Expatriates moving to Mauritius, Réunion or Rodrigues are advised to take out medical insurance. Private healthcare is of a good standard in the Mascarene Islands but it can be expensive. Most medical matters can be dealt with locally, but if you require a complex medical procedure you may need to be transferred to South Africa. Medical facilities on Réunion tend to be of a superior standard to those on Mauritius or Rodrigues.
Malaria no longer poses a risk to people living in Mauritius, Réunion or Rogdrigues, however there are very occasional outbreaks of dengue fever which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Expats living in the Mascarene Islands are advised to use mosquito repellent products, particularly when going to more rural areas.
If you swim in the sea you should be aware that stonefish are present in some of the waters around the islands. A sting from a stonefish can be lethal, so you must seek medical help immediately if you are stung.
If you want to place your children in private schools in Mauritius or Rodrigues it is important to enroll them well in advance of your planned arrival date. On the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues state schools teach in English and there is also a choice of international schools, such as Alexandra House School and Le Bocage International School . International schools in the Mascarene Islands usually follow the programs for International GCSE or International Baccalaureate qualifications. Children of families living in Réunion usually attend state schools where instruction is in French.
Expats living in Mauritius will find that crime rates are generally low, although pickpockets are common in tourist areas and the levels of crime are higher in the capital, Port Louis, with burglaries more likely than outside the city. However, burglaries are not common when a property is occupied and few involve violence towards people. Rates of violent crime are low compared with many western countries, but there are concerns that figures are rising, and use of alcohol and narcotics is also on the increase. Crime levels are relatively low on the islands of Rodrigues and Réunion.
There can be safety concerns associated with driving, particularly at night when some local vehicles are driven without headlights. Foreign nationals living in the Mascarene Islands should exercise caution when driving after dark.
There is a risk of volcanic activity, with the Piton de la Fournaise volcano on the island of Réunion having erupted recently, and over 100 times in the last four centuries.