Damage cause by Cyclone Berguitta. Picture: Twitter/Rahul_Latchman
Flights were expected to resume this weekend on Mauritius following a cyclone that hit the island on Wednesday.

Scores of tourists were believed to be stranded at the airport after both the ports and the airports were shut down on Wednesday in anticipation of a severe cyclone.

Some travel agencies, however, said they had advised their clients to leave the island before the cyclone hit.

While it made landfall on Wednesday morning, the cyclone was not as bad as had been anticipated and many tourists and locals counted themselves lucky.

At 4.30pm on Wednesday Air Mauritius issued a statement, stating that all cyclone warnings had been lifted.

The airline promised to reschedule flights once the airport reopened and once they were satisfied that meteorological conditions were conducive to safe operations.

Roxane Merven, a South African mother of two now living in the Mauritius, said the impact was not as severe as Mauritian weather services had predicted.
The cyclone’s strength was initially classified as level 4 (209-251 km/h), then later downgraded to level 3 (178-208 km/h), she said.

“Thankfully the cyclone deteriorated and jumped course so it was no longer a direct hit. The East side got hit pretty badly but, us being in the north we experienced lots of rain and strong winds. A few broken branches and the occasional power lines were down,” she said.

Timo Geldenhuys, formerly of Durban who has been living in Mauritius for the past 12 years, said everyone had been on high alert before the cyclone. 

“Fortunately it was not as bad as originally expected. However, heavy rainfall caused flooding in many parts of the island,” said Geldenhuys.

Tamarin Bay, in the Black River area, where a river came down in flood, washing a huge amount of debris into the ocean.

Picture: Timo Geldenhuys

He said while he did not experience any personal damage to property, some properties on the West Coast in Black River, where he lives, had been flooded.

“A number of businesses were also affected and Riverland Sports Club in Tamarin sustained some serious damage to its fields and some of its facilities”
Russel Jarvis, spokesperson for Travel Start, said clients were always advised to travel to the French speaking island during seasons where cyclones were not as problematic.