The Mauritius Botanic Garden covers an area of 33 hectares. The core mission is conservation, education, recreation, culture and history, and it is known worldwide as one of the oldest botanic gardens in the southern hemisphere.
It dates back to the French period on the island. In 1736, the French governor, Mahé de Labourdonnais, chose to set up his domain around the present Main Gate at Pamplemousses. In 1767 of the French Intendent, Pierre Poivre introduced vegetables, fruits and flowers from all over the world. Amongst these plants were some of the most prized species of the time: namely nutmegs Myristica fragrans and cloves Syzygium aromaticum from the Malaccas. These species are still present in the Spice Corner of the Garden.
After Poivre’s departure, the garden was administered by Nicolas Céré (1775 – 1810). He planned many of the main avenues and had several ponds built, notably the Giant Water Lily Pond, now filled with spectacular Victoria amazonica. After the French period, the garden faced difficulties during the first thirty years of British rule over the island. Thankfully the garden was revived with the arrival of James Duncan as Director in 1849. A large collection of palms was introduced then including the majestic Royal Palm Roystonea regia. The Talipot palm Corypha umbraculifera is known to grow for 20- 80 years and is featured in an avenue. At some point in its lifetime the palm will mature. During this point the palm will produce the largest and most spectacular flower in the plant world. It produces as many as 200,000 flowers which in turn will set several thousand single seeded fruits in about a year. Within the gardens you can also see a variety of wildlife and even giant tortoises!
The garden was first known as the Royal Botanic Gardens, Pamplemousses. However it was renamed on the 18th September 1988 on the 88th Birth Anniversary the first Prime Minister of Mauritius and later Governor General of Mauritius. In his honour it is now called the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden. His funerary monument (Samadhi) is found near the Chateau de Mon Plaisir as well as a memorial consisting of a fresh water pond crowned by a lotus flower with the inscription: ‘In beloved Memory of the Father of the Nation’. Since the year 2000, a Trust under the aegis of the Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security now runs the Garden.