Driving on the island of Mauritius among tourists we found is not a common practice and with good reason. The roads are in good condition, but narrow with lots of twists and turns and driving is on the left hand side of the road, opposite the way most of the world drives.
Local drivers have little patience for the outsider trying to adjust to opposites and with no shoulders on the road one often has to pass pulled over cars that are loading or unloading. It can be daunting to say the least.
We chose to drive because we wanted to explore various parts of the island with ease, hotels, national parks, cities and towns. This isn’t the reality for most tourists. Many book full board packages at just one resort during their stay and so they are only at the hotels. Some book roundtrip transfers to the airport or use one of the many van or taxi services for excursions.
Unless you are an experienced driver (think Atlas mountains, streets of Mumbai, Cairo etc.) you will likely find driving yourself difficult and confusing. We were able to navigate with smartphones, but the maps were not completely updated for new roads and spoken directions. The roadways have some signage, but it isn’t always clear if you are staying on the same road as there are many side roads that branch off directly, so its easy to make a wrong turn.
In conclusion we recommend a car rental only if you are a very good driver under all these circumstances and you will make use of it going around different parts of the island. Otherwise taxis and vans can be good calls.