Mauritius is one of Africa’s island nations and was the home of the extinct dodo bird. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful island.
1. Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 km (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent.
2. It includes the main island of Mauritius and the Rodrigues, Agaléga, and Cargados Carajos Shoals (St. Brandon) islands, which are collectively called the Mascarene Islands. Mauritius also claims sovereignty over the disputed Chagos Islands.
3. The capital and largest city, Port Louis, is located on Mauritius island, where 40% of the population lives.
4. Major languages: Mauritian Creole, Bhojpuri, French, English
5. Major ethnic groups: Indo-Pakistani, Creole (descended from African slaves), Chinese, French
6. Major religions: Hinduism (49%), Christianity (33%), Islam (17%), Other (1%)
7. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in March 1968.
8. The national flag, adopted at independence, is known as the Four Bands. It consists of red, blue, yellow and green bands representing:
Red: the bloodshed at the time of slavery and colonization.
Blue: the Indian Ocean surrounding the island.
Yellow: the new light of independence and the bright future.
Green: the lush vegetation of the island.
9. It was the former home of the extinct dodo bird.
10. There are two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne Cultural Landscape.
11. It has many world-famous public beaches including the whimsically-named Flic en Flac, Pereybere, Tamarin, Blue Bay, La Morne, Belle Mare, and Grand Bay.
12. The Seven Colored Earths is a popular tourist attraction. This geological formation of seven colors of sand spontaneously settles in different layers, giving the dunes a surrealistic, striped appearance.
13. Things to see and do include: the colonial capital of Port Louis, Champs de Mars (one of the oldest horseracing tracks in the world), Pamplemousses botanical gardens, the Blue Penny Museum (home to one of the world’s rarest stamps), the Black River Gorges National Park, and the Casela Wildlife Park.
6. Major religions: Christianity (85%), Traditional religions (5%), Islam (3%), Other or no religion (7%)
7. Madagascar gained independence from France in October 1960.
8. It is one of the most undeveloped countries in the world.
9. It is a biodiversity hotspot and more than 90% of its plants and wildlife is found nowhere else on earth.
10. Lemurs are the most well-known mammal species of Madagascar and more than 103 species and subspecies live on the island.
11. The Avenue of the Baobabs is a popular attraction and one of the most visited sites. This aisle of trees features baobabs more than 800 years old and 30 meters (98 feet) tall.
12. Tourism is a young, but growing industry and centers largely around nature and outdoor activities. Things to do include Tsingy de Bemaraha (the largest nature reserve), Tsingy de Ankarana reserve, Morondava, Ranomafana National Park, Masoala National Park, Isalo National Park (the Malagasy Grand Canyon), Andasibe Park, whale watching on Ile Ste Marie, Royal Hill of Ambohimanga (a historical village), Nosy Be island, Lemurs Park, swimming and surfing on the great beaches.
Comoros is the 4th smallest African country and one of Africa’s 6 island nations. Learn more fun facts about these remote islands.
1. The Comoros are a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, located about 180 miles (290 km) off the eastern coast of Africa, between northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar. Its the 4th smallest African country.
2. The three Comoros islands are: Grande Comoro (Ngazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), Mohéli (Mwali). A fourth island, Mayotte, is claimed by Comoros, but is a French overseas territory.
3. The capital and largest city is Moroni on Grande Comoro island.
4. The population consists almost entirely of persons of mixed African, Malagasy, Malay, and Arab descent. Major ethnic groups: Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava and Shirazi.
5. Major languages: French, Arabic and Comorian (aka Shikomori). Comorian is spoken by 97% of the population, typically as a first language.
6. Major religions: Islam (98%), Christianity (2%)
7. Comoros is the only majority Muslim country in southern Africa.
8. The Comoros islands were colonized by France in the late 19th century.
9. Comoros gained independence from France in 1975 (except Mayotte, which voted to remain under French rule). It’s had more than 20 attempted or actual coups since independence.
10. Comoros is one of the world’s poorest countries, with an economy based largely on subsistence agriculture and fishing.
11. The Comoros are known as the Perfume Islands due to the ever-present smell of vanilla, cloves and other spices. The Comoros are one of the world’s largest producers of Ylang-Ylang essence for perfume.
12. Mount Karthala, an active volcano, is the highest point at 7746 feet (2631 meters) above sea level. Its last eruption was in January 2007.
13. The Comoros are a remote destination, with a small tourism industry and minimal tourism infrastructure (outside of Mayotte). The main tourist attractions are its beaches, underwater fishing, mountain scenery, and the medina, mosque and Vola Vola market in the capital.
Cape Verde is Africa’s 5th smallest country and one of its 6 island nations. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.
1. It’s an island nation comprised of 10 islands in the Atlantic Ocean, located about 350 miles west of Senegal. The 10 islands are: Santiago, Sal, Boa Vista, Santo Antão, São Vicente, São Nicolau, Santa Luzia, Maio, Fogo, and Brava.
2. It’s the 5th smallest nation in Africa and the 30th smallest in the world.
3. Its capital and largest city is Praia on the main island of Santiago.
4. More than half of Cape Verde’s population lives on Santiago Island.
5. Major languages: Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole (aka Kriolu).
6. Major religions: Christianity (95%), Islam (2%), Traditional and other religions (2%)
7. Most of the population is Creole, descending from the mixture of European settlers and African slaves who were brought to the islands to work on Portuguese plantations.
8. It gained its independence from Portugal in July 1975.
9. More Cape Verdeans live abroad (nearly 1 million) than in the country itself (about 500,000).
10. The national music is the Morna, typically sung in Kriolu. Cesária Évora, known as the Queen of Morna, was the best-known Cape Verdean singer in the world. She passed in 2011 but left a big legacy.
11. Cape Verde has a spectacular Carnival held annually on Shrove Tuesday. While all of the islands celebrate, the most popular one is in Mindelo on São Vicente island.
12. Tourism is fast becoming one of Cape Verde’s biggest sectors. Visitors are drawn to the variety of landscapes and activities, including white and black sand beaches, water sports, mountain trekking, hiking, historical sites and architecture, street art, music, local cuisine and wines, and even an active volcano.