The botanical garden in Mauritius is a must-see attraction. The best way to enjoy your visit is to hire a guide at the entrance otherwise you’ll miss out on many fascinating tree species and interesting stories.
Spend at least a couple of hours exploring our exotic fauna and flora. You'll be mesmerized. Plan your sightseeing in the morning when the temperature is still delicious.
The botanical garden in Mauritius
Our botanical garden is home to the most beautiful tropical botanical species in the world. This grand old lady will be 300 years old in 2029. Our pride and joy is the oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere.
You’ll be blown away by the amazing collection of 85 types of palm trees, from bottle palms, royal palms to the talipot palm which blooms every 40 years or so and then dies!
Talipot palms at the botanical gardens in Mauritius
Discover the trees in the Spice Garden, the giant tortoises, stags, ponds filled with giant water lilies and abundant bird life. Have a look at a replica of the first sugar mill and the Chateau Mon Plaisir. The scent of flowers and spices …
The sausage tree, the fish poison tree whose grounded seeds can stun and even kill a fish!
Flowers from the 'fish poison tree' 'Barringtonia asiatica'
Before you start your exploration here is a short story.
The botanical garden was first a humble vegetable garden started by Governor Mahe de Labourdonnais in the 1720’s when our island was a French colony.
Pamplemousses was a popular village and home to many slaves who laboured in the sugar mill, tended to the garden, build the governor’s house ‘Mon Plaisir’ and a canal for irrigation called Canal de la Villebague which is lined with cut stones.
The life and tribulations of a lotus
France wanted to end Dutch monopoly on spices and so King Louis XV instructed his botanist Monsieur Pierre Poivre to collect plants and seeds from all over the world. The result?
A fragrant spice garden with camphor, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove trees (to name a few).
Frenchman Nicolas de Cere took over from Monsieur Poivre and during 40 years set about designing and building alleys, ponds and benches. He is the one who introduced fish.
When the island became a British colony it was James Duncan’s turn. The horticulturalist added lots of plants such as orchids and bougainvillea to the Royal Botanical Garden in Mauritius .
The botanical garden in Mauritius was renamed Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam or SSR in 1988. Our beloved father of the nation was cremated in the garden and his ashes scattered in the holy river Ganges.
See the lotus flower on top of the memorial or ‘Samadhi’ which means 'tomb' in Hindi? In Hinduism the lotus represents someone who is spiritual and wise. The lotus is also associated with beauty and eternity. Beloved Hindu gods and goddesses are depicted with a lotus flower.
Food and drinks are not for sale in the garden so fill up your water bottle and make sure you have your insect repellent. Our friendly mosquitoes also want to welcome you to the botanical garden in Mauritius …
Let’s start at the grand entrance where the majestic wrought iron gates will welcome you in style. By the way these gates won the first prize at the International Exhibition at London's Crystal Palace in 1862.
Prize winning wrought iron gate
Once through the gates, go to the ticket office where for a handful of rupees you’ll hire a guide to visit the 37 hectare garden. One of the guides is wearing black trousers in the photo.
The white marble colonne is engraved with the names of people who have contributed to our flora and fauna including an inspiring quotation from Bernardin de Saint Pierre: ‘the gift of a small plant is more precious to me than the discovery of a gold mine and a longer lasting monument than a pyramid’.
The colonne Lienard
Ask your guide to show you where Nelson Mandela, Indira Gandhi, Francois Mitterrand and British royals have planted trees.
The famous giant waterlilies ‘Victoria Amazonica’ were discovered by a German horticulturist in Amazonia and dedicated to Queen Victoria. They were later introduced to the botanical garden in Mauritius by the director a Mr O’connor in 1927.
Their diameter can reach 3 meters! They give birth to a white flower which turns pink/violet the following day and sinks to the bottom of the pond on the third day where it will develop into a seed capsule containing about 500 seeds.
Giant waterlilies - a favourite attraction
Le 'new' chateau Mon Plaisir was built by the British in 1823 to house the garden’s intendant. It was also used as a quarantine during the cholera epidemic a few years later. The ‘castle’ appears to have been built on the spot where the French governor Mahe de Labourdonnais had his home.
A replica right in the botanical garden of Mauritius! Sugarcane was inserted between the white vertical cylinders you see on the left. These were drawn by oxen walking in a circle.
The cane juice was then carried to a set of five cauldrons located under the straw roof, filtered, cooked to a caramel consistency and set into molds made of wood.
A replica of the first sugar 'factory'
Most of the Mascarene Island’s tortoises are cousins so their ancestors are a little difficult to trace. They possibly hail from Aldabra which is a small coral atoll off the coast of Tanzania.
By the start of the 19th century most of the Indian Ocean’s giant tortoises were virtually extinct. These giant tortoises can cross oceans by riding waves like a raft and stay adrift for weeks!
The deers were introduced by the Dutch.
The Mauritius botanical garden is about 10 km North East of Port Louis and a 15 minute drive from the North coast. It's well signposted off the highway.
Parking in the official car park is free. Ignore the welcoming hand gestures of ‘parking attendants’ who will promptly direct you elsewhere for a fee.
Opening hours: 8 30 am to 5 30 pm from Monday to Sunday
Entrance fee: 200 rupees for non-residents.
You can hire a golf-buggy to tour the garden if you have limited mobility.
Enough said, I now leave you to further explore the Mauritius botanical garden with your friendly guide. Enjoy your excursion!