Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Day 13: Pamplemousses Botanic Gardens

The botanic gardens are situated on the North of the island, near "Pamplemousses" village (Hence the name...). Pamplemousse means "grapefruit" in English, which is kind of odd for the name of a village don't you think?
 
The official name of the place is "Sir Seewosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Gardens", in honor of the former Prime Minister, who has done so much for the country's independence. An exhibition dedicated to his life is on display inside the castle of "Mon Plaisir".

"Mon Plaisir" castle, inside the garden
Mahé de La Bourdonnais, Governor of the "Ile de France" (Mauritius former name) bought the field of "Mon Plaisir" in 1735, built his residence there and created a vegetable garden. But it was Pierre Poivre, a botanist, who introduced trees and spices from around the world. The vegetable garden slowly became the garden we know today.

When Pierre Poivre died, Nicolas Ceré, another botanist took over and expanded the garden with many flowers and trees.


In 1849, James Duncan continued the work of his predecessors and introduced new species such as fern or bougainvillea. He's also the one who planted the different species of palm trees that can be seen in the garden.


Bougainvillea

One of the most famous attraction of the garden is the "giant waterlilies" pond.



There is also a small animal farm in the grounds of the garden where you can admire deer and tortoises.



If you ever go to Mauritius, I highly recommend visiting the gardens. It's the perfect day out, especially with kids as there is a lot of shade. It's also a nice spot for a picnic.

One last thing, enjoy the services of a guide, it will cost you a few euros but they are extremely knowledgable and will make you visit even more worthwhile.