9 C in the “South” in January. Second prize in the hot stakes went to the “North” in December at 35.5 C. In 22 years, I have seen hail once, and heard of sleet once.

Wind:

The wind data are just not logical. I am sure information has been transposed, but despite contacting the Meteo Service some years back, this has not been changed.  I will therefore use my personal views: Windiest Month: August. Windiest areas: East and South Coasts. Most protected regions: West Coast and North Coast. Calmest months: December and January.

Cyclones

No discussion on weather in Mauritius is complete without referring to Cyclones. These typically form on the equator, north east of Mauritius, and move south west towards us. They usually miss us, thank goodness. In fact there has not been a proper cyclone on or near Mauritius for over ten years. Cyclone season is the first quarter of the year, and the busiest month is February. For those who enjoy game fishing, this is also the peak game fishing season, when the water is the warmest.

Notes on House Orientation:

If your house faces east, make sure you like living inside. We live on verandahs, but if they are facing the wind, all sorts of screens and walls need to be installed to hold back the breeze. If your house faces west, you are well protected from the wind, but the afternoon sun can turn you home into an oven and your eyes into wrinkled specks. Anything facing north west to north east is great. Of course if your sea or mountain view is west or east you have an architectural challenge!

In Conclusion:

The weather defines our lifestyle. We play golf, tennis and scuba dive all year round. Our doors are open all day. Our leather jackets gather mould in our cupboards. Light jerseys are occasionally worn. Raincoats and umbrellas are regular but not long term accessories, while hats and sunglasses are.

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