Mauritius is a volcanic island, measuring 58km (36mi) from north to south and 47km (29mi) from east to west.
It lies in the Indian Ocean, roughly 800km (500mi) east of Madagascar, 3860km (2400mi) south-west of India and 220km (135mi) north-east of its nearest neighbour, Réunion.
As a country, it includes the inhabited island of Rodrigues, some 560km (350mi) to the north-east, and other scattered coral atolls such as Cargados Carajos and Agalega.
The island rises steeply in the south to a central plateau and slopes gently down to the northern coast beyond the mountains that back the capital, Port Louis.
Unlike neighbouring Réunion, Mauritius has no active volcanoes, although remnants of volcanic activity - such as Trou aux Cerfs crater in Curepipe and millions of lava boulders - can be found on the island.
The island is surrounded by a coral reef and lined by a few long stretches of white sand beach.