One of the must see places when in Mauritius is the Sir Seewoosagur Botanic Garden, also known as Pamplemousse Botanical Garden. It is believed to be one of the most beautiful botanical garden in the world and is also the oldest on the southern hemisphere.
The botanical garden was first opened nearly 300 years ago as a private garden by the then French governor of Mauritius. It served as a major gardening research center for both the French and English during the colonisation of Mauritius. It was first later that is was made into the National Botanical Garden of Mauritius.
The garden is most famously known for its large pond filled with Giant Victoria Amazonica Water Lilies, that are native to South America. The young leaves appear as a little ball and unfold into giant water lilies of up to 2 meters in a matter of hours and the huge flower in the middle will open white one day and close red the next.
There can also be seen Palmier Bouteille, Ebony trees, sugar canes, dozens of medical plants and a large spice garden.
The garden is also home to 85 different palm trees from all over the world, and can be seen in an amazing variety of shapes and forms. You will also be able to experience other tree species as the Marmalade Box Tree, the Fish Poison Tree and the Sausage tree.
Another highlight of the garden is the rich birdlife, the deer population and Giant Aldabra Tortoises.
The garden was named after the first prime minister of the independent Mauritius, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. Many international dignitaries have planted trees around the garden, including Nelson Mandela, Indira Gandhi and representatives of the British Royal Family.
The garden was first started in 1735 as a vegetable plot by Mahé de Labourdonnais. In 1768 the landscape came into its own under the French horticulturalist Pierre Poivre, where it played a significant role in the horticultural espionage of the time. He imported seeds for the garden from all over the world.
The garden was neglected between 1810 and 1859 until James Duncan, a British horticulturalist, transformed it into an arboretum of tropical trees, like the palm.